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Say “Ciao” To Your Morning

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  • March 13, 2019
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CIAO! Bakery Cafe Harrisburg PA

Bricco’s answer to “What’s for Breakfast?”

Sweeten Your Day

Rosemarie Barbour’s typical workday begins around 5:00 a.m. when she arrives at work in downtown Harrisburg. Rosemarie is Bricco and Ciao Bakery’s executive pastry chef.

“Ciao” is Bricco’s answer to “What’s for breakfast?” and once the door opens at 6:30 a.m., the display case at the front of the cafe is filled with European-style pastries and bread, croissant breakfast sandwiches (with egg and locally sourced cheese) and the aroma screams “freshly brewed coffee.” Customers line up, one by one, to buy scrumptious baked goods and breakfast sandwiches with their favorite morning beverage.

When your morning calls for breakfast on-the-go or it’s your day to bring breakfast to your family or colleagues at your office, “Ciao,” has a selection of sweet and savory treats to please everyone. You can also order gluten-free and vegan cakes and cupcakes.

From the moment you peer into the case, you’ll notice the delicacies are artfully arranged and an up-close glance will further complicate your decision about what to order. Coconut Macaroons and signature Pignoli Cookies are so popular they might not be available but you can special order them or any other bakery item.

Ciao fruit tarts
Ciao fruit tarts are one of the uncompromising baked goods available to customers.

Bricco is Harrisburg’s only Distinguished Restaurant of North America (DiRoNA), Wine Spectator and Santé magazine award-winning restaurant.

If you live near downtown Harrisburg, PA, chances are Ciao, 304 Chestnut St, Harrisburg, PA, is already your weekday go-to bakery but if you haven’t already discovered this gem, you should make it a point to stop by when you’re downtown. You’ll find European-style croissants (some filled), danishes, scones, muffins, coffee cake, quiche, breakfast sandwiches, and sticky buns, made fresh daily on-site. Ask about the seasonal offerings, specialty cakes, and gluten-free selections.

Ciao Bakery Cafe
Ciao is downtown Harrisburg’s go-to bakery and cafe.

A MADE-TO-ORDER DELI SANDWICH?

Don’t Forget Lunch

Allow time in your day to stop by the cafe for a deli sandwich. Ciao Artisan bakers have taken bread making to a new level of perfection with a light, flaky crust that accentuates the cheeses and deli meats Ciao sources locally in Central Pennsylvania. Do you have a hearty appetite? Add soup and dessert to your repertoire.

CHEF SPOTLIGHT

Rosemarie Barbour
Rosemarie Barbour is the Bricco and Ciao executive pastry chef.

Rosemarie works alongside and shares her expertise with interns from the Olewine School of Culinary Art. The students bring their talents and ideas to Bricco’s kitchens and enhance their already blossoming careers alongside seasoned chefs. Rosemarie described how an internship directly benefits culinary students.


“The program benefits students because they not only get hands-on experience, but they get to work with people with different talents,” she said.

Rosemarie Barbour, Bricco executive pastry chef


Each season and holiday warrants a return of customers’ favorite and also a debut of most unexpected desserts using ingredients like summertime’s juicy berries; pumpkin, apples, and cranberries enhanced with culinary herbs.

What can you count on?

Ciao takes its customers on an evolving culinary journey that begins with extraordinary.

Rosemarie explained, “We do specialty and wedding cakes and a whole lot of French pastries. It varies what we put on the case. We try to keep brownies and the lemon bars stocked at all times but we also create more upscale confections using cream layers and crazy torts, for example. Our customers love them.”

Ask about specialty cakes and desserts.


While most of the cafe’s business is focused on the pastries and bread, Rosemarie and her staff also prepare desserts and bread for Bricco and the 1700 Degrees Steakhouse, the Harrisburg Hilton’s signature restaurant. Being in charge of customers’ dessert destiny is a role Rosemarie embraces with unwavering creativity.

