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You can find other posts on our recent trip to Tuscany/Umbria below:

Eating Our Way Through Italy: Part 1

Villa Life: A Week in Umbria

Wine Tasting in Tuscany: Avignonesi Winery

When you think Italy, of course food and wine are top of mind, and we did plenty of eating during our trip.

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It was gloriously hot and sunny every single day, and we opted to eat almost every meal outside. When visiting Cortona after a spectacular wine tasting at Baracchi Winery (more to come on that), we were ravenous and tired and happy to find Baracchi’s Cortona restaurant, Bottega Baracchi, was serving a cold lunch and pizza even late in the afternoon when many places close. We shared cheese and meat plates and more wine from Baracchi on their charming patio, but I of course had to take a peek inside and was glad I did.

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While the patio of Bottega Baracchi is beautiful and overlooks bustling Cortona, the interior of the restaurant is spectacular! It just keeps going, and there’s wine and food and art everywhere. I loved the displays of fresh veggies and this rack of rosé. I’ll take it all, please!

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No meal in Italy is really complete without gelato, and we stopped for a dish or cone every chance we got. A scoop of hazelnut and a scoop of chocolate for me!

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Vecchio Molino in the town we were staying in, Tuoro Sul Trasimeno, was a favorite for a late dinner al fresco, complete with fried zucchini blossom heaven.

I’m well aware of the amount of oil that goes into these, which is part of what makes them so delicious.

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Truffles were a regional staple where we were staying, and these raviolis in cream sauce were covered in fragrant truffle. It was amazing.

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And then of course there was the wedding! The whole reason we all gathered for a week in Italy was for my husband’s sister’s wedding, and we ate all night long.

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Course after course of incredible food came out all night and included indulgences like this Umbrian bread salad topped with lobster and prosciutto and cheese crepes with black truffle.

These were just the appetizers. There was a pasta with shrimp and a gnocchi in a rich montalcino wine sauce, followed by a fliet of beef, and the most decadent, cream topped, Nutella filled wedding cake.

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And then after some dancing, there was pizza!

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Our last night in Italy turned into a massive party at the villa, with all of the guests who weren’t staying there over to swim, and everyone brought food or wine to the table for a delicious meal. We had a professional chef in the group, which was amazing, and with his grilling and other cooking, along with everyone else’s culinary talents, we feasted on salads, grilled burgers and spicy sausage, salads, pasta, and so much more. It was the perfect way to end the trip.

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Tags: cheese, Cortona, gelato, Italy, Travel, travel blog, Tuscany, wine, wine tasting, winery

As I mentioned last month, in addition to my usual social media, PR, and marketing work, I am also doing some travel writing for Sonesta Hotels. You can read past travel posts by following these links:

Sonesta Philadelphia, An Art Hotel in an Art City

A Poolside Event at Sonesta Philly

My most recent travels brought me to beautiful Baltimore to stay at the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore, a grand hotel situated right on the Inner Harbor. I hadn’t been to Baltimore in decades, and I am already hoping to plan a trip back. More on that later. . . first let’s take a tour of the hotel!

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore

When I walked into my room, my jaw dropped at the stunning harbor views. My king room had the most perfect spaces for lounging and working, and I managed to do both during my stay. I loved the spacious desk area for when I had to take a long conference call, and the window seat was where it was at for catching up on all of my social media work while gazing out at the Baltimore skyline.

My room was comfy and had tons of outlets, including an outlet tree type setup on the night stand, allowing me to not just charge my phone, but my laptop and external batteries to use when I was out sightseeing.

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore

I can’t decide what I loved more, my daytime or nighttime views!

Baltimore at night

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore is only 30 years old, but it maintains a look of elegance from years past. It’s a wedding destination in Baltimore, and this grand staircase is often showcased in wedding photos. It’s easy to see why!

Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore

Staying fit while in Baltimore is easy when staying at the Royal Sonesta, as they not only offer a pool for swimming laps and a fully-equipped gym, but there are also group fitness classes available.

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The fitness center is inviting and well-organized, perfect for kicking off the day or winding down after a day or meetings or getting to know Baltimore.

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If your workout builds up a hunger and thirst, the adventurously decorated Explorers Lounge is the perfect place to grab a cocktail and a bite. Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore frequently features cocktail demos on their Facebook page; be sure to check them out!

