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A Monte Bianco Visit and Recipe..

Text copyright 2017 Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

The things that are expected of winter, in the mountains of Italy, are.. of course- snow and lots of skiing, but also a dessert that commemorates the famous settimana bianca (white week) the ‘infamous’ week spent skiing on whatever snow capped mountain you desire, surrounded by  a snow covered mountain….and one of the most romantic mountains to spend your settimana bianca .. is Monte Bianco in the Italian Alps- a winter without seeing Monte Bianco is just not winter…one of the most written about mountains by the likes of Victor Hugo and Shelly….But  if you are not able to visit Monte Bianco you can always experience it as a delicious dessert..( something that splendiferous had to be honored with its’ own luscious  dessert)…. and this one is actually good for you..made with chestnuts, dark chocolate and only a small amount of sugar…

So now I can say that my January is definitely complete..(unfortunately not a visit to) but my annual making of the Monte Bianco….before the chestnuts were all gone…but after I found the chestnuts I had to find a ‘schiacciapatate’ (potato ricer). I love to mash the chestnuts by hand in my schiacciapatate


not many make this dessert at home and even less make it by hand… but for some reason mine was nowhere to be found…so I went from ‘door to door’ asking friends and relatives if they had a schiacciapatate’ to borrow..and luck struck me at the last door…finally a schiacciapatate that was not wanted but in great condition! So, I willingly adopted it and gave it a place in my kitchen..

Monte Bianco

(photo by

1lb of chestnuts

4 tablespoons of sugar

1 cup of milk

1 tsp vanilla essence

8 ounces dark chocolate (minimum 80%)

1 cup whipped cream

Boil chestnuts in water for approximately 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, peel. Place in saucepan, cover with milk, add in vanilla and sugar. Boil until liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Place boiled chestnuts while hot in potato ricer and mash into bowl. Melt chocolate in double boiler and place into mashed chestnuts. Blend together. Place mashed chestnuts and chocolate mixture into potato ricer and let the mixture fall onto a plate as you rice the mixture, forming a mountain shape. Cover with whipped cream. Place in fridge for 15 minutes and serve.
You can also find this  recipe in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:DaVinci Style

You can get it at or Kindle   ..filled with recipes and stories of DaVinci’s life in Italy.

The Allure of Moroccan Berber Rugs

People who spend a lot of time focusing on residential design may be familiar with the concept of the Beni Ourain rug at this point. If you’re fond on all things that relate to interior design, you may have seen a lovely Moroccan Berber rug on display somewhere. You may have spotted one in a beautiful model home. You may have seen one in a home renovation and remodeling publication. You may even have seen one in a particularly stylish residential property during a visit. If you’re curious about Beni Ourain rugs, you’re not an anomaly. These rugs have been the source of enthusiasm and mystique for quite some time. People are just beginning to understand the amazing benefits they bring to the table. Moroccan Berber rugs are handcrafted floor coverings that have been tradition in North Africa for longer than most people know. These modest tribal beauties, however, are comparatively new superstars in other areas of the planet.

If you dream of durability, a Beni Ourain rug could hit the spot for you. These rugs consist of numerous tiny loops. They differ from many other popular rugs in that they aren’t made of strands. If you want to get your hands on a floor covering that’s the picture of strong and durable, a Moroccan Berber rug could potentially be ideal. These rugs are generally tough. They usually stay in fantastic condition for years. Just remember, however, that there are numerous fiber options for these rugs. Certain Moroccan Berber rug fibers are markedly more durable than others. Don’t assume that all of these rugs are necessarily the same. People who want to purchase particularly strong and dependable Beni Ourain rugs should always pay attention to fiber styles.

Designing a home beautifully can cost a lot of money. Most people find the process extremely stressful. It makes them worry that they’re going over their budgets. It makes them worry that they won’t have enough money to cover other rooms and areas, too. If you want to take a budget-friendly approach to designing your residential space, a Moroccan rug could work out well. These floor coverings are usually excellent value for your money. That doesn’t mean that their prices don’t differ dramatically, however. Some of these rugs are considerably more expensive than others. There are also some, however, that are rather inexpensive.

