Ascona Jazz Festival

If you think living the Ascona Jazz Festival is an experience of a lifetime imagine how I feel when I have the chance to live it every year, consecutively, from its beginning to its end!

The day the big lorries and trucks invade the small streets of Ascona, I immediately make my way down to the piazza to contemplate the hard work it is to set up tents and the likes for the festival.  The sound of machinary along with the loud voices of the workers make a concert of its own altogether.  I often sit and wonder if any of our visitors (to the jazz festival) ever questions how hard it really is to prepare for an event such as this.  If it wasn’t because I witness the complications of such set up, I would also assume the stages, the tents and the musicians appear from out of nothing!

Maybe this is how it should be and stay in our minds; a magical jazz festival that intoxicates us with joy, instead of one that reminds us of the techinical details of everyday life!

Setting things up for the jazz festival

Setting things up for the jazz festival

Bars along the main square

Bars along the main square

Feeling the excitement of the jazz festival early in the morning!

Feeling the excitement of the jazz festival early in the morning!

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The Rhy Art Basel fair

This week, I am in Basel, on the week where the city is “flooded” with many talented artists from all over the world!  The reason being, Art Basel is in town!  Yet this isn’t the only reason people should visit the city.  There are so many art events going on in the area, that should keep an art lover entertained for hours…days even!

One of these events is the show I am participating in, the Rhy art Basel fair.

Like myself, the Rhy art Basel fair makes its first visit to the city this year.  It is housed by the Saalbau Rhypark on the Rhine riverside, with an spectacular view of the old city.  I do not see the view from my stand but I can’t complain.  I am surrounded by beautiful art and interesting artists!

I share my floor with two interesting people:  Nadia Heitman, an abstract painter, and Daniel Laufer, a figurative painter.  Like their painting styles, their personalities are also different:  Nadia radiates beauty; Daniel goes swimming on the Rhine while he takes a breaks from his stand…crazy stuff!

There are many more interesting artists on the floor but like it always happens in shows like this, there is never enough time to meet them all!  If you are however in the area, and looking for nice art pieces made by interesting artists, come by the Rhy art Basel and meet us all, and that includes my new wooden snowman friend!  🙂

Daniel settled down..

Daniel settled down..

Nadia with one of my favorite paintings of hers!

Nadia with one of my favorite paintings of hers!

The view of the Rhine!

The view of the Rhine!

Having a small second to say hello to my new wooden friend!

Having a small second to say hello to my new wooden friend!

Lunch at Hosteria San Pietro

The main square of Ascona, or “la piazza,” as we locals know it as, is a place where one can find the most beautiful scenery in Ticino:  the beauty of the Swiss alps mirrored on lake Maggiore.  This view, accompanied with an aperitif or a good meal, is one of the things to do when visiting the area.

Yet, along the very many little streets that lead to the main square, one can find so many restaurants that offer great food and service.  I call them my “secret lunch spots;” the places where I know to find smily faces and fantastic Italian food.

Here in Ascona, I am spoiled with choices, but I start of by sharing my joyful lunch experience at Hosteria San Pietro; a restaurant on Passagio San Pietro, less than 3 seconds away from my studio/gallery.

Hosteria San Pietro, da Gino, Gino being the owner of the restautant, has been making great food for over 10 years.  Gino’s son and wife entertain guests with nice barbecues in the evenings.  Barbecuing is in fact their specialty!  I haven’t yet had the opportunity to dine at Hosteria San Pietro, but I see many of their customers leave content and merry when I see them pass by those evenings I work till late hours in my studio.

At lunch, however, the delicious Italian plates (with a twist), are prepared by their friendly Ticino-born chef, Carlo.  He tells me, while interrupting his concentration in the kitchen, that he has been cooking professionally since the age of 15!

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I start my lunch with a cold zucchini soup (spuma) topped with wiped cream.  I learn that the zucchini is cut into squares and pour in boiling water for only a few minutes.  Carlo then makes a thick purée to which he adds a bit of wassabi…yes, I do say wassabi; it is after all, Italian food with a cool twist!  I catch him in the act of seasoning this dish to perfection.

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I emptied my plate and wondered how things could get any better when the second dish came into view:  tagliolini agli asparagi, a pasta plate decorated with cooked asparagus.  It looked so beautiful it took me a few minutes to overcome my fear of destroying Carlo’s art.  This dish not only looked stunning; it WAS delicious!

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Unfortunatelly, I cannot write anything about the restaurant’s desserts as in this occasion I couldn’t eat more than the soup and pasta.  All I can definitely say is that I left the restaurant like I always do, a happy customer.