Friday, March 12, 2021

Books by NY Italian Wine Guy Daniel Bellino DBZ

Daniel in SICILY
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke? Who is he? He's a Best Selling Cookbook Author and one of New York's Big Dogs of Italian Wine, a former Chef of such restaurants as; Woods, Corrado, and Bar Cichetti ... Daniel studied Hotel / Restaurant Management at New York Technical in Brooklyn .. Besides being the chef at the previous named restaurants, Daniel worked with Michel Fitoussi at the famed Palace Restaurant in the late 80's as well as at the Odeon under the great Patrick Clarke.
Daniel got out of the kitchen in the late 90's to become The Maitre'd at the uber hot # 1 Celebrity Hot Spot in New York at Da Silvano Ristorante where he took care of people like; Keith Richards, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Uma Thurman, Richard Gere, Joe Pesci, Robert DeNiro, Calvin Klein, Nick Pileggi, Nora Efron, Graydon Carter, Gwyneth Palthrow, Madonna, Lucy Lui, and-on-and-on, the list is way to long to name them all.
Daniel took care of the high-flying clientele an Top People in The Worlds of Fashion, the Record Business, Publishing, along with Movie Stars and Rock Stars . Daniel is known for his easy going ability of taking care of all the big stars needs in a casual attentive manner without being intrusive in any way, and are the reasons he is well-known to so many Movers & Shakers of  these high-profile business fields. 
Daniel had made quite a name for himself as the creator and Executive Chef / Wine Director and Managing Partner of Bar Cichetti, the 1st ever Venetian Wine Bar (Bacaro) in America, which was Daniel's proud creation. As Chef / Wine Director of Bar Cichetti, Daniel firmly established himself as one of New York and America's Top Italian Wine Guys .. He is personal friends with most of Italy's top wine producers, the likes of; Marchese Ferdinando Frescobaldi, Sebastiano Rosa winemaker of Sassicaia, Marchese Piero Antinori of Antinori Wines, Giovanni Folnari of Nozzole, Gianlucca Grasso, Gianpaolo Venica, Cavalier Luigi Cappellini of Castel Verrazzano, and-on-an-on, just like all the Movie Stars & Rock Stars that Daniel knows, the list of Italian Wine Luminaries is even greater.
As we've already stated, Daniel left restaurant kitchens behind to become a noted Italian Wine Guy and Maitre'd who has a reputation of dealing with a  high-profile clientel. But not only them of course, there's everyone else, shall we call them the regular folk? Hey, they make up the bulk of any restaurant business, not the celebs, though celebrities help to draw in everyone else. Daniel will take good care of you as a number of his clients we have interviewed will tell you. He friendly and quite personable and really knows his stuff. Daniel has such a great passion for the food and wines of Italy that's almost impossible to duplicate. Frankly, Daniel is one of the best. He can tell you wonderful stories about the wine you are drinking; its history, who the owners and people who make the wine are (his Friends). His trips to all these Wine Estates all over Italy have given him the experiences that he conveys to his many clients. And Daniel's knowledge and passion for the food is equal to that of his vast knowledge of Italian Wine. Often you'll be drinking a bottle of Italian Wine that Daniel suggests and he'll pull out his iPhone and show you pictures of the people who own the estate and make the wine. One example would be Daniel's good friend Luigi Cappellino who owns Castello Verrazzano in Greve in Chianti (Tuscan) Italy. He'll show you pictures of him and his cousins Anthony & Joe at Verrazzano when Daniel took them there and they stayed on the property and ate breakfast and dinner in the castle, while drinking the great wines of Castello Verrazzano.
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
with Luigi Cappellini
of Castelo Verrazzano
After 5 years at DaSilvano, Daniel went on to become the Wine Director of Barbetta Restorante on West 46th Street in New York to head up the Greatest Italian Wine List in all of America. Daniel says, "the cellars are amazing." Places like Babbo and Del Posto get more press for having great Italian Wine Lists, which they do, but Daniel says, "The Wine List of Babbo & Del Posto are awesome, but in comparison to Barbetta, they are akin to Childs-Play." No exaggeration, merely fact Daniel says. And within that Wine List which is the Greatest Italian Wine List in all of America, is the Barolo / Barbaresco section of which Daniel says is the greatest Barolo list in the World with it many Verticals of all the great Barolo Crus, like, Vietti Barolo Brunate and Lazarito, Cerretto Bricco Roche Bricco Roche, Marcarini Brunate, Michele Chiarlo Cerequio, Aldo Conterno Grand Bussia, Giacomo Conterno Barolo  "Monfortino" Giacamo Conterno "Francia," Mauro Veglio's Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata, Contratto Barolo "Cerequio," Elio Grasso Ginestra and more ...
Daniel said he was quite fortunate in his job as Wine Director of Barbetta for 5 years as he was able to taste and drinks so many of these great Barolo Crus of various vintages, as well as all the multi vintages of  Barbaresco, Amarone, Brunello, Super Tuscans, Champagne, and the all the top California Cabernets and Meritage Blends such as Opus One and Insignia.
Daniel had been writing for years, mostly essays, articles, and short stories. He wrote his first book La TAVOLA while he was at Barbetta in 2006 .. He said that 85% of the book was written in about 6 weeks time (quite fast), however he edited, polished it up and worked on it for another year before trying to get it published, which took five years. Actually La Tavola was published in June of 2012, followed by The FEAST of The 7 FISH which is the top selling cookbook of its genre. Daniel published Got Any Kahlua? The Collected Recipes of The Dude in the Summer of 2013, followed by SUNDAY SAUCE which has been a # 1 Best Seller Italian Cookbooks on Amazon for 5 months ... Daniel published another # 1 Best Seller in June of 2014 with SEGRETO ITALIANO / Secret Italian Recipes & Favorite Dishes ..
Daniel says he's currently working on a book on Chianti one of his great passions, as well as another Italian Cookook and an American Cookbook, all yet to be named ..
INTERVIEW by Michael Roma
Marchese lamberto Frescobaldi
Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
and Lamberto's Father
Marchese Leonardo Frescobaldi
Sebastiano Rosa (Winemaker of SASSICAIA)
Daniel and Giovanni Folnari of Nozzole
Secret Italian Recipes
Screenshot 2021-03-05 at 11.30.10 AM
Positano The AMalfi Coast Cookbook / Travel Guide is the latest by Best Selling Italian Cookbook Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke. It was just published on February 11th 2021 and is already a Best Seller in Italian Cookbooks and Travel Books as well. Author Daniel said that he is quite happy of the early success of the book POSITANO and hopes it continues and grows, and Daniel asked us to say hello and thank all of his loyal readers both old and new.
Daniel has mad a companion Website to POSITANO The AMALFI COAST COOKBOOK & Travel. The website is called
Positano-Amalfi-Coast and can be reached by clicking this Link @
Daniel said he made the website as he realizes that people love pictures in books, and as his books normally do not contain pictures, he made the site to fulfill this need, as the website has hundreds of beautiful pictures of Capri, Positano, Naples, Minori, Ravello, and the rest of the Amalfi Coast of Southern Italy. As well as having these pictures, excerpts and recipes from the book at the publication of the book, the website will be ongoing and will continue to have new pictures posted to it, along with articles, news, and ongoing pertinent information on Naples, Positano, and the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
Note : If you are on the Kindle Edition of Positano The AMalfi Coast Cookbook / Travel , you will be able to reach the website Positano in a Link inside the Kindle Book
The Feast of The 7 Fish