Beni Ourain rugs are majestic. Looking at them is a soothing experience that’s not easy to describe. They appear in all sorts of colors. They have all different types of designs, too. If you’re someone who could get lost in a world of geometric shapes and forms for hours, you’re undoubtedly the kind of person who should have a Moroccan rug. These rugs can take you to a new universe. They have faraway feels that are evocative of life in the Atlas Mountains long, long ago. They also, however, manage to maintain a sense of true modernity. If you want a rug that’s well-rounded and that can match all kinds of settings well, you should remember the name ‘Beni Ourain’ clearly.

These rugs can give people comfort that’s both effortless and pleasant. If you constantly question the comfort levels of your home rugs, Beni Ourain coverings won’t leave you with any doubt whatsoever. Their textures are impossibly soft and inviting. Click here for more details on the wonderful world of Berber rugs.

Holiday Guide2 Italian Pie Crust..Pasta Frolla…



copyright 2016 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc


Merry Christmas from the Liberati family to yours with a Christmas Card from my niece Sofia Liberati

and Christmas wishes from My (rescue Pup) Sweetie Bear’s first with Santa



My favorite product find for a great Holiday gift, especially for the coffee lovers on your list:

Devocion Coffee

Try this exceptional Columbian coffee at

And don’t forget a copy of The Basic Art of Coffee  in paperback  or in Kindle version as an accompaniment to this gift!


*Carrington Farms has the purest of pure Coconut Oils that makes a great butter substitute for your Holiday recipes or anytime you want to add healthy fats to your diet


*Also put a dash of Carrington Farms Flax Seed in muffins, breads, pancakes, waffles, soups for a healthy touch to any food. My favorite ingredient to add into our Christmas morning Brunch Pancakes


Here’s wishing you a week full of Delicious days… and may the spirit of the Christmas Season be with you all year ‘round..

torta rustica 3

Pasta Frolla is one of the most delicious pie crusts and is versatile since it also makes great cookie cutter cookies. and makes the tastiest pie crust. Use for pumpkin pie, apple pie, crostata and any other sweet pies you can think of. Thanks for Debra in Pennsylvania for requesting this recipe,

Pasta Frolla

2 sticks of butter (8 ozs.)

4 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

4 egg yolks

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pure vanilla

* Optional-peel of 1 grated lemon

Place flour, salt, baking soda  and butter (taken right from refrigerator). in food processor. Blend till a ‘sandy’ mixture is formed. Then add in sugar and blend in. Take out ‘sandy’ mixture and place on wooden boards. Form a well in center and place in egg yolks, vanilla, lemon peel.  Knead dough by hand unti la smooth dough is formed. Form into one large or 2 smaller balls of dough and cover with plastic wrap, place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and place on lightly floured surface, roll out to desired thickness for pie crust and/or cookie cutter cookies. Bake at 375 degrees,for 15-20  minutes until golden or as directed with pie recipe if pie filling is required.

For great recipes get your copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book

The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition in paperback or in Kindle version

Holiday Guide #1

copyright Art of Living, PrimaMedia,Inc 2016/ Maria Liberati

With the Holiday season approaching fast many have their mind set on gifts and the Holiday table…so instead of 1 Holiday Guide there will be more than one this year, focusing on a variety of products for gifts and products that will make a great addition to your Holiday table!



The Basic Art of  Italian Cooking: Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition


This Gourmand World Award Winning Culinary Book has become a Holiday favorite around the World, thanks to our over 300,000 followers!  Order soon a limited amount of copies are still available…. for recipes and Holiday stories, menus included, 200 pages, Includes Christmas Eve, Feast of the Seven Fishes,Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, La Befana, Valentine’s Day, Carnevale. Makes a great Christmas or Holiday gift! get your copy on Amazon and.or Kindle using these links:

Paperback edition

Kindle Edition



I love making a special breakfast for our Holiday Table on Christmas morning. One of my favorite dishes for our Christmas Brunch is an easy parfait made with  freshly made ricotta served with seasonal fresh  fruit and topped with Viki’s Granola it is 100%  all natural and gluten free. Simple recipe but ohh so delicious because of the freshly made ricotta and granola that work so well together to give a creamy crunchy taste

1 cup of freshly made ricotta cheese

1 cup fresh fruits in season

Viki’s Granola 

Divide ricotta into 4- 1/4 cup servings  and place in parfait glasses, top with fresh fruit and sprinkle Viki’s Granola on top


Oils..not all created equally…

In cooking, the rule of thumb is that..”not all oils are created equal”. So  when I recommend using olive oil, I must specify that the olive oil should be extra virgin, first cold pressed, certified, organic. Not all oils are the same.

