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Living Villa Cappelli

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Direct from Italy! Follow the adventures of two Americans running a villa in Puglia, Italy, and learn all about Italian the culture, people, food and fun. Every week, we’ll share our lives with you and what life in Italy is really like especially for two Americans. From Italian recipes to travel in Italy to interviews with others who share the same Italian spirit, we’ll cover it all. So come along for the ride and discover that life is better when you put a little Italian into it.


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060: Italian Villa Projects
In this podcast, we catch you up on the projects we’ve been doing at the villa during our “off time” without guests.  From major new interviews to unexpected construction, we’ve had a lot going on.   Topics we cover:   • Paul’s interview on CBS Sunday Morning about olive blight in southern Puglia that is destroying a lot of olive trees   •  Here are some excerpts from the written story: Olive trees don't just dot the landscape in Puglia, Italy; they define it.  They are so important here, in the heel of Italy's boot, that locals use words like "patrimony" and "cultural heritage" when describing them. But what is worrying olive growers here is a disease that's killing olive trees by the millions. Paul Cappelli, who'd been an advertising executive in New York City until a few years ago, left his job and moved to a home on the ancient Appian Way surrounded by olive trees, and entered the oil business. "Not the Texas oil business; I'm in the real oil business!" he said. It's a dream come true, with a nightmare behind me," he said. "That's what it feels like, a nightmare?" asked correspondent Seth Doane. "Yeah. I'm always looking over my shoulder." Paul Cappelli has tested his trees, and there's no sign of xylella – yet.  "It's like the Black Death is coming," he said. "It feels like if I look over my shoulder and I see dark clouds, it's the Bubonic Plague coming towards the town."   •  While the story itself is sad, if was a nice bit of PR for us •  How we have been working on making the garden much more organized and pretty •  From a raised bed vegetable garden to new walls and planters •  We are also are building a storage room next to the pool for all the pool equipment •  The new land of olive grooves that we bought that we’d love to do a huge dinner in, like in Out Standing in the Field • The complete story of our leaky roof and and how we had to redo a whole section of roof that we just put on three years ago •  The discovery of the problem through to the new construction •  How the problem developed in the first place •  What the contractors claimed the brown water was •  Are plans to move the laundry room •  Our big question of whether or not to get a clothes dryer •  We cleaned out our wine cellar •  One side of the wine cellar will still be a rec room from guests, while another side will be a small antiques store for guests at the villa •  The hard water in Italy •  Thus why we put in a water softener, to help with everything from washing dishes to saving appliances •  How the hard water broke down the ice machine twice •  Paul got a good 20-30 lithographs and he is buying up old frames to put them up at the villa •  How the artwork comes from friends up in Parma who had a long connection to Paul’s family, including Paul’s uncle being the chauffeur to a count from Parma •  Paul’s olive tree and olive wood projects  
The Top 10 reasons to book an Italian villa for your next celebration
Have a big milestone birthday coming up?  Or perhaps an anniversary?  Perhaps you’re just looking to travel with a large group of family and friends.  Then booking a villa in Italy might is the perfect way to celebrate with family and friends.  Here are just a few of the reasons you should book an Italian villa now!   1. It’s more affordable than you think When you stay in a villa in Italy, it will feel like you’re living in luxury, but it’s very affordable.  Definitely more affordable than a hotel or resort. According to Lonely Planet travel site, even a midrange hotel room in Italy will cost you upwards of 200 Euro a night.  At a four or five star hotel, it will be 250 Euro or more.  A villa rental however usually averages to 99 Euro a night per room.  That’s a 60% savings!  • Meals • alcohol • Parking, etc. Bonus tip:  It’s not uncommon to ask guests to chip in when joining you for this amazing celebration.  They will also have an amazing holiday, you are just arranging it all. You don’t have to pay for it all on top of that!  Renting a villa makes it a lot easier to split costs that deciding who had the salad and who at the pasta at dinner.   2.  You can bring along a ton of friends and family Space, it’s not the final frontier.  It’s what you get when you rent a villa!  Ever tried to squeeze your family into a hotel room when traveling?   Especially once you get to five or more kids?  It’s not only uncomfortable, but a hassle.  A hotel room can average around 400 square feet A villa can average 2000 square feet! Or 20000 sq. Feet total   •  full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, multiple living spaces, and probably a game room or two is an amazing option for larger groups.  • get away from everyone for a couple of hours?  There’s always some corner free.  Want to play a board game? Set up your area over there while others lounge by the pool.  