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Of course a little room-service dessert surprise is always nice, and I was treated to this deliciousness during my stay. I was traveling alone, and I ate every bite. Throughout my years of working for and staying at Sonesta Hotels, one common theme is how incredibly good the food always is. There is immense care taken to create food with locally sourced ingredients and to plate it so that it is as beautiful as it is delicious. #Foodisart at Sonesta!

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It seemed every corner of the Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore offered some sort of beautiful or interesting detail, from its decor and fixtures like this chandelier, to the art exhibit installed for locals and guests to enjoy.

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The current exhibit features art from the Crystal Moll Gallery, and if you are in Baltimore, it is definitely worth a peek.

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More posts on my visit to Baltimore are to come; thank you so much to Royal Sonesta Harbor Court Baltimore for generously hosting me!

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Tags: Baltimore, hotels, Maryland, Travel, travel blog, travel blogging

Our week in an Italian villa seems like it happened  forever ago, and while I am behind on blogging and blog reading and have a TON of travel coming up (Sonoma, Baltimore, Hilton Head, New Orleans) I still want to get some of these planned Italy posts up. Looking at amazing food, wine, and scenery doesn’t really go out of style, does it?

Living the villa life meant that we had not one, but two kitchens to use for making meals, something I always love to do when traveling. On our first full day in Italy, we went to the market to stock up on essentials for the week, including mineral water, wine, chocolate and sunscreen. All you really need. . .

We also took advantage of the incredibly fresh and affordable produce, meat, and bakery sections, pulling together bread, apricots, figs, tomatoes, and various types of meat and cheese for a lunch feast. This is the best way in the world to eat, in my book.

lunch at the villa  

That day, meat and cheese and veggies and pool time and naps led to a wander to nearby Lake Trasimeno, which was absolutely beautiful. My only regret of the trip was that we didn’t get to take a boat out on the lake. We did get to the lake in time for Aperol hour, complete with free, deliciously salty potato chips. I love the simplicity of cocktail snacks in Europe!

Aprol Spritz Lake Trasimeno

Our plan that day was to have dinner with some family members, but when there wasn’t room for us, we instead found the most romantic, authentic, delicious, delightful restaurant in the town next to our villa.

Osteria La Pergola was so charming and the perfect spot for a long date night dinner. None of the patrons left the entire time we were there. 

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A team of two women were handling the cooking, serving, wine pouring, everything! We did our best with Italian words here and there, and there was a lot of pointing and laughing (in a good way) as we communicated across language barriers, all in the name of amazing food.

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Local bubbly, “Ca de Sass” Colli del Trasimeno, was celebratory and the perfect pairing for my pesto and cheese ravioli and then the molten chocolate cake that we just had to have.

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Say yes to the cake and the espresso and bubbly. . . that’s my motto!

We eventually grudgingly pulled ourselves up to pay and leave, and our gracious hosts gave free limoncello and warm handshakes. It was one of those special evenings that usually only happens by accident.

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Our walk out of dinner and into the town square was pure magic.

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The next day was a travel day, and after homemade pastries at the villa, we headed to Avignonesi for wine tasting. You can read all about it here.

After that we had plans to meet a group in the stunning city of Montepulciano, which could be a post all in itself. This one, will focus just on the lunch we had, where our group of 16 took over a small cafe in the piazza. Wrangling that many people was chaotic, and I didn’t even get the name.

I did however settle in with a cold local beer. The heat in Italy made their lighter beer selections perfect especially in the afternoon when you just wanted something truly refreshing.

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The menus were huge and offered all sorts of pizzas, sandwiches, and other items, but we decided to go with various plates of cold food to share. Mountains of bruschetta, marinated vegetables, beans, olives, and more kicked off our meal.

dining in Montpulciano

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And then we dove in once again to the local meats and cheeses. This was one of the best lunches ever. If you get to Montepulciano, this cafe was on the right, just in from the piazza, with a more formal sister restaurant across the narrow street.

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This just covers a few of our meals in Italy, and as time allows, I would love to share more. In the meantime I will be dreaming of Tuscan sun, wineries overlooking sunflower fields, and endless plates of Italian treats.

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Tags: Food, Italy, Travel, travel blog, Tuscany, wine

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