Tips for cleaning your home with natural products that are easy find

31 July 2018 | By Annalisa De Maria in To know more about | No Comments Yet

The question arises spontaneously: “Is the only way to ensure that the surfaces of my ‘home sweet home’ are shiny, brilliantly disinfected, sanitized (and so on and so forth) is by using lots of chemically based products?”

No: a viable alternative exists. Suggestions come from nature and the experience of our grandmothers. They will thank us for takig better care of our household drains which are not happy to accept acids and substances that release terrible myomas that poison seas and rivers. Let’s not forget, in fact, the black crosses and skulls on the bottles, which invite you to use them with great caution and not to inhale their fumes since they are corrosive and urticating.

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Let’s start with the parquet: to polish them you can use natural waxes or virgin beeswax.

To clean normal floors, just use hot water mixed with wine vinegar, which has a high cleaning and degreasing power. If you smell a strong smell of vinegar after cleaning, don’t worry. The vinegar has a penetrating smell but evaporates and fades in a few minutes, leaving the surfaces clean. For ceramic or steel sinks it is possible to use a paste composed of water and bicabonate of soda to be used on a sponge. Bicarbonate eliminates residues, restores brightness and does not scratch: therefore it is suitable for cleaning delicate surfaces. It is also hygienic and does not contain toxic substances and can therefore come into contact with food (it is no coincidence that it is used to wash fruit and vegetables). After having passed the sponge around various parts of the sink, simply rinse with plenty of water.

For stoves, especially steel stoves, use a sponge soaked in hot water and bicarbonate of soda or white wine vinegar with high emollient power.

Let’s move on to glass and windows: it can be cleaned with a spray that contains water and vinegar mixed in equal parts. Then rinse with pure water and dry. It’s best to use microfiber cloths, which save time, effort and water.

To clean the oven, use hot water, lemon or white vinegar. For particularly stubborn and cooked-on dirt, leave a pot full of boiling water (to which you have added a tablespoon of ammonia) inside for an entire night. The next day you can remove the dissolved dirt with a sponge.

And now it’s the turn of the toilet. Elbow greese and sodium bicarbonate passed on the toilet brush or pure vinegar diluted in a little hot water. For any surface it is always advisable to use microfibre cloths: to clean them, just rinse them or boil them with Marseille soap.

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Is it for plates? Don’t worry: a recipe is available to help us prepare a natural detergent that can be used for both hand and dishwasher washing. Take three lemons, cut them into five thin slices and remove the seeds. Put them in a blender (but you can also use a mixer) with 200 ml of water, 100-200 grams of vinegar and 200 grams of fine salt. After blending the mixture for 10-15 minutes with 200 ml of boiling water, leave it to cool down and place in a glass container. Two tablespoons of this compound, combined with the cleaning power of hot water, degrease very well without leaving chemical residues on the dishes.

Do you want a very fast solution? Use the tepid left-over pasta water (having boiled and cooked your pasta for dinner). Being rich in starch, it has a high degreasing value and removes all the grease on your plates. The watchword: clean and environmentally friendly.

A trip to Bellagio

29 June 2018 | By Melanie Pohl in Parco San Marco | No Comments Yet

If one day you want to take a trip to Lake Como, you can get to Menaggio or Cadenabbia by car and from there reach Bellagio by ferry or boat. During the crossing, that lasts about 15 minutes, you can admire the beauty of the villages, the villas on the shores of the lake and the mountains that surround it.

Bellagio, an Italian town of 3,736 inhabitants in the province of Como in Lombardy and known as “the pearl of the lake”, is one of the most famous and romantic places of Como and its surroundings. Known for its cobbled streets, elegant buildings and the Park of Villa Serbelloni – an 18th century terraced garden overlooking the lake – it has even inspired a huge hotel in Las Vegas which features a very kitsch version of the town representing the style of the houses and landscape of Lake Como.

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The municipality belongs to the Mountain Community of the Lariano Triangle and its territory represents one of the ideal vertices of the Lariano Triangle.

Renowned as a holiday resort, it is famous for its picturesque location right on the shores of Lake Como in its southern arms, with the Alps visible beyond the lake to the north.

