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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 03/19/18

Monday, March 19, 2018

THE CARNEVALE DI VIAREGGIO FROM ITALY!!!




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    The Viareggio Carnival was established in 1873 when some of the local "signori" decided to organize a Sunday a little different from the rest, by inventing a procession of decorated floats which travelled up and down the main street of the city. On the occasion , a masked protest was also organized by a number of citizens, as they were forced to pay too many taxes and as a result the chief tax collector was certainly made fun of!! The parade was liked alot, not only by the patrons but also by the citizens and the idea of making floats that interpreted humor and dissatisfaction of the people and the events that came about in that year.
   Carnival of Viareggio celebrating 139 years of life and activity under the sign of a vivid tradition such as the long – established European tradition of Carnival festivals, is no doubt one of the best known events in Italy.
    Carnival of Viareggio since it was born it has been acquiring a strong touristic value and attracts every year more than one million spectators gathering to attend the magic of the great parade of big floats in papier – maché.
    In 2018, the usual five carnival masked parades are planned for  Jan 27, 2018 – Feb 17, 2018 on the extraordinary Liberty style staging along the seaside avenues of Viareggio. Every evening, there are carnival celebrations in all of the city's different quarters.







             Real travelling theatres - the allegorical papier-maché floats are the product of the unequalled creativity, of the extraordinary sculpture and painting skill of Viareggio ‘magicians’, and are the highest example of this popular art whose language has spread all over the world.
The parades take place in a ring-like circuit 2 km. long, on the seaside avenues of Viareggio, best known as La Passeggiata.
    Here the floats move among the spectators, who can attend the show with no barriers, becoming in turn the protagonists of the parade.
    During the Carnival period, Viareggio and his Passeggiata change into a true open air Museum where people coming from all over the world meet to enjoy together.
The parades also include folkloristic bands and performers with the most original masks, offering excitement, culture and tradition in a wide programme of entertainment and fun for children and adults








Viareggio

   The popular seaside town of Viareggio is situated on the Tuscany coast. Viareggio and the resorts "Torre del Lago Puccini", "Lido di Camaiore", "Marina di Pietrasanta" makeup about 20 kilometers of the Versilian Riviera (or Riviera della Versilia).
Viareggio has most of the usual attractions of a typical Italian seaside resort.
    The town's symbol, heart of its history, is the “Torre Matilde”, built by the Senate of Lucca in 1550. In 1601 Viareggio, that was already a township, was declared a free port, and in 1617 it became the chieftown in the Vicaria del Litorale (the coastal viacariate).
    The birth of the first bathing establishment dates back to 1823. We owe the building of Viale dei Tigli to Maria Borbone, through which she could reach the centre, leaving from her villa situated in the East pinewood. In fact, the touristic activity began in Viareggio right in this period. Many men of culture stopped for a time in this area: the poet Percy B.Shelley, Lord Byron, Manzoni, Puccini and D'Annunzio.
    The city is 23.76 miles to Pisa, 17.67 miles to Massa, 29.87 miles to Livorno, and 59.5 miles to Firenze.
    The 3 Km modern promenade, where the parade takes place, is one of the focal point of the city, characterized by shops, cafes, refreshment points and Liberty style buildings.
Viareggio is now a tourist seaside resort with beaches and hotels boast ancient tradition.





    Since then Viareggio has become the home of the Italian Carnival, with its masked parades characterized by allegorical floats in papermache'. These floats are true works of art to which the local float makers dedicate an entire year of workmanship to. There is not one politician, entertainer, or intellectual that has not been a target (protagonist) of one of these floats, which almost comes to life during the parade by the moving arms, opening and closing mouths and rolling eyes. On every float, young people and children find a place from which to throw confetti and shooting stars to the crowd. During the entire period, masked balls and parties in the various "rioni" (quarters, districts) are organized as well as numerous sport and cultural events.








    The official Viareggio Carnival mask is the "Burlamacco", a clown which wears clothes. Checkered overalls, taken form the Harlequin's costume, a white ponpon stolen from Pierrot's big puffy blouse, a white gorget-"Captain Scary" style, a red headband and a black mantle. The name Burlamacco derives from Buffaimacco a Florentine painter and a character in the "Decamerone".However, it is also said to be linked to the Lucchese surname Burlamacchi.

5 CATEGORIES OF TASTY CHOCOLATE TREATS TO DIE FOR!!





    I know there are thousands, if not millions of chocolate lovers out there. I happen to be one of those people and have tried several different chocolate treats in my lifetime. So what do I consider to be the top chocolate treats? I find that there are several different chocolate treat categories and there are treats in each category that are better than the rest. This article will stick to foods you can buy in almost any grocery store. These chocolate treats are low in price but high in taste.










