Sunday, April 30, 2017

Bilingual Language Development Myths

Unfortunately, many erroneous beliefs still persist with regard to language acquisition in bilingual children. Sometimes parents are discouraged from raising a child with more than one language. They're told it can lead to confusion and speech delays, or that they've missed the window of opportunity.

The following infographic was created to help dispel these myths and to encourage practices that promote multilingualism.

Learning a language doesn't have to be a chore. But introducing a second language to your children does require some kind of structure and, most important, consistency, whether it's through day-to-day conversation or formal instruction. The idea is to expose them to language learning in meaningful and interesting ways that are connected to real life.

Here are the most common myths – and the real story behind raising a child to be bilingual.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

An enchanting treat in Ticino

The sun’s shining, there’s a sound of splashing water, and it smells of popcorn...

For many years, nothing unusual there for the residents of Vergeletto. Maize arrived in the Onsernone valley and thus Vergeletto in the early 19th century. Rye had been the order of the day until then.

One day, Nunzia, the local miller began roasting the nutritious yellow kernels in a pan over the fire, until one third exploded. These popcorns were then put together with the rest of the kernels and milled which led to the “good flour”, the farina bóna. But when Nunzia died in 1957, she took the secret of farina bóna with her to the grave – and the mill wheel stood idle for almost 60 years.

These days it’s a local school teacher, Ilario Garbani, who works Nunzia’s old mill. Working with his pupils, he studied the history of the product and discovered more about the tradition. He started making the tasty maize flour some three years ago, the only person in Switzerland to do so. Memories of farina bóna were revived as a result of a series of initiatives and the restoration of the old mill in Loco in 1991.

Every Tuesday Ilario takes visitors through the little village and explains the history of the farina. He begins the tour in what he calls his “laboratorio”, where roasting machines are fired up every now and then when Ilario is called upon to make his fine flour for retailers around Switzerland. He then brings his roasted kernels to the restored mill....

...and that's when it starts smelling of popcorn amongst the stone houses of Vergeletto!

Find out more here:

Sunday, April 23, 2017

World Book Day or Dia de la Rosa

International Day of the Book is a yearly event on April 23rd, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to promote reading, publishing and copyright.

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain. The original idea was of the Valencian writer Vicente Clavel Andrés as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes, who died on this date.

In 1995 UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.

Unesco's vision is that World Book and Copyright Day is an opportunity to highlight the power of books to promote our vision of knowledge societies that are inclusive, pluralistic, equitable, open and participatory for all citizens.

In Catalonia, St. George's Day has been "The Day of the Rose" since 1436, and involves the exchange of gifts between loved ones and respected people—it is analogous to Valentine's Day. Although World Book Day has been celebrated since 1995 internationally, books were exchanged on "The Day of the Rose" in Catalonia since 1929, in memory of Cervantes.

So, whom would you present with a rose or a book today? Which book would you choose?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Consider launching your startup in Ticino?

Ever thought of opening up a business in Ticino? Wondering where to start?

The Lugano Chapter of Swiss Finance + Technology Association is happy to invite you to a meeting about start-up businesses that will be held at the Tecnopolo Manno where they will be guests of Fondazione Agire.

The Association is an independent membership-based organisation which is leading in the development of financial technology (FinTech) innovation ecosystem in Switzerland.

During this meeting Fondazione Agire represented by Mr. Barberis will show you the possibilities for renting spaces at affordable prices and all the other services offered for the startups. KPMG and Atty. Lars Schlichting will explain the advantages of establishing a company in Ticino.

This is the perfect opportunity to get started. One step at a time...

Venue: Tecnopolo Manno
Where: Via Cantonale 18, 6928 Manno
Date: Monday, April 24th, 2017
Time: 14:00
Register here:

Friday, April 21, 2017

Alpine Airbnb in Switzerland

Switzerland's Tourism Office has launched a platform for renting Alpine huts in Switzerland – a kind of Swiss Alpine hut Airbnb. has more than 250 offers in all categories, from very simple accommodation to a very high standard. This new platform is part of a wider summer campaign, launched on Thursday, to attract tourists into the Swiss countryside, under the slogan “Nature wants you back”.

Tourists can also go onto the new platform My Swiss Experience to make their own Gruyère or go fishing on Lake Constance in the early morning or can use the Wildlife Watching platform to find help in observing the Alpine ibex, marmot and bearded vulture, to name but a few.

So you might have to be Swiss to understand the humour in this video but Switzerland's nature needs no explanation. It is truly sensational!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter

Friday, April 14, 2017

Swiss Easter Chocolate

The iconic Lindt Gold Bunny dressed in gold, with a ribbon and golden bell that rings!
For generations, the Lindt Gold Bunny has been just as much a part of an Easter nest as Easter eggs. What makes it so popular is that it is as simple as it is good.

Läderach's Easter egg selection. 
Läderach has stood for top-quality, hand-made Swiss chocolate specialities since 1962.

Oh look, it's a pink Easter bunny!
The perfect chocolate for my Easter Nest.

Chocolate heaven in my local supermarket

Easter version of a Swiss Carac. 
Mystery surrounds the origin of carac! We only know that it was already available in the early twentieth century. Why does it have this name? Might it be a phonetic link to carafe, which defines a type of cocoa of high quality as the one produced in the vicinity of Caracas, as noted in The Universal Dictionary of Practical Cooking by Joseph Favre (1894), Swiss cuisine theorist and cook.

What better way to start your day?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lugano in the spring time

View onto Lugano and Monte Bré from Sorengo

Tempted to take a dip. If I swam to the other side I'd be in Italy!

