Bacon Lettuce Tomato Gelato Open Face Sandwich

The Turtle Gelateria has a never before seen flavor for you all made with Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato - like the American Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (a.k.a. as a BLT). Mary Stanley, gelato maker created this sandwich for Bacon and Beer Fest at Fair Market in Austin Texas. The open faced bacon, lettuce and tomato gelato sandwich is a whole wheat mini toast topped with a layer of bacon gelato, a layer of lettuce/kale sorbetto and a circle of smokey tomato gelato with a dab of candied bacon aioli. This savory gelato sandwich was packed with powerful bursts of flavors - not sweet but refreshing and savory. The Turtle Gelateria's BLT gelato sandwich was considered to be the most creative bacon dish presented at the fair. A portion of the proceeds benefit Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. This popular event showcases bacon-centric food prepared by bacon-loving chefs from Austin and Central Texas. Ask us and we'll make you some gelato BLT's for your next event.

Food On Fire

For The Turtle Restaurant's New Year 2015 celebration we are serving food that is scorched, flamed or otherwise on fire. The two dessert choices will be literally on fire. It gives me pause to do this on account of the tables clothes, the diners, the lawyers and clumsy waitstaff, however what is life without a little excitement and worry??


So your two choices on this night were Cherries Jubilee and Flaming Baked Alaska or Flaming Iceberg as it is known in Hong Kong. For a spectacular presentation of Flaming Iceberg see this You Tube video where Heston Blumenthal creates an iceberg dessert for his controversial Edwardian Titanic inspired feast.  His presentation is equally spectacular as the3 dessert itself. The controversy was spectacular as well, as one poster put it, "what's next, a 911 dinner?" Personally I think this is a bit different however I do see the point.
Anytime you see a food name with the word Jubilee attached it is usually means there's a Queen involved. A jubilee is an anniversary, a Diamond Jubilee is the 60th anniversary of a Royalty's accession. The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria was celebrated on 22 June 1897. The fabulously famous restaurateur, chef and culinary writer August Escoffier created this dish for Victoria's Jubilee - hence the name Cherries Jubilee. I am using Bing cherries in a heavy syrup which we made flavored with a bit of cinnamon and citrus, poured over vanilla ice cream followed by high proof Kirschwasser or Cherry Brandy to which a match gives birth to flames. Needless to say this must be presented in a fire proof dish, lighted away from the customer so no table dressing, clothing or hair become involved in the operation. It is a delightful presentation of very simple elements to which diners are drawn like moths. There are many variations on this theme: Bananas Foster, Mangos Diablo, Peches Louis.
Our second dish is Flaming Baked Alaska. It is more complicated than Cherries Jubilee but each component is easy to make. I am using a silicone yule log mold which I lined with a layer of vanilla flavored sponge cake about 1/3rd inch thick. I punched the cake with Budha's Hand Citron, I made a log of very bittersweet chocolate gelato and froze it hard. Then, I lined the interior of the cake with vanilla bean gelato about an inch thick inserting the frozen chocolate log in the center. This is then frozen hard and demolded with the flat side down. It is then decorated with a layer of Italian Meringue, sliced into individual pieces which show off the concentric layers of it's contents and lit afire assisted by some sort of high alcohol beverage over the top. I intend to go to the liquor store shortly to peruse the aisles and then decide what flavors might go best with citron, bitter chocolate and vanilla bean, probably a whiskey but we shall see.

I wondered what proof alcohol must be for it to catch fire?  Well prove it to me. Back in the day whiskey was tested for authenticity and alcohol content by pouring some over a small amount of gun powder. If the whiskey burned off and the powder ignited, it was considered "proof." That meant approximately 100 proof (49.5 percent rounded up). These days we know the temperature of the liquid can change the flash point or when the alcohol will ignite but not necessarily burn steadily. 

It's not really the liquid burning. It's the alcohol vapors that catch fire. Higher proof equals more vapor, depending on temperature. Hold a match to 80 proof vodka at room temperature, and it won't catch fire. Hold a lighter's flame or a butane torch to it and it will ignite temporarily. This is because the lighter's flame is warming the booze causing pure alcohol to vaporize. If you carefully heat the vodka to a higher temperature, it produces a lot of vapor, and it can catch fire and burn vigorously. (Note: Do not do this at home. You can definitely accidentally blow yourself up. )

This scales down to low-proof solutions. For instance, in cooking, if you add wine to a hot pan, it will flame up spectacularly, despite being only about 12 percent ABV (24 proof). Conversely, even 100 percent pure ethanol will not ignite if the liquid is 55 degrees F or lower. Did you get that ? - high proof cold - will burn, low proof - hot will burn. So if I don't want my dessert to taste too boozy, I might want to heat the lower proof booze first before I light the dessert. In all cases stand way back, use a fireplace match of a long lighter, and have an extinguisher on hand.

Considering Oranges

The Orange!
Geoff Dallimore

The orange is an awesome fruit,
Though doomed to live without a rhyme,
Surpassing, truly, the bitter lime,
The flagrant plum, the plump green pear,
The apple crisp; not one will spare
A passing thought for this lonely brave,
This hermit in his flavoured cave.
No rhyme, no friend, no bush, no root:
The orange is an awesome fruit.

What do you think of when you hear the word orange? Color with a wave length of about 590 nanometers? Breakfast juice? The word is derived from Tamil, and it passed through numerous other languages as it passed through numerous trade routes before reaching the English language and America. Sanskrit nāraṅga, Spanish naranja. The earliest uses of the word orange in English refer to the fruit. Before the English-speaking world tasted the orange, the color was referred to as "yellow-red." Words, plants, ideas have always spread through trade routes.