Along the banks of of Bellagio there are a number of old and statuesque residences, each surrounded by parks and gardens. Some of them – as in the case of Villa Melzi and Villa Serbelloni – are open to the public.

The first stop not to be missed is the nineteenth-century Villa Melzi, which can be reached in 10 minutes on foot from the pier of the pier. The interior of the villa, owned by the Gallarati Scotti family, cannot be visited but access is allowed to the gardens, the museum and the chapel. The garden is very beautiful, rich in rare plants, camellias and azaleas. The villa is open from April to October.

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Once your visit to Villa Melzi is over, you can return to the village by walking along the lake to Villa Serbelloni, a refined 5-star hotel.

From here, if you love to walk, you can continue to Punta Spartivento, the most extreme point of Bellagio, where the two branches of Lake Como separate.

Explore the narrow streets of the village and climb up the steep cobblestone streets that host souvenir shops as well as shops selling high quality craft products. Be sure to visit the church of St. James which dates from the eleventh century.

If you want to swim in the lake, head to Lido di Bellagio, where a beach equipped with umbrellas and sunbeds is available for a fee.

The wonderful location, elegant hotels and charming alleys attract tourists from all over the world  who combine a visit to Bellagio Menaggio and Tremezzo every year.

These beautiful villages also have a typical dish: tóch, a polenta cooked with butter and local cheese – especially consumed on festive occasions.

At the end of the day, you can take the ferry or boat and return to where you started, admiring again the beauty of the lake, its shores and mountains.

Spring Run

18 April 2018 | By Melanie Pohl in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments Yet

Just this morning I came across the post published on one of the most famous app for runners who said “running is like drinking coffee, after you’re better”. In part I fully agree that after each workout releases the determination of a lioness, but on the other hand, this sentiment overlooks the most important part, namely the sensations that you feel during the run. For example, what would be the point of feeling full and satiated if we didn’t enjoy the meal?

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That’s why today I would like to talk about the benefits felt both during and also after a nice open air run.

When the summer arrives, nature shines in its thousand colours, the sun caresses still icy cheeks, and our senses awaken among flowering trees and enchanting scents.  It fills us with enthusiasm and energy, inviting us out of the door to feel the freedom under our feet, the oxygen that fills our lungs and joy – our soul.  Because there is no better antidepressant than physical activity in the open air and especially jogging or running which can free us from our anxieties, develop our creativity and improve our mood.

Thanks to the flood of oxygen that the blood is carrying from the contracted lungs, all our systems and tissues benefit from improved functions: the brain is stimulated to find new ideas and solutions, bones and cartilage are strengthened with the production of vitamin D, the digestion is improved and is able to intake more vitamins and minerals, the immune system is also strengthened, endorphins and serotonin are released into the body, hormones of happiness and then …. we burn “bad” fats such as cholesterol, reducing weight and ‘roundness’. In short: performance, better posture, healthier skin, less body fat and more toned muscles, feeling that we are improving and that we have control of your body and your life, all working miracles on the self-esteem. But let’s see where this miracle takes place and where we can best benefit from all these advantages in the surroundings.

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Parco San Marco, with its magnificent position on the shore of Lake Lugano, offers enchanting scenery to enjoy nature and awaken our lifeblood. The first route for your run that we can take is along the north-west shore of Lake Lugano. Starting from Parco San Marco in little more than 2 km you arrive in Porlezza, skirting the lake and continuing on the old main road outside the tunnel. On this route we take double advantage of the morning sunshine, reflections and water games of ducks and swans that accompany us in our training.

You have a lot of energy to burn, you could venture onto the bike/pedestrian path that connects Porlezza with Bene Lario. This is the route of the former railway, the tracks of which have been removed, transforming it currently into a path immersed in the woods, which crosses the Nature Reserve of Lake Piano, touching the village and the Old Crotto Castle of Carlazzo.  It is almost 6 km long and has a difference in height of almost 300 meters above sea level.

