Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Local La Bella Vita in an unlikely place

Two weeks ago, I visited Wisconsin with a group of friends and made a stop in the Mars Cheese Castle. The last thing I expected to find was a unique piece of "la bella vita!" Below is the fabulous bottle of olive oil I purchased at a cheese retailer in the Midwest. 

An olive oil bottle in the shape of the Italian boot!

We can all learn a fun lesson: when traveling keep your eyes open, you never know where you will find la bella vita!

Monday, October 21, 2013

La Bella Vita Around the World: Lavazza Italian Film Festival

Today I came across the headline "Largest Italian Film Festival outside of Italy opens in Adelaide," and needed to learn more. An entire Italian film festival in a different country!? How fascinating!

The 2013 Lavazza Italian Film Festival opens on October 22 in Adelaide, a major city in Australia. It opens with a Cannes hit, The Great Beauty, set in Rome. The festival's focus is on "scenic Italy," and "a particular romance with Rome," according to a representative from Palace Cinemas, the theater at which the festival is held. 

Adelaide, South Australia
Photo Credit:

Fellini's Roma, will close out the festival on November 11. I love the festival's focus on Rome - historically, it is the center of Italian cinema and so many of the country's classic films are set there. To this day, Rome exudes the same romance it did when classic Fellini films were in production - it is the perfect focus for a film festival.

This sounds like a magnificent experience, I wish a spur of the moment trip to Australia was possible!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Local La Bella Vita: Vapiano on Clark

Craving Italian food, but want different atmosphere? Try Italian fast-casual restaurant Vapiano! Although I thought it was a local chain, Vapiano is a worldwide Italian restaurant concept that began in Germany and has over 100 locations around the world. 

Vapiano's environment is completely different than any other Italian restaurant I've visited. Upon entering, you are greeted by a hostess that hands each person in the party a plastic card and then you are free to visit any antipasto, pizza, pasta or salad station your heart desires. 

Buon appetito at Vapiano!
Don't let "fast casual" fool you - this food is delicious and probably the most authentic Italian food I've had at a restaurant in that category. 

A full bar is stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, espresso and dessert. Each time you order an item, tap your card against the register and all purchased items are loaded there. At the end, each person brings their card to a cash register and pays individually - no need to worry about splitting checks!

Always save room for dessert - the tiramisu is to die for!
I love Vapiano's modern atmosphere. My friends and I sat at a lower table in comfortable reclined chairs next to a huge window that looked out on to the street. The white walls, black and white portraits and red accents add to the fun, modern European vibe. Guests will feel at home and inclined to stay awhile upon seeing rows of magazines and comfortable red couches in the lounge area.

If you are ever in a city with a Vapiano, I highly recommend it. Buon appetito!