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Drinking The Amalfi Coast


Vineyards on The Amalfi Coast



"ROME 1st" !!!

Piazza d' Popolo


Drinking the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Positano, Napoli, what do you drink? Well there’s always wine. Yes wine, Campari, an Aperol Spritz, Prosecco, Mineral Water, Cappuccino, Espresso, and you must drink some Lemonade, for after all, you’re in The Land of Lemons of the Devine Coast of Amalfi. Or if you’re on Capri, Ischia, Sorrento or Salerno, or the Capital City of Napoli, it’s all the same. All the same of what you might drink, what the locals drink, business men, travelers, tourists, whoever.

    Yes, you will drink Cappuccino and Espresso, it’s good all over, and every Barista takes pride in his coffee making skills and prowess. And when it comes to Espresso, the Neapolitans are the World Champions of making it and drinking it. Espresso that is.

   And if on your trip to Positano, Capri, Sorrento, wherever your destination is down there, if you’re in Napoli, try and go to the Gran Caffe Gambrinus for one of the great cafe experiences of your life. The Gran Caffe Gambrinus is heir to the great Neapolitan coffee tradition, for coffee and the art of making and drinking a proper Espresso, is at its highest level in Gambrinus. Espresso in Napoli is rooted in ritual and the habits of each social class. There is a phenomenon in this habitual ritual that makes the simple moment of refreshment an opportunity for culture and socializing. You will experience a moment of great pleasure as you partake in this esteemed ritual known as espresso. But not just any Espresso, but a Neapolitan one. And while at Gambrinus, drinking your Cappuccino, Espresso or Special Gambrinus Caffe, why not treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle as well? 

