Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 2, 2014

Matteo, Matteo and gelato

Bologna’s loss is Brisbane’s gain. Matteo and Matteo left their native Italy to pursue a dream to bring perfect gelato to Australia.


Their new business in Florence St, Teneriffe is called La Macelleria, which actually means The Butchery. Their original gelateria in Bologna was built in an old butcher shop and they decided to retain the name and bring it to Australia with them.


They also brought the very best Italian equipment with them and work with local growers and farmers to source the best and freshest ingredients for their gelato.

The gelato is churned every day with no artificial flavourings, preservatives or powders. It is not on display in open containers; the individual flavours are held in Pozzetti cabinets to allow the maintenance of the right consistency and temperature.


I have done extensive gelato research in Italy and I can report that Matteo and Matteo’s gelato is excellent…every bit as good as my lovely friend Paolo’s in Bagni di Lucca, and he is a master gelato maker.

La Macelleria

La Macelleria

La Macelleria

La Macelleria

Happily, I can now enjoy real Italian gelato even when I am home in Brisbane. Thank you Matteo and Matteo.

La Macelleria, Shop 10/29 Florence St, Teneriffe.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 31, 2014

Venetian faces

I continued my quest to find interesting faces on my last trip to Venice. The city is a treasure trove of these details.

Here are a few of my discoveries.

At the end of the Rialto bridge on the San Marco side is a golden head. The bronze sculpture is the sign for the apothecary “Alla Testa d’Oro” (At the Golden Head) and dates from an era when most of the population was illiterate and needed a way to identify the shop.


A reminder of an incident that happened on 15th June 1310 is on the corner of the Sotoportego del Cappello Mercerie, near St Mark’s square. A plot by a couple of Venetian families to overthrow Doge Pietro Gradenigo was foiled when informers warned the guards and the rebels were forced to retreat. An old woman was watching from her balcony and dropped a heavy mortar on the fleeing rebels, killing one of them.

She was rewarded by having her rent fixed for herself and her heirs. In 1861 the occupant of the house had a plaque made of the old woman and the mortar.


Now under scaffolding at Palazzo Maffetti-Tiepolo is the head of Hercules covered with a lion’s head. It recalls the first of his “Twelve Labours”: the killing of the Nemean Lion. He used the lion’s head as a helmet, thus becoming invulnerable.


The high relief of La Donna Onesta is on the wall of the house at San Polo 2935. There are several stories behind this face. One says that the beautiful wife of a bladesmith attracted the unwanted attention of a nobleman.

He arranged to have a knife made as an excuse to see her. He returned when the husband was not at home and raped her. She killed herself with the knife.

Another version is that the head is of a local prostitute whose reasonable rates were described as “honest”.


Dante appears all over Italy and he never looks happy.


Below is the face of Tommaso Rangone who made his fortune from a “natural” remedy for syphilis. In his hand is the plant discovered in South America from which his remedy was obtained. His sculpture is on the facade of the church of San Giuliano.


The rest I know nothing about…I just liked them.


See more faces in Venice, Naples, Florence and Rome.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 26, 2014

Lucy’s eyes

Some religious paintings can be very gruesome indeed. A little known painting by Tiepolo, The Last Communion of St Lucy, in the Capella Corner of Santi Apostoli in Venice, shows poor Lucy after her eyes have been put out. They are displayed on a tray at the bottom of the painting.





Lucy was a Sicilian noblewoman born in Syracuse around 300AD. She pledged herself to God, taking a vow of chastity and poverty. The man she was promised to in marriage denounced her to the Consul, accusing her of being christian.

She was committed to a brothel, but, filled with the Holy Spirit, she became immovable, and dozens of men could not move her. Finally, after having her sprinkled with urine (said to drive out evil spirits), then boiling oil mixed with pitch and resin, the Consul had the saint’s throat cut and her eyes put out.