 Oranges are native to China and they were grown in that country as early as 2,500 BC. The Romans imported oranges but after the fall of Rome they were forgotten in Western Europe. The bitter orange, introduced to Italy by the crusaders in the 11th century—were grown in the southern Europe for condiments and medicinal purposes. This is the orange referred to as orange (Citrus aurantium) from the 11th century to the end of the 18th century.
Chinese orange or bush orange as it sometimes called is a small bushy shrub like tree which produces plenty of small lime sized sour highly flavored oranges with very thin peel
The first sweet orange tree (the orange as we know it today) was imported to Portugal in 1635. By 1650 it was marketed in France and Italy and called Portugal or portogallo or sweet China orange. The fruit was sweet and could be eaten fresh out of the hand, unlike other citrus fruits known at the time. Its scientific name became Citrus sinensis (Chinese citrus).The sweet orange was quickly adopted as a delicious and nutritious fruit, considered a highly desired luxury item, and wealthy people grew them in private conservatories, called orangeries. By 1646, the sweet orange was well known throughout Europe.

The actual origin of the orangery is hard pinpoint, however their use came into fashion during the 17th Century in Holland and England enabling those colder regions to grow oranges indoors. It’s likely they actually date back as far as the Roman Republic, where there is evidence of rudimentary conservatory like structures. The first English orangery was built for Sir Francis Carew in 1580, at his home in Surry. 

Spaniards  introduced the sweet orange into South America and Mexico during  the mid-1500's, and probably the French took it to Louisiana. It was from New Orleans that seeds were obtained and distributed in Florida about 1872 and many orange groves were established by grafting the sweet orange onto sour orange root stocks. Arizona acquired the orange tree with the founding of missions between 1707 and 1710. The orange was brought to San Diego, California, by missionaries in 1769. An orchard was planted at the San Gabriel Mission around 1804. A commercial orchard was established in 1841 on a site that is now a part of Los Angeles. In 1781, a surgeon and naturalist on the ship, Discovery, collected orange seeds in South Africa, grew seedlings on board and presented them to tribal chiefs in the Hawaiian Islands on arrival in 1792. In time, the orange became commonly grown throughout Hawaii. The orange had completed it's travel around the world.

Along with words and plants, stories traveled trade routes. Ever wonder why oranges are a Christmas stocking tradition? Many different sources tell a very old story about Saint Nicholas, who was born in a village on the shore of what is now part of Turkey but was then called Lycia around 270AD. He inherited a fortune, but spent his life helping the poor and the persecuted, and eventually became a bishop in the new Christian church at Myra.

Bishop Nicholas learned of a poor man with three daughters who had no dowries and could not marry. Nicholas knew the old man was too proud to accept charity. Some versions say the father was threatening to prostitute his daughters. The next night Nicholas returned and tossed three bags of gold for the daughters' dowries through the chimney which happened to land in the stockings of the three maidens which they had hung to dry in front of the fireplace. (Some versions say the gold was contained in threes socks which he threw through the window.)
The bags of gold turned into balls of gold which began to be symbolized by oranges which at the time of these paintings were costly and luxurious fruits. Bishop Nicholas is often portrayed in pictures wearing red robes and miter and holding the staff of a bishop as well as holding three gold balls, gold coins, or pieces of fruit.

Nicholas lived into his 70s, died of natural causes, was canonized and made a saint.  St. Nicholas became, over time, our good friend Santa Claus. The saint is also known as St. Nicholas of Bari, because his bones were stolen by forty-seven sailors of the Italian city of Bari from his tomb in his church in Myra.

The idea of stealing the relics of St. Nicholas from Myra was proposed by the inhabitants of Bari as an effort to restore prestige to the city. In 1071 the Normans conquered the city of Bari so that it was no longer the capital of the Byzantine Province of Southern Italy and under control of the Turks. 
Cities which possessed the relics of important saints not only were invested with spiritual blessings but blessed with tourists (pilgrims) which led to economic prosperity. During this time the name  “Nicholas” was the most common male name in Bari, second only to the name “John”. The Venetians had their Saint Mark, the Amafi had Saint Andrew so the citizens of Bari designed to steal the relics of St. Nicolas from Myra, not only because he was popular, but also because the Saint’s relics lay on the trade route to the city of Antioch in Syria where the merchants of Bari sailed to sell their grains and buy textiles.
Map of the main Byzantine-Muslim naval operations and battles in the Mediterranean, 7th–11th centuries.
And so the plot thickened - 
Apparently the Venetians were also conspiring to steal these relics as well. So the Barian merchants and sailors hurried to subvert the Venetians plan to also steal the relics of St. Nicholas, made haste to sail and moored in the inlet of Andriake, the ancient seaport of Myra. The Barians disguised themselves as pilgrims and were able to conceal their weapons under their robes as they crept toward the Church of St. Nicholas just outside of Myra. The monks who watched over the Saint’s body guided them to the Saint’s burial place. However, the monks soon figured out that the Barians intended to steal the relics, and so, one of the monks attempted to run off to warn the Myrians, but he was held at the church door by the Barian thieves. Whether or not the Barians were thieves or merely following St. Nicolas's instructions by vision remains open for questioning and depends upon who is telling the story. On 28 December 2009, the Turkish Government announced that it would be formally requesting the return of St Nicholas bones to Turkey from the Italian government. Turkish authorities have cited the fact that St Nicolas himself wanted to be and actually had been buried at his episcopal town of Myra and that his remains were illegally removed from his homeland.

Two young men (Matthew, a Barian, and Alexander, a Frenchman) forced open the slab of marble that covered the sarcophagus and lifted out the bones of St. Nicholas which were floating in the sacred “myrrh”. (another story for another time) Then, Matthew and Alexander handed the bones to the two ship priests, Lupus and Grimoaldus, and the relics were carried away to the ship accompanied by quiet chanting. By the time the townspeople of Myra arrived at the port, the ship was already sailing away. In their haste, the Barians left minor bones behind which were later collected by Venetian sailors during the first crusade and brought to Venice, where a church to St. Nicholas, the patron of sailors, was built on the Lido. 

