La Dolce Vita – Long-Table Lunch – Olio Bello – Red Carpet Photos

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Grazie Mille to our stunning La Dolce Vita Club members – for swirling in to a little piece of Italy in the heart of Margaret River – for the inaugural ‘ La Dolce Vita’ Long-Table Lunch at Olio Bello on Sunday 23 November.

From Proseco and Crostini in the courtyard, a back-of-house pressing and production tour (featuring the Italian pressing machine direct from Toscana), to an overflowing Tuscan table – featuring farm-baked olive bread, bruschetta, dukkah dusted leccino chicken,hand-rolled pappardelle, parmesan, chilli and garlic oils, chocobello mandarin dolci, biscotti a Piedmonte and endless vini del regione – not to mention the Salerno –

you became a part of Olio Bello’s history, its magic and our forever expanding La Dolce Vita family!

You arrived late morning, danced amongst the olive groves and left at Dusk (7pm to be precise) – ample time to perfect the art of “La Dolce Vita’ living.

I knew things were in full Italian swing, when I glanced back at my Millenovecentosettantatre (1973)  Alfa Romeo Spider. which was performing its  role as the nastro azzuro boot esky handsomely well, to spot the musicians from Eco d’Italia Rosie and Laura in the front seats singing ‘That’s Amore’ on top note!

This was surpassed only by the quintessential pouring of the sublime blood orange liqueur Salerno (thanks to Helen Appleyard) along the rustic wooden table and subsequent dancing through the olive groves – where one guest found a long lost cousin from their small Italian village amongst the crowd!

Visit online shop and receive an automatic 10% off all purchases as a Christmas Gift – just contact Lisa – x

And, so ended the inaugural La Dolce Vita long table lunch. Grazie Mille to Helen, Jonica, Karen and friends for joining us – and we look forward to seeing you all there again – next year or sooner! 

Please find attached some red carpet pics from the event and don’t forget  in the lead up to the Festive Season that ‘Alla Tavola – Non s’invecchia‘ – at the table with family and good friends – you will never grow old!

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Tanti Aguri e Buon Natale a Tutti!

LiliMarlene xxxGE OlioBello Rosie and MikeGE Olio Bello Team

La Dolce Vita – Long Table Lunch – presented by Olio Bello

Cara Amici……

A tavola non si invecchia…

It has been nearly one year since our last gathering (we don’t move quickly in heels).. and we were thinking… How could we have a La Dolce Vita Club without our very own event for the Gourmet Escape Weekend – one of the world’s finest food festivals?  How could we possibly not even think about spending a day on a spectacular 320 acre olive farm – sipping Italian wines, enjoying organic olives, award-winning olive oils,  hand-rolled pasta, home-made breads, citrus infused desserts, and a limoncello or two to the sounds of classical guitar and ‘that’s amore’ wafting through the olive groves…..

It is with great pleasure and bright red lipstick kisses –  that we invite you to be a part of the inaugural La Dolce Vita – Long Table Luncheon– amongst 10,000 olive trees.  It’s an exclusive event for all of those who live and love all things italian….

I’m organising the event at our award-winning olive oil farm in Margaret River for the Gourmet Escape Weekend  on Sunday 23 November- and would love to see you there!

Contessa Claudia has already been spotted swanning around the property in a large, over-sized hat looking for a fountain – and the Chefs are working behind the scenes to offer a true farm to plate organic gourmet experience!

To Book tickets Simply visit – (and click on home page link) or – or just let us know!

Should you not be able to shuttle down south, I will simply have to organise another!  Also, stay tuned for our Christmas soiree at a secret Italian set-up in the City.

Olio Bello – when Italy left a little bit of its heart behind in Margaret River…  

Gourmet Escape poster AW 2-1-2


LiliMarlene x

Tanti Auguri Italia !

I am about to state the obvious… Perth is a long way from Rome, Italy.  In many ways, it could appear odd that a group of people in Perth – basically the antipodes of Roma – would gather to celebrate an Italian birthday.