“I love it because I can come up with new ideas flavor combinations, especially with savory desserts. You don’t see that a lot here in Central Pennsylvania,” she said. “I use lavender a lot and have added Jasmine and Rosemary. Herbs add a great flavor.”

Herbs elevate flavor combinations and add great flavor.


MORE ABOUT ROSEMARIE BARBOUR

Rosemarie joined Bricco’s team 13 years ago and returned to a full-time position in October 2016 but she discovered her love for baking many years ago. She received her Associate Degree in Culinary Arts from Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Pittsburgh, and her Bachelor’s Degree from the Restaurant School in Philadelphia.

Visit Ciao Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The bakery is closed Saturday and Sunday.

DISCLAIMER:

My media trip was sponsored by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and based on my experience.

Check out happenings in Central Pennsylvania at https://www.visithersheyharrisburg.org.

PARTNER: Transcription of my interview was provided by Transcribe.

About us: Transcribe has been around for 8 years. We began as a simple do-it-yourself transcription tool but evolved as the overall speech recognition technology matured. We introduced a dictation (voice typing) feature a few years ago when it became reliable enough. Last year we introduced a state-of-the-art automatic machine transcription for pre-recorded audio and video. We support a wide set of languages.


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Pennsylvania Farm Show Rooted in History

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  • January 17, 2019
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Pennsylvania Farm Show Exhibits

A State Fair You Shouldn’t Miss

What are Pennsylvania’s key crops?

PA AG FACT: Kennett Square, a Chester County borough (United States), is known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.”

More than one million mushrooms a day are harvested in Kennett Square and that number is half of the United States’ mushroom crop. Yes, the delightful, flavorful fungi you add to your omelets, soups, and favorite dishes could have its origins in Pennsylvania. That’s one of the PA AG FACTS I learned during the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, Jan. 5 to 12.

I covered two days of the event on behalf of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg and I returned home knowing so much more about my home state’s agricultural history. The story is fascinating and the farm show has been a vehicle for the Department of Agriculture to showcase Pennsylvania’s abundant agricultural accomplishments through exhibits and demonstrations.

I hope you enjoy the “PA AG FACTS” and videos I’ve shared in this article.

PA AG FACT: Pennsylvania’s prime vegetable crops are sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, and beans.

Did you miss the 2019 show?

Take a moment to watch highlights and don’t forget to subscribe to my new YouTube Travel Channel.

If you couldn’t attend the 2019 PA Farm Show, watch this video to see highlights.

PA AG FACT: Other important crops are wheat, tobacco, and oats.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture is appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania and oversees the department of agriculture. The department has hosted the farm show for 103 years and during my video interview with Secretary Russell Redding in the farmers’ market area of the farm show, he described how agriculture shows up in our lives. Take a moment to watch this brief clip with photo highlights from the show.

Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui and Kento Matsui

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding describes why the Pennsylvania Farm Show is a must-see.
Video by Joan Mead-Matsui/Travel With Me Productions

PA AG FACT: Apples, grapes, peaches, and strawberries are important fruit crops grown in Pennsylvania.

The state’s many agricultural achievements are showcased at the farm show during seven days of exhibits and events featuring livestock, products, and food, and combined with a variety of vendors; demonstrations; a farmers’ market and information booths. It’s both educational, entertaining, and all-encompassing for your entire family.

TIP: Wear comfortable shoes and plan to spend a full day exploring the farm show. Bring your entire family and a stroller for younger children. The arena consists of more than one million square feet, with 11 halls, three arenas, and parking for 9,000 vehicles.

103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show
This horse and his owner graciously greeted children at the 103rd Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Do you love an old-fashioned state fair?

What makes the farm show a sensational state-wide event?