On May 9th, 1087 the ship carrying St. Nicholas relics arrived in Bari. However, the city authorities, Duke Roger Borsa and Prince Bohemund, were away in Rome for the coronation of Pope Victor III. The thieving party delivered the holy relics of Saint Nicholas into the hands of Elias, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Benedict. Two days later, the Archbishop Ursus, while en route from Canosa to Trani (to set sail for the Holy Land), learned about St. Nicholas’s relics arrival so he decided to come to Bari to procure them for himself as the city authorities were away at Pope Victor's crowning.

The Archbishop decided the holy relics be better safeguarded in the cathedral, and sent his armed guards to collect them. The townspeople, however, were determined to defend the holy bones in order to dedicate a church in Bari to the Saint which was worthy of his holiness and fame. The people’s guards fought with the Bishop’s soldiers, a battle ensued; many were wounded and two or three young men lost their lives. Before the situation worsened, Abbot Elias managed to convince the Archbishop to renounce to his intentions and to donate the Catapan court site for the construction of the new church. Abbot Elias began the building of the sumptuous temple which remains, to this day, a fine example of the grandeur and beauty of Romanesque architecture. More than half of the bones of Saint Nicholas rest inside in an underground crypt.

Under the reign of Charles II the Lame (1285-1309), the Basilica was granted feudal rights which also contributed to its prosperity. The beautiful basilica has able to the withstand political adversity, remaining a busy center for pilgrims from all over the world including the Orthodox. Although this Basilica belongs to the Roman-Catholic church and is managed by the monks of the Dominican Order, priests of different Christian confessions are allowed to offer services in the crypt. 
As seeds, words and stories spread around the world and evolve, the orange has become the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world. It is an important crop in the Far East, the Union of South Africa, Australia, throughout the Mediterranean area, and subtropical areas of South America and the Caribbean. The United States leads in world production, with Florida, alone, having an annual yield of more than 200 million boxes, except when freezes occur which may reduce the crop by 20% or even 40%. California, Texas and Arizona follow in that order, with much lower production in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

Unfortunately along with seeds, word, stories and ideas, disease and pests spread following the same routes. Because of the bubonic plague Myra lost one-third of its population to it in 542-3 AD. It wreaked havoc in the area for 200 years, from 542 AD to the last outbreak of this pandemic in 745 AD.  This was the same plague that reduced the population of Europe by about 50 percent by 600 AD and has been seen as the cause of the beginning of the Dark Ages in Europe. Carriers of the disease  traveling along the coast of Turkey were spread by the shipping trades to the west to Europe and to the south in Egypt, and by the return of Christian pilgrims from Palestine.  There have been three major outbreaks of plague. The Plague of Justinian in the 6th and 7th centuries which emptied out Myra is the first known outbreak on record, and marks the first recorded pattern of bubonic plague. Medical geneticists have suggested that all three of the great waves of the plague originated in China. 
C. liberibacter, the bacterium that has all but annihilated Florida’s citrus crop, chokes off the flow of nutrients and are spread by Asian citrus psyllids that can carry the germ a mile without stopping, and the females can lay up to 800 eggs in their one-month life. It was first detected more than a century ago in China and has earned a place, along with anthrax and the Ebola virus, on the Agriculture Department’s list of potential agents of bioterrorism. - See more at:

Much in the same way as bubonic plague, the orange plague called Huanglonging disease, yellow dragon disease or more commonly citrus greening is being spread around the world. There is no known cure for this disease and may result in the decimation of  all citrus trees. The disease, which can lie dormant for two to five years, is spread by an insect no larger than the head of a pin, the Asian citrus psyllid. It snacks on citrus trees, depositing bacteria that gradually starves trees of nutrients. Psyllids fly from tree to tree, leaving a trail of bacterial infection the same way flees leave the bacterial infection known as bubonic plague on mammals. Since the modern world travels further and faster than the ancient world, disease spreads further and faster as well.

1919: First reported in southern China
1921: First report of disease in the Philippines, but it was thought to be related to zinc deficiency.
1928: A disease under the names, yellow shoot or greening depending on region, was observed in South Africa
1937: The first description of HLB in South Africa was assumed to be mineral toxicity
1941-1955: Most extensive work on greening in southern China was conducted 
1960's: HLB first appeared in Thailand 

The psyllids are thought to have arrived through the Port of Miami a ten years ago. The psyllid was first detected in California in 2008 and is now confirmed to be in San Diego, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura and Tulare Counties, resulting in quarantines and restricted areas. The Asian citrus psyllid has also been intercepted coming into California on plants shipped from other states or countries.

California and Florida’s citrus industry (indeed the entire world of citrus) is grappling with this deadly threat. Some countries no longer have thriving citrus industries. Citrus greening has infected all 32 of Florida’s citrus-growing counties. In a 2012 report, University of Florida agricultural analysts concluded that between 2006 and 2012, citrus greening cost Florida’s economy $4.5 billion and 8,000 jobs.The disease is a tree killer. “The long and short of it is that the industry that made Florida, that is synonymous with Florida, that is a staple on every American breakfast table, is totally threatened,” said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who helped obtain $11 million in federal money for research to fight the disease. “If we don’t find a cure, it will eliminate the citrus industry.”  Which means no more orange juice for us, not just orange juice, but limes, lemons, tangerines, all citrus fruit. Will oranges become extinct like the Myraians and Lycia? Will they remain part of a story in our memory like St. Nicholas? or will science be able to find a cure as it did with plague?


Croxetti is a type of pasta consisting of flat medallion or coin-shaped pasta disks stamped by hand or machine with intricate patterns. Croxetti originated in Liguria, in Northern Italy along the border with France, during the middle ages. In the past they were made by local peasants and used by aristocratic families as a display of wealth and status. The family Coat of Arms was carved on one side and a sauce holding decorative symbol, usually cross (hence the name croxetti) was carved on the other. You roll out your pasta a little bit thicker than normal cut it with the disc and then press it between the two parts of the stamp. As you can see the stamp has the cutter built in. It's easy to make a few dozen for a family  meal but since I was making over 400 for a dinner for fifty I had to call in the peasants.
Chef Mimi

Chef Vivi


We had our croxetti stamp made for us with our Turtle "Coat of Arms" by Franco Casoni in Chiavera near Genoa. He also carves mermaids and figureheads for ships and wooden sculptures for churches and civic displays.  It is a pleasure to hold his little work of art in my hand while I am stamping out pasta discs.