Candy bars

   We've all tried several varieties of this chocolate treat, but which ones are the best? Throughout my life, my tastes have changed and I've had several different favorites. My favorites lean now to either the milky way bar , with it's chocolate and caramel, or a nice big snickers bar, with the chocolate and caramel and a little dose of peanuts to go with it.








Ice Cream

   Let's face it, just plain old chocolate ice cream is wonderful. It's right up there with vanilla. Vanilla you say? But I thought this was about things chocolate. You're right, but vanilla is like a canvas of a painting you can add anything to it to make it whatever flavor you're craving at the time. Anything from hot fudge to chocolate chips, a little or a lot, it's up to you to decide. When we talk ice cream it's all about the quality of it and the QUANTITY of it. We can go to the local market and get anything from rocky road to brownie batter ( chocolate ice cream with chunks of brownies. The ice cream world is your oyster, shuck it and eat it all up!!!










Cookies

   When most of us think of a cookie, it's probably a nice, chewy, gooy, dunk in your milk, chocolate chip cookies. My family can't even wait for them to go into the oven, they'd rather eat cookie doe instead. You can make up a batch of them and after they come out of the oven, take some chocolate chips, put them in a microwave safe bowl, and when the chocolate has melted, dip half of the chocolate cookies in it for a little bit of a chocolate high!









Snack Cakes


   Nothing says comfort food more than a box of individually wrapped ding dongs or ho ho's! A couple of them with a glass of ice cold milk hits the spot. I don't think there's a snack cake made that isn't good.











Candies

   When you think of loose chocolate candies, does anything come to mind? Anyone?? Anyone??....You in the back row, with your hand up, what is it?.......I box of See's candy sir! Nuts and chews if you please!!.....Good answer! Good answer!
Anything from truffles to chocolate covered almonds with caramel and everything in between. Like Forrest Gump always says, "Life is like a box a chocolates! You never know what you're gonna get!" So be sure that it's a good quality chocolate, not a box of some unknown companies chocolates that you got at the Dollar Store (that sure doesn't taste like the chocolate I'm used to!).
    While there are several other chocolate treat categories, these are some of the best. I hope this article made you think of all of the different flavors and smells coming this holiday season and make sure you eat it in moderation. So next time when you're having a craving for more of that ding dong or those nuts and chews, there will be some more for you to eat, that little stash you keep for yourself,  your family doesn't know about.










MARDI GRAS FROM NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA!!!





    The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced back to Medieval Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the current Mardi Gras of today. But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today....with Kings, Mardi Gras colors, and brass bands....are traced to New Orleans.
    Although we can trace its history to the Romans, a French-Canadian expolorer, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it "Pointe due Mardi Gras". He also established "Fort Louis de la Louisiane" (which is now Mobile) in 1702. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated the very first Mardi Gras.










    In 1704, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile)....similar to those who form our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the "Boef Graf Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull's head pushed along on wheels by 16 men. This occurred on Fat Tuesday.
    New Orleans was established in 1718 by Jean-Baptise Le Moyne. By the 1730's, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans...but not in parade form. In the early 1740's, Louisiana's Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls...the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.










    The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Associaiton is the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.
    By the late 1830's, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance.
    In 1871, Mardi Gras's second "Krewe" is formed, the Twelfth Night Reveler's, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws".








    1872, was the year that a group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival-Rex-to parade in the first daytime parade. They introduced the Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold, the Mardi Gras song, and the Mardi Gras flag.
    In 1873, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth of Louisiana signs the "Mardi Gras Act" making it a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.
    Most Mardi Gras Krewes today developed from private social clubs that have restrictive membership policies. Since all of these parade organizations are completely funded by its members, we call it the "Greatest Free Show on Earth"!










History Behind the King Cake

    As part of Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of Epiphany or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations. A popular custom was and still is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kinds called "A King's Cake".
    Inside every cake is a tiny baby (generally plastic now, but sometimes this baby might be made of porcelain or even gold). The tradition of having King Cake Parties has evolved through time, and the person who receives the slice of cake with the baby is asked to continue the festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.






 



  Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of dough with a small amount of decoration. Today's King Cakes are much more festive. After the rich Danish dough is braided and baked, the "baby" is inserted. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.
In more recent years, some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings.









    January 6th, the Twelfth Night after Christmas, is also the day Mardi Gras season begins. Mardi Gras Day is always 47 days prior to Easter Sunday (Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday).
    So, in Louisiana, especially, Mardi Gras season and King Cakes go hand in hand with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes consumed at parties and office lunch rooms every year.
    Ordering King Cakes over the Internet has now become an annual tradition by consumers all around the world...and many of the bakers offer them year around. After all, you can't have a Mardi Gras party without a King Cake.

