All Posts from July, 2016

L’Isola Comacina

July 22nd, 2016 | By Wendy Koppen in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments »

Comacina Island is the only island on Lake Como, located in the municipality of Tremezzina. Situated in the waters off the “Zoca de l’oli” (oil basin), it benefits from a mild climate that favours the cultivation of olives and the production of local oil. Measuring about 600 meters long and only 200 meters wide, the Comacina includes a total area of 6 hectares and is mostly covered by lush Mediterranean vegetation.


At the end of the first millennium the island Comacina was at the center of international events. The rivalry between Como and Milan for hegemony and control of main roads and mountain passes in 1118 led to a decades-long conflict which ended with the victory of Milan and complete destruction of the Larian city. After the defeat, Como resources from its ruins, and, thanks to the alliance with Frederick Barbarossa, prepared the rematch that ended in 1169 in revenge for which the island was the main victim as it was destroyed from and burned to the ground. All principals, the houses, the churches and the walls were demolished and the stones scattered in the lake so that it could not be rebuilt. With an imperial decree of 1175, Frederick Barbarossa confirmed the ban to the reconstruction: “Do not play more bells, do not put stone on stone, no one will ever again be the landlord, on penalty of violent death.”
Since then the island Comacina was no longer inhabited, until the seventeenth century, he built a church dedicated to St. John, and that gave the name of St. Giuann to the island.

As the bishop’s property, the island subsequently changed hands through several owners. In 1919 it was bequeathed to the King Albert I of Belgium and for a year it became an enclave under Belgian sovereignty. In 1929 it was returned to the Italian government through a non-profit organization headed by the Consul of Belgium and President of the Academy of Brera with the aim of building a village for artists. In fact, in 1939 a project by architect Pietro Lingeri saw the construction of three houses for well-placed artists, created in keeping with context of the island thanks to the use of local materials, such as stone and Moltrasio wood (mostly chestnut).

Considered one of the most amazing archaeological sites in northern Italy for the Early Middle Ages, the Comacina Island has regained its former glory thanks to the excavations carried out during 1900 that have unearthed archaeological remains of great interest, dating from ‘Roman times to the sixteenth century. It is mostly of early Christian and early medieval finds together with a significant amount of movable ones. An underwater research campaign has also been carried out in the area surrounding the lake that has enabled the return of numerous exhibits to the island, some of which are visible at “The Antiquarian”.isola_comacina_reperti

The archaeological remains that can be seen on the island are the remains of a marble colonnade of the seventeenth-century church visible beneath the floor of St. John the Baptist Roman era, the late ancient finds. These include the base of a tower that probably had the function of a bell tower for the Romanesque Basilica of St. Euphemia and the two baptismal apses dating back to the early Christian period. Moreover, the most remarkable archaeological values relate to the complex of St. Euphemia, whose three-nave division and three apses are visible, the crypt and the porch to front wings, along with the remains of the church of St. Mary with Portico and S . Peter’s Castle. Some research has also covered the squared stone walls of the medieval complex of SS. Faustino and Jovita.

Written by Silvia Crosta, Reservation Office

Sushi and Sashimi

July 14th, 2016 | By Michele Pili in Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments »

In our earlier blog, we briefly introduced the different varieties of rice that can be found at our tables. Today, we would like to explain how to prepare two dishes that have become favourites amongst European eating habits – sushi and sashimi.

In Japan, the word sushi (寿司 / 鮨 / 鮓), literally means “acid” or “sour” and it refers to a wide range of foods prepared with rice. Outside of Japan it is often understood to be raw fish, or as a reference to a small genus of Japanese foods, such as maki or nigiri and sashimi (which in Japan is not considered sushi because it consists of only fresh fish).

The variety of the dish comes from the choice of fillings and trims, in the choice of the other condiments, and in the manner in which they are combined.


The rise used for the preparation of sushi is a white rice, a sweet short grain variety specific to Japan.


Ingredients for 800 gr
2 cups of sushi rice
10 x 10 cm piece of Nori seaweed
3- 3.5 cups of water
4-5 tablespoons of sakè

For the condiment
6-8 tablespoons of rice vinegar
3-5 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt or 1-2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Place the rice in a bowl and wash it under cold running water: do at least 5-6 rinses, moving the rice with your hands, until the water become quite clear. Let the rice soak for 15 minutes, then drain and let it rest for 15 minutes in a colander.
After this, place the rice in a pot that is not too wide and cover completely with water. Take the piece of Nori seaweed and cut it into large pieces to better unleash the aromas; add the seaweed to the rice, cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not open the lid again until you feel it boiling.

Prepare an appropriate wooden container in which rest the rice: wet the container with cold running water and pat dry with a clean cloth. If you do not have a hangiri bowl for this, you can use a large, shallow pot, not made of metal.
While the rice comes to a boil, prepare the sauce: Pour the rice vinegar in a saucepan. Add the sugar and salt (or soy sauce) and heat until the sugar has dissolved, but without allowing it to boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool.

As soon as the rice water comes to the boil, simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then remove the seaweed with tongs, cover again with the lid, lower the heat and cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it covered to stand for another 10 minutes.