We also have a croxetti stamp that we bought online (sorry, I have forgotten where) which has an ear of wheat on one side and a spiral on the reverse. The spiral reminds me of this camp Japanese horror flick translated as Spiral or Vortex. but it really holds the sauce which is the point of the design. My grand-daughters insisted it was not a ear of wheat but a Blue Bonnet cute - little Texan that they are.
  I did not tell them that the spiral reminded me of a Japanese horror flick.

Enjoy this short video of Pietro Picetti making croxeti stamps in Varese, Ligura, Italy
Recently we made chestnut flour croxetti in sugo d'anatrain (duck sauce) for Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba. The fifty diners I mentioned above sat down for four courses prepared by Chef Bubba Frank, Pastry Chef and owner, Mary Stanley and her peasants; and more importantly to taste the great wines made by this two year old Texas winery.
The barrel room at Wedding Oak Winery San Saba, Texas
We think they are on the road to success because they are focusing on grapes that are more appropriate for Texas climate. No cabernet or chardonnay there. Try my personal favorite,  Wedding Oak Bridal Veil, a crisp blend of trebbiano and vermentino.

Never heard of these grapes? Historical references to trebbiano were made by Pliny and Petrus de Crestenthiis in 1303 so it is an ancient ancient grape. Trebbiano was brought to California by Italian immigrants. So the key word here is Mediterranean, hot dry climate. Where is it hot and dry? Central Texas. Trebbiano is the second most widely planted grape in the world. It has good yields, but tends to make undistinguished wine. It can be fresh and fruity, but does not age well so it needs to be blended with something that has more character.

For a white grape, Vermentino never seems to lose its character. It thrives in the heat on the islands of Corsica and Sardinia. It has spread across southern France, where it is called Rolle; through Liguria, the Italian Riviera; Piedmont, which might be its origin; and Tuscany. It is beginning to thrive in the hot and dry climate of Texas. Vermentino contains the flavors and aromas of resin, herbs and something slightly evergreen. Ligurians adore it for their seafood and pesto (one of the reasons we made Ligurian croxetti to pair with this wine dinner). “Eh, chi non m’as postu frucchitta!” (Why? You didn’t give me the fork!)

Vermentino is delicious and reasonably priced and vermentino is easy for Texans to roll off the tongue. Its bright acidity and citrus flavors are perfect for summer alone or blended with the more abundantly available but less distinguished Trebbiano. So if you are near Brownwood or San Saba, Texas pick up a bottle of Bridal Veil at Wedding Oak Winery or try Vermentino by itself or in a blend instead of your usual chardonnay or pinot grigio.

Vermentino is commonly thought to be Spanish in origin. Although it is currently grown in several countries around the Mediterranean, its best known examples come from northern Italy (particularly in the region of Liguria) and the island of Sardinia, where the wines are crisp, citrusy and generally unoaked. It is also the most widely planted white grape on the island of Corsica, where high altitude and hot climate vineyards produce more full-bodied wines with heady floral aromas. On the French mainland (where the grape is known as Rolle), it is found in Côtes de Provence and, increasingly, in Languedoc. Although it makes excellent wine, for many years Vermentino was best known for producing table grapes. The grapes are large with a good sugar/acid balance, making them a perfect choice for sweet snacking. - See more at:

Thoughts Concerning Italy and Innovative Food Production Equipment for Restaurant Production

Perhaps you associate Germany with fine machinery but it is worth the trip to ltaly to learn that Italy manufactures highly engineered machinery for making every day things. “Italians are the champions of special machines,” says Luigi Galdabini, Vice President of UCIMU, the Italian machine-tool association. “We are innovative and competitive, and we are artists, a little bit. Our aim is to be tops in performance, quality, and innovation,” Galdabini says. This is why we keep traveling to Italian trade shows, to discover cutting edge equipment and how to use these discoveries to improve our productivity and for the food, and the wine, and the art, and the architecture, but particularly when the machines are directly connected to food production.

The Turtle Restaurant in Brownwood has been a Slow Food member since it’s founding in 2002. It began with the usual story, owners drive by ranches with goats, sheep and cows, but can’t find any local meat in the market. Making good food is our passion.

During trips to Germany and Italy we got hooked on gelato a/k/a Italian Ice cream. There were no gelaterias in Brownwood. We purchased a Carpigiani Gelato/Ice Cream machine from Ital-tex, near Dallas, in 2003 and took a 2 day class in their office from the Italian gelato consultant, Luciano Ferrari. Luciano gave us some basic recipes designed for the larger Carpigiani equipment and demonstrated some fancy semifreddo. The Carpigiani model I purchased was their smallest machine, it only made “cold process” gelato which is inferior to “hot process” like instant pudding is inferior to creme brulee. We planned an expansion, added gelato cases and a party room to the restaurant. We discovered the Bravo gelato machine and the SIGEP website.

SIGEP is a gelato, bakery, pizza, coffee, chocolate trade show held every January in Rimini, Italy.
SIGEP is the pinnacle of all international trade shows related anything to do with life in those “Italian trade sectors.” Rimini is on the Adriatic sea, in the summer it is a crowded beach resort. During January, except for SIGEP guests, Rimini, home of Fellini, is an empty cold foggy “movie set,”. The town is quiet except for fog horns booming then echoing in the harbor, however this gives us an opportunity to sight see as if we were a Malatesta, without crowds but with attentive personal guides because we are their only visitors.

