Entering the Magic Kingdom of Harry Potter

For those of you who live in Milan or in Lombardy Region (or you are just there) from May to September 2018, this might be your best chance to experience the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Yes, Harry Potter exhibition has come to town and tickets can be booked easily at a very affordable price for Harry Potter fandom, only around €20. Seriously, for real Harry Potter fans, this price is seriously almost nothing. In Italy, it is like the price of 2 times aperitivo only.

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The exhibition started on May 12 and it will end on September 9 from what I’ve read. I came on the fourth day as the tickets were sold out for the previous days. Yeah, if you really intend to come, you had better book your ticket earlier. Honestly, I don’t think the films are better than the original books but it is really nice to see all those stuffs you used to imagine before realised right in front of your eyes. You can even keep them as memory by capturing beautiful photos. No flash though!

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The beginning part of the exhibition comes with the screen displaying the Fat Lady who sang in movie 3. You can also see the daily clothes, robes and items that the main characters used: The Professors (Snape, Slughorn, Sprout, even Lockhart and Umbridge), students (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville), Voldemort (and his death eaters) plus also items from the prisoners of Azkaban.

Other than robes, cloaks and school items (potions, books, wands), you can also see other amazing things, from the realisations of some of the fantastic beasts seen in the movies (Buckbeak, Pixie, Fawkes, Dobby, Aragog etc) to dangerous stuffs like the elder wand, invisible cloak plus Voldemort’s horcruxes and the items that destroyed it (Basilisk’s fang and Gryffindor’s sword). Ah, you can even see the Mandragora and listen a bit to its scream.

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In addition to all the fun, there are also the complete items of everything about the Quidditch world including the four balls (quaffle, two bludgers and the golden snitch) and also Harry Potter’s Nimbus. There are also all the Quidditch costumes of world players from various countries and the Quidditch Cup. There are also the Triwizard Cup from movie/book 4 and Hagrid’s Hut at the exhibition.

The exhibition ends with the aula that displays the scenes from movie 4: Yule Ball and the outfits worn by Hermione, Cho Chang, Viktor Krum etc. It also ends by displaying Dobby, the free elf and Fawkes, Dumbledore’s awesome phoenix, whose feathers are the cores of Harry’s and Voldemort’s wands.

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Ah, I almost forgot, you can also take a photo, dressing in a wizard or witch robe, and buy the printed image later when you get out. At the end of the exhibition, there is also a shop selling all the merchandises that are interesting for Harry Potter’s fans (if you’re ready to spend money of course! If not, just exit the door 🙂 ).

Of course, it won’t be fun if you just know about it only by reading my blog post or some other articles on other websites. You call yourself a Harry Potter fan, don’t have issue to spend €20, haven’t seen the exhibition in other parts of the world and are in Milan or Lombardy Region between now and September? Don’t think about skipping it!

It is hosted by Fabbrica del Vapore – Comune di Milano in Via Giulio Cesare Procaccini, 4, reachable easily by subway, Gerusalemme stop (M5, purple line). Visit www.harrypotterexhibition.it for more information about it and also to buy the ticket.

*So, broaden your mind everyone, use your inner eye to enjoy the magical hour of Harry Potter, hehe..*

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Wandering through Italian Food Excellence at Cibus 2018

This year I finally utilised the pass that I received every two years for one of the biggest international food fairs in Italy, dedicated for B2B. The event is named Cibus, which was from May 7 to May 10. The prestigious event was hosted in Parma, a fabulous Italian city in the northern region, Emilia-Romagna, famous for its ham, cheese and lovely countryside.

Here, at the food fair, you could enjoy the stroll through food excellence from the host country and other countries as well. I got free pass for all four days though I unfortunately had to just pick a day since I have a project to manage and finish by next Monday. In the end, I came on Tuesday, May 8.

At Cibus, they prepared events for food bloggers and media every single day and all the events were quite interesting. The day when I came, on Tuesday, there were three events to attend though the ones that impressed me were only two out of three, the first and the third one.

An All-Italian Story between Events, Communication and Passion

The first event was held by Sacla Stand, an Italian food brand founded in 1939 in Asti, the city where it still has its headquarters. Saclà, Società Anonima Commercio Lavorazioni Alimentari, began to develop under the guidance of its founders, Secondo “Pinin” Ercole and his wife Piera Campanella, who initially dedicated themselves to food production and sale in Piedmont. However, after having achieved great success, they expand the distribution throughout Italy.

