Sandwiches to Go – from the USA

August 5, 2012

Summer is the time for for fresh, easy to make food to enjoy out in the open so as to mop up all the sunshine. Below is a selection of mouthwatering concoctions taken from Sandwich bars all across America, courtesy of Daily Candy –  New York.
And of course don’t forget the best of them all – The BLT (Bacon-Lettuce & Tomato)

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Celebrating in Royal Style

May 13, 2012

A queenly tea

Tea time as only the British know how to serve it, in honour of Her Majesty the Queen Read the rest of this entry »

Valentine’s Day at Castello Dal Pozzo

February 17, 2012

San Valentino al Castello Dal Pozzo

A lovely evening at the Castello Dal Pozzo for couples out to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Young couples celebrating the start of what could become a lifetime’s devotion as well as well established couples determined to refresh the original feeling of “being in love”. Read the rest of this entry »

San Valentino Romanticissimo

January 28, 2012

San Valentino al Castello Dal Pozzo

Perchè non abbinare un pomeriggio di relax in coppia alle Terme di Premia, il centro termale più importante dell’alto Piemonte, con offerte studiati appositamente per la festa di San Valentino con la cena e pernottamento al Castello Dal Pozzo, Oleggio Castello, per un break sotto il segno del romanticismo puro?. Read the rest of this entry »

Valentine’s Day

January 17, 2012

Dinner at "Le Fief" - Castello Dal Pozzo

Spend a wonderful Valentine’s Day/weekend at the Castello Dal Pozzo – Lake Maggiore

Le Fief Restaurant

Enjoy a romantic weekend

For all information and to book

The 2012 Travel Calendar – Part 2

January 9, 2012

Continuing the 2012 Travel Calendar as suggested by Tom Hall from Lonely Planets for the Observer Part 1 was published in yesterday’s Blog

July: Ukraine

UkraineDiscover Ukraine’s coastline this summer. Photograph: Alamy

Europe’s football championships finish with fireworks in Kiev on 1 July, leaving the rest of the summer to discover Europe’s largest country. Apart from the big-city delights of the capital there’s Lviv, a central European stunner that’s been turning heads for a few years, and all the fun of the seaside in the Crimea. Ukraine remains an inexpensive destination – especially away from Kiev – but book ahead if you want to be by the coast in the high summer.
• Ukraine Travel (, specialists in the country, offers direct flights to Kiev from Manchester for £225 including taxes, and can also help with rail tickets and hotels

August: New York City

Such is the pace of change that, like Paris and London, New York is somewhere best visited regularly. If you haven’t been in the past year you won’t have had the chance to admire the new 9/11 memorial, explore the latest section of the High Line or take a superhero walking tour ( The Big Apple bakes in summer, but you can at least stay in a cool spot at the new Bowery House. Many of the cabin-style rooms are small with funky shared bathrooms, making this a great deal in a hip part of New York.
• Bunks in shared rooms start at £31 with single cabin rooms from £51 (

September: Iceland

It’s a good year for getting to Iceland without breaking the bank. EasyJet ( will start flying from Luton to Reykjavik from £59 return at the end of March. In addition to this and established airlines such as Iceland Express, a new carrier, Wow Air (, is advertising flights from the Icelandic capital to Stansted.

October: Milan and the Lakes

Milan’s delights for a city break need little introduction, but a shake-up of any big city’s hotel scene is a welcome thing. Self-styled “eco-chic” hotel E.c.ho wears its green credentials on its sleeve. Look for 125m of solar panelling, sustainably sourced decor materials and a seasonally focused menu. The courtyard garden is home to a Renaissance chapel by Donato Bramante, who designed St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  Rooms at E.c.ho start at £163 per night ( Flights to Milan are available from around the UK – see

Whilst in Milan take the time to visit the Lakes. A mere one hour’s drive from Milan, 30km from Malpensa airport (BA, EasyJet, Alitalia flights from UK). October is usually mild, autumnal and full of colour. Visit the Borromeo Islands, do some great winter shopping, enjoy some splendid Piemontese food.

Aerial View of Castello Dal Pozzo and the Palazzo Hotel

Stay at #Castello Dal Pozzo, Oleggio Castello, at the southern end of Lake Maggiore.
A Romantic Escape for 2 starts from 244€ in a double deluxe with candlelit dinner, breakfast and bottle of bubbly in your room.