The same goes for oils for the skin, hair and nails…..”not all oils are created equal”. So when you want to get the benefits of using  oils on your skin, hair and nails you have to use an oil that is organic, pure and 100% naturally sourced. Using an oil that has chemicals  and fragrances defeats the purpose..and is worse than using no oil at all.

So when you choose the perfect oils for your skin..go to

Eden’s Semilla – 100% Naturally sourced Vitamin E Oil with Rosehip and Jojoba Blend

Eden’s Semilla – 100% Pure Organic Jojoba Oil


I love the lush feeling my skin and hair get when using these oils….


Thanksgiving and a Sicilian Cassata

Thanksgiving is here and  pumpkin pie is not far from everyone’s mind but if you want to ‘think out of the box’ this Thanksgiving… a Sicilian Cassata makes an unexpected  replacement..

Thanks to Barbara in Liberty Missouri for asking for this it is


The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions=second edition

copyright 2016 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

Sicilian Cassata


1 lb sponge cake (store bought or homemade)
2 cups water
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange flower water
½ cup candied fruit for decorating such as candied orange, cherries, figs, candied or citron sliced finely with a peeler for decorating
Ricotta filling
2 lbs firm fresh ricotta, drained well
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup candied orange peel, chopped finely optional, if you don’t like orange peel, use 1 tbsp orange zest and add in some candied fruits chopped
6 ozs. dark chocolate, chopped
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk


Slice the sponge into three layers of ½ “ thick slices. Grease and line a 12” spring form cake pan. Using the cake pan as a guide, cut out two circles the size of the base of the pan. With the other slices of sponge, cut into strips of 3” wide to cover the sides of the cake pan so that you almost completely line the pan with sponge cake with a disk of sponge left over for what will be the base.
In a small heavy based saucepan, over a moderate temperature, dissolve the sugar, orange flower water, lemon juice and water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until it resembles a light syrup. Remove the syrup from heat and leave to cool for about 15 minutes. Using a pastry brush, moisten the sponge on the base and sides of the pan, reserving a small amount of syrup for the top of the cake.
For the ricotta filling, ensure that the ricotta is well drained and quite dry. To drain the ricotta, place it into a colander or fine sieve in the fridge over a bowl for a couple of hours or overnight for a perfect consistency. Use a fork to combine the ricotta with the sugar, powdered sugar, orange peel and fold in the chopped chocolate. You can also add ½ cup of liqueur, usually cherry.
Spoon the ricotta filling into the sponge and smooth over the top. Brush the remaining layer of sponge with the syrup. Lay the layer sponge, syrup-side down, onto the ricotta. Press the sponge down gently and place a piece of baking paper on top. Place a plate over the top and weigh down the sponge with pans or a heavy weight. Place the cassata in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
For the icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl and add milk. Stir well until a smooth and thick white paste forms. Invert the cake onto a large plate. Pour the icing over the cake, spreading it with a wet spatula to glaze the top and sides allowing the icing to spill over the cake. The icing should be slightly thick and very smooth. Leave to set for 1 hour in the fridge. Decorate the cake with the extra candied fruit and serve.

Eat this quickly it is best for 2 days…But it will be gone before 2 days!

Copyright 2016 Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc/Maria Liberati

and for more recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition on Amazon or ebook version available exclusively at Kindle

cover- book 2nd edition-001



Food, Fun and Fright..can only mean one thing…..

Halloween is  creeping up quickly…#MoreBooForYou

and if you need to get your pet ready for that special night



Celebrating Autumn with a Pane Cotto Recipe

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Albert Camus

copyright 2016 Maria Liberati/Art of Living, Prima Media,Inc.

One  day  of the  week was always reserved for bread baking in most homes in Italy. From sunrise the loaves were kneaded and then left to rest and rise! The bread would be eaten all week and used and reused in so many delicious ways….

Bruschetta makes use of crusty bread that is day old..but it has become a new,  almost chic thing to make with so many ingredients. Years ago, Pane Cotto (literally means cooked bread) was invented as a recipe to make use of crusty day old bread.  And it too, is becoming fashionable to make.