During Sacla event on Tuesday, five Italian food bloggers were challenged to make a quick dish in 7 minutes by using Sacla’s products. Each blogger got a different box and they had to be ready to think fast about what to make as the time was short. And I should say that they indeed were fantastic in finishing their tasks as their innovative dish creations were both instragammable and delicious.

(You can rest assured even by looking at the slideshow below)

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Visit them on www.sacla.it

La Vita È Saporita (Life is Tasty)

The third event was held by Rizzoli Emanuelli who produces fresh fish products. Here, the star of the day was Fabio Potenzano who performed his excellence as an experienced Chef and proved the delicacy plus quality of Rizzoli. During the cooking box event, the Chef prepared two dishes, an appetizer and tasty pasta with fresh products from the brand.

The concept of their food products is based on three principles: sustainability, traceability and quality. Their materials are carefully selected and they concentrate on transparency in communicating their products to public. Their motto is simple: reputation before profit and quality of the products above all things. These keys have made them genuine and sustainable for more than 100 years, since 1906.

After the cooking show, media representatives and bloggers received an awesome bag filled with their products to taste. The samples consist of two types: their regular fresh fish products and the organic version of the products. As one of the bloggers present at the show, I honestly feel very happy and lucky to have received such products.

I seriously can’t wait to try them and tell you all about my opinion on them. Well, actually I have tried some of them when the two dishes were prepared by the Chef at the stand during Cibus. However, if they still taste fantastic, which I’m sure they do, even when they are prepared by a normal non-Chef person like me, then there is no doubt anymore why they are sustainable all these times. So, hope you’ll read my review when it’s ready. For more info, go to www.rizzoliemanuelli.com

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Yokan: Japanese Delight Perfect for Any Occasion

I said few months ago that I would write a separate post about this Japanese dessert that is usually consumed during summertime, the Mizu-Yokan, made with more water than the usual one. I know it has been few months and I’ve been so lazy in writing blog posts. But hey, it is always better late than never, right? So here it is.

I bought three yokan types in Japan and in the image below, you can find two types: the original version with red bean and another version with green tea. Both tasted delicious and I regret that I hadn’t bought more. The two types I bought are good not only for summer but also for anytime. In fact, I ate them in winter (last February) and in early spring (in the beginning of April).

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Yokan, as I mentioned earlier, is made of red bean paste. Talking about the form, it is a thick, sweet and jellied dessert, using agar (jelly-like substance). Its story dates back to around 900 years ago, in the 12th century, when it was first brought by Buddhist monks who returned back from China.

Originally, its writing has the character “Sheep” and previously, it was unfortunately made by using gelatine coming from boiling sheep, as it was recognised sheep/meat soup in China. In the past, it was consumed only by Buddhist monks and as Buddhism believes in vegetarian concept, they forbade using animal ingredients. Therefore, the gelatine used for Yokan has been replaced with red bean, which to me sounds brilliant.

Furthermore, when in the 17th century they invented agar, this ingredient is also utilised to make the newer version of Japanese yokan, the modern version of the dessert that now has been loved by not only Japanese but also by many others in the world.

This dessert has quite long shelf life if it is not opened or if it is vacuum-sealed. In fact, mine lasted 6 months. Once I opened it, I finished it in 2-3 days for the one with bigger packaging. You know what? It was not because I had to finish it so that it wouldn’t go bad but simply because I loved it so much and totally enjoyed the dessert, making me unable to wait.

And no doubt, it is very understandable that not only the Japanese like it. Have you ever tried this sweet? Is it available in your country if you don’t live in Japan? What do you think about it?

 

Getting a Bit of Harry Potter in Grimm

Hey guys. Today I want to write something unusual on my blog. I have never talked about any movie or TV series until today. Now, I want to make a review. I just finished 6 seasons of Grimm in a month and a half, thanks to Amazon Prime. Yeah, you read it right, 123 episodes in just 45 days.

I know, that sounds very fast, especially when I have work to do. Have you heard about it? It started in 2011 and ended last year, in 2017. For horror fans and those who watch Supernatural, for sure Grimm might be familiar and fun to watch.

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What’s Special about Grimm?

