Monday, September 23, 2013


    Tuscany draws you with an irresistible air to Arezzo transforming a land into a theater filled with a lifestyle of tradition, culture and cuisine. Arezzo which is about 80 kilometers from Florence hosts the Giostra del Saracino or the joust held at the Piazza Grande. This medieval festival displays facets of its old world charm, its famous history, tradition and its tasteful cuisine.

    Held on the first Sunday in September, the procession of La Giostra del Saracino winds its way right down to the Piazza Grande. Originating from the ancient Crusades, this Saracen joust began in the Middle Ages. The Christian Crusaders battled with the Islamic tribes or the Moors of the North African Arabs in an attempt to drive them out of Europe. This Baroque joust started between the 15th and the 16th centuries and gained popularity. But during the 18th century, the royal air that surrounded it declined and lost its notoriety. A brief spell of fame enveloped this game during the Romantic period. With a culture of tradition, the Giostra del Saracino was re-established as a historic event in 1931 with its original 14th century ambience. With the spirit of competition and joy, the joust also takes place when dignitaries and princes visit the city and during important functions, carnivals and weddings.

    Held twice a year, La Giostra del Saracino is also enacted on the third Saturday at San Donato as well as the first Sunday in September at Arezzo. Exciting and exhilarating, this medieval joust starts with an air of anticipation as the procession with eight knights clad in their chain armors canter past on their horses. The knights represent the four quarters of the old city. They are known as the Porta Crucifera in red and green, the

Porta del Foro in yellow and crimson, the Porta Sant’Andrea in green and white and the Porta Santo Spirito in yellow and blue. The parade follows with 311 people dressed in the 14th century apparel and 31 horses trotting along with their riders with multi-colored flags held by the flag bearers. The joust begins with a traditional ritual with the Bishop blessing the armies on the steps of the Cathedral. Then the ‘Araldo’ reads the ‘Disifida di Buratto’, which is a poetic recital, dating back to the 17th century. A greeting is extended to the knights and the authorities who are in charge. A musical chorus ‘Inno del Saracino’ is sung by the Gruppo Musici and a final ‘go ahead’ signal is given by the Magistrates to start La Giostra del Saracino.

    The aim of the joust is to hit the shield held by a wooden effigy of a Saracen. The Maestro del Campo or the Master of the Field gives the signal for the knights to race on their mounts towards the wooden effigy. If the knights miss the target, the Saracen effigy portraying the ‘Puppet King of the Indies’ swings a ball with spikes on it that hits the knight if he is not careful. The crowds cheer as the knight from their quarters finds

his mark, but lapse into silence when he does not and turn to distracting the knights from the other quarters when it is their turn. The knights of the joust who hit the shield of the effigy win the most number of points and go on to winning the prize of the Golden Lance. Arezzo takes you back into the past with its memorable traditions and a culture that traverses the ancient ages


Chocolate cake - pumpkin with orange cream

Chocolate cake - pumpkin

Or maybe .. Halloween cake? .. Chocolate, using pumpkin puree, cream with a delicious creamy orange (really great!). Sprinkled with cocoa or cinnamon. recipe requires advance preparation pumpkin puree, pumpkin in the cake but did not feel -  taste of cocoa and orange. Instead of a cake can make a whole bunch of cupcakes :-). Recommended!

Ingredients for two tops chocolate - Pumpkin:
  • 1 and 2/3 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup and 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • half a cup of buttermilk or kefir
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree *
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 160 g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar for baking
  • 3 eggs
All of the ingredients should be at room temperature.
The vessel Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, spices.
In another bowl combine the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract.
In mixer bowl until light butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs (whole), one after another, precisely grating after each addition. Then the change in three-four rounds add sifted ingredients and set aside mixture maślankowo - pumpkin. Stir briefly, only the connection of the components.
Two forms of springform cake with a diameter of 20 cm baking parchment paper, the bottom. Between not seperated cake align. Bake at 180 ° C for 22 - 30 minutes or so. dry stick. Remove, cool in a moment, then let cool on a wire rack.
Orange Cream:
  • 2 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese type (total 400 g)
  • 110 g of butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • rubbed rind of 2 oranges
  • 2 - 2.5 cups granulated sugar
  • little orange dye
Blend cream cheese in a mixer bowl with butter, vanilla and orange peel.Add powdered sugar, a few rounds, mixing. Finally wmiksować dye to obtain the desired color.
The first paterze put chocolate tops. Spread half of the cream. Top put another top chocolate and cover the remaining cream. Cool in the refrigerator. Mount sprinkle with cocoa powder (optional).
* You can use ready-made mashed potatoes from a can or do it yourself - to do a small wash the pumpkin and cut into several smaller parts, hollow out the center of the seeds with a spoon. The prepared pumpkin placed in a casserole and cover with a lid, bake at 180 ° C for about 90 minutes, until tender. Cool, peel the skin and blend blender puree.

Chocolate cake - pumpkin

Chocolate cake - pumpkin

Chocolate cake - pumpkin


   Because of the long and storied history of Halloween, there are many Vintage Halloween traditions that have been associated with the holiday for many years. Halloween, or All Hallows Eve  as was called long ago, has a very special history all its own. The many vintage Halloween customs set this Halloween apart from many other special occasions. The origins of many vintage Halloween traditions are both very colorful and diverse. What we know as modern day Halloween traditions and festivities are rooted in the Vintage Halloween traditions from the original All Hallows Eve  celebrations from centuries long ago.   All Hallows Eve actually evolved from an even older tradition. The pagan festivial, Samhain, was celebrated by ancient Celtic people for many years before it evolved into All Hallows Eve. When Celtic immigrants began entering North America in large numbers during the 19th Century, they brought the

 tradition of Samhain with them, thus laying the groundwork for many of the vintage Halloween customs that are still with us today.    Samhain traditions included dressing up in animal costumes and going door to door in search of a feast. This of course, is the vintage Halloween precursor to what we now call trick-or-treating. With time, the Samhain celebration evolved into what we know of as All Hallows Eve during the19th century.     The origin of the name All Hallows Eve refers to the timing of Halloween, which is the day before All Hallows Day, now commonly referred to as All Saints Day. All saints day is religious holy day, set aside to honor the saints. All Hallows Eve is now referred to as All Souls day, Which is a day set aside to honor the souls of the departed.    The supernatural aspects of Halloween are strongly rooted in vintage Halloween customs and traditions. The association of ghosts and other supernatural elements with Halloween are rooted in the vintage Halloween beliefs that stem from beliefs about what happens in the supernatural world on the day set aside to honor those who have passed into the next life. Many people believed that All Hallows Eve was the

 one night when ghosts come in contact with the world of the living. In light of this belief, a ghost costumemay just be the best selection to honor vintage Halloween traditions in the modern world.   As time went by, All Hallows Eve evolved into what we now know as Halloween. During the evolution of Halloween from its ancient beginnings to modern day Halloween, the celebration was actually known by several other names. Vintage Halloween names include Hallowe’en, which is a contraction of All-hallow-even, which represents, of course All Hallows Eve. Of course, today, the celebration is referred to simply as Halloween.    The next time you are enjoying a Halloween party, haunted house, or candy obtained through trick-or-treating, remind  yourself that in continuing to observe the traditions of Halloween in the modern world, you are also paying tribute to vintage Halloween celebrations of centuries past.   While you don’t have to know the history of  Halloween to enjoy the many fun and exciting events associated with modern day Halloween celebrations, it is very interesting to look at the long and storied origins of the vintage Halloween traditions that we still enjoy today.