Chef Dominique Rizzo returns from her sell-out Spanish “Unique Catalonia” food, wine and cooking tour for the launch of Impossible Conversations, in Brisbane, an event that is a classic celebration of art, ballet and poetic stories.

Impossible Conversations - Dominique Rizzo in Spain 2018 by Helen Gambley

Image: H Gambley

The Museum of Brisbane partnered with QPAC to create a series of Impossible Conversations with celebrated Italian figures from the past, many of whom are unfamiliar to most of us today.

“Inspired by Vanity Fair’s bitingly satirical 1930s series ‘Impossible Interviews’, nine of Brisbane finest residents shared the conversations that they would like to have with their chosen figure from Italian history.”

The conversation

Dominique Rizzo is honoured to be chosen to share her conversation with Saint Agatha, the saint of Sicily.

Impossible Conversations - St. Agatha painting

Image: Il Regno

Dominique’s conversation starts with a heart-felt note to Saint Agatha:
Impossible Conversations - Dominique Rizzo's note to Saint Agatha

Image: Museum of Brisbane

The art

Sam Cranstoun, the artist commissioned to paint the no-longer-living famous Italians, met and talked to Dominique and listened to what she imagined that she would say to Saint Agatha about her brave but tortured life.  It was this conversation that Sam then interpreted in his own watercolour painting.

“Because the historical figures are unable to take part in the conversations, Sam’s paintings hover in the space between question and answer. He offers glimpses of the conversations through imagery and text, inviting us to weave our own narratives.”

Impossible Conversations - Saint Agatha by Sam Cranstoun

Image: Museum of Brisbane

 

When and where can you catch up with Sam Cranstoun’s painting of Saint Agatha and the other eight historical Italian figures?

The stunning results can be viewed at the Museum of Brisbane exhibition Sam Cranstoun: Impossible Conversations, from 10 Oct 2018 – 31 Mar 2019,  and in the QPAC tunnel from November 2018.

The ballet – the pièce de résistance of this cultural event

The Italian theme of the Impossible Conversations celebrates the spectacular first-time visit of  Italy’s iconic Teatro alla Scala ballet company to Australia, to Brisbane only, performing Rudolph Nureyev’s grand Don Quixote and the ever-beautiful Giselle at QPAC.  What masterpieces are to be enjoyed by the lovers of ballet and theatre.

Impossible Conversations - La Scala Ballet Don Quixote

Image: teatroallascala Instagram

If contemplating these cultural events is making you think of food, why not cook Italian style with Dominique Rizzo’s recipe for Sicilian Arancini? These are show-stoppers in the arancini world.

Where to eat in Barcelona, Tips from Chef Dominique Rizzo as She Savours the World of Travel, Food, Wine and Cooking

Hi fellow travellers to Spain and welcome to Barcelona.  On the eve of  my Pure Food Wine & Cooking Tour “A Taste of Spain, Unique Catalonia“, here are a few more tempting insights into this majestic city to whet your appetite.

Tip 1.  The best Tapas in the city

Tapas where do you start and where do you finish and that is just in Cervecería Catalana with their fantastic choices, start at one end of the bar and try each one is our advice.

 

Image: Barcelonaroom


Tip 2. Churros at Xurrieria Dels Banys Nous

churro is a Spanish traditional deep fried-dough pastry that is powdered with sugar and sometimes dipped in chocolate as a snack.  It is a decadent number that you must try at least once.

Image by Yaho Dkr

Tip 3.  Must do restaurant in the Ravel neighborhood
Suculent” on Rambla del Raval, 45 is one not to miss if you love seafood.

Image by Miguel Lanos

Tip 4.   The ultimate experience 
The word on the street is that “Enigma” by Albert Adria (Carrer de Sepúlveda, 38-40, 08015 Barcelona, Spain) offers a dining experience of a life time.