   All over the Amalfi Coast, in Naples, and especially popular on the Isle of Capri are Lemonade Stands. It stands to reason that with all the Lemon Groves you find on Capri, in and around Sorrento, and in Minori, Maiori, Atrani, and Amalfi, that they’d be serving that refreshing lemon based drink, Lemonade, yes they do. Though lemons are grown all over the coast and on the islands, there seems to be two places that you see Granita and Lemonade Stands more than in other parts of Italy,  and those two places are in Napoli and on the Isle of Capri. And when it comes to me personally, I always remember that first Lemonade I ever had there, and that was the Lemonade Stand on the Piazzetta of the Piazza Umberto that’s right there before you, when you get off of the Funicular of Capri, if you happen to be taking it. And if you do take the Funicular from the bottom at Marina Grande, once up are at the top and your ride is over, the first thing you’ll see when you exit the Funicular is that Lemonade Stand that is so very inviting on a hot Summer day. So, just as I did on that day in the Summer of 1988 when I had my first, I got a glass of Lemonade. I got off of the Funicular, saw the Lemonade Stand and I couldn’t resist. I got myself a nice cold refreshing Lemonade made with the Lemons of Capri. Later on, in the trip (1988), I’d have my first Limoncello, that hugely famous after dinner drink made with the local Lemons. So, you see, it’s usually the littlest things that I love most when I travel. Like that lemonade on Capri in the Summer of 1988, my first Campari, Aperol Spritz, and most recently a lovely liquor made in these parts called Finochietto (Fennel Liqueur), that the waiter brought for me and my cousin Tony, after dinner at Z’Antonino one night in Sorrento. Wow, I went nuts when I tasted this wonderful liqueur for the first time. It was a revelation. I never had it before, and I absolutely loved it. So much so that when we finished dinner and took a little walk, as we passed by a Salumeria that sold Limoncello, Amari, and other liqueurs, including Finnonchietto, I just had to get a bottle, and so I did (8 Euros).

   So, now as we talk of drinking on the Amalfi Coast, we come up to the subject of the Aperitivo and Aperitivo time on the Amalfi Coast or anywhere in Italy for that matter. Well, what is Apertivo anyway you say? Aperitivo is a drink that you have before dinner, and is meant for socializing as well as getting your palate going for the meal to come. Most often when you go for Aperitivo (aka Aperitif) and order a drink at the traditional aperitivo time (late-afternoon & early-evening), the waiter will bring you some little snacks along with your drink (Aperitivo). The snacks might be as simple as a bowl of Potato Chips and Olives. In addition, some places might serve canapes (crostini) with various toppings, all for the price of the drink. The most popular forms of Aperitivo drinks are anything made with Campari or Aperol, such as Campari & Soda or OJ, a Negroni, or Aperol Spritz. Prosecco or any wine at the aperitivo hours are also considered as aperitivo drinks. You can get any other cocktails made with Vodka, Gin, Rum, Whiskey or other forms of alcohol other than Prosecco, wine, Campari, or Aperol, but these cocktails may be quite a bit more expensive than the traditional Aperitivi.

   On a recent trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast, I partook in the delightful ritual of Aperitivo on numerous occasions. It was quite wonderful sharing this ritual with my cousins Tony, Mimmo, Marta, and friends in Salerno, Sorrento, Positano, and Vietro Sul Mare. My trip started off in Rome for a day before I hopped on the high-speed train to Napoli the next day. After landing in Rome, checking into my hotel, I took a shower and then a nap. Well, more than a nap, I fell asleep for 6 hours. I finally awoke and hopped in the shower again.

  Once I showered and got dressed for one more evening out to my beloved Roma, I had a plan. My plan was to walk over to the Metro stop and take a train to near the Piazza Spagna where I would go walk around and enjoy a bit of time at this one of Rome’s most popular spots. I walked up The Spanish Steps, taking pictures along the way and enjoying the scene before me; the people and that view from atop the Spanish Steps is absolutely magnificent. I stayed there to enjoy it for a little while. So, now onto the second phase of the plan.

   After spending a half-hour enjoying the Piazza di Spagna, my plan was to walk over to the Piazza di Popolo from there, a short 8 minute walk away. Yes, my plans included going to Piazza di Popolo to see the beautiful little twin churches of Santa Maria Maracoli and Santa Maria Montesanto and to have an Aperitivo at Rosati afterwards. After that, I’d go on to dinner. So after leaving the Spanish Steps behind I made my way along to the Via Babuino leading me to my destination of the Piazza di Popolo and all its offerings.