The main character is the Grimm itself, or what they know as Dēcapitāre (killing by cutting the head off) in other name, someone who has tasks to kill cruel and bad beasts. Then there are Wesen, good and bad, which are the creatures visible in the series and their origins come from legends and folklores in many cultures.

Not all wesen are bad. This was proven by having kind-hearted ones fighting with the main character in the movie, the Grimm. My favourite is certainly the vegetarian Blutbad (Monroe), a wesen that is also recognised as werewolf in other movies or books. Yep, vegetarian werewolf, what’s cooler than that for a fiction character?

Then there is also the term Woge, the act of changing between human and Wesen form. Wesen mostly appear in their human forms to be able to live in harmony with normal humans (kehrseite, like muggle in Harry Potter) in human’s world.

To me, it seems that the creator and producer of Grimm totally thought carefully and well about each term and character in Grimm. That must have involved a lot of research and creativity to make such thorough ideas. And think about those old books they have in the series, which all looked very real and amazing to read.

It Has Some Harry Potter in It

From when I began watching the first episode in the first season, I think it reminds me a bit of Harry Potter, especially with those beasts from legends and folklores coming to life. Why do I think that it reminds me of Harry Potter?

For starter, the main character, Nicholas Burkhardt (the main Grimm), lost his parents when he was a child and was taken care by his Aunt Marry, the sister of his mother (though thankfully, she was not like Aunt Petunia who treated Harry badly).

The auntie told Nick that his parents died in car accident, which they didn’t (just like in HP when they told Harry firstly that the parents died in car crash). Nick is also half-blood like Harry Potter, half Grimm and half human (as they mentioned that his dad was kehrseite and only her mother was Grimm).

Furthermore, it also had a lot of legends and folklores about beasts that come to life, thought and created very carefully. I seriously cannot imagine all the hard works they put to create a lot of names for all those wesen and other terms to make the stories credible (just like what I thought about the works Rowling put in her Harry Potter).

In addition, let’s talk about the trailers filled with tools, potions and amazing books about wesen and kehrseite world, how the Grimms in the past protected the society. It was like Harry Potter’s magic world if I think better for a bit. And Hexenbiest, a witch wesen who has great power in making potions and has own books filled with information about witch world, clearly completed Grimm perfectly.

In Grimm, viewers could also find what’s similar to Polyjuice Potion, something that allows you to transform exactly the same into another person physically for few hours. in Grimm, it is called Verfluchte Zwillingsschwester. Only the difference between the two, one is drunk and the other is inhaled. But, both of the potions needed something from the one that they want to transform into, like the hair for example.

Also, it had Wesen Council, which sounded like the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter, who had job to ensure the security of Wesen world among humans. Wesen council, like the Ministry of Magic who fell in book 7, also fell and was destroyed in season 5 by Black Claw (which to me seemed like Death Eaters group).

On the other hand, the group HW (Hadrian’s Wall) to me represented the Order of Phoenix in Harry Potter. And there is also Zerstörer, which was clearly like Lucifer or Voldemort: manipulative, powerful, evil and didn’t have any fear to kill. It seemed like he was cold and heartless.

Not only that, let’s talk about the “stick”, which seemed to me like a wand for wizards and witches or better, the elder wand in Harry Potter or a wand that has more power than everything else, wanted by so many witches and wizards. The “stick” in Grimm was also wanted by so many and it was hidden by other Grimms in the past to avoid that it fell into the wrong hand.

To make it even more Harry Potter like, Nick’s mother and auntie, also returned for a bit to help in final battle with Zerstorer, either as ghosts or reflections. This reminded me about Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Harry Potter’s parents who came back as reflections or ghosts to support Harry in book 7 (when he called them with the stone) as he wanted to reach Voldemort in the forbidden forest (though they didn’t help Harry to kill Voldemort).

And at the end of it, they ended it similar to Harry Potter, by fast-forwarding it to 20 years later, when the children of Nick and Adalind (a Hexenbiest), Diana and Kelly, have become adults. The epilogue of HP was 19 years later by also showing the children of Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley entering the magic world as students (the beginning of HP’s 8th book).

