Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flowers for Dinner

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Spring has finally arrived and with it my desire for recipes which reverberate my love for the loveliest of all seasons, especially if they include flowers. I actually am the daughter of what you could call a herb whisperer. My mom is a real expert in the use and cooking of wild herbs and flowers (she wrote the book Erbe selvatiche dal Ticino alla Valle d'Aosta) and taught me how to recognize a couple of herbs, what's their healing property and how to intergrate them in my dishes.
 I used some of her teachings for a dinner's first course: a salad with fennel, mashrooms, dandelion (flower, stalk and leaf), primroses, speedwell and vetch flowers, the last four ingridients being picked by my mom and I on Mount Bré (Switzerland). I accurately washed the plants and vegetables (except for the mashrooms) and cut the vegetables and the dandelion's stalks into slices or tiny pieces. I then mixed the ingredients, added my favorite salad sauce (salt, pepper, dill, olive oil, apple vinegar, honey and mustard) and spread some more flowers on the top for decoration. Doesn't the salad look lovely in the picture above? Believe me, it's also very tasty! However, should you not like bitter, do not exaggerate with the dandelion's leaves and stalks: they are extremely healthy but quite bitter.
The second course was stuffed zucchini flowers. To prepare this dish, I stuffed the flowers with a fennel, parmigiano and egg musse, topped them with a slice of cheese and chilli threads and then baked them. My boyfriend absolutely loved them.
Let me know if you tried these recipes or if you have any suggestions for variations and additions!
I am now leaving for a run in the woods. Gotta soak up some sun!  Enjoy this enchanting spring too!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Say "Sweet"! Easter Giveaway with Max Chocolatier

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Family tradition is the key to Max Chocolatier's quality: 
the chocolate brand owes his name to a small boy who often forgot to lick off telltale traces of the chocolate he loved to eat. 
The exclusive recipes for today’s chocolate delicacies, in fact, come from Max’s grandfather, who mastered the art of conjuring up priceless works of art in “brown gold” many years before. 
Max’s father too, company founder Patrik König, recalls that no Sunday would have been complete without grandfather’s “Gugelhöpfli”. 

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Today’s fine, handmade chocolate products from Switzerland owe their success to these childhood dreams and vivid family recollections. Since 2009 Max Chocolatier’s expert team has been awakening Grandfather König’s original recipes to new life on the Lake Promenade in Lucerne.

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Natural, biologically grown ingredients and cocoa beans purchased from fair-trade plantations guarantee the quality of these masterpieces in chocolate, pastries and ice creams, none of which contain preservative substances. Max Chocolatier regards “hand-made” and “natural” as synonyms for quality and precision. Even the badges embossed on to the pralines and chocolate bars are shaped and applied by hand.

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  And to create the perfect all-embracing experience, Max Chocolatier managed to create the most cute packaging: a sugar sweet joy for tongue and eyes! 

Max Chocolatier and GvN Style Blog want to please you with a cute and delicious Easter bunny. Comment below and/or on GvN's social media channel and indulge in Swiss sweetness. You have time until April 14th!

Max Chocolatier_Easter 2014By the way: Max Chocolatier’s cow Pralina is waiting on the slopes of the Seewlialp in the Swiss canton of Uri to pose for a photo. Just in case you need some extra Swiss flair...

Say “sweet”!

Pictures - courtesy of Max Chocolatier

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday SPA Treat for Body & Soul

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Sunday afternoon and it is raining outside. 
What could be a better occasion than this for a home spa day with natural cosmetics?  
Lighted candles, a cozy bubble bath, a warm cup of herbal tea (ginger and green tea)and high quality natural beauty products is all that I need to treat my body and mind in a natural way.
 
As you know, I like to use organic and natural products for my body care and everytime I find products worth spreading the word about, I like to share it with you.
Here are three newly tested products.

Weleda is one of the best-known natural cosmetics brand. I love the smell of this showergel made with organic roses' essential oil. Definitely a joy for my senses.
 
 Sanctum is a new organic and vegan brand I just discovered. The products' quality is absolutely undebatable and what I appreciate a lot is their policy: the packaging of each product tells whether and to what percentage the ingredients (which are always 100% natural) are organic. Moreover, Sanctum is a vegan brand which does not test on animals and the packaging is made ​​with recyclable materials. I find that there is no better way to celebrate and respect the very inspirational source of the products, namely nature.
An absolute guiltfree indulging experience.

I found this Anthyllis Shampoo in a discounter in Italy. It was the first time I saw it, but I can assure you that my hair is super soft every time I use it. So if you happen to bump into it, I reccomend you try it!


Monday, March 17, 2014

Interview with African Handmade Shoes

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Totally inspiring statement, right?

