Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween

Friday, October 30, 2020

Same as every year... Chestnut muffin recipe

The chestnut is typical Ticino product. The local custom has the children collecting chestnuts in the woods this time of year to roast or to create decorations. Chestnuts are used as flour, bread, cakes, pasta, jam, oatmeal and even schnapps. It is also used in recipes for marron glacé or to accompany a delicious platter of game. Throughout the streets of Lugano the flavour of roasted chestnuts accompanies these autumn days.

The chestnut muffin recipe is a classic and I post it every year. Kids love it and it's fast and easy to make. Given the bad weather and as the forecast doesn't seem promising baking is a great way to entertain the little ones at home.

250gr melted butter
250gr sugar
200gr ground almonds
300gr of chestnut purée
4 eggs

1.) Mix egg yolks with sugar
2.) Add melted butter, ground almonds and the chestnut purée
3.) Mix well
4.) Whisk egg whites until peaked
5.) Add egg whites delicately to the chestnut mixture
6.) Pour into muffin mold filled with muffin cases
7.) Bake in preheated oven at 200°C for about 30 minutes.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The history of Halloween

The history of Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years. It was during these ancient times in Europe that the Celts celebrated the beginning of winter on the evening of October 31st. November 1st was the first day of their new year and it also marked the first day of winter. They believed that death was strongly linked to the long and bitter winter. The Celts thought that during the winter the dead and the living existed simultaneously because it was on this day that the dead roamed the earth. Samhain was the name they gave to their celebration of the dead on the evening of October 31st.

However, when Christians began to gain authority in the 800s, the history of Halloween was forever changed; November 1st became known as All Saints Day or All-Hallows. It is believed that the Christians slightly altered the holiday into a church related celebration, honouring deceased saints. Not unlike Celtic tradition though, the Christians too honoured the dead on this day. The evening of October 31st soon became known as All-Hallows Eve and was eventually changed to Halloween.

The tradition of wearing Halloween costumes stems from an Irish and Scottish ritual known as “guising.” In the 19th century, children would dress up in various costumes and go house to house, looking for gifts of coins, food, or snacks. One of the earliest records of guising is in 1895, where Scottish masqueraders carried lanterns made out of turnips and visited homes to be rewarded with fruit, money, or cakes. When the Scottish and Irish migrated to America, they brought along their guising tradition.

Check out this Visual History of Halloween

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Fizzy Candy recipe

Homemade fizzy candy sounds like just the ticket for Halloween. This simple candy's bright fruity and effervescent feel will be a hit with your kids. Pastry chef Tracy Obolsky's invention allows for easy customization of flavours by switching out any variety of powdered Kool-Aid or powdered, fruit-flavoured gelatine. Citric acid is often sold as lemon salt in grocery stores; if you can't find it, it can be omitted.

Yield: makes 2 cups
Time: 20 minutes

1 cup plus 3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
3⁄4 tsp. cherry-flavoured Kool-Aid or other drink mix
1⁄2 tsp. powdered citric acid

1.) Line a baking sheet with a sheet of foil. 
2.) In a small saucepan, combine the sugar with the corn syrup, and 2 1⁄2 tablespoons water. 
3.) Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook the syrup, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 300°, 8 to 10 minutes.
4.) Remove the pan from the heat and carefully stir in the baking soda, Kool-Aid, and citric acid. 
5.) Quickly pour the syrup onto the prepared baking sheet in one move, then let stand to cool completely. 6.) Smash the candy into bite-size pieces, and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

It's been 10 years...

Reposting my very first post from 10 years ago... you've come a long way, baby!

Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish in the crowd.” - I Ching

Let me introduce myself:

Born an expat to an American father and a very British mother I was raised in Zurich, Switzerland. I fled to the United States to study and came running back “home” to Europe two years later to finish my studies in Italy.

I found myself a luxurious job in the International city of Geneva where my career blossomed for nearly 10 years when I fell in love with a charming Italian.

I turned my whole life around, abandoned my career and with THE ring on my finger said goodbye to friends and family and was swooped off to our first expat destination, my dream port of call: Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

Our son was born a Porteño and proud of it. Two years later we moved to Paris, France only to move again after 6 months, this time to Milano, Italy where our daughter was born. A real Milanese.

Enjoying a three year stint in Madrid - a city all 4 of us fell hopelessly in love with - we are now based in the Metropolitan city of Lugano, Switzerland.

Without planning I have returned back to my roots so to say and my husband and kids are getting a healthy dose of Swiss discipline and education.

Personally I am lacking the hustle and bustle of a big city and therefore decided to undertake some territory discovery of my own via a blog.

Welcome to my world....Expat with kids!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Settimana della lingua italiana 2020

One country, four language regions, multiple cultures. In a country known for its white cross and cluster of identities, the Italian-speaking region is often overlooked, even by the Swiss themselves. This region includes the canton of Ticino and four valleys known as the 'Grigionitaliano' – Mesolcina, Calanca, Bregaglia and Valposchiavo – in Graubünden, the country's only trilingual canton.

Italian is Switzerland's third national language, and it's spoken by around 590,000 Swiss people, or 8.1% of the country's population. The language can also be heard in cities in both the German- and French-speaking parts of Switzerland: more than 50% of the country's Italian speakers live outside the Italian-speaking region, in part due to immigration from Italy, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. In fact, Switzerland is home to the third-largest community of Italians outside of Italy.

To mark the #SettimanaLinguaItaliana lets place the spotlight on where and how #Italian is spoken in #Switzerland!