Stepping out of the train station and into a picture perfect decor

Muzzano has a population of 821 inhabitants 
and the entire village is designated as part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites

If walls could speak I am sure their stories would be breathtaking.
Mazzano is first mentioned in 1189.

Palm trees are common in this part of the world

A lovely iron gate from the past

A hidden garden with friendly hosts

A touch of colour is always good

The statue of San Francesco d'Assisi looking down onto the lake of Lugano.
The church of Santa Maria Assent in Sorengo dates back to 1298.

A pink blast of spring

Friday, April 7, 2017

Easter in the city of Lugano

Join the festive atmosphere of Easter in the City and explore the numerous intriguing and entertaining activities for young and old.

Every year Easter draws a myriad of vacationers and travelers to Lugano. In order to add some zest to the picturesque city center, the City of Lugano and their tourist center organize an event called "Pasqua in Città" (Easter in the City), which will take place from Friday, April 14th through Monday April 17th, 2017.


Here is a peak at the programme:

14.04-17.04 / 10:00-18:30 / Piazza Manzoni
Wooden handmade games for all the family, creative workshops with recycled materials and face-painting.

14.04-17.04 / 13:30-18:00 / Centro Cittadino
Musical animation with Tacalà, Duo Nostranello, Tirabüscion and the Bagiöö.

14.04-17.04 / 11:00-18:00 / Centro Cittadino

Over 100 stands with handicrafts, food and wine.

15.04-17.04 / 10:30 - 16:00 / Piazza Manzoni
Treasure hunt for the whole family in the city centre, leaving from Piazza Manzoni. Those that find all the clues along the way will be given delicious chocolate eggs as a prize.

14.04 / 14:30 / Piazza San Rocco

15.04 / 15:00 / Piazza Luini - Piazza Dante

15.04 / 17:00 / Patio del Municipio - Piazza Riforma

15.04 / 17:00 / Sala Teatro LAC
Con Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana e Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera

14.04 / 20:00 / Centro Cittadino
Via Crucis (start from S. Nicolao)

15.04 / 21:00 / Basilica del Sacro Cuore
Easter Vigil

16.04 / 09:30 / Chiesa Sant’Antonio
Easter Mass

Feeling at home

Once again we are back in Lugano and although it has been six years since we left - what was suppose to be our home for ever and ever - we remain attached to this magical place.

A town embedded by green hills with snowy peaks cascading into a crystal clear lake dotted with villages clinging close to the steep slopes. The stone buildings tightly aligned - dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries - embellished with frescoes and stucco decorations.

An area where - when the sun sets - the bird twitter is still more present than the traffic and the air quality is measured in terms of pollen not pollution.

A community that still greets you with a "Bun Dì" even though they don't know you. Cars stop for pedestrians with a smile and a hand gesture, the odd old boy cheers you on when you jog past and the postman leaves packages on your doorstep not worrying about them being stolen.

A town where you can still spot cows when you look out of the window and hear the church bells chime every hour.

It is a peaceful world where the stress of Paris dissolves in an instant. Where aggressiveness is replaced by courtesy and arrogance by discipline.

It is easy to slither into this comfortable lifestyle but ... then again ... I would miss the vibes of a bustling metropole.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mac & Four Cheese Gratini en cocotte recipe

It has been a while since I posted a recipe. Here is one I discovered at the Manor department store browsing through Le Creuset's cookbook. Le Creuset "Mini-Cocote" cookbook features 25 specially created recipes for the mini cocotte and its versatile cooking and serving features.

You do know what a cocotte is, right? Yes, it's a shallow baking dish, but Le Creuset turns it so much more! Even Expat girl's friend exclaimed: "Ma questo è tutto un'arte!" when I served it for lunch today. She can definitely come back for lunch anytime!

Macaroni and Four Cheese Gratin

300gr wheat macaroni
20gr unsalted butter
15ml cup heavy cream
50gr Gorgonzola
50gr Fontina
50gr Marscarpone
50gr Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tip: Cheeses with higher fat content melt better than those that with a lower one! So combine your favorites: creamy Fontina, Gorgonzola, buffalo mozzarella, Parmigano Reggiano.

1.) Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
2.) Cook macaroni in boiling salted water for about 8 minutes; it should be al dente; not entirely cooked.  Pass the pasta under cold running water to stop them from cooking.
3.) Melt the butter in a small pan over a low flame. Add the cream, the gorgonzola, the Fontina, the marscarpone and the Parmigiano Reggiano (reserving 4 tablespoons for the top). Stir the cheese until all are well melted. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
4.) Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and divide into 4 mini-cocottes.
5.) Sprinkle the rest of the Parmigiano Reggiano over each cocotte.
6.) Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and crusty looking.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Magic tour around the lake of Lugano

Apart from Lugano itself, there are other places on the shores of Lake Lugano that are worth seeing. The best way is by ship, visiting one of the attractions of the region or dropping in for lunch in a typical grotto. There’s no better way to relax and enjoy your day.

From 8th April 2017, you can enjoy the new boat tours, for example the Magic Tour with four different stops: Leaving Lugano for the romantic village of Gandria and the Cantine di Gandria with the Museo delle Dogane then to Melide, where you can visit the Swissminiatur, the well-known park of Switzerland in a scale from 1:25 or walk along the lake to Bissone all the way to Morcote. This peaceful lakeshore village was once entirely devoted to fishing and is the winner of the contest for "the most beautiful village in Switzerland".

Check out the other lake tours Lugano has to offer:

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