But you know, goals have more meaning when they are shared.  In fact, even in Porlezza, following the now countless running events for amateurs organized throughout our peninsula, this year the first edition of “Vivi Porlezza di Corsa”, a non-competitive 12 km race open to all, will be held on July 7, 2018. It is a great event full of sports, music and firework displayS and the site is already open for registrations.

I can only conclude by inviting you to put on your sports shoes and leave home at the first opportunity. And you’ll see:

Run, run, run … 10 Km in 48:40 … If you give a heart to your legs, they will take you even where your mind does not want to go. Beyond Limits!(Broadcasting, Twitter)

written by Nedelina Martinova

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The UNESCO Sites of our Territory

20 February 2018 | By Melanie Pohl in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments Yet

Near the Parco San Marco resort, there are several sites that are part of the UNESCO heritage and that are worth visiting during your stay here with us!

SACRI MONTI DI VARESE AND OSSUCCIO

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In the Sacred Mountains of northern Italy are groups of chapels and other architectural artefacts erected between the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition to their symbolic and spiritual significance, they possess remarkable qualities of beauty and are integrated into a natural and landscape environment of hills, forests and lakes. These are the reasons that led UNESCO to include them on the World Heritage list in 2003.

The Sacro Monte above Varese rises to 883 m. s.l.m. The devotional path develops along the slopes of Monte Velate, in a splendid panoramic position that turns the gaze to the prealpine lakes and the plain. At the Sacro Monte in Varese, important artists, such as Giovan Mauro della Rovere, one of the Fiammenghini and Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, called the Morazzone, have worked in cultural landscape of Lombardy.

Located on the western side of Lake Como, the Sacro Monte di Ossuccio has remarkable scenery. The complex is located on a slope immediately behind Ossuccio (419 m s.l.m.), opposite the Comacina island, in a splendid panoramic position on the lake. The Sacred Mount is made up of fifteen chapels dedicated to the Mysteries of the Rosary, built between 1635 and 1710. These are distributed along a cobbled road that leads to the sanctuary, along olive groves that give the complex a great harmony between architecture and landscape.

MONTE SAN GIORGIO

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The Monte San Giorgio is the best evidence of a geological history dating back to the Triassic 245-230 million years ago and, through the thousands of fossils found from the nineteenth century up to the present day, has allowed us to study the evolution of various animal species and plant. The site presents the remains of a tropical lagoon environment, separated from the open sea, near the emerged lands whose palaeontological content includes terrestrial organisms such as reptiles, insects and plants.

The rocky pyramid of Monte San Giorgio rises 1,097 meters between Lombardy and the Canton of Ticino, between the two southern branches of Lake Lugano, Porto Ceresio (Italy) and Capolago (Switzerland).

From the nineteenth century until today, 21,000 specimens have been found that have allowed us to study the history and evolution of many animal and plant species, some of which are exclusive to Monte San Giorgio, making it a point of reference for the studies of the Middle Triassic period.

THE CASTLES AND THE MEDIEVAL WALLS OF BELLINZONA

The castles of Bellinzona are among the most admirable examples of medieval fortified architecture in Switzerland. Today’s configuration of the Bellinzona lock, which has its distant origins in a late-ancient nucleus located on the hill of Castelgrande, is essentially due to the complex construction activity promoted by the Dukes of Milan in the fifteenth century. At that time, the construction of a powerful defensive system that barred the width of the Ticino valley to stop the advance of the confederates was brought back to light. Even today this fortification, with its crenellated walls, towers and gates, does not cease to arouse wonder.castello-2_slideshow

After reconstructions that took place over the centuries, restorations and recent improvements, the three castles, Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro received recognition of the World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2000.

Today, the easiest way to get to the Castelgrande is the lift, which from the base of the hill leads directly into the complex.

Good resolutions for the new year

22 January 2018 | By Melanie Pohl in Activities, Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments Yet

It’s the same old story every year: we set ourselves goals, all relatively “healthy”, to make sure that the new year starts with the best possible spin!

In the top ten resolutions for the new year we find our beloved: “I have to start the diet / I want to get back in shape”!

