September 2008 Newsletter

September, 2008  NEWSLETTER


Labor Day has come and gone. It was always the weekend to close up the summer cottage for the winter. All the city swimming pools, and now water parks, close down. Family August vacations are over and kids head back to school.

In Italy August is the time of the year when Italians take vacation seriously. It is understood by all that stores, boutiques, museums, and even churches may have staggered opening hours during Ferragosto, August vacation time. Some businesses, in fact, open only in the mornings, closing for the day at noon. Many do not open at all.

The vacation period coincides with the religious feast of the Assumption of Mary on August 15th. Ferragosto is further marked by a mass exodus of Italians from the cities by car – both to other locations in Italy and abroad. There are often reports of huge traffic jams on roads leading out of major cities. Because of Italy’s proximity to other European nations, Italians think nothing of taking automobile excursions with the entire family to France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Belgium, and the United Kingdom. All of Europe is accessible, and gasoline prices in other countries are generally below what Italians pay in Italy – therefore, the exodus. During this period, the major Italian cities are far from deserted. They are filled with tourists and students of culture and art from all over the world. The streets and museums are usually packed with first-time visitors as well as seasoned tourists returning for their second, third, or even fourth visit to this nation of diverse culture and spectacular art.

Maybe one of your kids or grandkids left for college several weeks ago. About now they are getting their first exams of the semester. Serious times! Perhaps you might want to send them a little support and “love ya” package. Read on . . .


This special can be sent to your college kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, and kids of your friends who are now in college and need some hand-made cookies like mom or grandma would make if they had time. This gift is also great for teachers – and for parents who miss their son or daughter – or don’t!

The gift package contains: 1 dozen Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies, ½ dozen Orange Scented Butter Almond Cookies, and ½ dozen Anise and Almond Biscotti. That’s two dozen cookies for $20.85 plus shipping. This Back-To-School Special will run until the end of September.

For more info and to order CLICK HERE


Besides baking cookies Laurine and Bill spent most of the summer preparing for their youngest daughter’s wedding. Karen’s husband, Josh, is from Iowa and a great guy. They both are accountants with John Deere. The wedding dinner – a pasta buffet – was a great hit. And of course the Italian Cookies and Cannoli received rave reviews. A few days after the wedding everyone went on vacation. It was a fun month.


Now here’s something really different:

Cheddar Pine Nut Biscotti

This recipe makes about 36 biscotti.

- 1-3/4  cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¼  cup yellow cornmeal – stone ground is the bes
1  tablespoon dried, crushed oregano
1 ½  teaspoons baking powder
½  teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon cayenne – optional
½  teaspoon black pepper – optional
10 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
3  large eggs1  cup pine nuts – coarsely chopped (you could substitute walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or grease with butter.
In a medium-size bowl, wisk together the first 7 ingredients.
Put the Cheddar into a larger bowl or mixer bowl.
Add the flower and mix well adding the eggs one at a time. You can do this in a food processor also.
Place dough on a floured surface and knead in the pine nuts.
Divide the dough in half.
Form each half into a log about 12 inches long.
Place logs on baking sheet.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the tops are firm and lightly brown.
Remove from oven and let cool on a rack for about 10 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Cut the logs diagonally into ½ inch slices.
Place on baking sheet cut side down.
Bake for 10 minutes then turn them over and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Remove Biscotti to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

They will keep for up to two weeks.


That in Italy these celebrations take place in September:

Giostra del Saracine -  A historical joust held in Arezzo (Tuscany) on the first Sunday in September.

La Regatta  -  Held in Venice, this is the famous historical regatta on the Grand Canal.

Festa di Piedigrotta  -  This folk song festival is held in Naples,  September 6 and 7.

Luminara di Santa Croce -  This is a Feast of lights held in Lucca (Tuscany),  September 13. It  features religious processions

Dante Celebrations  -  Revenna,  mid September
Levante Fair    Bari
This display of goods from all over the world lasts for ten days

Festa di San Gennaro -  in Naples, September 19
Feast of Saint Janarius
People wait in nervous expectation for il miracolo, the liquefaction of Saint Janarius’ blood. Saint Janarius is the patron saint of Naples.

Till next time - have happy days.

Thanks much for your interest in Italian cookies and Italian traditions.

Come visit us soon or send a note. 
Arrivederci  -  Dio ti benedica
Rev. Fr. Mike

Copyright © 2008 Librandi