Yes boys and girls, Ladies & Gentlemen, it’s almost here. Positano The Amalfi Coast Cookbook / Travel Guide is coming. It will be available on Amazon.com on November 28, 2020, “The Best Thing to Happen in 2020,” so the saying goes. The book is like no other ever written on Positano, Capri, Naples, and the Amalfi Coast. Anyone who gets it, will see that it’s one of the best Italian Cookbooks ever published on the specific region and cuisines of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. There are lots of great recipes that I have collected and developed over a 35 year period of going to the beautiful island of Capri, Positano, Napoli, and the Amalfi Coast of Southern Italy, which most people have just recently discovered in the past 15 years or so, I made my first of many wonderful trips way back in the Summer of 1985. I’ve been going ever since, and have stayed in and explored almost every inch of this one of the World’s most beautiful areas, and in particular, the food, the people, and the natural beauty of the Amalfi Coast, the surround area and islands.
Yes I have a wealth of knowledge that you will not get and most other cookbooks or travel guides of the area. Did you say travel guide you say? Yes, this book is like no other ever written on the Amalfi Coast in that is a cookbook and travel guide, with true stories of Naples, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast written by me. Why both a cookbook slash travel guide. Well, I love cooking and I love travel, and I am, if I must say so myself, well versed on both. I worked in the restaurant and wine business in New York for more than 30 years, cooking for 10 years, and then as a wine director specializing in Italian Wine. I got to know and become friendly with hundreds of Italian people who make wine and own wine estates all over Italy. Yes my knowledge of wine, food, cooking, writing Italian Cookbooks, and Italy and World Travel are quite extensive, and I bring this experience to you within the front and back cover of this book, Positano – The Amalfi Coast Cookbook / Travel Guide.
This book first started out as a travel guide of Positano and the Amalfi Coast with Naples and Capri. Yes a travel guide, with essays as well as having 30 or so recipes of the best loved most popular dishes of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. Somehow as books often do, it morphed into something else. It became more of a cookbook than a travel guide, but never-the-less, a travel guide as well, not only in the traditional travel guide sense of chapters on specific places, and info on the best hotels, and restaurants in Naples, on the islands, and all around the coast. So, info in the traditional sense, but a great deal of wonderful info and little known secrets translated in the stories I tell of my frequent trips and all the eating, chatting, maneuvering around and all sorts of little tidbits for you to divulge.
There’s no pictures you say. Yes this is true, no pictures other than the beautiful cover (“I think so”). No I don’t do pictures in my books but stories that people seem to like quite a bit, “my storytelling of food, experiences, travels, and what-not.” If you want pictures though, you are in luck. I’ve created a companion website to this book, Positano-Amalfi-Coast,com, and it has all the gorgeous pictures of Positano, Naples, Capri, and the whole of the Amalfi Coast that you could ever want, they’re on my website, so use it in conjunction with this book.
Why the recipes. I love food, especially Italian Food, my specialty, and I love the food of this area, and I want to tell you something. The reason for all the wonderful recipes that I’ve amassed over the years, through having so many meals at wonderful restaurants, trattorias, and pizzerias in Naples and all around the coast, talking to the cooks and chefs, going home and re-creating these dishes, and writing up recipes on how to make them, and jotting everything down. It’s been a 35 year journey. I want you to read the book and pick out the dishes you love, maybe you had a certain dishes at a special little trattoria where you had a most memorable time, and now that you’re home and you miss being on the Amalfi Coast, you want to learn how to make that special dish and cook it at home for friends, family, and loved ones. It’s a way to relive all those wonderful memories of Capri, Positano, the Amalfi Coast, no matter where you stayed or went, this book will help you relive all those wonderful times, as well as help you plan future trips whether you been there before, or this will be your first time, we are here to help and inspire you to have the Dream Vacation of your life.This is my hope.
