Behind the Scenes of Your Italian Fix: Day 2

by Bianca Gignac

>> This is day 2 of a 7 day party delivering a sneak-peek at how getting your Italian Fix is the best thing you can do with your precious vacation time.<<


Have you ever noticed how some food makes you feel?

You know when you taste something incredible; how you slow down your chewing for fear of losing a molecule of flavour prematurely?

I had that experience last June.

It was at a restaurant in a Cinque Terre village so small it doesn’t even have a street – just a few stairs leading to a crowd of houses. The restaurant is nested in the ancestral home of one of the owners, huddled with the few other slightly crooked abodes in the tiny hamlet of Groppo.

When the owners Maurizio and Christiane had children they realized that their life in the city wasn’t providing them with a life they desired – so they made a move.

They chose to move back to Groppo to lead a life they love. The only thing was – how do you work in a village that has nothing? You have two choices: you either a) leave everyday to work elsewhere or, b) become brilliant and forward thinking and invite the world to your door.

Which is exactly what they did.

The restaurant is called Cappun Magru.

They made it so good that people travel to the middle of nowhere to eat at it. I did. And I brought twelve other people as part of our Cinque Terre tour.

Why is it so good?

— Local food. They know where every piece of cheese comes from that they put on your plate – they might even know the sheep’s names.

— Love and passion. It’s poured into every inch of their home, their kitchen and their lifestyle

— The perfect wine. They pair their food with wine made from the grapes harvested from the punishingly steep terraces of the Cinque Terre. This isn’t Tuscany – all rolling hills and fertile soil: it’s steep, rocky, and right on the ocean – which means the wines of the Cinque Terre are from small batch artisan makers and co-ops.

Today I want to share the gorgeous photos of our meal at Cappun Magru and our hosts Maurizio and Christiane.

Of course we are going back. It’s too good not to.

This experience is included on our Cinque Terre itinerary June 18 -24, 2013.

You can see the full schedule of that trip here.

And today — there are less spots than yesterday – just sayin’. To be perfectly blunt: When the 12 spots are gone they really are — gone.


All images by Leela Cyd


The 2013 trips are (drum roll please)


A photography workshop in Florence. We are staying in the artist quarter with morning photography workshops and afternoons cruisin’ Florence

A shopping trip to Florence + Milan. The most beautiful design hotels right in the center of the action with a photo-shoot and vintage car rentals.

The Cinque Terre: an insiders views of the people and places that make the Cinque Terre a place to fall in love with.


Today’s party


Everyday this week we are giving away something gorgeous to celebrate the release of the 2013 schedule.

Today my sweets, we are giving away an 8×12 print. This map of Italy was created for Italian Fix by U.K. illustrator Laura Bird

To enter leave a comment below about anything that you are thinking about: travelling, eating, blogging, cooking, map making. I wanna hear it. You must comment by midnight (PST) Friday November 2 to have a chance of winning this print.

{Update: Give-away winner is Jenn Chic. Congrats! Thanks to every-one who posted a comment}

Luck + love.    xx Bianca



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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }


I don’t think I could eat anything with eyes – such as the fish pictured above. However, hopefully I can afford to go on one of your trips and be proven wrong -learn a new experience. The food, the presentation; everything looks so healthy and fresh and new – lots of possibilities. Thanks for sharing.


Bianca Gignac

Ciao Wendy,

I hear you about the eyes. It’s an Italian thing and we’re not really used to that in North America. I was once told in Indonesia that they don’t cut off the head because it dishonours the animal. I’m not sure if that’s true — but I like the idea of reverence it suggests.

It sounds like you are game for new experiences so that’s the key to having a wonderful time.

Thanks for commenting. xx



I have just recently begun to study Italian so that my next trip to Italy will be even better! I ADORE this map! Is it available for purchase??


Bianca Gignac

I’m gonna make that happen! It needs to be out in the world!