As you already know, I have become quite a passionate sustainable brands' hunter. As I discovered that the team behind African Handmade Shoes, this super young brand which works with skilled African shoemakers comes from my hometown Lugano (Switzerland), I simply had to ask for an interview. Discovering that one of the founders was Mary, a girl that I met years ago at school was, needless to say, a terrific surprise. 

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Here's the interview she dedicated to GvN Style Blog:  

Thank you so much Mary for giving this interview. I am super curious. How did your Swiss-African adventure start and what is the story behind your shoes?

Our adventure started with Paul, my boyfriend and first founder of African Handmade Shoes, totally by chance. During one of his trips to Capetown, in 2007, he met Arnold, our main shoemaker and designer, and became good friends. Arnold is a Zimbabwan shoemaker, but what Paul found particularly interesting and fascinating is that he and Arnold both shared a huge desire to learn new things, to grow professionally and from a human point of view and, last but not least, to make a change where there are difficult circumstances by doing something concrete!

What kind of shoes do you do? What’s so special about them?

At the beginning, we started by doing handmade leather shoes. Nowadays, consumers are accustomed to buy mass production shoes. Therefore, the first thing that made us thinking about opening a business in Africa was the handmade quality that Arnold’s shoes had. Let’s be honest: wearing a handmade shoe gives you a special feeling that a normal shoe just can't. These shoes have a personality of their own and they become even more beautiful as you wear them day after day.
The new collection is going to be an explosion: fresh and young, perfect for summer! I invite you and your readers to stay tuned and follow us through our social media channels until the 1st of May.

We certainly will! 
How did you decide to create a socially conscious brand and what is the policy of African Handmade Shoes?

African Handmade Shoes was born from the idea of “doing” and “creating”. We are collaborating with our artisans creating a bond between Africa and Switzerland. By working on these shoes, both the designers and the craftsmen can actually grow up, learn a lot and build their future.

Tell me more about the craftsmen and all the people who work on the project
. Who are these artists?

On the one side there are Arnold, Collin and Aleck, three brothers who carry on the knowledge inherited by their family back in their homeland: Zimbabwe. However, they are also developing their own skills by researching and by working really hard. They are becoming very successful in South Africa! On the other side, there are the assistants who are willing to become shoemakers. What is important to our team is to pass the tricks of the trade to the next assistant so that the craftsmanship can be preserved. Therefore, the environment in the workshop is very exciting: every day is a new challenge for everyone.

What do you think about the current status of sustainable fashion in the fashion business and in the eyes of the consumer? What is your perspective on its development and what do you see in the future of this branch?
 
Nowadays, it is actually becoming counter-productive to work in the fashion business without at least trying to be sustainable. Not really because it is “cool” to be socially and environmentally conscious, but because people are understanding more and more that planet earth is one and one only and therefore it’s worth not to mess everything up for materiality. There is one important thing that we have learned by building up this business: only by cooperating and by working and walking together there is the chance to change the world.

Amen girl! 
Tell me, what are your next goals and dreams for the brand?

We want to rock this summer! And in the future we want to open a shop in Capetown!


What would you suggest to other enterprising people who would like to start a business in sustainable fashion?

We suggest to start today! Every detail is a step in the learning process; every day is a challenge and be sure to have a good team.

Where can we buy your precious shoes?

They will available from the 1st of May on our website. Visit it now for the countdown!
 
Is there anything else you would like to convey to the people reading this interview?

We are waiting for you! Are you wild enough?

Sounds like a plan to me!

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Pictures - Courtesy of African Handmade Shoes

Monday, March 3, 2014

Metoyoubag: The Grand Sac Noé Experience & Giveaway

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Remember Metoyoubag, the designer bags rental online shop I wrote about a few weeks ago?
Remember that I said that I wanted to try it out?
Well, here is the Louis Vuitton Grand Sac Noé that I chose to accompany me everywhere two whole weeks long. 
From the search for the bag, to the payment, to the delivery of the bag: Metoyoubag is super easy to use.

Wanna take your chance and win a gift coupon sponsored by Metoyoubag
If yes, comment this post or the link to it on my facebook page and share the post on your favorite social media channel. 
The winner will be picked in three weeks!
(Attention: Metoyoubag delivers in Switzerland only. Only applications from participants with a shipping address in Switzerland can be taken into consideration.)

Good luck ;)! 

 
I am wearing: 
Bomber - Guess (10 years old and still on fire!)
Blouse - Naf Naf
Belt - Jil Sander
Shorts - Forever 21
Bag - Louis Vuitton Grand Sac Noé (rented from Metoyoubag)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Baby Shower Brunch


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As Evi walked into her favorite bakery and coffee restaurant with her hubby, little did she know that we were all there to celebrate her baby shower with a lovely brunch and gifts for her first baby. 
We totally got her!

***We love you Evi!***

Should there be any problems with the copyright of the pictures I posted, please send me an e-mail at giorgiavonn@gmail.com and I'll remove them as soon as possible, thank you.