Today, with the chill of Autumn here, Pane Cotto comes to mind..a dish that soothes the stomach and the soul..and takes away the chill of Autumn. This is a traditional soup from Abruzzo. The Tuscan version is known as Acquacotto and is similar. Either way they are sure to become one of your favorite comfort foods for a chilly autumn evening.

First get some authentic, crusty, day old bread……




Pane Cotto

1/2 lb cauliflower (florets only)

2 ounces pancetta (optional)
1/2 medium onion

1/4 lb carrots

1/4 lb celery

1/2 lb potatoes

1/4 lb fresh zucchini

1/4 lb white beans

1/2 lb of red, ripe tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 lb of crusty day old bread

2 garlic cloves

pinch of thyme


pinch of red pepper

sage leaf

Soak white beans overnight. Cook them in 8 cups boiling water with  1 tblsp olive oil, garlic cloves, sage leaf, cook till beans are tender but still al dente.

Wash remaining veggies and peel and cut into large cubes. In a large frying pan, place in pancetta and onion chopped finely. add in chopped veggies and saute for 10 minutes. Add in tomatoes that have been seeded and cut and lastly add in white beans  with cooking water. Cook till veggies are tender.

Cut bread into large cubes. Place under broiler till golden and crusty. Place soup in large soup pot and place in bread. Let sit for an hour. reheat to medium heat and serve boiling hot.

For more  great recipes get your copy of the book selected as The Best Italian Cuisine Book in the USA- The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition



If you are in and around the Philadelphia area this month, I will be doing a few appearances  in the month of October  in the city of Brotherly Love… look forward to sharing some samples with you and meeting you!

Stop by to see me at:

The Philly Food and Wine Show on October  21,22 and 23rd at the Valley Forge Casino in King of Prussia Pa. I will be sampling recipes and signing books at my booth and on stage on Saturday at 11 AM

Happy Coffee Day and a Coffee Milkshake Recipe

copyright 2016 Maria Liberati/Art of Living.PrimaMedia,Inc.roasted_coffee_beans

Happy Coffee Day!   Whether you are studying for a final exam or cramming in a work project last minute, burning the midnight oil comes with the desire for caffeine… and lots of it. In America, we tend to sweeten up our coffee with milk, cream, and/or sugar. Coffee is an important ingredient in American as well as  Italian culture. The first European coffeehouse was actually opened in Venice, Italy in the 17th century! The love of this addictive, smooth-as-velvet stimulant quickly spread throughout Italy and eventually the world. This beloved beverage that is now known throughout the world  comes in many different flavors and varieties and has become an art unto itself.

I love the unmistakable, perfect scent of coffee beans brewing.

In this winter months, we resort to hot cups of coffee and snuggle up in a chair and work, but sometimes a cool coffee milkshake will do. And this one makes a perfect way to celebrate the day, so easy you can make it at home. It is like a milkshake or a frappucino. The amaretto adds a delicate, sweet, almond flavor to the drink. This drink recipe is perfect because it combines our love of coffee with a refreshing chill. After blending it, be sure to put it in a fun or overly- elegant chilled glass for extra enjoyment!

Frullatto al caffe (Coffee ‘frullato’ or milkshake)

From The Basic Art of Coffee

*2 cups of strong espresso coffee

*4 tblsps of sugar or sugar substitute

*2 cups of chopped ice

*1 tsp of anisette or amaretto flavoring

*1 cup milk (part skim or skim milk)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Serve immediately in two tall chilled glasses.


For more great coffee recipes, get your copy of The Basic Art of Coffee



Also get the Gourmand World Award Winning Book The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions-2nd edition



October 10th..looking forward to speaking to the ladies at the Circolo Italiano in Haddonfield NJ!

Join My Pizza Making Class Virtually..


pizza cover


Sunday, September 25th at 2PM EST I will be doing an Italian Pizza making class online..participants from around the world will be able to join in and make pizza with me, ask questions and participate! The class fee is $25 but 2 winners will have the opportunity to join the class for free. Just answer this question by Tuesday September 20th and send the answer to

*Which one of my books in The Basic Art of Italian Cooking series won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards?

First 2 correct answers will get a free ticket to the virtual pizza making class


For more great recipes get your copy of The Basic Art of Italian Cooking:Holidays and Special Occasions: 2nd edition


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