SOME MARCH FOOD HOLIDAYS TO GET YOUR MOUTH WATERING!






   Holidays are always fun to celebrate, but why wait a few months for the next major one to arrive when you could be enjoying some nice edible food holidays everyday of the month? 

  • March 1st, National Peanut Butter Lover's Day- This has to be one of the greatest national food holidays of the year, or at least for the month of March.  Go and make a couple of PB and J sandwiches for lunch on this day.



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  • March 2nd, National Banana Creme Pie Day-While it still may be a little cold outside, why not enjoy a tropical banana cream pie for dessert....if you want a little more tropical, add some coconut.

  • March 3rd, National Cold Cuts Day-This national food holiday is perfect for an evening when you're too tired to cook.  Just stop by your local deli and pick up some favorite sliced meats and some soup.

  • March 4th, National Pound Cake Day-What could be more delicious than a piece of pound cake served with some strawberries and whipped cream.

  • March 5th, National Cheese Doodle Day-This national food holiday is easy to celebrate.  Grab your favorite cheese doodles and a soda and crash on the couch and watch some t.v.

  • March 6th, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day-This is another national food holiday of pure pleasure for the stomach.



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  • March 7th, National Crown Roast of Pork Day-This isn't something you wear on your head.  This is more upper crust food, usually done around Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Just take the easy way out and barbecue some nice, thick pork chops.

  • March 8th, National Peanut Cluster Day-Sure you can go out and buy them....but why not try and make some,  they really aren't that hard.

  • March 9th, National Crabmeat Day-Seafood is such a wonderful food to help you forget about the chilly nights.  Make a seafood stew with crabmeat in it.

  • March 10th, National Blueberry Popover Day-Popovers are good on their own....add some blueberries and enjoy them even more.  Served with some bacon, eggs, and cereal.

  • March 11th, Oatmeal-Nut Waffles Day-A not too guilty about something that's good for your body. 



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  • March 12th, National Baked Scallops Day-If crab wasn't enough to get you over your cold weather blues, why not have some scallop fettuccini.

  • March 13th, Coconut Torte Day- I'm not crazy about coconut.  But if you like it go get some Hostess Sno-balls and pig out.

  • March 14th, National Potato Chip Day-This has to be what a majority of people have been waiting for.  Make yourself a sandwich, some soup and grab a bag of your favorites.....

  • March 15th, National Pears Helene Day-I'm not much of a fan of them either...maybe you could poach some for you and your sweetie...with some vanilla ice cream.

  • March 16th, National Artichoke Hearts Day-My wife loves these, I'll give her a shout out for this one....HHHHEEEEYYYY!




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  • March 17th, Corned Beef and Cabbage Day- Let us give thanks to the Irish for this one.

  • March 18th, Oatmeal Cookie Day-What better way to celebrate this one....by making a big batch with your children.

  • March 19th, National Chocolate Caramel Day-Go out and split a candy bar with yourself.

  • March 20th, National Ravioli Day-Go open a can of them, pop it in the microwave and watch a little t.v.

  • March 21st, California Strawberry Day-Slice up a bowl full of them, put them over some ice cream and drizzle a little chocolate of the whole thing....YYUUUUMMMM!!




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  • March 22nd, Coq Au Vin Day-If you don't like complicated dishes that require a full day in the kitchen, do yourself a favor and head to a nice French restaurant and leave it to the experts.

  • March 23rd, National Chip and Dip Day- Another day for snackers around the world to unite, raise a chip high in the air and dunk it in some tasty dip.

  • March 24th, National Chocolate Covered Raisins Day-Time to hit the candy isle for this one, or go out and see a movie, they usually have them there.

  • March 25th, Pecan Day-Stop by the bakery on the way home and pick up a Pecan pie.

  • March 26th, Spinach Day-Also known as Popeye Day, UUUKKK!! UUUKKK!!UUUKKKKAAAA!!!..."He's strong to the finish,  that's why he eats his spinach. He's Popeye the Salor Man"!!!




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  • March 27th, National Spanish Paella Day-Takes alot of time to make...you may want to go out and have someone make this for you.

  • March 28th, National Black Forrest Cake Day- Chocolate...Chocolate...Chocolate!!!

  • March 29th, National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day-I've got to love that lemon cake!!

  • March 30th, Turkey Neck Soup Day-I think on this day, all of the turkeys are hiding until Thanksgiving...they don't want to loose their necks quite yet.

  • March 31st, Tater Day-What day isn't a good day to have some Taters!! You'all agree with Me??




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