Instead, tonight that is what happened.  There was no cake or birthday song… But on the backstreets of Northbridge, at the Bakery, an eclectic crowd gathered to remember an important date for a country faraway but yet, so close in the hearts of so many…

From doctors, to educators, movers and shakers, and those in between.  They sipped champagne and chatted – in a mixture of Italian and English (not to mention that special Dinglish dialect – which is a clever combination of the two languages.)


The group joined to celebrate the 67th Anniversary of the Italian Republic.

For the Italian Consul to Perth, Adriano Tedde it was a night to be proud of Italy and his nation’s achievements… Of which there are many.

To commemorate the occasion, as in year’s gone by, both the Aussie national anthem, Advance Australia Fair and the Italian National Anthem – Fratelli d’Italia were played.

I always have a giggle at the differences between the two songs… It would seem wrong of me to pass judgement, so I will refrain… But take the time to listen to the two melodies, the lyrics and reflect on them!  (See below)


Music was an integral part of tonight’s celebration.  While I mentioned that no birthday song was sung… there was certainly an ode and a musical tribute to the Italian nation.

It is the 200th anniversary since the birth of renowned Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.  And what better way to highlight the music of Italy than with three beautiful pieces from three extraordinary composers Vivaldi, Puccini and Verdi.

The Italo-Australian crowd was treated to a wonderful program from Roman-born Giovanni Pasini on Viola and Genovese Giulio Plotino on the violin.


Giulio Plotino, Bloggista, Giovanni Pasini

For fans, you can catch Giovanni Pasini at the next opera, Don Giovanni, here at His Majesty’s Theatre.

In the meantime here’s some photos of tonight’s birthday bash.


Jonica Eastaugh and Italian Consul Adriano Tedde


Annelle and Massimo Perroti and Giovanni Pasini


UWA Professor John Kinder and Doctor Ettore Guaia

Do yourself a favour… Download the Youtube version of the Italian National Anthem, print out the lyrics below and sing to your hearts content !

Tanti Auguri per la Festa della Repubblica!

Fratelli d’Italia (Inno di Mameli)

1) Fratelli d’Italia, l’Italia s’è destadell’elmo di Scipio s’è cinta la testadov’è la vittoria? Le porga la chioma:chè schiava di Roma Iddio la creò.

(rit.)Stringiamoci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte,siam pronti alla morte, l’Italia chiamò.Stringiamoci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte,siam pronti alla morte l’Italia chiamò.

2) Dall’alpe a Sicilia, dovunque è Legnano;ogni uom di ferruccio ha il core, ha la mano.I bimbi d’Italia si chiaman Balillail suon d’ogni squilla i vespri sonò.

3) Noi fummo da secoli, calpesti e derisi,perchè non siam popolo, perchè siam divisi.Raccolgaci un’unica bandiera, una speme:di fonderci insieme già l’ora suonò.(rit.)

4) Son giunchi che piegano le spade vedute,già l’aquila d’Austria le penne ha perduteil sangue d’Italia il sangue polaccobevè col Cosacco, ma il sen le bruciò.(rit.)

5) Uniamoci, uniamoci l’unione e l’amorerivelano ai popoli le vie del Signore.Giuriamo far libero il suolo natìo.Uniti per Dio, chi vincer ci può? (rit.)

6) Evviva l’Italia, dal sonno s’è desta,dell’elmo di Scipio s’è cinta la testa.Dov’è la vittoria? Le porga la chioma:chè schiava di Roma Iddio la creò.
Stringiamoci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte,siam pronti alla morte, l’Italia chiamò.Stringiamoci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte,siam pronti alla morte, l’Italia chiamò.

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“Cantare, Volare… Whoaa !”

It has been a big week for music in Europe.

I didn’t miss a minute of the Eurovision Song Festival.  While my husband would call the festival tacky or cheesy, there is no doubt it has it’s very “unique” moments.  But there is also a wholesomeness that resonates with me.

Most of the songs are about love, sometimes loss,  but mostly a celebration of the heart.  Who can really resist a love song?

Of course, Italy has its own Festival that precedes Eurovision.

For as long as I can remember the San Remo Song Festival was a must-watch at my place.

Back in 1985 I remember drooling over Luis Miguel…  I was in my teens and Miguel was a fresh-faced teenager himself, but seemed so much more grown up to me then!