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This is obviously a good one – not only is it  healthy but it can also help a person’s self-esteem. Moving reduces the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Needless to say, however, we must not overdo it: it is not healthy to give up everything to lose weight, just set yourself up with a safe and healthy. But it’s not just about what you eat.

Doing more physical activity helps both the body and the mind. Here, near our resort, there are many places for walking and trekking. Besides the fact that, during the summer, we offer our customers a great quantity of sporting activities from adventure climbing to archery, from climbing to scuba diving. So as well as relaxing, you can also fulfill your intentions!

In second place, the “quit smoking” and “I stop drinking” resolutions are awarded on a par! While not for everyone, many will understand what you are talking about.

Now we know that smoking is bad, but it is a vice that many have and cannot stop. You may want to quit for the kids that run around the house, or because your new girlfriend does not like you smoking (like Meghan Markel and Prince Harry!), or you want to stop for a variety of other reasons. Either way, smoking is a bad habit and it would be better to let it go.

Drinking one or two glasses of wine is fine and, as a good Italian, I also say that it’s good! In excess, however, it always hurts. Excess of alcoholic beverages is not great for our own selves and can even lead to devastating consequences for people who surround us.

“The morning has the gold in its mouth”, is an ancient proverb, and there is nothing more true! As a resoltuion, this will not be for everyone, but we still put it in our top ten. Let’s not fool ourselves. Waking up early is a great sacrifice and there are those who, in doing so, can be very grumpy indeed! The positive thing, however, is that, after having gotten up early and having discovered everything that can be done in those hours, you will not want to turn back (weekends excluded).

The last resolution is: “I want to enrich myself intellectually”. Every year we become older and therefore our brains tend to shrink. So how can you try to always be mentally active and lively? Obviously reading more; and this does not just mean reading the headlines and two or three whole articles. You should at least find the time to read a chapter a day of a book that you like or is of interest.

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In short, we must start 2018 with the right motivation to ensure that our year is one of the best.

So, I wish you all a happy new year!

 Written by Lara Beatrice

 

Coffee

14 December 2017 | By Melanie Pohl in Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments Yet

They always told me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is different all over the world, it’s a matter of habit. In Italy the lead character of this ritual is coffee.

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Now coffee is made by most Italians by using the machine. Put the water, insert the capsule and in a few minutes you have the coffee from the bar on your table.

But coffee made in a moka pot is another story. It means pleasure, family, serenity, pause. Above all else, it means home and, when abroad, reminds us of Italy.

For Italians, to say “I’ll make you you a coffee,” is a demonstrantion of our affection and our attention.

The main advantage of using a moka pot is that it allows you to make very hot coffee and allows you to make coffee for more than one person at a time.

So, how do you make the “perfect” coffee?

  1. Choose the right ground of coffee. For coffee made in a moka, it requires a coarser ground than that of coffee machines.
  2. Fill the boiler (the lower section of the moka) with the right amount of water. To get an optimal result you should use bottled water rather than tap. Try not to exceed the level of the valve.
  3. Choose the right amount of coffee. Make sure that the filter is dry and that you do not wet the coffee powder. Add the powder and try to level it either with a spoon or gently tapping the filter a little at a time. Try to make the quantity of coffee in the filter as uniform as possible.
  4. Note to keep in mind: coffee made with Moka should not be pressed at all. You just need to make sure it is dry and leveled well.
  5. Once the moka is prepared, put it on the stove keeping the flame low and continue to monitor it.
  6. It is important to turn off the gas flame or remove the moka from the stove before the coffee has completely come out. The ideal would be to remove the moka from the stove before it gurgles.
  7. Now you can pour the hot coffee into the cup.

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To get the best coffee ever, there are also some tips you could use: one of our partners has told us that, to keep the aroma of the coffee, it’s best to keep the coffee tin in the refrigerator.

An order rather than simply a piece of advice is not to wash the mocha in the dishwasher! To clean the moka, simply rinse it with hot water or, at most, wash it with neutral detergents.

Remember that you have to wait for coffee, it’s a slow process to follow step by step. Making coffee is an art and it takes time and patience for art.

November recipe: Pappardelle with boar ragù

23 November 2017 | By Michele Pili in Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments Yet

We are getting closer and closer to the end of autumn and the temperature has dropped drastically.