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Lemons on the Amalfi Coast? Yes Lemons. The Amalfi Coast of Italy besides being a major tourist destination of the 21st Century, as a result of its unending natural beauty, wonderful climate and tasty local cuisine, combined with charming hotels, boat rides to Capri and all sorts of wonderful things. The Amalfi Coast has all these things, and besides these, it just happens to be The Lemon Capital of the World as well. The Costiera Amalfitana is blessed with an abundance of Lemon Groves up and down the coast, extending Salerno to Sorrento and every town in-between. Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast are a Lemon Lovers dream come true. The area has all sorts of Lemon based products from the head honcho lemon product lemon-liquor known as Limoncello, Lemon Scented Soaps, Lemon Perfume, Lemon Pasta, Lemon Desserts, Lemon Granita, Lemonade, Lemon Tea, and all sorts of Lemon Motif product, such as; Scarves, Ceramics, T-Shirts, this-that-and-every-other-thing. Yes the Amalfi Coast is a Lemon Lovers Paradise. So if you love lemons, this is certainly the place to be.
The Lemons of the Amalfi Coast are known as Sfusato. They are big and knobby and prized for their perfume and sweet flesh. You can eat the whole thing, even the skin. Lemons are grown all along the Amalfi Coast and on the islands of Capri and Ischia, but Minori has always been known as the center of Lemon activity on the coast. The Sienenese Jesuit Botantist G.B. Ferrari was the first person to make a record of the qualities of the Lemons of this coast. In 1646 he wrote, “the nipple is prominent, the rind is rough, pleasantly scented with a sweet taste, the flesh has 8 or 9 segments, the taste is pleasantly sour.”
Much of the land between Positano and Vietro Sul Mare had been unproductive up to the middle of the 18th Century, but by the early 1800s lemon farming and trading had become quite productive with great cultivation of lemon groves in Minori, Atrani, Amalfi, Conca dei Marini, Ravello, Cetara, Praiano, Maiori, Tramonti, and the surrounding areas, with Minori as the leading port for the transportation of Sfusato (Lemons).
If you ever experience it, it is a wonderful feeling to be among Oranges or Lemon Groves, to see them and just to know they are there, and you are among them, looking at them and smelling their heady scent. And in being in such an area, it is sure you will consume them, and in many different guises. You can have Lemon Gelato or Sorbeto, drink Lenonade on a hot day, Limoncello after dinner, that may have been preceded with a plate of Spaghetti al Limone.
I for one get excited every time I see lemons, or come upon any and every Lemon Grove I see, and Oranges too for that matter. Lemons are King down here but you will also come upon Orange Groves as well, especially in and around Sorrento. And besides a plate of Spaghetti al Limone, when dining out, it’s a good chance you will be eating all sorts of seafood, especially Cozze (Mussels) Vongole (Clams), Alici (Anchovies), (Shrimp), and all kinds of fresh fish and shellfish in all sorts of tasty preparations, your palate will be delighted. Besides the seafood of course you have to have those Lemons in any number of culinary adventures, including; the two leading ways that these lemons are used, as with the famous lemon liqueur Limoncello and also made into Lemon Granita. There also a sweet treat called Delizia al Limone and you haven’t been to the Amalfi Coast, if you don’t partake in one of Italy’s most popular desserts of all, the famed pastry of the area, Sfogliatelle which are a clam-looking crunchy pastry filled with lemon scented ricotta cream. These pastries are divinely delicious and are not to be missed if you are in the great city of Napoli or on the Divine Coast of Amalfi, for this is where they were first invented. Sfogliatella were created by Nuns of the Convent of Santa Rosa in the small seaside town of Conca dei Marini on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It is believed that the nuns of Santa Rosa invented Sfogliatella some 400 years ago with leftover cooked semolina. They have been a hit ever since. You’ll love it.
One of my favorite spots to eat Sfogliatella, is at Pasticceria Gambardella in Minori, the place where, once I get to Minori, I go inside, they call up Vincenzo Manzo at Villa Maria, and he comes down in his Fiat to pick me up, and bring me back to stay at his agriturismo Villa Maria. I always have some Gelato or a Sfogliatella as I wait there at the caffe for Vincenzo to come pick me up. That’s the “Sweet Life.”
Another good place to have some type of lemon pastry or cake and enjoy the local lemon Sfusato is one of Italy’s premier pastry shops in Sal di Riso, also in Minori and brother of the family at Gambaradella. Salvatore Riso is one of Italy’s premier Pastry Chefs and his Pasticerria Sal di Riso is world famous for Sal’s exquisite pastries, gelato, Lemon Cakes. And you just know that Salvatore makes great Sfogliatelle. Sal di Riso makes several different Lemon types of Lemon Cakes and Tortas made with Lemons from Minori, as well as Lemon Gelato and Delizia di Limone (Lemon Delight) which is a cake that is soaked in Limoncello and covered with a lemon-based cream. This delightful pastry as its name implies was created in Sorrento by Pastry Chef Carmine Marzuillo in 1978, and it’s served in Naples, Sorrento, and all over the Amalfi Coast.
