Italian Food Tour In Hanoi This Week Molise

lrg_31841238134_342646372552745_7324510597210199986_nThe traditional cuisine of this region has been shaped by the natural settings of mountains and sea. A speciality of the mountainous region – the home of shepherds- is Lamb prepared in a variety of ways – roasted, fried or cooked alla cacciatora (the hunter’s way) with red peppers. Pecorino made from sheeps milk is the most common cheese together with the ricotta salata, (a salted semi soft cheese). The Molise cuisine is dominated by flavors linked to the many aromatic herbs found there. Tasty and spicy salamis, elaborate dishes using goat, lamb and beef, and pasta dishes with fresh egg tagliatelle pasta.. The vegetables which grow in abundance in this region are cooked in a variety of different ways especially in fresh salads and soups.

Zuppa Sante’ A traditional soup prepared for festivities and special occasions. Though the recipe can vary slightly from village to village, it’s a rich broth made with a stewing hen, cooked for about 4 hours, after with added egg bread croutons, fried cheese balls (cacciocavallo and parmesan)  and tiny veal balls and fresh parsley making a wonderfully tasty soup.

Maltagliate al ragù di seppia is a rich and refined dish of fresh egg pasta, cut randomly in different shapes (mal tagliata), and seppia ragù prepared with tiny cuttle fish, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, onion and chillies.

Involtini di Manzo, Beef wraps or rolls – Thinly sliced steak wrapped around a delicious filling, usually made with breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic and minced bacon or salami, there are many different fillings and variations, though it’s usual to braise and coat the steak with bread crumbs before cooking.

Le zeppole, a deep fried cream doughnut, a popular sweet especially to celebrate San Giuseppe day/ father’s day in Italy. The Zeppole are golden and light as air, filled with a rich cream and ever so delicious.


Cannelloni Alla Sorrentina – Stuffed Pasta, Sorrentine Style

Delicious cannelloni with a rich tomato sauce, topped with melting cheese.To celebrate this week’s food tour to Campania, we are posting a classic recipe from Sorrentina. The southern Italian region of Campania has much to offer food lovers:
Pepperonico and buffalo mozzarella reign as kings, fresh seafood is abundant and the pizza is the best in the world. Campania is home to the gorgeous Sorrento Peninsula and below is one of the most popular recipes for Cannelloni Alla Sorrentina.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup olive oil

*1 clove garlic, chopped

*4 anchovy fillets, chopped

3/4 lb cubed lean beef or pork *400g minced beef and pork

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 2/3 cups tomato paste

1/4 cup shredded basil

2 cups ricotta

6oz fior di latte cheese, cubed *170g

*50g baby spinach, chopped

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

12 squares fresh pasta 5-6 inches to a side.(* I used the fresh lasagne sheets)


Preheat the oven to 400F (*200C). Heat the oil in a large pan and add the garlic, onion and anchovies.  Then add the meat. Cook until the meat is browned and the onion is golden.  Pour in the wine and let it evaporate, then add the tomato paste, a pinch of salt and basil.  Add 1 cup of water and cook until the meat has broken down nearly to a paste (if you use mince, it will take less time then cubed meat).  Remove from heat and add the ricotta, fior di latte, baby spinach and a little parmigiano-reggiano. Cook the pasta squares a few at a time in lightly salted boiling water, removing them from the water when they rise to the surface and aligning them on a counter top (preferably marble) dampened with cold water (*You don’t need to pre cook if you use the fresh lasagne sheets that are ready to go).  Put a tablespoon of the meat and ricotta filling across the centre of each square and roll them up to form cannelloni.  Spoon some of the meat sauce in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish, then align the cannelloni in the dish in a single layer.  Cover the cannelloni with more sauce, sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and bake for 15-20 mins until the sauce is boiling.

Remove from the oven and garnish with parsley.

Makes 12.

The Tam Dao Bear Sanctuary – meet Chocolate Tara

chocolate1Chocolate Tara
The colour of dark cocoa, Chocolate Tara is a stunningly beautiful, playful bear who loves to romp in his enclosure with his best friends. After being rescued along with 18 other bears from a bile farm in Vietnam – where cargo containers had been converted into suffocating cages – Chocolate Tara, like so many of the rescued bears, has flourished.