I love pictorial maps! If I had it on my wall I would use it to help me manifest a trip to Italy with you! Thank you for this morning’s ‘fix’:)


Bianca Gignac

Glad you love the map Jo. I commissioned it from Laura to have a stylish reference on my site for my readers. I’m really happy with how it turned out and glad you love it too!


Fira Pierce

This is so fun! I am going to have 2 day old leftovers of chicken sausages for breakfast today and I thought that was a treat (not cereal), now I think it is not a treat anymore after looking at your photos and reading your daily blog! hahaha


jenn chic

What a pretty picture! One day it will be a great reminder of the awesome time I had in Italy! Thanks for the generous week of celebrations! Celebrate! xo


Bianca Gignac

You are so welcome. Thanks for your generous engagement Jenn. xx Bianca



hi Bianca!
i loooove all of these trips!
we are actually go to see family in Aug/Sep in France and have been talking about a cinque terre trip!!! or florence, gotta decide which is better with kids in tow…..and what I really want to (WILL) do is PAINT!!! If I get to Italy, there will be painting and I will share with you and your readers if you like :)


Bianca Gignac

Yes! You absolutely must share it with us Christy. Both places are great — Italy is a perfect place to take the kiddies. What you have to decide is what pace you like best: city life or country life. If you can’t decide do 3-4 days in each place. It’s only a few hours on the train between Florence and the 5 terre and under 20 euros on the regional class trains. So you might not be forced to pick at all. Keep me posted. xx Bianca



oh wow, that train sounds reasonable so maybe we can do a bit of both! thanks for the tips….I will keep you posted and I will paint and the kids will eat tonnes of gelato (me too) and it will be amazing! one day, i hope to have more flexibility with timing so we can join your trips….do you offer family ones??


Bianca Gignac

Right now no but the future holds many great things. xx



Hi Bianca!
I am loving reading your Italian fix! I rarely ever win anything, but thot IF I did, I would LOVE to win anything ITALIAN! :-)
I am ‘learning’ some of the language (from CDs) in hopes of getting there some day soon!


Bianca Gignac

Hi Beverly.

Glad to deliver your fix.

If you are learning Italian and like listening to Italian words then I would suggest two musicians: Paolo Conte and Mina. They both make Italian sound even more beautiful. And remember — coming on our trips is like having a friend show you around. I’ll speak all the hard stuff — but I’ll set you up with some easy phrases and get you ordering your morning coffee and brioche or dinner. It’ll be fun!

xx Bianca


Donna Konsoradoa

Thinking about travel this morning, the door bell rang, our renewed passports delivered! After signing for them I put my glasses on (still think I don’t need to ware them ALL the time) and one of them is for the man down the street… wonder where he’s off to? Making another coffee waiting for the mail gal to come back.
I love flags……
Thanks for for keeping life exciting xoxo


Bianca Gignac

Shiny new passports. Love that. I’ll never forget the excitement of getting my very first passport when I was 18. It symbolized so much to me. Still does I guess.

Hugs to you bella Donna.



Kristy Graham

I love travelling with you, you are the most patient and gracious host….ever! The map is absolutely gorgeous, so perfect. I am inspired over and over again by what you are putting out in your itineraries…the descriptions and pictures are scrumptious, just want to eat them up.
I agree, eating in Italy takes food enjoyment to another level. Simply put, it’s fun. The love is poured into the food and you can’t help but feel it as you leisurely make your way through a meal. It’s such a part of the experience, and whoever signs up for your trips is in for an unforgettable experience.


Bianca Gignac

Thanks Kristy!

I am so glad we decided to travel to Italy together — it was a pretty special trip. And thank god we seized the moment before we both became moms. I love travelling with Flora now — but just hangin’ with best friends without running after a toddler was pretty darn relaxing. Love you K.


Marie Dahlgrin

I was full a few minutes ago, and now after looking at these pictures my stomach is growling! Just put some black beans to soak, for sweet potato, black bean and tomatilla enchiladas tomorrow, but maybe I can catch a flight out and have dinner here instead!


Bianca Gignac

You makin’ enchiladas girl. Yum. Cook on! Love, B


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