Paradise is waiting for you on the west coast of one of the most luxurious islands in the world. Imagine a private villa nestled on a two and a half acre tropical garden, appointed for leisure and sports, and staffed to serve your every need. This is no dream. This is Villa Paradise. Recognized by The London Times as "one of the most gracious getaways for the well-heeled," Villa Paradise is a world class vacation villa located in the renowned Sandy Lane Estates. You'll enjoy colorful sunsets, warm gentle breezes and the soothing warmth of the radiant Caribbean sun. Barbados's English heritage and tradition will enchant you.
Tuscan Carote (Braised Carrots)
Carrots have a natural sweet taste, and particularly enhance a dinner of roast lamb or rabbit. They also make a colorful and tasty pre-dinner snack on toasted bread.
extra virgin olive oil
In a medium skillet warm the olive oil over low heat. Add pancetta, onion, garlic and fry gently, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add carrots and parsley and stir well. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, adding stock to keep carrots moist. Season to taste. Spoon carrots into a serving dish and serve hot.
"We had a wonderful stay in Lucca at Villa Tordelli. The location and villa were perfect for the needs and plans of the two families. The property is beautifully maintained and has been tastefully restored. The property owners, Duccio and Chiara, were most pleasant, attentive and respectful of our privacy. The cook that they arranged for us prepared meals which were highlights of our trip. We actaully felt at home in this beautiful villa. We would highly recommend this property and hope to return someday." - P.C., Barrington, RI
As the end of the summer is right around the corner, many of you have already started booking those unique properties for summer 2004. Tuscany, and also Portugal seem to be among your favorites. That's why we have decided to expand our Tuscan and Portuguese portfolio. For those of you who are soccer fans and do not want to miss the Euro Soccer Cup in Portugal next June, we have a gold mine of properties to offer you.
Thanks again for the fabulous comments we got from you. On behalf of the VillaNet family, I am proud to see that our continuing efforts are helping all of us make wonderful memories, enhancing our savoir vivre and filling the cultural gaps in today's world.
Have a grand September, a great Labor Day and vive la vie! Cheers and Bon Voyage!
Emmanuel de Ricard, President
you need a little pick-me-up,
Lee is our resident photographer. A valued member of the VillaNet family, he accompanies Kathy (since he's her husband) on inspection trips to preview villas and apartments. With digital cameras it's easy to weed out the not-so-good shots and select only the ones with good lighting and subject matter. Nightly he downloads what was taken that day onto a laptop, labeling each photo to match the property seen. One of the hardest things to do is lug all the equipment to the locations, but once he's loaded Kathy can easily spot him in a crowd with his full daypack and tripod hanging from a loop. Lee is a mechanical engineer by trade, designing cranes, bridge maintenance trolleys, and other heavy equipment. His favorite hobby is boating, especially kayaking and sailing, but traveling to Europe is a blast!
Eating in Europe Part Two
The central and universal reason to vacation is to have a pleasant and memorable experience. In so doing, you may want to energetically immerse yourself in the culture of the region or enjoy from a little distance, more as an observer. Personal styles vary infinitely. However, I want to equip you with certain tools that will help you have the fabulous experience you're dreaming of.
Remember that food not only offers taste, texture, nutrition, and beauty, but it acts as a "people glue". This makes traveling all the more wonderful because eating (already a necessary activity) greatly enhances the overall experience. In the last few years there has been a fresh emphasis on learning how to cook authentic cuisine.
If you're one who knows your way around the kitchen and are soon headed for Italy, France, or Portugal, you may want to take some cooking classes while you're there. I particularly remember a family with 2 young boys who all loved to cook together. Going to Tuscany for the first time, we helped them hire a local cook to come to the villa one afternoon to demonstrate preparation of a meal and then serve all the courses as he ate with them. It was a holiday highlight for the entire family.
We can also arrange for a cook to do the shopping and prepare your meal without you being involved. This can be a simple local housewife or a celebrated cook such as Giancarlo Giannelli. The cost runs from $15 an hour up, plus groceries. Some villas come with a "welcome dinner" included in the price, such as Villa Magnifica. For more serious students, Villa Bernard near Lucca is a first rate cooking school with accommodation and classes included in the rental rate.
Since many of the areas are wine producing, you may want to consider an evening of wine tasting. I remember arriving at the Piccolo Versailles near Lucca late one afternoon and noticing the setup of a formal wine tasting party for that evening. Staff in tuxedos were arranging silver platters of hors d'ouvres in a bedecked Limonaia (lemon house adjacent to the villa). Unfortunately I was not one of the honored guests!
Most of our clients go on a self guided tour to visit several wineries in one general area. Maps are available from owners or in local villages. Many of our villas are actually located on wine producing estates, often with their own little "fruit stand" at the highway where they sell wine and olive oil. Whatever way you choose to enjoy food and drink of the region you're visiting, some of your fondest memories will undoubtedly involve eating.
-Kathy Hayes, Editor