Now the other great place to enjoy the local Lemons of Amalfi in their sweetest forms is at the most wonderful pastry shop in the town of Amalfi. The place is at the very center of Amalfi, right in the middle of the Piazza del Duomo and just feet from the beautiful Cathedral of Sant’Andrea. The place is Pasticceria Andrea Pansa and it is an absolute gem of a pastry shop / caffe. Great pastry shops and caffes are among the most wonderful things in all of Italy, and Pansa Pasticceria is up there with the Best ofThe Best in all of Italy. Andrea Pansa has been in the town of Amalfi since 1830. The place is absolutely gorgeous, and yes, they make many wonderful pastries, cakes, gelato, and cookies that are scented with, yes you guessed it, Lemons from The Amalfi Coast. You can have a Limonello here, Granita, Gelato, a Lemon Delight (Delizia di Limone), and of course the greatest pastry of them all, the Sfogliatelle Santa Rosa in several different forms. Grab yourself a seat at a table inside or go outside and enjoy yourself al fresco style. Order as I might, a nice steamy Cappuccino accompanied by a crunchy Sfogliatelle and you shall be in 7th Heaven, “I guarantee you.”
So you are on the Amalfi Coast among the world’s best lemon groves, and of course you want some lemons in your savory dishes as well. If you are in Sorrento, you absolutely have to go to the grand caffe in the heart of the town at the Piazza Tasso to the Bar Fauno, which if you were forced to pick a spot that was the epicenter and Heart Beat of Sorrento, it would have to be this place, Bar Fuano. Bar Fauno is a large grande caffe where you can get just about anything to eat that your little heart desires. You can simply have an Espresso or Cappuccino, a Pizza or Panino, an Apertivo such as a Negroni or Aperol Spritz, you can have either an Italian, an American, or a full English-Breakfast. You can eat there for lunch, or dinner, it’s all here at Bar Fauno, including, yes; Limoncello, Sfoliatelle, Gelato, Lemon Delights, and Lemon Granita, whatever you like, they’ve got it at all at Bar Fauno. They even have a very impressive wine list if you so desire. It’s more than just a standard one, they have it here as well.
At our recent stay in Sorrento with our apartment directly across the street, my cousin Tony and I found ourselves at Bar Fauno about 7 times in three days. We absolutely loved the place, and what’s not to love? As I’ve already stated, “they have everything.” When we first got into town, driving in a car from Salerno, there’s a parking garage just down the street from the caffe. So we parked the car and headed towards Bar Fauno. We sat down with our friend Alan who had joined us for a few days. Our waiter brought over the menu and wine list, and as we had been drinking Ferrari “Perle” the day before and Tony loved it and wanted to get another bottle of the stuff. And so we did. We ordered a Pizza and an Octopus Salad, “as I’ve said, they have everything.” We had a nice little lunch and then we checked into our suite. With the suite, they gave us vouchers to have breakfast at Bar Fauno, and we did so for the next 3 days. We had a wonderful little breakfast that included; Cappuccino, fresh OJ, and a Cornetto. The breakfast was quite nice, and as always, good service from the friendly Bar Fauno staff. Thanks guys.
You are in Sorrento, and this is a place they really go wild for Lemons and anything related to them as in a couple hundred different souvenirs you can buy, with a Lemon Motifs upon them. You can get an apron, Spoon Holder, Citrus Juicer, a Key Chain, T-Shirt, Polo Shirt, and so many things with a Lemon on them. This is Sorrento, a place that gets millions of tourists from all around the world every year, and many of the businesses derive income from lemons in one way or the other, whether it’s from products made with lemons in them, such as Limoncello, Parfum, Pasta, Jams, Soap, or what-not, to items that simply have images of Lemons upon them, that’s Sorrento, The Amalfi Coast and Lemons.
Excerpted from POSITANO – The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK / TRAVEL GUIDE by Daniel Bellino Zwicke … Publication release November 2020
Centrally located in Positano, Le Sirenuse is just 650 feet from the coast and its beautiful beaches. It features an oyster bar, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and elegant rooms with a private balcony. There are also a free swimming pool, hammam, and fitness center.