Spread over an area of 12 hectares, the sanctuary has over 10,000 square metres of seminatural outdoor enclosure space designed to stimulate the bears’ natural behaviour The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre is about a two-hour drive from Hanoi. You can visit the bears on these dates:

12 and 26 July 9 and 23 August
6 and 20 September 4 and 18 October
1, 15 and 29 November 13 and 20 December
To book your visit, please email


Italian food tour in Hanoi – This week Campania


FOOD TOUR- from the 7th of July to the 3rd of August, this week we are in Campania from the 21st to 27th of July.


PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE – Traditional starter with Aubergines baked in Parmesan cheese, tomatoes, basil and buffalo mozzarella.

FUNGHI IN CARROZZA – A tasty dish of sauté mushrooms baked in a delicious carriage of bread.

10492227_337132886437427_859082690080492579_nFreshly made Macheroni


RISOTTO FAVE E VONGOLE – A delicate classic risotto cooked with broad beans and clams.

MACCHERONI DONNA CRISTINA – A traditional recipe from Naples of freshly made Macheroni with a broccoli emulsion and sauté bacon making an explosion of flavours.


COSCIOTTO D’AGNELLO ALLA SALERNITANA – A dish cooked for special occasions, a leg of lamb marinated and roasted following a unique Salernitana recipe.

BRANZINO AGRUMI E VERDURE – From Positano, this fish recipe of fresh sea bass, aromatic vegetables and a citrus drizzle is a delicious main course.


BABA – A typical home made sweet: Il Babà in Naples is a religion, an act of love, a compliment – sii nu babà, you are a babà -In folk tales it was originally invented to lighten the sadness of King who lost his throne. Sweet and light to taste, similar to a doughnut yet so much more.

FRAGOLE IN CREMA DELIZIA – A fabulous buffalo curd whipped with fresh strawberry sauce.


We look forward to seeing you and will be posting some Campania recipes soon. Arrivederci  

Sardegna – Traditional Desert Sweets – Caschettas & Aranzada


To celebrate our Culinary tour, this week in Sardinia, we have posted two desert recipes: The traditional Sardinian sweets are an important part of meals, and in many homes a large platter of ‘Dolci Sardi’ will appear at the end of lunches and dinners accompanied by a local liquor normally Mirto ( made from Myrtle Berries). There are a huge variety of cakes and sweets, and every region in Sardinia has its own recipes, ingredients and traditions for baking, but in general the main ingredients are almonds and honey.


CASCHETTAS   Given to the bride on her wedding day, pastry as thin as the veil of a bride that contain within them honey, saffron, almonds and hazelnuts, this cake is especially prevalent in the Barbagia region, and the local villages vie for supremacy.

Ingredients: 300 gr of Almonds, 100 gr hazelnuts, 4 oranges, ½ cup of honey, 200 gr flour, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of saffron, 50 gr. of lard


Begin by preparing the filling. Boil, peel and dry the Almonds, then finely chop them. Peel the oranges and lightly bake the peel in the oven and then chop finely. Add the orange peel and the Almonds to the honey in a sauce pan, cooking on a low heat, stirring until you obtain a creamy paste. Then Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Now it’s time to prepare the pastry leaves: Mix the flour, egg, a pinch of salt and the lard and knead into a ball and then leave it to rest in a cool place. After take the filling paste and roll it into little snakes, about 1 cm thick and 10 cm long.


Then take the pastry ball and pull away small lumps of pastry, stretching them into strips which are wafer thin and almost transparent. For those of you who find this difficult, a cold bottle can be use to roll the pastry into thin strips. The strips should be 3 cm wide and about 10 cm long. Then fold the strips around the ‘little snakes’ and then form into different shapes such as spirals or flowers. Then place the Caschettas on a baking tray and put in a warm oven for about half an hour, until the pastry leaves turn golden.caschettas appena fatte_145




There are even Italian cakes that use oranges as the main ingredient like the famous Aranzada from Nuoro. Aranzada dates from the late 1800’s and was patented by Battista Guiso. Aranzada is thin threads of orange peel that is candied in honey with addition of almonds. The original maker of these cakes Battista Guiso served many important customers, even the Royal Family.