Rimini was founded by the Romans in 268 BC., the city was ruled by the Malatesta family (1295 until 1500). Take the time to see the Malatesta Temple (Tempio Malatestiano), commissioned by  Sigismond Pandolfo Malatesta. (this portrait is by Piero della Francesca)
in 1447 as a monument to his lover and third wife Isotta degli Atti. Then he had her immortalized in this medal which  Sisimundo commisioned from Veronese medallist Matteo de'Pasti.
The elephant depicted on the reverse was a heraldic symbol of the Malatesta, proclaiming fortitude. Maybe we should have named the restaurant The Elephant instead of The Turtle, also a symbol of fortitude and persistence.
 The year 1446, inscribed in Roman numerals, commemorates the year in which Isotta became his mistress. As a way of ensuring that her fame (and his) endured, he buried medals of them both in the walls and foundations of the buildings he commissioned, imitating the classical tradition of using Roman coins as foundation time capsules;for this reason, many of these medals survive. This design  may have been part of a pair, the other a portrait medal of Sigismondo showing his castle on the reverse.
Under his reign Rimini became one of Italy's liveliest centers for learning and arts. The exterior of the Temple is the design of the architect Leon Battista Alberti who believed that architecture should embody the humanistic qualities of dignity, balance, control, and harmony and that a building’s ultimate beauty equals the mathematical harmony of its parts. The Temple is considered a first in Western architectural history because it’s edifice incorporates the Roman triumphal arch as it’s entrance. The massive central doorway, flanked by two blind arches was influenced by the Arch of Augustus, the oldest (27 BC) triumphal arch in Italy, also still standing in Rimini.
Inside the temple one can view Giotto's Crucifix.
Frescoes by Piero della Francesca and reliefs by Agostino di Duccio. I  just adored the putti. Angelic little naked baby angels every where.
The Malatesta Temple stood as a model for artists and architects of the later Renaissance. Because of these humanistic values, and due to the glorification of Sigismondo Pandolfo himself and his lover Isotta (their initials are woven all over the building), the church was declared by Pope Pius II to be, "full of pagan gods and profane things." Actually it was due to “treachery” that Sigismondo was excommunicated and publicly burned in effigy, the rest was just a long list of politically acceptable excuses to do so. Rimini has an opposing opinion of their protector and benefactor, the last of the family of Malatesta to rule their fair city.

So after spending a few hours considering 1500 years of Italian political and art history, we return to SIGEP.
The length and breadth of the show is equally breath taking. There are five airplane hanger sized halls devoted just to the gelato sector. It takes days just to walk the exhibits and it is impossible to attend all the seminars, demonstrations and competitions making it difficult to choose what to see during the fours days of the show.

First stop for us was the Bravo gelato machine exhibit. We ordered our Bravo Trittico before we went to SIGEP 2007 based on our internet research. Our visit to the show confirmed we had made the right decision. While Italians make industrial sized food production equipment for massive quantities, they also manufacture equipment scaled for small producers. One of the things I like about eating in Italy is that there are so many small producers and so many regional differences in cuisine. Slow Food makes an effort to preserve these differences and pass them on to future generations. Italian food and it’s production is a fusion of history, art and culture over the past centuries. Visiting Italy changed my frame of reference as to what is “old,” what is an old building, how many generations it takes to build a business or an industry, or a country and then how it decays. I began to understand the imperative of leaving a legacy. I am not exactly leaving commissioned coinage in the foundations of buildings though some locals think we are throwing away money, but we are attempting to take the relatively new buildings (1893-1929) of our relatively new town (1870) in a relatively new country (1776) and re-purpose them for use by future generations instead of tearing them down just because they are "old."

The features that drew us to the Bravo Gelato Trittico were it’s multi-use and it’s size. Genesio Bravo asked the questions...”how can I help ice cream makers? How can I make their work easier? How can I make the highest quality ice creams" Bravo founded his company to answer these questions. According to their website “Bravo Trittico machines are innovative combi-machines that heat, cool, freeze, and whisk producing an array of pastry, frozen desserts and savory foods all in less than one squared meter of space. Bravo is the only machine that unites all of the processes involved in the production of high quality pastry, gelato and confectionaries. It comes pre-programmed with 17 recipes and a programmable function to customize.” We spent a day watching demonstrations while tasting gelato and chocolates of every conceivable flavor.

Fall 2008 I spent three days at the Bravo factory situated at the foot of the Berici hills in the small city of Montecchio Maggiore, Italy, overlooking Vicenza, the town where the reknown architect Andrea Palladio (1508 – 1580) worked during the Renaissance. I went to get a better understanding of chocolate tempering using the Bravo machine. Technology is an important assist on the road to local food production. Slow Food and farm to table does not require a rejection of technology but rather an appropriate considered marriage. We replaced a machine that did one thing adequately with a machine that could perform dozens of tasks superbly and simply which fit our scale of production and consolidated them into a small space, exactly as advertised.

Italians value the traditions and produce of small scale production of food, and by 1985 a law defined Agriturismo, and many abandoned buildings and estates were restored. These agriturismi allowed the small farmer to augment income from the farm, and for vacationers to soak in rural life. A great place to book agriturismi on line is  In 2008, we stayed seven days at agriturismo Azienda Vinicola Tenuta Maraveja, a restored antique Vecenzan farmhouse, about a fifteen minute drive from the Bravo factory. We arrived during the middle of the grape harvest yet Gildo Gennari greated us with a bottle of sparkling wine and the warmest hospitality. Our room was very comfortable and attractive. Gildo explained his wine making operation with the help of his brother’s translation, told us about local sites and took us to a new wine sagra in Brendola, then he prepared a barolo rissotto for us to celebrate our last evening before we set off on a grappa tour of the region.