Actually, Rowling had never thought about the 8th creation of HP. In fact, the 8th came nine years after the 7th book (2007 to 2016). So, hey, who knows, there could be also another spinoff of Grimm, by telling the stories of Diana Renard and Kelly Burkhardt plus Monroe’s and Rosalee’s triplets, who unfortunately were not shown at the end of the series. The series finished too fast and was quite forced to end in my opinion.

* Ah, and last but not least, the series also had Rupert “Bud” Ferdinand Wurstner, an Eisbiber, a beaver wesen (friend with the Grimm and Monroe the Blutbad/wolf wesen), which reminded us about Peter Pettigrew who had stronger friends too like the werewolf Lupin, Sirius Black and James Potter in Harry Potter (though luckily, Bud didn’t betray his friends like the “rat” Pettigrew).

Final Thought

Grimm should have been made into season 7 and they should have developed the character Zerstörer more than just 3 episodes. It had a great opportunity to make a super villain like Lucifer or Voldemort. Three episodes clearly were not sufficient to tell about someone as powerful as that.

They could have made episode 14-22 (in season 6) and other 22 episodes of season 7 to make the character and the story more credible and explainable as a Villain. It was only told that he was Lucifer like and needed the stick (like Harry Potter’s elder wand who once fell into Voldermort’s hand) to make him invincible and that he needed Diana as his child bride.

Why didn’t they explain more why Zerstörer needed children (as he wanted to also take Kelly) and a child bride to be with him? Why didn’t they cover more stories about the impact of Zerstörer presence in human’s world? They could have joined the power between HW (Hadrian’s Wall) and the Grimms fighting against the joined power of Zerstörer and Black Claw (as the destruction of Black Claw wasn’t explained well also) and let the final battle in season 7.

I also follow Supernatural, which has been confirmed to have season 14! However, if I can honestly speak, no matter Supernatural is really funny and cool to watch, it only revolves within angels, demons and humans without thorough and creative ideas in the terminology as well, which can be boring sometimes as it goes on to season 14.

Often, I feel that it is still alive thanks to the fame of “Sam and Dean Winchester”. But Supernatural fans, don’t get me wrong. I do like Supernatural too, though I think Grimm should have had at least 22 episodes in season 6 and one more season to make the end better.

Discovering the Sweet Taste of Japanese Manju

In the beginning, I thought it was Mochi rice cake that I have eaten from when I was little. Then I looked again better and the seller told me that it was different. It is another Japanese sweet that she suggested me to try and bring back home from my Japan trip, named Manju.

I’m honestly not someone who really enjoys eating sweets and desserts. There are only very few cakes that I enjoy a lot, including Japanese Mochi, American cheese cake, Italian Tiramisu and a traditional cake from my home country, Lapis Surabaya (layer cake from Surabaya, Indonesia).

Certainly, I also love Italian Christmas cakes such as Pandoro and Panettone but they are only consumed yearly, seasonal during Christmas time so that’s why I don’t want to miss eating them when the time comes every year.

Back to Manju, to describe it briefly, it is a cake made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat. And inside, you can find a filling of anko (red bean paste) that is prepared from boiled adzuki bean and sugar. Its flavours usually vary just like mochi cakes, with different types that you can choose according to your preference.

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About its origin, they said it originally came from Chinese Mantou (a steamed bun) brought by a Japanese from his trip in China in the 14th century and sold at first as Nara-manjū. It has now become regular consumption in Japan for seven centuries.

The common Manju is the Matcha or green tea one but you can also find others like flavoured bean or even with orange flavour. Since this was my first time buying it, I picked the common one first, green tea, and maybe, when I return back in the future to Japan, I would buy another one.

My first impression when I tasted it for the first time? It was like a sweet bread (bun) filled with sugared bean just like its description. To tell the truth, I prefer Mochi but possibly, it is because I’m not used to its flavour yet while Mochi, it has been my favourite since childhood.

I wouldn’t say it is not delicious. However, Mochi is better for my taste. Ah, and I should add Japanese Yokan is also yummy and I really like it. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with this Japanese summer dessert yet but let’s discuss about it in the next post.

To close this, I will just say that I definitely don’t regret buying Manju and I will buy it again during my next trip to Japan (choosing another flavour). And for you who haven’t tried it yet, make sure you do. Who knows, you’ll like it better than me and prefer it more than Mochi, which can be quite sticky in the mouth.

Nevertheless, one thing for sure is that Japanese food products are never disappointing. Happy weekend guys!

 

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