There are always options when you rented a villa.   3. You’ll find a variety of entertainment If you’re traveling with a large group for your birthday or anniversary (or other big event), that usually means you’ll have a range of ages, from parents with kids to elderly relatives.  An Italian villa rental allows you all to be together, yet still have your own space to find something fun to do.  A hotel just isn’t geared for families or groups of friends traveling together. Between the expenses mentioned above, it’s also not conducive for a lot of together time.  Just gathering by the hotel pool or a nearby restaurant isn’t all the different from other get-togethers at home. A villa allows you to cook together. Play games together.  Take a walk or run together.  Go see the sights and more. Plus, while kids do love hotels, they do get bored easily.  With a villa, you can comfortably let them explore and play without worrying about other guests.  Plus, most villa rentals have a DVD library, board games, and pool to keep kids occupied. Double plus, if you can get an Italian villa centrally located, you can take a lot of fun day trips.  Italy, and especially Puglia, have a lot of great sites that both young and old enjoy seeing.  From castles like Castel del Monte, to amazing seaside towns like Polignano a Mare, and to beautiful Unesco World Heritage sights like Matera. 4.  Your celebration will be YOUR celebration When renting a villa for your getaway, you get a higher level of privacy that you could never get at a hotel or condo.  No sharing the pool.  No dealing with dining with strangers or hotel staff asking to clean your room early in the morning. It also works in the opposite direction.  No one likes to go to a restaurant with a toddler that could have a meltdown or that crazy loud uncle that tends to embarrass you.  Hotel guests can include everyone from adventurous newlyweds, rowdy teens, crying babies and even creepy guys poolside.  A villa rental really is a lot more private. That beautiful space is YOUR space. 5.  You’ll celebrate in style From your own kitchen to a private pool, a villa rental has so many extra amenities you probably never even realized you wanted.  Pack lighter and do a load of laundry midweek with an onsite washer Keep in touch with free WiFi Keep the kiddos entertained with cocomplimentary board games and DVDs Enjoy walks in the surrounding countryside Park your car easily and quickly Enjoy cleaning and meal preparation for a small extra cost Extra hint:  Look for a vacation rental with caretakers that also live on the property.  It’s like having an amazing concierge at no extra cost. They can directly to the best local sights, help make any reservations, and are always on hand if you need anything at all.   6.  You’ll enjoy all the comforts of home A villa isn’t just a bedroom and tiny bathroom.  It is a home.  And comes with all the comforts of home.  A big kitchen to cook family meals Full-sized appliances like a dishwasher for easy cleanup Glasses and an ice machine for cocktail hour Furniture, indoor and out, to lounge in Those are just a few of the things that come with some Italian villa rentals.    You also have to advantage of being on your own schedule.  Want to sleep in?  Fine.  Breakfast is whenever you want.  Want a midnight snack?  Go for it.  Want to jump in the pool at 2AM?  No one is stopping you.  Want to start happy hour at 4PM?  The bar is open 24/7.   7. Nights out can be nights in Dinners can be complicated with your on holiday.  Who has to be designated driver?  Who wants to deal with any kids late into the night?  Who wants to navigate unfamiliar roads in the dark?  With a villa rental, you can have fun, relaxing meals at home without all those worries.  Whether you prepare the meal yourself or get the villa staff to do it for you, life is so much easier. Everyone can drink. The kids can easily be put to bed early.  And there’s no driving to worry about.   8.  You’ll have totally one-of-a-kind experience  A villa is so much more than just a room with a view. Want a truly unique getaway? •  Stay in a historic villa overlooking ancient olive grooves •  Pick fresh vegetables and herbs right from the garden, farm to table indeed •  Feel like your being spoiled rotten — in a good way •  Open up your windows and let the view take your breath away It’s all possible with a villa rental in Italy.     9.  You’ll get to escape and immerse yourself in Italian culture This goes hand-in-hand with the one-of-a-kind experience, but really deserves it’s own bullet point. Renting an Italian villa really allows you to live like a local.  It’s an experience something like a hotel or resort could just never offer. You’ll get to really immerse yourself in the wonder Italian culture.  From shopping to cooking to exploring the area, it's an exciting part of any holiday. Usuall,y cooking lessons are also available, so you dive in and learn the local cuisine even more! Again, having onsite caretakers really helps here.  They can point you to the best local shops, recommend the local cafes and restaurants, give you tips for any day trips, and even show you the local customs or recipes. If you really want to feel like a local, this is the way to go.   10.  You’ll make your special event truly special! With everything from breathtaking views to relaxing downtime to unbelievable meals with family and friends, renting an Italian villa can be a fun and affordable way to make your celebration truly amazing.