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Swiss startups on the map

Co-published by WIPO, Cornell University and INSEAD, the Global Innovation Index 2020 provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 131 countries and economies around the world. Its 80 indicators explore a broad vision of innovation, including political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication. 

The 2020 edition sheds light on the state of innovation financing by investigating the evolution of financing mechanisms for entrepreneurs and other innovators, and by pointing to progress and remaining challenges – including in the context of the economic slowdown induced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

For the tenth consecutive year, Switzerland finished first in the Global Innovation Index thanks in particular to the many developing startups. In 2019, nearly CHF 2.3 billion were invested in 266 of them, making Switzerland the 5th largest European country investing in startups. They represent the diversity and richness of the Swiss innovation ecosystem.

Like the biotech company Cutiss AG that won first place in this edition of the TOP 100 of the most promising Swiss startups. Founded in 2016, Cutiss cultivates skin made from human cells in the laboratory to treat skin defects, including severe burns. She was followed on the podium by Wingtra, a startup that produces drones specialized in mapping. Finally, the startup Piavita finished third thanks to its sensors allowing horse owners, clinics and veterinarians to remotely monitor, via an application, sick or convalescent animals.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Taking teens to the screens

According to Swiss owners and distributors, teenagers have abandoned the cinema. Certainly, the children’s cinema club, “la Lanterne magique”, which has 20,000 members in Switzerland, helps those aged between 6 and 12 years to discover the seventh art, but does this mean that they will grow into fans of the cinema itself? The answer is no. “Cultural autonomy develops between 15 and 20 years old. It is therefore necessary to offer something to this age group,” explains Ilan Vallotton, director of “la Lanterne magique”. 

The association and other industry players have therefore developed the #ciné concept, to entice 14-18 year olds to reinvest in film and become regular cinema-goers. Currently present in eight towns throughout the country, the project entrusts the organisation of cinematic events destined for teens to groups of adolescents of the same age. Once a month, they take over a cinema in their town to present a preview of a film of their choosing. “The idea is to position the cinema as a place where adolescents can take control,” explains Ilan Vallotton.

Venue: La Lanterna Magica 
Where: CineStar 3, Via G. e F. Ciani 100, 6900 Lugano
When: Wednesday's at 14:30
For more info contact: Tel: 091 745 30 07 or write to:

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Saving the Swiss cinema

Whether to kill time or to indulge their passion for cinema, people in lockdown from all over the world have turned to streaming or video on demand (VOD). Film consumption has reached record highs. Industry leader Netflix has recorded the strongest growth levels since its creation. But in the midst of the giant American platforms, small Swiss productions are invisible.

Swiss cinema is promoted on local portals, such as Cinefile, Filmingo and Artfilm, which also saw rapid growth at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Filmingo users quadrupled. Cinefile recorded five times more viewers than throughout all of 2019, while the little platform Artfilm, dedicated exclusively to Swiss productions, saw 20 times more traffic than usual. But despite this significant growth, streaming will not be able to save Swiss cinema, according to key actors in the sector.

To fight against this phenomenon, the Swiss cinema industry is placing its hopes in the amendment of Switzerland’s Film Act, currently under discussion in parliament. In the meantime, you can support screening of independent films, and prevent the disappearance of our culture by checking out the local portals offering films through streaming: and

Following are a few suggestions:

The Divine Order:, trailer in Swiss German:


Citoyen Nobel:

Alpine Fire:

Moskau einfach!

Paradise War – The Story of Bruno Manser:

The Mistress: or

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Narrative Film at the Tribeca Film Festival, THE DIVINE ORDER is set in Switzerland in 1971 where, despite the worldwide social upheavals of the previous decade, women were still denied the right to vote.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Homo Faber Guide

Ever heard about the Homo Faber guide? As I found out this week, it is an online platform dedicated to craftsmanship that allows you to discover artisans and their masterpieces; explore museums, visit galleries and shops selling unique objects; enjoy experiences in cities across Europe. 

Homo Faber Guide is a signature project developed by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up in 2016 thanks to the intuition of Franco Cologni and Johann Rupert. 

The Michelangelo Foundation’s mission is to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship, and for this reason it has created a European map of the most significant representatives in this field, with the aim of connecting all its protagonists: artisans, designers, gallery owners, art curators, collectors and enthusiasts of high-quality handmade pieces.

The artisans featured in the Homo Faber Guide have been selected in a meticulous assessment process based on the eleven criteria for excellence. 

Ticino's only participating artisan is a jewelry maker based in Balerna. Curious to meet him? Check out his site here:

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Ticino's suspended valley

Ever heard of Val Calnègia otherwise known as the suspended valley?

If you follow the ancient migratory herding route you'll be amazed by the unique landscape of this sunny valley. Having reached the top of a majestic waterfall, you will find yourself overlooking a panorama of piles of stones and boulders scattered amongst the valley’s meadows and woods. Human ingenuity has seen these rocks skilfully put to use as natural shelters, stables and cellars, which, along with the river’s canyons and rapids, form a unique, enchanting canvas framed by tall rock walls.

The Calnègia Valley widens above Foroglio where the mountains have been shaped by one cataclysm after another. It can only be reached on foot, but the reward in the form of a submerged creek, unusual buildings and spectacular scenery is well worth the effort. The Val Calnègia side valley is best reached from Foroglio. Parking is available near the bridge and the roundtrip along this valley is approximately 8km:

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