mercoledì 30 novembre 2011

The Last Thursday of November

We specifically designed our kitchen with two ovens. The over-sized (by Italian standards) oven was a non-negotiable must because we had the Thanksgiving turkey in mind. The celebration of American Thanksgiving has become a tradition in Casa Chilenne since we opened in 2008 and as each year has passed our turkey seems to have grown with along with the many blessings which have been showered upon us. 2008 brought the first turkey we ordered which was over 12 kilos, 2009 it was 13+ kilos, 2010 despite our begging the butcher to find a smaller one brought a turkey of 14 kilos. This year 2011 we found ourselves again pondering the oven with our trusty tape measure before returning to the butcher's-at the time the smallest turkey available was 14,8 kilos! The turkey could not be any taller than 32 cm at it's highest point, lest it come in contact with the upper heating coil and burn the skin. On the morning of Thanksgiving Francesco Cipollini arrived, lugging a white paper wrapped bird the size of a kindergartner. He happily reported that the turkey was 24 cm at its highest point and weighed 14,4 kilos-SOLD!
Ademaro Rossi and I getting ready to serve 14 seated guests It is most important to emphasize that this turkey has come to symbolize a time for us to take stock and really remember how blessed we are. This gathering meant to inspire conscious sense of gratitude for the support of friends, neighbors and family-we could not have accomplished what we did without their support. This year we were a sanctuary for cousins studying abroad and their schoolmates as we celebrated with Cortona friends. With the help of cousins Natalie, Jamie and Nat's friend Lauren we were able to recreate a classic Turkey dinner with fixings, fresh cranberry-orange relish, bread stuffing, chinese style rice dressing, corn bread, green bean salad, maple and clementine glazed sweet potatoes and yams, pumpkin pie, apple pie and a chocolate buche de noel-I know a bit early, but it was tasty all the same. It's never too early or too late to celebrate Thanksgiving the last Thursday of November just serves as a reminder. Thanks to all of you who believe in us-thank you for your friendship and support.

lunedì 14 novembre 2011

Technology Marches On!

Lots of technological changes happening here and it's just making our heads spin. The Italian national television stations will be transmitting only in digital in a few days so we're finishing up the installation of new receivers. We have made Casa Chilenne a Wi-Fi zone, we'll be moving up to a commercial dishwasher, etc. etc. We're striving to keep ourselves updated, to fill our guests needs as well as treating them to a bit of pampering whether it be for a weekend getaway, a place to hang one's hat on a business trip, a memorable wedding celebration or extended stay to tour the area.
For the first time in nearly 4 years we'll be closed for a short break. From November 17th, 2011 until the morning of December 7th, 2011 we'll be keeping our home private. From the night of December 7th onwards we plan to welcome guests to Casa Chilenne with some fresh holiday sparkle .
And after a lot of soul searching, calculating and recalculating we made a hard decision. Nearly 4 years after opening Casa Chilenne to the public, we will be raising our rates, ever so slightly for 2012. A double room will be 110 Euro/night and a double for single use room will be 85 Euro/night. Extra beds can still be added for 40 Euro/night, children from 6-12 years of age still pay half price for the extra bed (20 Euro/ night), children from 0-5 years old still sleep free of charge and we still provide free travel cribs and bedding for our smallest guests. Our rates always include our in-house buffet breakfast, served in our private breakfast room with fresh linens and flowers, daily maid service and free internet service.
We can't give up the idea of providing little comforts to make our guests feel more at home. Our traditional Italian breakfast of pastry, yogurts, cereal, local cured meats and cheeses, assorted jams, juices and local roasted coffee for Italian and electric drip coffee are complimented by bacon and eggs cooked to order, REAL maple syrup for our homemade waffles, an assortment of teas and fresh fruit. Our rooms provide a complimentary set of toiletries, big fluffy bathsheets, multi-lanuguage satellite TV service, individually adjustable air conditioning and heat, minibar and safe. Offering our guests comfort has always been a priority for us. Hairdryers that you can dry and STYLE your hair with instead of playing tug-of-war and doing contorsionists' exercises with the wall mounted ones, bath shampoo bottles with caps rather than blister packs (ever try opening one of those rascals in the shower without scissors?!), showers big enough to avoid hopping out dripping wet should you drop the bar of soap are just common courtesy to us. We want to keep slippers and sewing kits, toothbrushes, razors and combs at hand for our guests if they need them. We observed and adapted as more and more iPads, iPhones and wireless devices came travelling along with guests and we realized that our cable LAN connections in all the rooms were just not going to be sufficient anymore. We listened when it was suggested that a magnifying, vanity mirror be provided in our baths so that shaving and make-up application could be easier.
We've been so encouraged by the 100+ reviews we've received on TripAdvisor, we take this to mean we are on the right track-thanks to all who have taken the time to voice their opinions. We take pride in our home and care about the quality of your stay with us. Let us know how you think we're doing-thanks again for 4 wonderful years we look forward to welcoming you to Cortona for years to come!