Luis Miguel isn’t even Italian, he is Mexican but nevertheless won the “Newcomers Division” of San Remo. Some of you may remember him?

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Check out his hit song “Ragazzi di Oggi Noi”:

Now, if you are wondering what ever became of the spunky young thing.  Well Miguel is still alive and kicking… He’s 43-years-old, a successful singer and producer and reportedly has a net worth of about $95 million.  Not bad for a career launched at cheesy old San Remo!

This year a handsome 24-year-old named Marco Mengoni took out the major prize at San Remo.


Mengoni then went onto perform the winning song, ‘L’Essenziale’  at Eurovision.  At this point, I will provide a disclaimer… The song is Italian, it is about love and it is pop.  But he looks great in the suit and I love it!

Have a listen:

And maybe, like Luis Miguel, it will be the start of a long and successful career for Mengoni?  In bocca al lupo !

The Dainty Fruit of the Gods

The beautiful olive groves of Umbria

We all know how much I love food and wine…  In saying that, it doesn’t take much to tickle my taste buds.  One of my favourite ways of connecting with Lili Marlene is to meet at Trattoria Lido, over a glass of Greco di Tufo and a small bowl of Italian olives.

Isn’t it funny – you are either an olive lover or you can’t bear the little suckers.

I personally adore everything about olives… Umbrian olive groves, olive oil, olives stuffed with anchovies or almonds, infused garlic oil, truffle oil,  meaty Sicilian olives, Kalamatas (we guess the Greeks must have stolen the first tree from the Romans!)… Anyway you get my drift.

A piece of fresh ciabatta dipped in home made, green, virgin olive oil and a touch of salt,  must be classified as one of life’s simple pleasures!

So when my girlfriend Fiona said she was going to make a batch of olives, I couldn’t resist but take part.  Over the years, many friends have made the attempt to produce home made olives, but have failed.

It’s quite a labour-intensive pursuit.  Finding the right tree (preferably not over your neighour’s fence!), picking the fruit, pitting, salting, rinsing…

We began by washing our meaty olives…

But over a glass of wine, Fiona and I committed ourselves to continuing the Italian tradition. We began by washing our meaty olives and then pitting them.  This is best done with a pitter (I bought mine from House for about $10).  Fiona has done it by hand before, but there’s collateral damage on your hand and the olive!


Place the pitted olives in a bowl or barrel and then throw in a generous handful of quality salt and cover them with water.

The olives will have to stay in the bowl for between 10-14 days.

Fiona changes the water everyday and resalts them twice during the resting time… This is a “controversial” topic amongst the Italian olive experts.  But Fiona’s way certainly tastes good to me!

The most important thing is that the bitterness has gone.  Fi then marinates them in olive oil, lime juice, garlic and rosemary.  All I can say is;  “Delizioso” !!!!

The finished product… Delicious!

Arriva L’Inverno e La Lasagna

It’s hard to believe an entire Summer has passed since our last La Dolce Vita Club blog.

But as my dear friend (and partner in crime and culture) Lili Marlene would say; ‘Italians move at their own pace.  Sometimes fast, like a sharp-cornered Lamborghini and sometimes slow – like a Roman bank teller who lights his cigarette before serving you.”  Verissimo !

So now as Winter approaches, it seems right to celebrate the warmth and comfort that the colder weather brings.  And in true Italian style, this for me means nurturing and delicious food.

On a recent outing to the new Jamie’s Italian (the brainchild of UK chef Jamie Oliver), it occurred to me that when Italians eat, they bring more than just food “to the table”.

jamie's plank

My night out at Jamie’s Italian – with his famous antipasto “Plank”

Being brought up in an Italian household meant food was a talking point from first thing in the morning.  Not only had we finished breakfast, when Mamma was already asking; “Cosa si mangia a cena?”… What’s for dinner?

Let’s face it,  a meal in Italy is not just about great produce and culinary skills… It’s about family and conversation and bonding.  It’s about being together to celebrate God’s good grace and Mamma’s good minestrone!

My mother, Mercedes, is an extraordinary cook… We have a family saying that when she cooks, she puts love into everything and that’s why it tastes so good. It reminds me of the book “Like Water for Chocolate”, but that’s another story!