FOOD – I can’t say enough about the selection of food at the show. Attendees could satisfy their tastebuds with AG products ranging from OUTSTANDING mushroom BURGERS to the FAMOUS MILKSHAKE. Did you sample The Cyclone, a cone made with PA Preferred® brioche bread (using organic flour) and filled with a choice of organic chicken, or pasture-raised pork smoked on-site, topped with chow-chow, a North American pickled relish. Expect to satisfy your hunger and reap your share of vegetables from the condiment. Read more about other culinary adventures online at PENN LIVE.

Furry Friends on the bunny trail – Angorapalooza and a Celebrity Rabbit Hop featured seven new bunny varieties at the 2019 Perennial Farm Show favorite Rabbit Competition. I guarantee your entire family will adore all the animals from the chickens to goats .

PA Farm Show
Was this bunny the “unofficial” emcee of the rabbit competition? Your guess is as good as mine but nonetheless, he/she was a hit with children and adults. Photo by Kento Matsui.

Beverage Tasting – Did you have a chance to sample the fruity hard cider at Pennsylvania’s Cider Guild’s booth? The Cider Sippin’ Story made a return to the show with a Cider Competition.

Beer, Beer, who’s got craft beer?

Craft Beer Lovers’ Delight: The first-ever state-wide Craft Beer Competition brought craft brewers from Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties and beyond with more than 150 varieties ranging from Hefeweizens to Schwarzbiers. Awards were given to the Best in Class, Best of Show and the PA Preferred® Legacy Award.

World champion robotics and STEM agricultural demonstrations are examples of mobile classrooms The Lancaster Farming Stage organizers presented to show how Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) applied in agriculture improves our lives with better food; healthier animals, plants and soil, and even climate challenges.

Ware’s the AG?

At the show’s Farmers’ Market – Were you one of the shoppers who bought wares like cheese, honey, maple products (sinfully delicious maple syrup), vegetables, apples, and potatoes at the Farmers Market?

Artisan’s Alley was a new addition to the 2019 farm show. Crafters and fine artists demonstrated their artistry and sold their hand-crafted goods. Horse-hair braiders, lace and bead makers, spinners, wheat weavers, potters, chair caners, and painters were among the craftspeople who entertained the crowds.

What Makes a Great Egg? ─ Even the white and brown eggs competed in a farm show competition.

Grow your own crops! Not sure how to get started? The information booths were manned by experts from local universities and organizations who ARE happy to extend their expertise to YOU.

Experts from The Penn State Extension offered practical advice for gardeners who had A to Z farming questions?

Hop on the organic wagon. The Organic Boom was a new feature at the 2019 show. If you were in the Expo Hall, chances are you discovered the latest news in composting, vermiculture,  and conservation.

Where are the photos you took at the show? Follow farm show coverage
@PAFarmShow and upload your images on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture encourages you to be a social media star.

PA AG FACT: How BIG is Pennsylvania farming? Learn state-wide county AG history at http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/portal/communities/agriculture/history/index.html

The farm show complex is the “place to be” throughout the year for a variety of events. Promoters and meeting and event planners utilize the complex for livestock and trade shows, corporate meetings, trade shows, and black-tie events.

Additional coverage is available on my YouTube travel channel, where you’ll find videos with in-depth comments from Sharon S. Altland, Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center executive director, Mary Klaus, farm show historian, and Gerald Reichart, farm show floor manager.

Disclaimer: I covered the event on behalf of Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my views are my own and based on my experience. Click on this link to following happenings in Harrisburg, Hershey, and surrounding towns.

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Central Pennsylvania dining Harrisburg Italian Restaurants Lifestyle places to eat in Harrisburg restaurant reviews and information

Mangia Qui

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  • December 19, 2018
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Mouthwatering Risotto Mangia Qui Harrisburg

RISOTTO at it’s finest

Primi (first course): Risotto Quattro Formaggio Aquarella rice, sautéed greens, taleggio, parmigiano, romana and leonora cheeses, fried baby artichoke

Want to try the most uncomplicated, melt-in-your-mouth risotto you’ll find anywhere on our planet?

MANGIA QUI – CAN THERE BE ONLY ONE PERFECT RISOTTO?
All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted. 