Miraculously, Lucy could still speak after her throat had been cut, continuing to invoke the name of God. Poor Lucy is the patron saint of opticians and those suffering from eye diseases.

The church of Santi Apostoli is in Cannaregio, not far from the Ca d’Oro or Rialto Vaporetto stop.


We were pointed in Lucy’s direction by Secret Venice by Thomas Jonglez and Paolo Zoffoli…the best Venice guide book.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 23, 2014

My son went to Iceland and all I got were photos of ice

…and a couple of selfies.























Thanks Brandon for the visit to Iceland…I must go there.

Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 20, 2014

Harvest and lots of lovely pineapples

Harvest is the latest exhibition at GoMA, Gallery of Modern Art, in Brisbane. It is a celebration of food in art. There are magnificent still lifes from the 17th century to today, contemporary photography, film and much more.

Some of the works relate obviously to food, but some are more obscure, including the large-scale installations by Tomas Saraceno. His work takes the form of webs and interconnecting spheres or bubbles.



Come for a walk through the rest of the exhibition.


My favourite part of the exhibition was Pineapple Express! Who would have thought that there are so many uses for pineapple related objects?

I really liked the pineapple candle snuffer…every home should have one.


And the pineapple tea set.



Imagine a sporan decorated with pineapples. Perhaps a pinapple tartan would be needed to go with it.




…pineapple earrings.



A ring with a Lego pineapple.


Is this an evening bag?


I have no idea what this is, but I love it.


Thank goodness an old question has been answered.


Harvest is on until 21st September and entry is free.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 16, 2014

Melbourne, art and beauty

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia, is a beautiful city, full of gorgeous parks, fountains, interesting buildings and public art.



While in Melbourne I visited the Melbourne Art Fair held at the magnificent Royal Exhibition Centre.

I went to see the work of a friend, Michael Zavros. To quote art curator, Robert Leonard…” Zavros is an aesthete: he paints beautiful things beautifully.” He paints self portraits (he is very beautiful),  his beautiful children, high fashion, horses and other things in a photo-realistic way.

For this exhibition he collaborated with Rolls Royce to create a performance at the opening of the Art Fair with a Rolls Royce, twin models Zac and Jordan Stenmark, chocolate gold coins and flowers.

I missed the performance, but I was there the next day to see the car and the chocolate coins and the painting of 8 standard poodles arranged in the shape of the Rolls Royce.





The Art Fair finishes Sunday 17th. If you can’t go, you should take a look at Michael’s website to find out more about his amazing work.




Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 12, 2014

Lunch in the Langhe

It is fun to visit places that have been in movies. A recent film starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, called The Trip to Italy,  began in the Langhe region of Piedmont in the North West of Italy.  There was a particular restaurant that they went to called Trattoria della Posta.  The food looked amazing and we knew a visit was needed.

We enlisted the help of local experts Robert and Leslie Alexander who run Travel Langhe specialising in Wine and Food Tours.  Before we tempt you with our fabulous lunch, take a look at Robert’s gorgeous photos of this spectacular part of Italy.

After a tour  with Robert, who is very passionate about the area and its delightful villages and vineyards, we arrived at our lunch destination. The Massolini family has been operating a business since 1875, when Sabino Massolini opened a rest and stabling point for travellers in Monforte d’Alba.

Subsequent generations have developed the resaurant to become one of the centres of Langhe cuisine. In 2000 the family moved to their current location on a beautiful hillside a few kilometres from Barolo, home of the iconic wine.


…and now to lunch. The focus is on fresh, seasonal food from the area, especially mushrooms and truffles. The service is both efficient and friendly. Take a look at our scrumptious courses, including the onion dish served in the movie, foie gras and stuffed zucchini flowers.

Thank you to Travel Langhe and Trattoria della Posta for a great day, and to The Trip to Italy for the idea.


Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 10, 2014

Alice in New York

One of my favourite things to do when I am in New York is to walk in Central Park. It is wonderful in any season. I always try to visit the delightful Alice in Wonderland sculpture near East 74th Street.


The bronze sculpture was constructed in 1959 by Jose de Creeft under the commission of philanthropist George Delacorte in honour of his wife Margarita, who liked to read the book to her daughter.

The design for the sculpture was patterned off the original illustrations of John Tenniel that were used in the first published edition of the book. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published in 1865.

The centerpiece of the work is Alice, who is said to have the face of Creeft’s daughter, Donna.



Alice is seated on a giant mushroom, reaching toward a pocket watch held by the White Rabbit. Peering over her shoulder is the Cheshire Cat. The other figures include the Dormouse, Alice’s cat Dinah, the Mad Hatter, a caricature of George Delacorte and a few extras. The words around the edge of the sculpture are from The Jabberwocky, Mrs Delacorte’s favourite poem.









Children are invited to climb on the sculpture and thousands of hands and feet have polished the surface smooth.


Don’t miss Alice and friends if you visit New York.



Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 6, 2014

Thar she blows

We went whale watching today. It was a perfect winter day in Brisbane and we headed off early this morning to Redcliffe to board the purpose-built whale watching boat Eye-Spy.



Every year the magnificent southern humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to warmer waters. They feed, mate and play in the clean blue waters of Moreton Bay on their way north and the return journey south.

There was a welcoming committee sunning themselves on the rocks near the dock.


Soon we were in the capable hands of Captain Kerry Lopez and her helpful crew.


We sailed towards the northern point of Moreton Island.


In about an hour we were in position and waiting for the whales to appear.



We didn’t have to wait long for a pod of whales to approach the boat. Whale-friendly, low noise propellers minimise underwater noise, and electronically controlled engines reduce fuel usage and exhaust emissions.

The whales seemed unbothered by our presence and came very close, even swimming under the boat, perhaps to scrape the barnacles from their backs. Kerry was excellent at spotting them and directed our eyes towards approaching whales and other pods in the distance.











We were close enough to see the markings and barnacles on their skin. They were happily frolicking in the water around the boat. They didn’t jump into the air and breach, but we didn’t mind, they are magnificent up close and seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them.

We also saw dolphins and turtles enjoying the bay, but they were a bit more difficult to photograph.

After a delicious lunch it was back to dry land.


On the way back to the car we came upon a flock of cockatoos playing and feeding in a Norfolk pine, rounding off a very good day.

I have been whale watching before. I have a photograph somewhere of my father holding 1 year old me in his arms in front of a slaughtered whale at the Tangalooma whaling station on Moreton Island. Whaling was carried on there from 1952 until 1962.

There was a yearly quota of 600 whales, which was easily reached in the early years. One whale could yield more than 8,000 kilograms of oil, which was used to make margarine, glycerine, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In August 1962, only 68 whales had been caught and the whaling station was closed. In the 10 years of operation, 6,277 humpback whales and one blue whale were killed and processed.

The operation seriously decimated the east coast population of humback whales to less than 500 individuals from the original population, which was estimated at 15,000. In 1965 humpback whales were placed on the Protected Species list.

It is estimated that $32 million was earned each year from whaling in Australian waters. Currently whale watching earns about $70 million per annum.

It is clearly much better to watch them than kill them.



Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 4, 2014

DIY smoothie

We came upon this ingenious idea at the James St Food and Wine Trail on the weekend. Choose your fruit from the delicious selection.



Then hop on the bike and pedal your way to a fruit smoothie.


Perhaps every kitchen could have one and you could pedal up a cake mix or pizza dough, think of the savings! You would save on power and get some exercise at the same time.

There were lots of other great things at the food festival. We really are very lucky in Brisbane to have such a great range of delicious things to eat…take a look.


It was a gorgeous day to be out enjoying the winter sunshine.



James St, Fortitude Valley is a great place to shop.

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