To remedy this cold, we recommend a nice recipe that will warm your hearts and souls.

This recipe originally comes from the Tuscany region where it is rich in game, very much like our own area.

The boar ragù, unlike the traditional Bolognese ragù, has a more decisive and particular taste, and married with the pasta, this sauce will result in an explosion of flavors for the taste buds!

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Ingredients:

  • 205 g egg pappardelle pasta
  • 500 g minced boar
  • 50 g onions
  • 15 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 375 g chopped tomatoes/tomato paste
  • 40 g celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Seasoning to taste (salt & pepper)
  • 50 g red wine
  • 50 g carrot
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Now let’s look at how to prepare the dish!

Trim and dice the carrot with the other vegetables; remove the stringy filamtents from the celery and prepare the onion and garlic,  keeping the garlic whole and to the side.

Pour the oil into a pot with the thick bottom and combine carrots, celery and chopped onion.

Add the garlic as a large pieces (so we can remove it more easily at the end of cooking) and let it stew for a whole ten minutes on a low heat. Add the wild boar, chopped rosemary and bay leaves.

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Gently increase the het and let it brown for another 10 minutes by mixing it with a spatula, so that the meat is cooked evenly. At this point, add the red wine, and only when the alcohol is completely evaporated, add the tomato paste.

Season to taste and let it cook for about 3 and a half hours on a gentle heat.

After 3 and a half hours, remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce for another 30 minutes. Cook the pappardelle in plenty of boiling water.

In the meantime, move the sauce into a large pot, drain the pasta and pour it into the pan with the ragù, mix together well and serve.

This is one of our small ideas to make your autumn feel more tasty!

 written by Lara Beatrice

 

 

Trip to Rogolone – the monumental oak

27 October 2017 | By Annalisa De Maria in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments Yet

The Rogolone is located on a plateau surrounded by woods in Val Menaggio. Nestled between Lake Como and Lake Lugano and sitting at the center of a large lawn, gorgeous and magnificent as any cathedral, it is even more beautiful and fascinating because it is a legendary, living oak tree.

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It is eight hundred years old and, after so many centuries, the bark of its trunk is crossed by deep longitudinal grooves and it has the color and appearance of rock, identical to that of the stone seat at its base.

The tree unfortunately presents an obvious wound, a large branch cut a few years ago by a scribe looking for wood. It is difficult to prevent it from being damaged, even though it has, since 1928, been granted a protection bond by the Ministry of Education and is now under the tutelage of the Italia Nostra Association.

The reach of its boughs has a circumference of fifty meters, covering the whole lawn with its shadow and the perfect structure of its branches stand out against the sky. Here, once, the wise men, the elders of the surrounding countries (before Italy became a single country in 1861), gathered to administer justice and ratify the most important decisions. A preserved document of the fifteenth century, records the meeting that took place under the Rogolone between representatives of Beilate, Grona, Naggio and Grandola, to establish the borders of the four countries and end the ongoing litigation, taking witness of their Commitment to the great oak, sacred to the local people from the earliest times, when the “Spring Festival” was celebrated under its fronds and held magical and religious rites.

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A second smaller oak stands on the edge of the lawn. While less grand in stature, this too is also classified as a “monumental tree” due to its age and could have witnessed the sacredness of the site, once encircled by a crown of trees of which only two have survived and a spring that is still 100 meters away from Rogolone, whose pure water was indispensable for ancient religious ceremonies.

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To reach Rogolone from Parco San Marco: take the car in the direction of Menaggio, at the first traffic light turn left towards Carlazzo. Once at Carlazzo follow the signs for Gottro (fraction of the municipality of Carlazzo). Once you reach the hamlet, turn right into Via San Giorgio, a narrow, paved downhill road leading to the church of San Giorgio with an annexed cemetery. In the small square in front of the church begins a path that leads directly up to the Rogolone (pay attention to the first junction that you meet to take the path on the right).