500 gr. Orange Peel

500 gr. Toasted Slivered Almonds

500 gr. Honey

The secret to making this delicious authentic cookie is the attention to peeling the oranges. All the white pith must be removed full a richer taste of the orange zest. The orange peel wants to be sliced into stripes as thin as possible as this will make the overall cookie sweeter.


Once the orange strips are prepared they need to soak in a bowl of water for two days. Change the water at least once a day and preferably twice. After the peel has soaked drain off as much as possible. Place the honey in a heavy saucepan and heat gently without boiling, add the orange peel and leave it to cook for about half an hour. Finally add the toasted almonds and give it all a good stir. Then place little drops of the mixture into baking cases, leave to cool and serve.

Italian food tour in Hanoi – This week Sardegna


FOOD TOUR- from the 7th of July to the 3rd of August, this week we are in Sardegna from the 14th to 20th of July.


FRITTATA DI SALSICCIA – Traditional Sardinian Antipasti omelette with fresh in house Sardinian Sausage, Also known as “Salsiccia Fresca” or S’Artizzu (It’s Sardinian name) cooked with butter, herbs and eggs.

INSALATA DI MARE – A delicious sea food salad with the freshest catch of the day: from prawns and mussels, crab, baby squid,  and/or other fresh sea food and shell fish marianated in white wine, lemon, virgin olive oil and herbs.


RISOTTO AL BASILICO – A delicate classic risotto cooked with fresh basil leaves, virgin olive oil and seasoned parmesan cheese.

CONCHIGLIETTE DI MELANZANE – Pasta shells with eggplant is a rich and delicious first course. The eggplants cooked with tomato, parsley and garlic added to a creamy home made mozzarella and ground nutmeg, fill the pastsa shells with an explosion of flavours.


MILLE FOGLIE D’AGNELLO AL ROSMARINO AND CARASAU – A dish cooked for special occasions, the lamb is sautè in herbs and browned in a pan then slowly roasted, after the lamb is sliced finely (a thousand leaves) and flavoured with a sauce made from freshly ground rosemary and black pepper. Served with Carasau, a thin and crisp flat bread (made of durum wheat flour, salt, yeast and water), then separated into two sheets which are baked again. The Carasau recipe is very ancient and was conceived for shepherds, who used to stay far from home for months at a time.

CALAMARI ALL’OLBIENSE – From Olbia in Sardinia, this recipe of grilled Squid stuffed with fresh bread crumbs toasted with aromatic herbs and virgin olive oil and artichokes is a delicious main course.


CAGLIATO – A Sardinian home made sweet soft Curd known as Joddu, slightly sweet and sharp to taste, creamy and served with honey or caramel sugar or fruit preserves.

TORTA DI MANDORLE – Also known as Truta a mazz’e mendula, this is soft Almond Cake: made with fine ground almond flour, with hints of lemon and orange flower. This cake is a traditional sweet eaten at Sardinian weddings.


We look forward to seeing you and will be posting some Sardinian recipes soon. Arrivederci  

Il faro culinary tour to the Cinque Terre Liguria



Cinque Terre cuisine has not changed much, thanks to the fact that its inhabitants love the traditional dishes. It is a simple cuisine, based on fish and vegetables from the hillsides.
Cinque Terre cuisine pays special attention to the correct use of spices and aromatic herbs that naturally grow here: rosmary, thyme, marjoram, sage, borrage and a fantastic basil are just a few exemples.
Raviloli di Porro e Pesto, with fresh basil and pine nuts, polpo all’inferno, octopus cooked with bay leaves, marjoran, tomato, and chili pepper and many other fabulous dishes.


From the 7th to the 13th of July – Arrivederci.