Mercedes was born on the Italian, Slovenian border.  And so her cuisine is a blend of so many rich traditions.  

Whether having coffee and her apple strudel (famous with my friends) or her cannelloni or zuppa di pesce, there is always a feeling of happiness and warmth that comes with it.

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So, in saying that I would like to share one of her recipes with you.

Mamma is usually a fan of slow-food… Where it takes time, care and consideration to bring a meal to the table.  Mamma often makes her own pasta (I promise I will blog to show you how the expert does it!).

But this particular lasagna recipe was created for me in mind… Fast and furious.  It is also a vegetarian version.  But you can add a mixture of beef and pork mince for a more hearty option.  Also, we have not used bechamel sauce but instead, some cream. In typical Mamma Mercedes style, there’s not an “accurate” quantity for ingredients… Tutto “all’occhio”… Scusate.

LASAGNA DI MAMMA MERCEDES (Speedy and Vegetarian version)

Start by making the tomato salsa: In a saucepan, heat some oil (probably 2-3 tblespoons) and 2 cloves of garlic.

As the garlic browns, add 2 tins of peeled tomatoes (about 900gms).  Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.

Bring this to the boil and then allow to simmer for half an hour.

Meantime grate about 500 gms mozzarella cheese.  You can also mix in Parmigiano if you like.

If you are buying your lasagna sheets… Buy one pack of Latina Fresh.

Spray oil into your baking dish, then begin to layer: Start with a little salsa on the bottom, and then a layer of pasta, cream (Pura lite); layer grated cheese and then begin with salsa again.  Remember too only drizzle the sauce.

Cook for 45 minutes.  Easy… Remember to add the love too !


Con Le Mani…

Inaugural La Dolce Vita Lunch
Claudia, Lisa e Lambretta !

Il Primo Pranzo della Dolce Vita Club e` stato un grande successo! Spero che sia stata una possibilità per mettersi in contatto con anime affine. Almeno per me e Lisa era un grandissimo piacere !
The Lunch was a chance for lots of “parlare”, “chiacchierare”, “communicare” … Talking, chatting and communicating.
But let’s face it – Italians also do a lot of verbalising with their hands – gesticulating. And who could deny, there are just some moments in life when a word needs a hand gesture to really complete the sentence. When a mere phrase isn’t enough, a finger has to be brought in to finish the job (so to speak)!


This week as well as a new phrase, we’d like you to use as many hand gestures as possible 🙂

The phrase for this week comes courtesy of Lili Marlene who has just returned from a wedding in breathtaking Positano.  The phrase is “Tutto aposto”… Literally translated it means “everything is in it’s place or just right”… But often used colloquially to say “you are one hot mamma!”

To to put it in context, Lili Marlene was exiting a bathroom in Roma when the male attendant called out to her.  She stopped in her tracks and immediately thought she hadn’t offered enough money in return for her twinkle.  Instead, the true Roman wanted to offer his appreciation of her womanhood and yelled “Tutto aposto !”  As you can imagine, this phrase must be accompanied by the appropriate hand gesture !

It’s been a wonderful fortnight for Italian cinema with the Lavazza Italian Film Festival… I had a very eventful evening after seeing LOVE IS IN THE AIR – If you ever get a chance to catch this Italian movie, do it! It probably is a classic contemporary Italian romantic comedy… Guy with girl, almost loses girl, lots of sex and gets the girl again!

One movie is still showing – TO ROME WITH LOVE… 

Qui sotto la Galleria di foto del nostro Pranzo La Lambretta Ottobre 25:
La nostra amica scozzese Carina Karen ha scritto “Che piacere è stato quello di incontrare un bel gruppo di signore chic, di classe italiana per la riunione inaugurale del La Dolce Vita Club – conversazione incantevole, il cibo delizioso e il suono squisito della lingua italiana parlata certamente ha ancora creato un piccolo pezzo di La Dolce Vita per me 🙂 – grazie per l’invito e non vedo l’ora alla prossima riunione .. tra l’altro, si è impressionato con il mio post italiano??”  Si, cara Karen – grazie a te e Google Translate!