We always stop by the Irinox booth at SIGEP because they are the world leader in shock freezing. When we opened we could not afford an Irinox so we bought a less expensive but less durable model which blew it's compressor twice in 2012. We watched Irinox launch their Multi-Fresh series in 2009. Great idea, painful price. Again the Italians won us over with their multiple use highly engineered equipment. Irinox engineers took the waste heat from the freezer compressor and put it to work under the control of the Multi-Fresh computer center. If you want to upload your own programs for temperature and moisture control for a specific process you can do that though a port. The Multi-Fresh system allows us to save nearly everything we make and process excess seasonal produce so that it remains in the freshest condition possible. Price becomes insignificant when compared to what this machine will do for us and the labor and food cost savings. We expect this machine to last three times our old one purpose blast freezer.
The computer which manages the operation of the Multi -Fresh is pre-programed to blast freeze products, regenerate them as if never frozen, chill or freeze soups, dry pasta, pasteurize and more. It can take you through a full production cycle of croissants from the chilling of dough to the freezing of formed croissants through timed proofing over night. It can cook sous vide. There isn’t room here for me to tell you all that it can do. For You tube videos explaining the entire range of processes go here.

Another SIGEP 2012 addition to our kitchen was the Ital-Mini, a multi-purpose pasta machine based on one of the oldest machines in history, the Archimedes Screw. Basically it's a motor driven Archimedes screw that extrudes pasta dough though bronze dies.
Made by Dominioni Punto & Pasta and now distributed in the USA by R&C Valve Repair in Santa Fe Springs, California, the Ital-Mini is charming with a retro look. You can order it in several colors and display it working within view of the dining room. This machine was designed specifically for a caterer or small restaurant like us. We bought the ravioli attachment to save labor. We extrude long sheets of dough, load them on the attachment, fill a tube with filling and a few minutes later we have piles of ravioli in what ever shape die we installed. This sure beats hours of hand rolling and filling but still tastes as if Mama made it because the dough is freshly made and the ingredients are pure. There were a number of problems to overcome when the machine arrived, starting with not have any instructions, but over time and with the help of R & C Valve Repair we finally managed to get the kinks worked out. We have become a local small producer of food through what we have seen and learned through our trips to Italy and SIGEP using the latest technology designed for that purpose.

Spaghetti Western Festival July 2012

Announcing The Spaghetti Western Festival sponsored by the Spaghetti Western Film Society and The Turtle Restaurant. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday during the month of July, (except July 4th) The Turtle Restaurant features mayhem and gratuitous violence and artisan spaghetti in all its glory to celebrate the arrival of our new Italia Mini pasta machine. A show schedule and description of the movies follows. Indoor movies will start at 6:00 pm after dinner orders are taken in the Candle Room. Outdoor showings are at 9:00 pm on the patio. There will be no food service at the 9:00 shows. All kinds of beverages and pop corn will be available and for sale at the beginning of the 9:00 show. Shows are free for the customers of The Turtle Restaurant and members of the Spaghetti Western Film Society. Our regular dining room service and bar service will be available in the dining room and bar for those customers who shy away from violent westerns or are just interested in good food. We'll be doing a food in film series at a later date!

The phrase 'Spaghetti Western' was originally created by Italian journalist Alfonso Sancha as a derogatory name for this genre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Italian director Sergio Leone's much copied film-making style and international box-office success. Most were filmed on location in Italy or Spain. These movies were originally released in Italian as well, but most of the films featured multilingual casts therefor sound was post-synched. These films mostly directed by Italians and filmed in Italy or Spain with an international cast. We will be showing some of the most famous and most violent films while contrasting them with comedic and political or Zapata spaghetti westerns.

July 3, 2012 - Django 1966 6:00 in the Candle Room 9:00 on the patio - This film was commercially very successful and spawned hundreds of imitators. If you see any movie today that has "Django" in the title it refers to this movie. The grim specter of death which seems to lurk outside every frame, represented by the coffin which the film revolves around, can also be seen in later westerns like Clint Eastwood's High Plains Drifter (1973), while echoes and references can be seen in many facets of pop culture - from the notable ear-slicing scene in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs (1992) to Takeshi Miike's bizarre tribute (also featuring Tarantino) Sukiyaki Western Django (2007). Tarantino is realseing a new film this fall entitled Django Unchained containing a ton of spaghetti western references though the story line has nothing to do with the original Django except for it's tail coating naming convention. A great piece of genre entertainment, and a terrific entering point for those interested in Spaghetti Westerns. Django is directed by Sergio Corbucci and starring Franco Nero in the eponymous role. Django remains a tightly plotted and violent piece of pulp cinema. The film earned a reputation as being one of the most violent films ever made up to that point.

July 5, 2012 - Once Upon a Time in the West 6:00 in the Candle Room 9:00 on the patio (Italian: C'era una volta il West) is a 1968 Italian epic spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone for Paramount Pictures. It stars bad guy Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson as his nemesis, Jason Robards as a bandit, and Claudia Cardinale as a newly widowed homesteader with a past as a prostitute. The screenplay was written by Leone and Sergio Donati, from a story devised by Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Dario Argento. The widescreen cinematography was by Tonino Delli Colli, and Ennio Morricone provided the film score. Many people have compared Leone's works to opera... slow, languid,and beautiful. In ordinary opera though, it is the musical beauty that is important, yet in Once Upon a Time, the quality of the music is matched and even surpassed by the incredible direction. Camera movements that climb, swoop, and zoom abound, a perfect match for the sweeping majestic music.

After directing The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Leone decided to retire from westerns but Leone accepted an offer from Paramount to produce another Western film in order to have the opportunity to work with his favorite actor, Henry Fonda. He recruited Bertolucci and Argento to devise the plot of the film, researching other Western films in the process. After Clint Eastwood turned down an offer to play the villain's nemesis, Bronson was offered the role. The original version by the director was 166 minutes (2 hours and 46 minutes) when it was first released on December 21, 1968. This was the version that was to be shown in European cinemas and was a box office success. However, for the US release on May 28, 1969, the movie was edited down to 145 minutes (2 hours and 25 minutes) by Paramount and it was greeted with a mostly negative critical response and was a financial flop. The film is now generally acknowledged as a masterpiece and one of the best western films ever made. In 2009, it was named to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant and will be preserved for all time.

