Saturday, April 1, 2023

Planning a Trip to France with our Son from Germany while Sipping a Wine from Sardegna and The Weekly Menu #ItalianFWT

Marinated Artichoke Hearts and shaved Pecorino Cheese makes the perfect topping for crisp toasts.  I paired it with a bottle of  Palmalias Vermentino from Sardenia.

Marinated Artichokes

The Italian Food Wine and Travel Club are visiting Calabria and Sardegna today.......
Sardegna Vermentino

The Wine: 
I opened a bottle (or two) of Palmalia Vermentino.  Vermentino grows mostly in Italy on the Island of Sardenia.  Sardenia has been on my bucket list for a while now.  Not just for the beauty of the Island.  Not just for the food and wines of the Island but also because I watched a documentary that told me that Sardenia is home to some of the best Scuba Diving in all of Europe.

This grape produces a crisp, light wine that reminds me of Sauvignon Blanc but with less acidity.  I chose it to serve as an apertif with appetizers before a dinner party.  

The Pairing:

Not all wines are a good pairing with artichokes but Vermintino, especially if you find a creamier one like this from Palmalia that I purchased from Total Wine for less than $20 a bottle.  

I marinated some canned artichokes with mint, a touch of spice and some shaved Pecorino cheese.  Pecorino is also made on Sardenia and the saying that what grows together, goes together is normally a sure bet.

I was very happy with the pairing and the wine itself as were my guests.  I was happy that I had purchased 2 bottles.

Artichokes and Vermentino pin

The Backstory:

This is a story about family.  My eldest son, Chuck, and I have been talking about a trip to Sardenia for about a year.  He has been to Europe, I have not.  He started watching shows and documentaries when I mentioned Sardenia and wast thrilled with the idea.

When I was discussing this trip with my husband he said that he would love to go to Europe but that he really wanted to visit Normandy, home of the USA's Historic D-Day during WWII.  We were discussing this in the presence of our dear friends, considered family, Bob and Cathy.  Bob said that he too, always wanted to go to Normandy so we decided that our first trip to Europe would be historical with visits to Auschwitz, Krakow, Berlin, Nuremberg, Normandy and Paris.  Chuck said he was cool with that so the planning commenced.

Our last exchange student was Max from Germany.  He immediately fit into our family and became our Son from Germany.  We have been fortunate enough to have maintained our relationship for this past 15 years.  Social Media may have it's faults but it is the best venue for staying in touch with those who live a long distance away.  

Max lives in Berlin and is home for a visit right now. He said that he would be happy to assist us in our planning. So this past Thursday, Bob and Cathy, joined us for dinner.  We pulled out the maps and Max helped us to plan our route and advised what tranpsortation we should take while moving from place to place.  He, of course, plans to meet us during our time in Berlin.

He was very helpful and we now realize that our best use of our time is to fly into and out of Paris. After an initial visit of the French Capital, we will travel to Caen as our home base while we visit the Normandy Beaches and Mont Saint-Michel. 

Then we will fly into Berlin and spend our second week visiting the German Capital and traveling to Poland before flying back to Paris for our flight home.

While we planned we snacked on Artichoke and Pecorino Bruschetta and sipped on this Vermentino from Sardenia.  Both Max and our first exchange student, our daughter Marina, who has traveled extensively through Europe said that we really do need to plan a second trip that includes Italy as it is, in their opinion, the most beautiful country.   I hope that dream becomes a reality in 2025 and we get to return to our neighbors across the pond.

The Weekly Menu:

We have a birthday party today at Noon for our Great Nephew, Luke.  He is a year old now and has been a fun blessing to our family.  Tomorrow, Palm Sunday, we are having an early Easter Celebration so that everyone gets to spend some time with Max before he leaves.  The Angel Face and her Mama and Daddy are going to be on vacation on Easter so we are having our Easter Egg hunt early this year.  We had to put in a special request to the Easter Bunny. Luckily, he is a very accommodating fellow.

Monday, we will be taking Max back to the airport and saying Ciao until next year when we visit him.  Then we are meeting Bob and Cathy for The Music of Silence, the new movie about Andrea Bocelli.  We will have dinner out following the show.  Wednesday our friend Chet is joining us for dinner.  He always requests meatloaf.

The rest of the week is quiet and will be spent preparing for the Resurection of our Lord.......

Grilled Steaks
Baked Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus

Palm Sunday
Chopped Salad
Salmon Wellington
Roasted Italian Sausages with Peppers and Onions
Cheese Cannelloni
Peas and Pancetta
Assorted Breads and Rolls

Movie and Dinner out with Bonacorsi's

Taco Tuesday

Mashed Potatoes
Green Beans


Good Friday
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

Holy Saturday
Out for Dinner

The Chat:

Katarina of Grapevine Adventures is hosting this month and will be leading us all in a Twitter chat where we will be discussing the wines of Calabria and Sardegna.  You are welcome to join us and will find us at 11 AM ET by following #Italian FWT. Here are some of the wines we will be discussing.....
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm reports about Planning a Trip to France with our Son from Germany while Sipping a Wine from Sardegna 
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator shares On Italian Island Time: Vermentino and Cannonau di Sardegna with Pecorino and Fish Stew 
  • Camilla from Culinary Cam cooks Mirto di Sardenga-Kissed Braised Ribs 
  • Cindy from Grape Experiences shares Spring in Sardinia: Surrau “Branu” Vermentino Di Gallura DOCG with Spaghetti con le Vongole (Spaghetti and Clams) 
  • Andrea from The Quirky Cork is Exploring Sardegna through Vermentino & Monica 
  • Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles features Monica and Fregola – a bit of Sardegna at the table 
  • Katarina from Grapevine Adventures shares about Two Authentic Expressions of Native Grapes from Calabria and Sardinia

The Recipe:

Appetizers, Artichokes, Crostini, Vegetables, Cheese
Yield: 4-6 appetizer servings
Author: Wendy Klik
Marinated Artichokes and Pecorino

Marinated Artichokes and Pecorino

Marinated Artichoke Hearts and shaved Pecorino Cheese makes the perfect topping for crisp toasts.
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min


  • 1 (14 oz) can baby artichoke hearts, quartered
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5-6 mint leaves, chopped
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • shaved Pecorino cheese to taste
  • Garlic Crostini for serving


  1. Place the artichoke hearts in a medium bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with the chili flakes, salt and lemon zest.
  3. Add the olive oil and toss to coat.
  4. Fold in the mint and cheese and turn into a decorative dish for serving with homemade or store-bought Crostini.


Recipe adapted from one found a GoodFood

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)

5.53 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

1.76 g

Carbs (grams)

3.16 g

Fiber (grams)

1.14 g

Net carbs

2.02 g

Sugar (grams)

0.56 g

Protein (grams)

2.95 g

Sodium (milligrams)

361.07 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

7.8 mg


  1. A fabulous trip planed, will be a trip of a lifetime. Your weekly menu is exquisite.

  2. You trip sounds like it will be amazing! (Trip planning is the first fun part!) Vermentino is one of my favorite wines and yours sounds delicious!

  3. Highly recommend Saint Malo. We chose it over Mont Saint Michel thinking it'd be a little less crowded. Perhaps you can do both! We loved staying three nights in Saint Malo. Beautiful areas to walk around, gorgeous beach, and the best sandwich (ham and cheese at Boulangerie de la Cathedrale) and best fish and chips (Topkapi) ever.

    We did a similar route because we also visited Normandy and were very moved by the amazing D-Day memorial and museum.

    1. Thanks so much for the information. I will look into it. We have plenty of time for tweaking.


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