058: Real News, Fake Food
In this podcast, we take a dive into the culinary world and explore where there is a lot of “fake food” out there. From doctored extra virgin olive oils and grated cheese to wine and balsamic vinegar, we give you the real news on fake food. Topics we cover: •  How we’ve had a few podcast fans visit this year, including Kendra and her new business: •  How often we don’t realize the wool is being pulled over our eyes in regards to food. Here’s a list.  Do you have others?  Let us know in the comments. Extra Virgin Olive Oil •  The corrupt world of extra virgin olive oil and the struggles we face with that. It is definitely a fake food most times. •  This book covers this topic extensively.  Check it out: Extra Virginity •  How by Italian law that even if the olives come from a different country, as long as the oil is bottled in Italy it is allowed to be called “Italian Olive Oil” •  How producers from Tuscany come down to Puglia and buy Puglia olives, then bottle extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany and call it Tuscan olive oil •  How our extra virgin olive oil is really just freshly squeezed olives •  We’ve covered this subject a couple of times in past episodes.  Check out: — Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Everything you always wanted to know and never knew to ask — How to tell if your extra virgin oil is really extra virgin — Why your Italian "food" may not be real food   And click here to sign up for our email course explaining more on how to tell if your extra virgin olive oil is really extra virgin.   Success! Now check your email to confirm your subscription. There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again. Email Address Subscribe   Coffee •  Paul wonders why whole bean coffee costs less than ground coffee •  Paul believes there must be other additives to make it cost less •  After doing a little research, I think there may be other reasons:  Namely, inferior beans.  Here's what one site had to say: "Whole bean coffees come from better lots, because it’s impossible to hide negative qualities in a bag of whole bean coffee. Much of the coffee’s aromas and flavors are released when it’s ground. Therefore, customers who purchase whole bean coffee and grind it at home will notice the coffee’s nuanced qualities — regardless of whether they are good or bad. In comparison, coffee that’s pre-ground has already lost many of its aromatics and flavors by the time the customer purchases it. Thus, it’s not as important to use beans that are highly flavorful and aromatic when selling pre-ground coffee. Roasters that offer ground selections can get away with using lower-quality beans." •  Does anyone have any insight?  Let us know in the comments! •  How Paul had a work colleague was bragging about how he makes coffee pods that have 75% pure coffee grounds in the pods Parmesan Cheese  •  We did a whole podcast on this here: Why your Italian "food" may not be real food •  How Parmesan actually is legally allowed to have cellulose (wood pulp) in every jar. Supposedly it is a safe anti-clumping additive when it is only 2-4% of a product. But FDA investigations found 8.8% in some! In some cases ,the cheese was less than 40% of the product! Wal-Mart has now be slapped with a lawsuit over selling a product labeled as 100% Grated Parmesan but had 7.8% wood pulp! Truffle oil •  How Paul bought some fresh truffles a few years ago and we made truffle oil •  But then we discovered this can be very very dangerous, and only last 2-3 days •  This sight goes into it a bit more: "When you make fresh truffle oil as demonstrated in this post, it has a VERY limited shelf life of two, maybe three days maximum. I suggest making it in small batches to ensure all the oil may be used quickly. Fresh truffle oil has a limited shelf life due to the oil not being brought and held 212 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature that kills botulism and other bacteria which thrive in an anaerobic environment. Learn more about botulism from homemade canned, preserved or fermented foods. The truffle oil isn’t brought to 212 degrees because the truffle would start to toast and produce strange flavors. We want truffle oil to embody the essence of the truffle itself, not taste like burnt mushrooms." •  In other words, the extra virgin olive oil you are using to make your truffle oil is only brought up so a low heat to infuse the oil.  This low heat infuses the oil but it not hot enough to kill botulism.  If it was brought up to that heat it would burn the truffles. • So unless a chef is making truffle oil as a special for a few nights meals, don't think any Truffle Oil has any real truffles in it.  Making it a real fake food. Wine •  You can find really cheap wines sometimes •  So when you see something labeled as "Red Wine" is there a rule that says it has to be made with grapes? •  Well, according to the legal definitely, wine's legal definition is according to is: "Wine refers to any fermented alcoholic beverage and is generally made from grapes or other fruit. It is mainly used for nonindustrial use." •  Also, wines if they are below 11% alcohol content, you do no have to specify what is in the wine on the label. Chili Peppers •  We talk a little about our chili crop this year •  Paul talks about he believes they put red dye in chili flakes •  You also have no idea how long the chili flakes have been sitting in the bag Balsamic Vinegar •  What real balsamic vinegar is all about •  How regular vinegars are made versus balsamic vinegars •  This is one of what our vendor explained about IGP for balsamic vinegars •  Why it's only made in Modena There is 2 different types of IGP. -          Industrial IGP produce in Steel silos in maximum 2 month. And in This balsamic vinegar is a mix of vinegar, strong balsamic vinegar, caramel to thicken and colored the balsamic vinegar. And in this silos is put this mix for 2 month to Repose.  