November: Norway

Northern LightsKeep your fingers crossed for a clear night … Photograph: Alamy

This is predicted to be the best year yet for spotting the northern lights, so if you’ve been promising yourself a trip, then this is the time to do it. November is as good as any other part of winter to go: all you need to do is keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and a light show. There’s nothing to stop you making your own way via Bodo in Norway or beyond on a flight with Norwegian (
• The Aurora Zone ( has four-night trips from £1,445 using snowmobiles, huskies and local guides

December: Cambodia

Cambodia is so much more than the magnificent temples at Angkor, as a bunch of funky new openings is busy proving. As well as luxury resorts, such as Shinta Mani and Song Saa, The Plantation (, rooms from £41) has just opened in Phnom Penh in 1940s colonial-style buildings set in tropical gardens. About Asia Travel ( can arrange cross-country packages, including private-jet transfers and sightseeing tours.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

December 30, 2011

The Origins of the New Year Celebrations

London - Big Ben

The celebration of the new year is the oldest of all holidays. It was first observed in ancient Babylon about 4000 years ago. In the years around 2000 BC, the Babylonian New Year began with the first New Moon (actually the first visible cresent) after the Vernal Equinox (first day of spring).
The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of planting new crops, and of blossoming. January 1, on the other hand, has no astronomical nor agricultural significance. It is purely arbitrary.
The Babylonian new year celebration lasted for eleven days. Each day had its own particular mode of celebration, but it is safe to say that modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison.
During the Middle Ages, the Church remained opposed to celebrating New Years.

January 1 has been celebrated as a holiday by Western nations for only about the past 400 years.

Paris - Champs Elysee

How to bring Luck for the coming Year
Traditionally, it was thought that one could affect the luck they would have throughout the coming year by what they did or ate on the first day of the year. For that reason, it has become common for folks to celebrate the first few minutes of a brand new year in the company of family and friends. Parties often last into the middle of the night after the ringing in of a new year. It was once believed that the first visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good luck or bad luck the rest of the year. It was particularly lucky if that visitor happened to be a tall dark-haired man. From this came the usage of asking a “Chimmney Sweep” to be the first through the front door after midnight.

Sydney Harbour Bridge - Australia

New Year Food for Good Luck
Traditional New Year foods are also thought to bring luck. Many cultures believe that anything in the shape of a ring is good luck, because it symbolizes “coming full circle,” completing a year’s cycle.

In Holland:  the Dutch believe that eating donuts on New Year’s Day will bring good fortune.
Many parts of the U.S. celebrate the new year by consuming black-eyed peas. These legumes are typically accompanied by either hog jowls or ham. Black-eyed peas and other legumes have been considered good luck in many cultures. The hog, and thus its meat, is considered lucky because it symbolizes prosperity.
Cabbage is another “good luck” vegetable that is consumed on New Year’s Day by many. Cabbage leaves are also considered a sign of prosperity, being representative of paper currency. In some regions, rice is a lucky food that is eaten on New Year’s Day.
In Italy lentils and zampone or pigs trotters are eaten, the lentils signifying wealth for the coming year. When bell tolls midnight – one spoon per bell is eaten. This is supposed to bring good fortune; the lentils represent coins, being round in shape.
In Spain The ritual on New Year’s eve is to eat twelve grapes at midnight. The tradition is meant to secure twelve happy months in the coming year.
In Greece, New Year’s day is also the Festival of St. Basil, one of the founders of the Greek Orthodox Church. One of the traditional foods served is Vassilopitta, or St Basil’s cake. A silver or gold coin is baked inside the cake. Whoever finds the coin in their piece of cake will be especially lucky during the coming year.

Brandenburg Gate - Berlin

The Origins of the ritual of Toasting
One of the most venerable New Years traditions is the champaign toast at midnight to ring in the new year. Toasting can be traced back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who would pour wine, to be shared among those attending a religious function, from a common pitcher. The host would drink first, to assure his guests that the wine was not poisoned. Poisoning the wine was a fairly common practice in ancient times, designed to do away with one’s enemies. In those days the wine was not as refined as it is today so a square of burned bread (toast) would be floated in the wine bowl and then eaten by the last person to drink. The bread was put there to absorb the extra acidity of the wine in order to make it more palatable. Eventually, the act of drinking in unison came to be called a toast, from the act of “toasting” or putting toast into the wine.

Tapei - New Year's Eve

Singing Auld Lang Syne
The song, “Auld Lang Syne,” playing in the background, is sung at the stroke of midnight in almost every English-speaking country in the world to bring in the new year. At least partially written by Robert Burns in the 1700’s, it was first published in 1796 after Burns’ death. Early variations of the song were sung prior to 1700 and inspired Burns to produce the modern rendition. An old Scottish tune, “Auld Lang Syne” literally means “old long ago,” or simply, “the good old days.”.

The Pope's New Years Blessing

Celebrate at Castello Dal Pozzo

Enjoy New Year’s Eve at Castello Dal Pozzo on Lake Maggiore, in the company of Stefania Cento, TV showgirl, who will entertain guests until 02.00am.
Festivities start at 8.00pm, continue with champagne toasts at midnight and continue until the small hours with dancing in the Ballroom. for reservations