The spacious and air-conditioned rooms have a white-themed décor and full views of the Mediterranean Sea. Each offers a satellite flat-screen TV with Blu-ray player, an iPod dock, and a fully equipped private bathroom with a large spa bath and soft slippers.
At the Sirenuse you can unwind at the oyster bar, where you will find a variety of oysters that you can enjoy together with champagne. The Michelin-starred restaurant has a spacious terrace overlooking the sea.
GET CELEBRITY TREAT with World Class Service at Il San Pietro , Positano
Offering a private beach, fitness center and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Il San Pietro di Positano is located in Positano. This luxurious 5-star hotel features elegantly furnished rooms with a terrace and sea views.
The spacious rooms all include bathrobes, slippers and a flat-screen TV with satellite and pay-per-view channels. Some also feature a design sofa or chair.
Local organic food is used to prepare gourmet dishes at the restaurant. A generous sweet and savory buffet breakfast is served daily. On request, breakfast is provided in your room.
At the San Pietro di Positano hotel, you can enjoy drinks and cocktails at one of 2 bars, one of which is at the beach. A tennis court, state-of-the-art spa and a free outdoor pool are also available.
Set on a cliff in the heart of the Amalfi Coast, Villa Treville features luxurious rooms and suites overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. This luxurious property includes a free private beach and gym, plus free Wi-Fi.
Uniquely decorated, rooms with private bathrooms are air-conditioned and come with a balcony, a sitting area, a free minibar and flat-screen TV. Some rooms feature a small private pool and terrace. Bar and club lounge access is free with each room.
Your full breakfast provides a wide choice of sweet and savory products. Meat and vegetarian dishes, as well as fresh seafood options can be prepared at the restaurant.
Treville includes 4 independent buildings situated in a 5-acre estate. You can relax in the gardens or enjoy a cocktail and snack in the Club Lounge bar with terrace.
Casa Albertina is a wonderful 1st Class little family run Hotel that is perfectly situated so you get a nice view of the town from just a little way up, yet a short easy teen minute walk to the Beach and Center of Positano.
I first discovered Casa Albertina way back in 1986 and had 3 glorious days staying there. The son Lorenzo gave me a special rate, seeing I was a young man (22) and probably didn’t have much cash. This hotel is beautifully appointed and the entire staff provides the most friendly service. Casa Albertina is an Absolute Gem.
Note : The first time I stayed at CASA ALBERTINA was the Summer of 1986. The owners son Lorenzo gave me a special rate of $79 a night, and I had an absolutely wonderful time. The next year when I came back, the price had gone up to $119 a night. When I checked the prices in May of 2018, the rate was $279 a night, and actually a reasonable rate for the quality of this hotel, which is not super deluxe, but does make it in to the luxury category of hotels.
Hotel Palazzo Murat is in Positano’s center, 800 feet from the beach. In an elegant 18th-century building, it is surrounded by landscaped grounds and enjoys panoramic views of the village.Most of the spacious rooms overlook the sea, the garden, or the perched town. All air conditioned and non-smoking, they include flat-screen satellite TV and a balcony. Wi-Fi is free in public areas.
A breakfast buffet is served every morning on the grounds-view courtyard, and includes homemade pastries. Al Palazzo restaurant serves local specialties on a porch surrounded by centuries-old citrus trees.
During the summer, Palazzo Murat provides a boat for tours along the Amalfi Coast. The friendly staff at the 24-hour front desk can also provide free beach towels.
This is our guests’ favorite part of Positano, according to independent reviews.
Right near the CAPRITOWN Bus Station & PIAZZA UMBERTO
“They Make The BEST ARANCINI (Rice Balls) on the entire AMALFI COAST”
“I kid you not. And just 1.5 Euros a POP”
They have a marvelous array of tasty prepare food at this place.
Frittata, tasty Eggplant Parmigiano, Meatballs, Lasagna, and
the BEST RICE BALLS in the entire region. “SERIOUSLY!”
Of course they make great Panini (Sandwiches) Too !
You can pick up your Mineral Water here, as well as get some
local Wine for your Lunch, and Limoncello as well.
I first discovered this wonderful little Salumeria one day in 2015 after coming
back from a lovely day at the beach (Marina Piccalo).