In the bottom of this silos is “easy found” wood sawdust, to give the effect of the olded balsamic vinegar and the taste of wood. See the steel silos  in the pic(this is industrial) Is to easy and quick to obtain the product but is not the original. Is easy to found in all store and supermarket. Especially abroad -          Artigianal IGP (MY BALSAMIC VINEGAR)  produce, respect the product specification, and the old process of production. Is put in different  wooden barrel  of different wood (oak, chestnut, mulberry, juniper, cherry, locust, ash). This is the barrel use also for DOP (after I explain the DOP ), but there isn’t a battery set (you chose of two different type of barrel) and put the vinegar, with cooked must,  to grow old in this barrel, for minimum 5/6 years. And my grandfather  They taught  to me, “Is impossible buy the time”. You see the picture with wood barrel. -          The DOP is the best of Balsamic vinegar. The product specification, is very strong like Artigianal IGP. You have a wooden barrel, composed to minimum 5 bottle( Example my battery barrel is composed to 5 bottle, you see in 3 pic.) and is possible arrive to the maximum with 12 barrel.  Is possible compose your battery with this wood(oak, chestnut, mulberry, juniper, cherry, locust, ash). There is long process to obtain the certification of your wooden Battery, by competent persons and public authority,. And you obtain the first Balsamic vinegar, in 2 step . Step 1 is 12 year old,  is called “Affinato” you take a maximum 10 % to the  bottle (the little one) which composed your Wooden battery, and after you bring this balsamic vinegar in a special place  (Consortium Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P.) when the people check it (see in database when you are register your wooden battery). And in this place The competent person  put  your balsamic vinegar, in  the “Giuggiaro bottle”. Step 2 is 25 year old, is called “extravecchio” “extraold” the process is the same of the 12 year old balsamic vinegar, but you attend 25 years to take it.   Vitamins •  If you don't know, most vitamins are filled with fillers, like silica (sand) •  Check the inactive ingredients on any vitamins and you will see they filled with tons of things that are not vitamins •  And for their Vitamin D, they use our extra virgin olive oil as a carrier inside the vitamin •  You can check out Pure Vitamin Club here.   Skim Milk •  We argue a bit about is if really fake or not for consideration in this episode •  To Paul's point, they have taken all the good stuff out and now it's really just colored water •  How we only buy whole milk here at the villa •  The podcast Steven mentioned: Food: A Cultural Culinary History Podcast •  Also, how white bread is so over processed that it losses all it's vitamins, so they have to add the vitamins back in.  But how if they just didn't over process it, they would have all those vitamins to begin with. Ham & Turkey •  How most of the ham and turkey you use to make cold cuts is all the remnants of the original animals "glued" back together •  That's also called a pressed ham •  The different between prosciutto and and prosciutto crudo Baby Carrots •  How these are just deformed carrots that are cut down and treated to make baby carrots •  About the guy who invented them, and his other products Bunny Balls •  Paul argues that they are "fake" because they lead you to believe they are grown to be small •  The multicolored carrots we get here in Puglia •  Why carrots are mostly orange •  And why the Irish hate the color orange on St. Patrick's Day     Juice •  How you really have to check the labels, especially if doesn't say 100% of whatever fruit you are buying. •  Most might say 100% juice, but it's a mix of all kinds of different juices, not just the "orange juice" you think you are buying Tea Bags •  Paul has seen a lot in the news lately about all the bad thing being found in tea bags. Scallops •  Most scallops are not real scallops, but pressed together fish This is the shellac picture I was talking about. •  How I used to add wax to chocolate when making peanut butter balls with my mother.  I assumed it was to skip the tempering process.  Does anyone know?  Let us know in the comments. •  Why eggs are sold non-refrigerated in Italy but sold refrigerated in the states.  And here's our spicy products we talked about. To sum up our Real New, Fake Food podcast.  Look for real food from the fresh food aisle, not processed food. And be sure to read your labels. What do you think?  Did we miss a fake food?  Let us know in the comments!  
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Podcast Details
May 4th, 2015
Latest Episode
Mar 22nd, 2019
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