I’m certain there’s only one perfect risotto and I found it at Mangia Qui, an immensely popular Harrisburg Italian restaurant across the street from the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Don’t be alarmed by the green tint. The sauteed greens were harmoniously balanced with perfectly cooked (al dente) arborio rice, artichokes, and a medley of cheese and garnished with pansies and flower foliage from co-owner Staci Basore’s garden. 

Before I tell you more about my experience at Mangia Qui, you should know I was raised in a predominately Italian family. My father was of mostly German lineage but he couldn’t have cared less about German food. My maternal grandmother’s meals (i.e. homemade pasta and meatballs, roast chicken, and pork butt layered between a crusty cornmeal “sandwich”) set the tone for most gatherings. She labeled many of her native Southern Italian dishes as “peasant food.” What exactly is peasant food? Simply stated, they’re dishes that are specific to a particular culture or region and made from accessible and inexpensive ingredients. Sadly, Risotto was not in her repertoire but years later after she died, I tried my hand at preparing Arborio with a variety of seasonings and aged cheeses. The result was a gooey and lumpy blob and probably the reason my youngest son turns his nose up when I mention “Risotto.”

When Rick Dunlap, Visit Hershey-Harrisburg, and I set up my travel itinerary, he asked if I’d like to dine at Mangia Qui on day two of my three-day solo media trip. I said, “Of course.” I arrived at the restaurant around 5 p.m. after a jam-packed day filled with outdoor activities. Throughout the afternoon, my stomach growled non stop and perhaps because
(as many Italians do) immediately after one meal (lunch, for example) my thoughts shift to dinner. By 1 p.m., I had already begun to contemplate what I’d find on the menu

Not long after I arrived, I was in the process of unpacking my gear when my server brought to my table a small stainless steel bowl brimming with olives, a bottle of water, a water goblet, and the menu.

Mangia Qui Olives Appetizer
The server brought a stainless steel bowl brimming with olives to nibble on while I was settling in at my table.

He discussed the daily specials as I perused the menu a second time. Half-way down the page, the words Risotto Quattro Formaggio popped out. I would have been satisfied with my appetizers and Risotto but my server asked what I’d like for my entree. Do you mean there’s more (food), I thought. The Branzino Seared a la plancha, olive oil poached sweet onion, Kentucky flats, Yukons and squash, and lemon caper brown butter was one of the “Secondi” that appealed to me so I ordered it. Sadly, I had no room or need for dessert afterward. 

Branzino with a delightful citrus flavor. 

Basore is part of the team that owns and operates Mangia Qui and two sister restaurants, Rubicon and Suba.  Mangia Qui offers a fresh, locally sourced, and artisanal approach to dining that’s as much about meeting friends and family for a relaxed dining experience as it “the food,” which was superb. Without hesitation, I recommend Mangia Qui to anyone who is seeking a first-rate Italian restaurant for a date night, family gathering, friends’ night-out, special occasion, or business-related dinner. 

Deep-fried squash blossom appetizer
Mid-way through my meal, Staci Basore, co-owner, stopped by my table to say hello. She came to my table bearing another appetizer – a squash blossom (she picked from her garden) that was deep-fried and crispy. 
Mangia Qui - Stacy Basore, co-owner and chef, prepared the best risotto I've ever tasted.

Mangia Qui: Casual dining and
phenomenal Italian cuisine. 

272 North Street
Harrisburg, PA — 17102
717.233.7358

Complimentary valet parking on Friday and Saturday evenings, 5 -11 p,m. 

Join the staff for a New Year’s Eve celebration

For more information about Hershey and Harrisburg lodging and attractions, visit www.VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org.

My trip was hosted and comped by Visit Hershey & Harrisburg but my opinions are my own and are based on my personal experiences. 

This father and son duo prepare to cast a fishing line into the Susquehanna River. Plan a Harrisburg family fishing trip or water activity and enjoy the outdoors TOGETHER.    

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