martedì 21 giugno 2011

Carlotta's latest news updates

Well! We're getting ready to finish up our third year of business at Casa Chilenne and it has really been a busy one so far. We've made lots of new friends and welcomed back many old ones as well.
We've been honored to be a part of so many happy occasions, weddings, anniversaries. We were thrilled when our friend Peggy from San Jose decided to come back to visit us and complete her 50th orbit around the sun here at Casa Chilenne. Jeanette was able to personally welcome her into the ranks of her newly established 50 Orbit Cadet Club (tee shirt to follow).

Our first Casa Chilenne bride and groom Yoon Hee and Feng Ze came back for a surprise visit to celebrate their almost 3rd anniversary after hosting their wedding guests here in 2008- Our most recent wedding celebration for a couple who returned with a new family member in wishes to Anna, Tyson and our new little friend Christian.

We have been blessed with experiences and memories which we'll cherish, our Christmas luncheon of homemade tortellini made together with guests from Australia on their honeymoon, Thanksgiving with my cousin who is studying abroad in Switzerland, together with our friends from Cortona and guests from Australia, one who has a wallabee and kangaroo rescue! These are just a few-life has been good to us.

More recent good news, our friend Francesca Pallini has just returned from a concert engagement with other cast members of "Ti Lascio un Canzione IV" in Montreal Canada! We are very proud of her!

The Archidado Crossbow competition has come and gone, our flag throwers, drum and bugle corps braved rain and hail as they paraded down Via Nazionale, and the winners of Peccioverarda (that's our neighborhood!) were thoroughly drenched as they made their victory promenade along Rugapiana.

And the most recent bit of information of our friend and computer whiz Martino performed a feat of magic...Casa Chilenne is now a WiFi zone! He couldn't be stopped by 4 floors of stone building. We've noticed in just 1 year's time the number of IPhones and IPads used by our guests has just increased exponentially, it was time for us to step-up and make it, here we are.
You can travel to far flung corners of the earth and still stay close to the ones you love and I guess that's one of the biggest gifts that technology can give us.

We're looking forward to launching into our 4th year of welcoming folks to Cortona. Our mission as always to provide the comforts and amenities of a fine hotel in a homey friendly atmosphere. It's been most encouraging to receive so many kind thank you notes, comments and reviews which lead us to believe we're on the right track so we'll keep plugging on. One of our most recent satisfactions was being included in an article published in "Ville e Casali" June 2011 issue which features Cortona.

Our recent goal is to start using our resources wisely for this and future generations. We have installed a reverse osmosis water purification unit so that we basically create our own great tasting mineral water, fizzy or naturale . We're saving space, we're saving fuel in transport and at the same time we're providing fresh, great tasting, high-quality drinking water. We hope you'll agree when you taste it.
We've always had motion sensor activated lights in our halls and we'll be encouraging our guests to be involved by remembering to turn out lights in their rooms when they're not needed (we need to use our monetary resources wisely as well).

Thank you for three wonderful years, we look forward to being your home in the heart of Cortona for many years to come...

martedì 15 febbraio 2011

What the World Needs Now-

Valentine's Day fluttered in on Cupid's wings with more of a whisper of a breeze than the gusting winds of previous years here at Casa Chilenne; however, as this pink and red and heart embellished holiday passes on I can't help but think about what this holiday is really about. It is the "Festa degli Innamorati" here, the "holiday of lovers", but I want to reflect further on what this festa chock-full of roses and chocolate really is or should be.

Maybe it should be a celebration of Love in general, love of our family, ourselves, our planet, our neighbors. A reminder to find something worthy of our passion and invest our love in that person, cause, idea and hopefully make this world a better place for a friend, a lover, a child, the environment, the world, our animals, our neighbors, society in general.

Overly optimistic and naiive? Probably. Unrealistic and preposturous? Maybe. But I just can't stop believing in that romanticized notion of the Power of Love which when channeled in the proper direction can right some of the wrongs (big and small) of our world. Love ourselves, Love one another, Love our world and maybe we'll live happily ever after...