Enjoy the photos… Stay tuned for the next lunch and the next blog!  Remember if you are living La Dolce Vita, tell us about it… We love to hear of anything Italian.

And follow our La Dolce Vita Club blog!  A presto !

Bella Julie

Professoressa Pina e Jenny – appena arrivata da un soggiorno Italiano

Teresa e la sciarpa Romana – grazie Zia Rosa!

La Sposa Helen e Lili Marlene

Michele e Jonica … Amiche reunite !

Le Dolcissime…

Buon giorno cari amici !

Benvenuti alla Dolce Vita Club !  Ma cos’e` La Dolce Vita Club?

La Dolce Vita Club is about a passion for all things Italian.  It’s a celebration of that extraordinary nation; a chance to rejoice in language, cinema, culture, food and fashion.  A way to communicate, using hands and gestures, with other like-minded folk who miss a good “chiacchierata”.  A chance to talk about all we miss…

For me, it’s my Italian family and friends…  It’s about the taste of a ripe Italian tomato on fresh bread with some olive oil and salt;   it’s a macchiato and brioche in the mornings at the local bar; it’s red-tiled roofs;  opera and tacky pop music; it’s sunflower fields; cobble-stoned streets;  it’s living history; beautiful people; unreliable transport… Ahhhh, Italia!

The Club was born out of the deep and strong necessity to remain connected with my motherland ITALIA !  Not always possible when you live halfway around the world – in the antipodes.

Over endless coffees with my “amica di cuore” Lisa (Lili Marlene) Garside, we devised a club, a society, a haven to ease the pain of living so far from L’Italia and keep its magic alive in Perth.

Our shared passion for all things Italian started more than 20 years ago with our friendship and continues today.

Coming from northern Italy – my papa` is from a wine-growing family in Asti commonly known as “Le Langhe”.  Mamma instead is from the border of Italy and Slovenia – a beautiful part of the world that over time has been the centre of many feuds and was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

As part of the now famous post war migration, my parents (separately) came to Perth.  Like many migrants their stories began with a move to the Goldfields.  What a shock it must have been to move to Kalgoorlie, Gwalia and Leonora… A stark and harsh contrast to their green, lush, verdant  homeland.  I did the journey back to the Goldfields some years ago with my Mum – but that’s another blog!

Mamma and Papa`, like many Italians, both have a wall plaque at the Fremantle Maritime Museum to remember their journey, sacrifices and adventures.

Thanks to my loving parents I grew up in the (then) very ethnic suburb of Mt Hawthorn.  Nearly everyone on my street had tomatoes, “radicchio” e “insalata” growing in their front garden.

I studied Italian at University as part of my way to stay connected to Italia.  In 1992 was fortunate to win my first scholarship to Perugia to study at the Universita` Per Stranieri…  and I returned to study part of a Masters in Journalism in 2000 at La Scuola di Giornalismo Radiotelevisivo… My love affair with Italy has remained strong ever since.

At the same time, Lili Marlene grasped a dream to live in Italy at a young age, studied Italian at High School and University, skipped her graduation to be on a plane for Firenze – where she studied language and cultural studies at Lorenzo de Medici in the city’s ancient heart.  Her love affair grew stronger over the years with frequent trips and life adventures. She has been spotted dancing at the Masquerade Ball in Casanova’s Palazzo for the Carnivale di Venezia, living in an Tuscan medieval clifftop town, sailing in Sardegna and most recently- attending a wedding in the Franco Zeffirelli  villa in Positano.

Our vision is to do nothing more than breathe in the qualities, charm and art of Living La Dolce Vita.  Fellini’s 1960 masterpiece lights the way – bringing us Marcello and Maddalena, The Baths of Caracalla, The Trevi Fountain, Cha Cha Cha Club, Paparazzi and the majestic backdrop of Rome!

So let’s begin here in Primavera Perth with monthly “pranzi”.   Then outings – we already have some planned.   And each week we’d like to introduce to a “new” Italian word, concept or saying… This week my friends, perhaps predictably, our word is

LA DOLCE VITA: Which literally means “the sweet life.” It also means ‘life full of pleasure and indulgence’ (which is the bit we like!).

Join us, Marcello and Maddalena and start living La Dolce Vita x