July 10 - The Price of Power 6:00 in the Candle Room 9:00 on the patio - Politics and assassinations are the theme of this excellent Euro Western directed by Tonino Valerii. aka 'IL PREZZO DEL POTERE'; 'MUERTE DE UN PRESIDENTE' throws historical fact to the wind in some spots but who can nitpick with the thrilling screenplay by Massimo Patrizi. Euro Actor Giuliano Gemma is excellent as the hero of the piece who while trying to avenge his fathers death gets sucked into the assassination of President Garfield played eloquently by Hollywood stalwart Van Johnson. In a plot which parallels the Kennedy assassination , this also takes place in Dallas and shows the corrupt machinations behind the scenes as the sheriff who is in cahoots with other political figures to get rid of the commander in chief implicates a black man who is innocent. He then is murdered on the way to jail just as Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. Gemma is forced to expose the murderers and is rewarded by finding the traitors who killed his father. You'll also spot Euro stalwart Fernando Rey as the bank official responsible for the Presidents murder.

There is not a wasted moment in the entire films running time and thanks to the incredible photography from future action director Stelvio Massi and a sweeping music score by Luis Enrique Bacalov, this film emerges as one of the best Euro Westerns, just gritty enough to enter into Spaghetti territory. Valerii was no slouch when it came to the Western genre, he also gave us 'MY NAME IS NOBODY'-1973 which he made with Sergio Leone and the excellent 'DAY OF ANGER'-1967 also with Gemma and Lee Van Cleef. This film, however, emerges as his true masterpiece, an intricate woven tale of blackmail, revenge, and atonement. For all you Western fans out there who thought you had seen them all, be here July 10 and revel in one of the greatest Westerns of the Sixties. Powerful and highly recommended.

July 11, 2012 Keoma (6:00 showing only) also released in various countries under the titles Django Rides Again and The Violent Breed, is a 1976 Spaghetti Western film directed by Enzo G. Castellari and starring Franco Nero and Donald O'Brian. Keoma, one of the last notable films of its genre, is considered by some to be one of the finest spaghetti westerns ever made, with its scenes of slow motion, gun fights, an anti hero and unusual soundtrack by G & M De Angelis. The score they composed plays a big, important part in the film. The many songs, not unlike a Greek chorus, explain and reflect on the emotions and what’s on screen. The two singers do this with such dark and/or penetrating voices, that almost no film reviewer fails to mention it, mostly negative. But there is a group of admirers and I've never heard anything like it.

Django Kill (If You Live Shoot) 9:00 pm showing only - Django Kill (If You Live Shoot) is a prime example of the Italian "spaghetti" western as horror movie, probably the most violent western ever made. Director Giulio Questi gives the film a haunting, surreal veneer that suits well the many horrific elements. The film is woozy and is sometimes Feliniesque.

The spaghetti western genre spawned several great films, such as Leone's Once Upon A Time In The West and Enzo G. Castellari's little-seen Keoma which are part of this series. The long cycle of spaghetti westerns (1961-1975) began with Sergio Leone's, A Fistful of Dollars. As we pointed out earlier, Sergio Corbucci's 1966 slaughterfest Django was one of the most financially successful spaghettis which spawned innumerable Django sequels. Unrelated films were retitled to cash in on the Djano's popularity. Such was the case with this film,  If You're Alive, Shoot! retitled Django Kill! Django Kill! was made during spaghetti western's peak period, the late sixties. It hits all the bases of the genre: excessive violence, a stoic, Eastwood-esque anti-hero, the ugliest desert landscapes you'll ever see, and did I say excessive violence?

July 12, 2012  A Fistful Of Dollars - A Fistful of Dollars was the first in a trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns about "The Man with No Name." (The other two, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, were made in 1965 and 1966, respectively.) It's actually a misnomer - Eastwood's character has a name, although it changes for each of the films (here, it's "Joe") - but it made for a good marketing device. All three movies were released in the United States during 1967, and, to one degree or another, they ultimately influenced nearly every Western made thereafter (including Sam Peckinpah's landmark The Wild Bunch and Eastwood's own Unforgiven).

A Fistful of Dollars is a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo, with guns replacing swords, the setting shifted from Japan to the Old West, and Eastwood standing in for Toshiro Mifune. Yojimbo's look and themes in turn were in part inspired by the Western genre, in particular the films of John Ford. Leone and his production company failed to secure the remake rights to Kurosawa's film, resulting in a lawsuit that delayed Fistful's release in North America for three years. In Yojimbo, the protagonist defeats a man who carries a gun, while he carries only a knife and a sword; in the equivalent scene in Fistful, Eastwood's pistol-wielding character survives being shot by a rifle by hiding an iron plate under his clothes to serve as a shield against bullets.

The element that differentiates A Fistful of Dollars from the majority of its predecessors is its gritty, un-romanticized view of the Old West. Although there are some grandly impressive landscape shots, Leone is more concerned with emphasizing the dirt and grit of this setting than its scenic beauty. His characters are not clean-cut good guys and black-to-the-core bad guys, either. Joe is out for himself, and, on those rare occasions when he experiences pangs of conscience, he's almost ashamed of them. Most traditional Westerns have clearly defined lines separating heroes from villains; only in spaghetti westerns do both sides begin to stray into the gray areas in between. Leone also makes frequent use of the close-up, and oftentimes his characters are shown to be sweating and bleeding. Traditional Westerns tend to present violence as relatively clean and bloodless; Leone makes it messy. This approach adds a little more tension to the gunfights. There's not such a sense of surety that the protagonist will or should win.

The score is by veteran composer Ennio Morricone (working under the "Americanized" pseudonym of Dan Savio). As was true of Leone and Eastwood, Morricone's scores in all three "Man with No Name" movies became iconic of the trilogy.

July 17, 2012  For A Few Dollars More (Italian: Per qualche dollaro in più) is a 1965 film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Gian Maria Volonté. German actor Klaus Kinski also plays a supporting role as a secondary villain and is the second part of what is referred to as the Dollars Trilogy.