After hopping off the bus up from Marina Piccolo and walking to the
Piazza Umberto, I came upon the Salumeria. I popped in and spotted the Arancini. A few days before
I had some tasty Arancini in Positano, and I was Jonesing for some more, so I ordered one and bought a large bottle of Sill Mineral Water.
I got my stuff and went over to the Piazzetta and sat down on a bench that had where there’s a wonderful view of Capri from there. I opened my package, grabbed the Arancini and bit in. “Oh My God? How tasty. It was absolutely marvelous. “Dam these people know what they are doing!”
I knew where I was getting my Beach Lunch from the next day. Yep, the Salumeria Capri. This year I was staying up in Anacapri, so I took the bus down to Capritown. I went into the Salumeria, looked things over at the counter. I saw what looked like Eggplant, and I asked Mamma (counter lady) “Melanzane Parmigiano?” She replied, “Si, Melanzane.” I asked her for a portion, and I bought 2 Arancini as well. I got another bottle of water, some Peaches, and a nice half bottle of Aglianico di Benevento, local red wine. I was set. And so I made my way for the nice long walk to the Faraglioni Rocks and the Da Luigi Beach Club were I would hang out and go swimming that day. Needless to say, i had a wonderful time at the beach, and my lunch was one of the best I’ve ever had, “You should see the view from there.” Yes it cost a lot to get a Chaise Lounge (25 Euros, with a towel) but it was worth the great time I had there, swimming, hanging-out, and the memories I have from that day. It was absolutely wonderful.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
It’s the center of all of Amalfi and it’s an absolute “Must Do” when in town. Have a cocktail, Espresso, and a tasty Sfogliatelle. A tip, skip the pastry Lemon Delizia that looks great, but it’s not. Again, get a Sfogliatelle or other pastry instead.
I could see Positano in the distance and my heart skipped a beat. I’d been there three times before, but hadn’t seen it in some time, and it was just as beautiful as ever, even if now there was multiplies of more people going there, the town is still gorgeous. But this time, I wasn’t getting off in Positano as I usually did. This time I was headed for Minori, a town I had an early evening dinner in with my friends when we rented a car to go to Pompeii and then Vietro Sul Mare to by some the beautiful ceramic plates. We stopped at a cute little trattoria for some tasty seafood and then we were off. After our dinner, we stopped off at Amalfi, parked the car, had a couple Negroni’s at an outdoor caffe. Then we walked around and marvelled at the Feast of Santa Anna that was going on at the time. That was way back in 1987. Let’s get back to 2015 on the Amalfi Coast, and making my way to Villa Maria (Minori). It sort of pained me, to not be getting off the bus in Positano as I normally would have done, unless I was coming from Capri by boat. Anyway, I almost wanted to cry of, as I just got a teasing glimpse of my beloved little town (Positano).
The bus passed through the town, making its way to Amalfi, as I strained to catch the last glimpse of the town, we drove on our way south towards Amalfi. No need to cry, I was going to Villa Maria which would prove to be one of the best times of my entire life.
We arrived in Minori, and I hopped off the bus in the center of town. I went into a jumping caffe (Gambaradella) and asked if I could make a phone call to my hotel. The lady at the cash register was kind enough to make the call for me, and told me that someone would be down in a few minutes to pick me up. I got an espresso and Sfogliatelle and waited for my ride. A little while later Vincenzo Manzo showed up at the caffé in his Fiat Panda and threw my bags in his car. We headed up to Villa Maria and arrived about ten minutes later. Vincenzo led the way, and we went into the dining-room and sat down. He introduced me to his wife Maria, daughter Nadia, and his son-in-law, and they gave me a pitcher of fresh lemonade made from the farm’s wonderful lemons of course. At that moment, nothing in the World could have made me happier. I was at Villa Maria hanging out with Vincenzo Manzo and his family and drinking Lemonade made from the famed Amalfi Coast Lemons that were grown in Vincenzo’s farm. Who’s luckier than me.
Excerpted from POSITANO – The AMALFI COAST – Cookbook / Travel Guide , due for publication Release May 2020 … Broadway Fifth Press NYC
This piece of art is from a photo I took in May of 2018. I edited the picture with the Painnt app from Google Play, and this is the result. I walked a fare ways up the Via Pasitea in Positano and snapped this shot. Of course I took many more.