Liguria – Baci di Dama – Lady’s Kisses

There is really only one way to make baci di dama, if you’re going the traditional way and you want melt in the mouth results (and you should) follow our recipe…

3 1/2
ounces (100 grams) hazelnuts, shelled and skins off
3 1/2
ounces (100 grams) very cold butter, cubed
3 1/2
ounces (1/2 cup or 100 grams) sugar
3 1/2
ounces (3/4 cup or 100 grams) flour
3 1/2
ounces (100 grams) good quality dark chocolate

Start with hazelnuts, toast them gently in the oven until warm and fragrant then rub them in a tea towel to remove the skins. You don’t need to be perfect, as the skins will add a bit of flecked color to the cookies, which is lovely too. Once completely cool, grind the hazelnuts in a food processor until it resembles sand.

Like a good short crust pastry, you want to make sure your butter is very cold and you want to work quickly. Combine the hazelnut meal, cubed butter, sugar and flour in a bowl and rub with fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs (or use a food processor), then knead until it just comes together into a dough. Flatten to a disc about an inch high and place in the fridge.

When ready to make the cookies, remove from the fridge and roll out teaspoon-sized portions of dough into perfect balls and place them on a lined cookie sheet a couple of inches apart (they will spread a little as they sink into domes). Place back in the fridge for a couple of hours before baking.

Bake in a low oven at about 285 to 300ºF (140 to 150ºC) or less, if using a fan, for 15 minutes or until the cookies become hemispheres and are dry to the touch. They will be very lightly baked and extremely fragile at this point, but you do not want them to brown or melt into a puddle so watch them carefully during this time and if they seem to be cooking too quickly, remove them from the oven or turn the temperature down. Let cool completely before even touching them as they are very fragile. Once cool, they harden enough to handle.

Place the dark chocolate over a double broiler and let it melt about 75 percent. Take off the heat and stir to melt the rest of the chocolate and let it cool about 5 minutes or until it reaches a consistency where it can be spooned onto a cookie without dribbling off the sides. Place a teaspoon of the chocolate on the bottom of half of the cookies and before the chocolate sets (but not too early as it will spill and slide!) place the other hemisphere of cookie on top and leave to set.

Buon appetito

Liguria – Quaglie All’Uva – Quail with Grapes

QUAIL_2858153bThis simple, celestial meal with these delicate little birds which cook quickly and absorb flavours so beautifully. A favourite accompaniment is often vibrant, peppery wild watercress with an astringent vinaigrette, made simply with lots of lemon juice, salt, pepper and enough double cream to add a voluptuousness and pungency to tickle the flavour perfectly out of the watercress and quails. And last but not least is a  mound of silky, buttery mashed potato or hunk of crusty bread is essential to absorb every last trace of tasty juices.
Buon appetitio

Serves 2
4 quails
8 fresh or tinned vine leaves
4 thin slices of barding fat or very streaky bacon
150ml chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Cognac or Armagnac
1 large sprig of thyme
30g butter
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
200g white or black seedless grapes, peeled
1 large glass red wine, preferably Burgundy
Preheat the oven to 180C
Lightly salt the quails then wrap each one in vine leaves then a thin slice of fat/bacon and secure loosely with trussing string.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan until fairly hot, put in the quails and seal for 2 or 3 minutes until golden on all sides. Add the carrot, shallot and thyme.
Pour the Cognac over the birds and ignite them before placing in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the quails from the oven, put the quails, breast side down, on a serving dish and cover loosely with foil.
Place the sauté pan over a medium heat and deglaze the pan with the red wine.
Reduce by half before adding the chicken stock or water. Reduce by two-thirds until the sauce is the consistency of syrup, lightly coating the back of a spoon.
Pass the sauce through a conical sieve into a saucepan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Take the pan off the heat and beat in the butter before adding the grapes. Gently reheat for a couple of minutes, taking care not to boil.
Carefully remove the string from each of the quails. Place on serving plates, carefully laying the fat and vine leaves alongside.
Pour a little sauce and grapes over each bird, the remainder to be served in a jug at the table

A culinary tour of Italy here in Hanoi


From Liguria to Molise, from appetizers to dolce, Il Faro will take you on a sweeping gastronomic tour. The Culinary tour is a triumph of the most delicious traditional Italian recipes.


This month July 2014 Il Faro is celebrating 4 regions in Italy.




From the 7th to the 13th July.


From the 14th to the 20th July.


From the 21st to the 27th July.


From the 28th of July to the 3rd of August.