After the box-office success of A Fistful of Dollars in Italy, director Sergio Leone and his new producer, Alberto Grimaldi, wanted to begin production of a sequel, but they needed to get Clint Eastwood to agree to star in it. Eastwood was not ready to commit to a second film when he had not even seen the first. Quickly, the filmmakers rushed an Italian-language print (a U.S. version did not yet exist) of Per un pugno di Dollari to him. The star then gathered a group of friends for a debut screening at CBS Production Center. The audience may not have understood Italian, but in terms of style and action, the film spoke well. "Everybody enjoyed it just as much as if it had been in English", Eastwood recalled. Soon, he was on the phone with the filmmakers' representative: "Yeah, I'll work for that director again", he said. Charles Bronson was again approached for a starring role but he passed. Instead, Lee Van Cleef accepted the role. Eastwood received $50,000 for returning in the sequel, while Van Cleef received $17,000. The film was shot in Almería, Spain, with interiors done at Rome's Cinecittà Studios.The production designer, Carlo Simi built the town of "El Paso" in the Almería desert: it still exists, as a tourist attraction

July 18 The Good the Bad and Ugly (Italian: Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo) made in 1966 directed by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach in the title roles. The screenplay based on a story by Vincenzoni and Leone. Director of photography Tonino Delli Colli was responsible for the film's sweeping widescreen cinematography and Ennio Morricone composed the famous film score, including its main theme. It is the third film in the Dollars Trilogy following A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For a Few Dollars More (1965). The plot revolves around three gunslingers competing to find a fortune in buried Confederate gold amid the violent chaos of gunfights, hangings, American Civil War battles and prison camps.

July 19 Duck, You Sucker 6:00 showing (Italian: Giù la testa), also known as A Fistful of Dynamite and Once Upon a Time… the Revolution, is a 1971 Zapata Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Rod Steiger and James Coburn. Sergio Leone's elliptical style and good performances from Rod Steiger and James Coburn combine to produce a vastly entertaining film (1971), also known as A Fistful of Dynamite, about the aftermath of the Mexican revolution. Coburn, a fugitive from the Irish “troubles,” and Steiger, a Mexican bandit, team up to rob a bank and unwillingly become the focus of the counterrevolutionary forces. A marvelous sense of detail and spectacular effects. Duck, You Sucker was banned from Mexico until 1979 because the government thought it portrayed the Mexican revolution in a bad light.

A Bullet For The General 9:00 showing is a 1966 film which stars Gian Maria Volonté, Klaus Kinski, Lou Castel and Martine Beswick. Originally entitled El Chucho, quién sabe?, it is the story of El Chucho, the bandit, and Bill Tate (or El Nino) who is a counter-revolutionary in Mexico. Chucho soon learns that social revolution is more important than mere money. This is one of the more famous Zapata Westerns, a subgenre of the spaghetti western which deals with the radicalizing of bad men and bandits into revolutionaries when they are confronted with injustice. There is a very anti-American allegorical layer to this film - those who expect to be offended by that may want to pass it by. El Chuncho, for all his violent, criminal savvy, is politically naive, and easily manipulated by Tate. Tate, on the other hand, represents the idea that any action is blessed as long there is a tall enough dollar sign behind it. When El Chuncho is placed between nationless greed and belonging to his people, though, he makes a choice that speaks for the entire film. "Don't buy bread - buy dynamite!"

July 24, 2012 My Name is Nobody 1973 (Italian: Il mio nome è Nessuno, also known as Lonesome Gun) is a Spaghetti Western comedy film. The film was directed by Tonino Valerii and, in some scenes, by Sergio Leone. It was written by Leone, Fulvio Morsella and Ernesto Gastaldi. Leone was also the uncredited executive producer. The cast includes Terence Hill, Henry Fonda, and Jean Martin. Jack Beauregard (Henry Fonda) is a tired, aging legendary gunslinger who just wants to retire in peace in Europe to get away from young gunmen constantly trying to test themselves against the master. The film opens with three rascals ambushing Beauregard in a barbershop. After Beauregard has dispatched them, the barber's son asks his father if there is anyone in the world faster than Beauregard, to which the barber replies "Faster than him? Nobody!"

By the 1970s, the spaghetti Western had almost become a parody of itself. The serious westerns were primarily violent, low-budget films that were barely distributed outside of Italy. Meanwhile, slapstick parodies of the genre were becoming more popular. Sergio Leone and his team decided that if anyone was going to make the ultimate "joke" version of the genre, they should be the ones. Terence Hill was cast not only for box-office, but because he had in a short time become something of an icon of the genre. Hill had started the comedy spaghetti craze with the hugely successful movies They Call Me Trinity and its sequel Trinity Is Still My Name. With the casting of the classic Westerner Henry Fonda, the contrast between the old and new (dying) West was clear.

July 25 Der Schuh des Manitu (Manitou's Shoe) (2001) was seen by over 11.7 million people, one of the most successful German films to date. We threw it in the mix here because Manitou's Shoe  hilariously refers to dozens of classic spaghetti westerns with it's jokes.. It was very difficult to find an English version of the movie. Even if you don't understand a word of German, the visual jokes are hilarious and references to the spaghetti westerns shown in this series are easy to identify. We will be showing an English dubbed version. Besides after all this violence, a little comedy lightens things up. I think it is funnier than Blazing Saddles, partly because it is German.

Eat Your Way Around the Mediterranean

It has gotten a little boring around here so we decided to fire up the place with our favorite Mediterranean foods and some hot music and dancing. Be here July 29 and 30, 2011 6:00 pm-9:00pm for food, music and dance. At 9:00 plus a few mintues for set up and $10.00 Samara will perform her fire dance on the patio. Drinks and small plates will be available on the patio and in the bar from 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm. Call 325-646-8200 for reservations or on line here

and don't forget about the flaming saganki!!!!!