Chestnut season

11 October 2017 | By Paola Mazzo in Parco San Marco, To know more about | No Comments Yet

With the arrival of autumn we turn to ancient recipes, using forrest ingredients typical to the region such as chestuts whose scientific name is Castanea vulgaris.

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The chestnuts we normally eat are the fruit of the chestnut tree that differ from the European horse chestnut trees which produces seeds as opposed to ‘nuts’. Chestnuts are a high-energy food, useful in the autumn and winter to regain strength – 100 gr

ams of chestnuts provide 165 kilocalories! They contain useful fibers for intestinal activity  and are an important source of valuable mineral salts for health.

On our blog, we would like to share with you an complete menu based on chestnuts with which you can surprise your guests. Good reading and have fun in the kitchen!

Chestnut risotto:

To be prepared with whole grain rice, boiled chestnuts, vegetable soup, onion, bay leaf, white wine and vegetable cream. You will need to prepare the classic finely choppped onion to get the the risotto started. You can also add pumpkin or mushrooms to the chestnut risotto ingredients.

Seitan (“wheat meat”) stew and chestnut:

Are you looking for a different way to prepare seitan than usual? Then put it on the stove to make a nice plate of seitan stewed chestnuts with chopped red onion, soy sauce, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, ginger and aromatic herbs. A quick but powerful recipe!

Chestnuts covered with chocolate:

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To prepare this delicious dessert, you will simply need dark chocolate (or your personal preference) melted in a bain-marie and which you then serve over the top of chestnuts that you have peeled and baked.

The perfect wine to match your dinner should be a young one – a slightly sparkling wine would be ideal to clean your palate. Classical examples of Italian wines are Lambrusco di Sorbara, Blood of Judas, Barbera del Monferrato, Bonarda, and many other sparkling red wines.

So we look forward to your return to our resort for an autumn-flavoured dinner!

Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

22 September 2017 | By Roberto Fornari in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments Yet

Making me laugh, smile and rejoice

Certainly chocolate brings good humor. The same as staying in Parco San Marco.

So how does one talk about chocolate? Simple. At the chocolate event that being organised in Lugano.

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CHOC is a fair organized by CHOC SAGL and sponsorsed by the City of Lugano, in collaboration with the Lugano Tourist Board and the Society of Mastri Panettieri – Pasticcieri – Confettieri of the Canton Ticino (SMPPC).

It is the only Swiss fair in Switzerland dedicated to the history, production and processing of chocolate. CHOC is for families and professionals with categories relating to confectionery, pastry and gastronomy in general, with particular attention to young people who are eager to undertake a profession in the industry.

It is a great opportunity to experience confectionary tasting, meet manufacturers and learn about the machines used for industrial scale production as well as hand-crafted chocolate making at the same time as taking advantage of first-class services.

The goal of the 1st edition of CHOC is to involve guest producing countries. With 50 exhibitors in an exhibition area of over 2,000 square meters, the event is expecting over 20,000 visitors from Ticino, near Italy, and especially from beyond the Gotthard, taking full advantage of the new Gotthard base tunnel.

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At the CHOC fair, as well as cocoa bean growers, you will be able to meet fashion designers with their own dedicated shows, pastry masters with special “Show-CHOCking” restaurants and starred chefs who will present numerous chocolate techniques for the traditional kitchen. The event will feature books dedicated to the industry, public figures, artists with photographic exhibitions, and Swiss and European schools in the professional training sector.

In addition to exhibitors featuring products and services, CHOC will also offer chocolate workshops, workshops, conferences and debates. Let’s not forget the demonstrations and professional competitions that will be presented in the demo area where you can see live presentations of all the tricks and preparation techniques of pastry masters.

All demonstrations and presentations will be organized directly in collaboration with the exhibitors, partner companies and Swiss and foreign professional schools of the 1st edition of the CHOC trade fair.

CHOC will focus on various themes including: the Chocolate Museum, the conference area and “Workshop” open to the public and industry experts, the demonstration area and special “Show-CHOCking” shows with a photographic exhibition on the history of chocolate, the press corner with national and international magazines, bio-vegan and fair trade chocolate and many other surprises!

And for the little ones there will be lots of fun opportunities.

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