Transfer the rice into the hangiri bowl or appropriate container, take a wooden spoon (flat spatula) and, holding it over the rice, pour over it the rice vinegar mix, so that it is better distributed over the rice thanks to the shape of the spatula. Move the rice with a cutting palet, so as not to crush the rice and in the meantime, with the other hand, using a plastic plate or a fan, cool the rice thoroughly and rapidly to evaporate the vinegar. Once it has cooled to room temperature (the rice must be translucent), cover with a clean cloth moistened well with cold water and let it stand for a few minutes. During preparation of the final stage of the dish, always leave the rice covered with the damp cloth to prevent it drying up.

hangiri set


Sashimi is nothing more than raw fish cut into slices.

Japanese culinary philosophy says: “the best way to cook fish is to not cook at all.”

Because in Japanese cuisine nothing is left to chance, there are four main ways to cut fish for sashimi:
1. Carpaccio (Usu zukiri) – the fish is kept in place with a wet gauze, and cut into thin slices using a slightly inclined knife.
2. Vertical cut (Hira giri) – cut perpendicularly into thick slices between1-2 cm
3. Cubes (Kaku giri) – cut perpendicularly into 1 cm cubes
4. Threads (Ito zukuri) – a type of julienne of sashimi

You do not only have to use fresh raw fish. Freshwater fish are amongst those eaten cooked.
Fish commonly used are tuna, salmon, snapper, sardines and horse mackerel. The part considered to be the best quality is said to be Otoro which is taken from the actual under-belly inside the tuna, and it is separated into grades which happen to be recognised according to the marbling throughout the steak, very similar to inside grading beef.



Rolls and Nigiri sushi

After you have prepared the Sushi and Sashimi, we can complete that which will be our dish.

1. Put the bamboo stuoietta on the work surface
2. On it lay a sheet of nori seaweed with the shiny side facing down
3. Wet your hands with vinegar water, take a portion of cooked rice and roll it out on the sheet of nori
4. Place on the center of the rice half a dose of all the ingredients
5. Raising one end of the makisu (bamboo mat) with your thumb, keeping the ingredients in place with your fingers, roll it all up trying to join the ends
6. Tighten it to unite the ingredients well and then remove the maki (roll of rice)
7. Before cutting it, wet the knife and finally cut the maki into 8 equal pieces

Nigiri sushi is always served in pairs.

1. Cut the fillets of fish (tuna, salmon, sardines, flounder, shrimp) in strips of equal size and length (max 7 cm)
2. Take a length of fish in your left hand and spread it with wasabi paste
3. With your right hand, take a little rice from the bowl andpack it well to form an elongated shape
4. Join the cylinder of rice and the strip of fish and press them together well
5. Place the nigiri on a plate and repeat the process several times.

Note: This must be as fast as possible so as not to alter the characteristics of the rice and “fresh” fish by heating it with the warmth of your hands. Now send us your photos!

Scritto da Christian Krawczyk e Michele Pili

Colombian Coffee

July 3rd, 2016 | By Paola Mazzo in Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments »

Colombia has always been synonymous with coffee that is “delicious and freshly ground”.

As the fourth largest coffee producer in the world, Colombia first discovered coffee thanks to the Jesuit priests who first began arriving from Europe in the 16th century and, with the passage of time, it gradually grew in importance to become almost 50% of Colombian exports in 1912.


All the coffee grown in the country is Arabica and popular botanical varieties are Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Colombia, Maragogype, Tekisik and Castillo. Producing a delicate and light coffee which is appreciated all over the world, about 20% of country’s production is used for domestic consumption.

In Colombia you can collect coffee throughout the year, even if the main harvest seasons are in the months of October, May and June. The whole process begins with sowing, where the seeds are placed in a machine to germinate for about 75 days. After this, they are put in plastic containers, like bags, and exposed to the sun to reach germination. They are then planted in the ground and after about two years bear fruit. When the fruit are ripe and a deep red colour, they are collected. The process mainly used to extract the beans from the fruit is the washed method where the coffee cherries are sorted by immersion in water and bad or unripe fruit floats and the good and ripe fruit sinks. The skin of the cherry and some of the pulp is removed by pressing the fruit by machine in water through a screen and further wet processing is done to clean the beans before they are placed to dry in the sun. The dried coffee bean is then marketed and sold, at which point it will be roasted and consumed.



Colombian coffees are known for their rich aroma and good body, with sweet aromatic notes ranging from chocolate brown, floral to fruity with well recognizable profiles for each production area.

There is an area in Colombia called the ‘Coffee Triangle’, between the departments of Risaralda, Caldas and Quindio, which produces one of the best coffees in the world. But the peculiarity of this area, in addition to coffee, is the ability to visit typical farms, theme parks, coffee plantations, spas, places for extreme sports and ecological trails.

Another important region where they produce an excellent coffee, and perhaps the most famous, is the Cauca region located in the southern state which is a land of alluring landscapes, rich in springs and waterfalls.

Popayan, the capital, was founded in the sixteenth century and is known as the “ciudad blanca”. It  is a popular tourist destination and an important religious center, famous for the traditional Holy Week celebrations that take place there. In a land as diverse as Cauca, the area where the coffee is produced – to the north of the Río Patia – stands out for its homogeneity, and offers ideal conditions for harvest.


The strait between the high mountain ranges and the plateau is at an altitude of about 1700 meters. In this mountain area the climate is stable, the rains abundant, the volcanic soil is highly  fertile and the seasons are clearly differentiated between the dry and wet. All of these elements combine to produce a coffee of excellent quality which is hand-picked and appreciated all over the world for its particular sweetness.

At Parco San Marco, we aspire to offer our guests only the best quality which is why, when you order your coffee
of choice, you it will be made with freshly ground, Colombian-grown Arabica beans.