  When I arrived about 10 minutes later, I walked towards the Fountain of Neptune to get a good view of the Twin Churches. I took a few pictures of the churches, then asked a couple if they would take a picture of me in front of them. They took a couple nice pictures that are now part of my wonderful memories of that day, and even back to 1985 and 1986 in Rome. After taking pictures of the two churches and the Piazza and myself, I went over to the churches to go inside. The Chiesa Santa Maria Miracoli was closed, but the doors to Santa Maria Montesanto were open, and there was a Mass being conducted. I went in and sat down to relax there. I listened to the priest and parishioners as they responded to the priest. I said a few prayers for my sister Barbara, myself, my Brothers Jimmy and Michael, and their loved ones, and then I left the church.

  After my time at the churches I walked across to Rosati for my little aperitivo. I took a seat at a table outside to watch the World go by the Twin Churches and life on the Piazza Popolo. I ordered a Campari Soda and the waitress brought it to me along with Olives, Potato Chips, and Canapes. And yes, I sat back, sipped my Campari and watched the World go by. I had quite a nice little Aperitivo Time at Rosati and then it was on to dinner.

  Drinking? You can’t talk about drinking in Italy without talking about wine. On this recent trip I was briefly in Rome where I drank Frascati with dinner that night, followed by an Amaro of Capo di Stato digestive from Calabria.

Atrani / Amalfi


   Now, down to Campania and the Amalfi Coast and the wines down there. This area has some wonderful wines that are sure to please all. There are a lot of very good white wines, as there should be with all the wonderful seafood available and simply for the fact of the heat and being on the coast in Summer, for many people, white wine is the way to go. The White Wines of the area are some of the finest in Italy, in wines like; Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, Coda, Falanghina, Biancolella, and a few others, with these being the main ones as well as being the most popular. When it comes to reds, Aglianico is King, especially in the form of “Taurasi” the most prestigious red wine in all  of Southern Italy. The red grape Palumbo, also known as Piedirosso which makes up the local wine that is called Lacryma Christi, meaning “The Tears of Christ.” This grape makes wonderful fruity wines as is in the case of Lacryma Christi. Yes, Aglianico is the most renowned red grape varietal of the region, but the grape Piedirosso and the wines that it makes up, they are not far behind in stature. The more famous wines are made with Aglianico, the grape that makes up the famed Italian wine known as Taurasi.

   There is a most lovely legend that goes along with the wine Lacryma Christi, which can be found as either white or red wine. As the legend goes, when Saint Lucifer (the Devil) was cast away, he took a piece of Heaven with him. When Christ first saw the Bay of Naples, he recognized it as the stolen piece of Heaven and he wept over its loss. It’s said that as Christ wept, where his tears landed on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius is where the grapes that make up Lacryma Christi first sprang up from, and these are the grapes that sprung from the Tears of Christ. So the legend goes, and it’s quite a lovely one at that.

   After dinner, many people will have a Limoncello, a liquor that is synonymous with Capri and The Amalfi Coast of Italy. This liquor made with the abundant Sfusato Lemons of the Amalfi Coast is a long standing after dinner ritual on the Isle of Capri, in Sorrento, and all along the coast, however, some as myself prefer to have an Amaro Lucano or Rucolino which I recently discovered on my stay in Ischia this past Summer, and just fell in love with this unique Amaro made with Rocket (Arugala) as the main ingredient, along with lemon peels, and various roots and herbs, as all amari have their very own, highly guarded “secret recipes.” Amaro Rucolino has been made on the island of Ischia by the Savastano family since 1880. I just  love it. The previous year, while having dinner at Trattoria Antonino in Sorrento one night with my cousin Tony, the waiter brought us some nice after dinner drinks when we were finished with our meal. First he brought us each a Limoncello which everyone drinks after dinner in Sorrento. And after that, the kind sir brought us something I’ve never had before. He gave Tony and I each a little glass of Finocchietto liqueur made from wild fennel. Not nearly as famous as Limoncello, Finocchietto is better known to locals, and is just one more wonderful thing about the area. It’s quite tasty, and a delightful way to end any meal on the Amalfi Coast. And I say that it’s always wonderful to make another nice new discovery, isn’t it?

  So you see, drinking in Napoli, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast, is a very pleasant pastime, whether drinking Cappuccino in the morning, Espresso later in the day, Lemonade, or Limoncello, local wine, a Negroni, Campari, or Aperol Spritz, you’re going to have a good time. You have to? You’re in Amalfi so enjoy it.

EXCERPTED From POSITANO The Amalfi Coast Cookbook & Travel

Daniel Bellino Zwicke








Me and Vincenzo

Author Daniel Bellino Zwicke

with Vincenzo Manzo