Image by Nicholas Leong

Tip 5:  For chocolate like you have never tasted before
For chocolate check out Enric Rovira Chocolatier.  His chocolates are works of art. (Sant Geroni, 17, 08296 Castellbell y Vilar, Barcelona, Spain)

Image: www.gastronomiaalternativa.com

Tip 6.  For the deli lovers
Call into La Pineda (Carrer del Pi, 16, 08002 Barcelona, Spain) in the Gothic Quarter – it’s a feast and celebration of Spanish foods.

Image: Jossh Pappon

Tip 7. Mercat De La Boqueria (the marketplace)
 One of the best Spanish Barcelona experiences is to eat at Mercat De La Boqueria (La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain); find the bar called El Quim de la Boqueria; one of its delicacies is baby squid with egg.

 

Tip 8.  And just another thing ….. 
There is no tipping just round up the total.
Dinner is usually eaten very late (10p.m.) after bar hopping and tapas.

Travel tips

Essentials To Pack in your carryon:  Medications, Prescriptions, Passport copy, Passwords, European adaptor, phone/ipad/laptop chargers; an outfit (in case your luggage is delayed), sunglasses.
And in your suitcase:  swimmers, hat, sandals, espadrilles.

 

Follow Chef Dominique Rizzo on her “A Taste of Spain” travels in “Unique Catalonia” on her Instagram page She Savours the World.

Savour the World with Chef Dominique Rizzo
Why Spain, why Catalonia - map of the world

Why Spain, why Catalonia?  It’s hard not to think of Spain without thinking about flamenco dancing, red wine and tapas.

One of the questions that I am often asked is why I choose Spain and why Catalonia for my upcoming food tour.

It is the flamenco, the red wine, the tapas and all the amazing garlic-rich prawns “gambas al ajillo” and even more it is about the rich history of food, culture and art of this region that rubs shoulders with the borders of France.
Why Spain, why Catalonia - Gambas al ajillo                                                                                                        Photo by School of Tapas

Catalonia has beautiful sandy beaches like Costa Maresme, reaching into the Mediterranean Sea, unlike those other feet-breaking pebble beaches, that were until more recently were unknown to tourists who happily headed south of Barcelona to Sitges (although Sitges is still a favourite). Many locals of Barcelona preferred to head north where many owned their weekender beach apartment – white tiles throughout, clean and cool in the summer months.
Why Spain, why Catalonia - Beach Maresme Photo by Travel.365

What do you do after a day swimming at the beach but eat fresh seafood and this is where the famous fish markets at Arenys de Mar comes in to play. They say it is something else to watch the fishing boats come into port in the late afternoon, followed by flocks of seagulls hoping to feed on some fish. There is a fish auction at the port at night – perfect to take home the freshest of fish to cook for dinner.
Why Spain why Catalonia - Arenys de Mar Photo by Best Maresme

The history of food in this area is what really is fascinating – from sauces introduced by the Phoenicians, olive oil brought in by the Greeks, and then the influence of the Romans, Carthaginians and Jews bringing with them their own exotic flavours and spices.

While paella is the traditional food of Spain, the Arabs instilled the love of almonds and gazpacho, while the Christians introduced Spanish jamon (ham) previously banned by the Jews and Arabs alike. Garlic, garlic, garlic – it’s gastronomical flavor making even garlic soup a must-do.
Why Spain, why Catalonia - Spanish Jamon Photo by Jamon.com

When not at the beach or eating bocadilos – the amazing bagette with Spanish ham or drinking carva the champagne of the area or rich coffee, then it is total immersion in the art and culture of Barcelona with major art galleries from the classics to street art, stunning libraries and museums.
Why Spain, why Catalonia - Bocadillos Photo by Ricardo

Wander the streets, gazing at the Medieval buildings, Roman walls from the 13th century, the Gothic quarter between the Ramblas and Via Laientana.

Sometimes the reasons why I chose Catalonia are endless.
Why Spain, why Catalonia - Dominique Rizzo's tour to Spain