I’m On the Menu!!!!

I thought being a finalist for Best New Blog award (to be handed out at the Foodbuzz Food Blogger Festival on November 7th) was pretty exciting…. (click here to vote for me!)

Today, I am over the moon to announce that I won a Bertolli Sauces Scholarship to the Festival. Bertolli put out an email to Featured Publishers asking us to submit recipes for menu items using their sauces as inspiration. Eight menu items were chosen those bloggers attend the Festival as guests of Bertolli sauce.

What could be more exciting than that, you ask? Well from October 23 to November 1st, you can vote for your favourite menu item and the three with the most votes will be demonstrated by their creators at the Foodbuzz Tasting Pavilion on Saturday November 7th.

My winning menu item?

Appetizer: “Pesto deconstructed” mini pizzas on a base of Bertolli Garlic Alfredo with aged Parmesan cheese pasta sauce.

Since my blog is about food and travel, I wanted my menu item to reflect that.

In the Summer of 2005, I spent a glorious two weeks in Tuscany and Umbria with Neil and a few of our friends. We ate (and drank!) very well on this trip and I created my menu item from the memory of a wonderful lunch enjoyed on a small piazza in the hilltop Umbrian town of Todi.

Doesn’t look like much but it was bite after bite of garlicky, cheesy perfection.

My mini-sized thin crust pizzas use the Bertolli sauce as the base for the other toppings – pine nuts, provolone cheese, fresh basil, shaved pecorino and baby spinach (inspired by another Tuscan meal!):

When we returned to Canada after that trip, we searched high and low for a way of recreating both these stunning pizzas. Really, the secret is in the crust. In any case, we found that pita bread makes a pretty good substitute (not to mention it’s much easier than making your own dough!)

Just before serving, a drizzle of Bertolli extra virgin olive oil and freshly-ground black pepper complete this dish, putting Tuscany on your table in about 30 minutes. A perfect weeknight dish.

(NB: You can make pizza dough from scratch, or use frozen pizza dough if you like. We always have pita pockets in our freezer so this is what I use when I don’t have time to make my own dough – i.e. most of the time!)

I am truly honoured to have been chosen – thanks Bertolli Sauce!!

Check back in here tomorrow for the link to vote! Cheers!

31 Responses to I’m On the Menu!!!!

  1. Simply Life October 22, 2009 at 21:29 #

    YAY! Congrats on all the wonderful feedback! The meal looks delicious!

  2. Jhonny walker October 22, 2009 at 21:58 #

    Fabulous!!! simply fabulous..both the dish and the award. Keep it up!!!

  3. Felice in the Kitchen. October 22, 2009 at 23:12 #

    thats so cool!! well done!!!

  4. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 22, 2009 at 23:16 #

    Simply Life – thanks!

    Jhonny – cheers!

    Felice (Louise) – thanks so much!

  5. Danielle October 22, 2009 at 23:23 #

    Wow you are going places (virtually) – Congratulations!! Love your rendition of this pizza in using a pre-made sauce – and anything with tons of garlic is a winner in my book!

  6. Chow and Chatter October 22, 2009 at 23:36 #

    so happy for u

  7. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 22, 2009 at 23:47 #

    Danielle – thanks! ANd yes yes yes, re: the garlic!!

    Rebecca – thanks so much!

  8. Fresh Local and Best October 23, 2009 at 00:01 #

    Congratulations! I'm thrilled for you!!! Are you attending the Wine Spectator tasting Friday night? I'd love to meet up if you're there.

  9. Unplanned Cooking October 23, 2009 at 00:08 #

    Congrats! How exciting! I hope you have a fabulous time at the conference.

  10. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 00:09 #

    Fresh Local – I unfortunately live in Toronto so no, no Wine Spectator event this Friday for me… Will have to live vicariously through you!!

  11. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 00:09 #

    Unplanned cooking – I am sure I will! Win or not!

  12. Amanda October 23, 2009 at 00:47 #

    Very cool. Congratulations!

  13. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 23, 2009 at 01:19 #


  14. Kelly @ EvilShenanigans October 23, 2009 at 01:53 #

    Way to go on the win! Your dish looks fantastic and I am looking forward to getting to try it! Can't wait to meet you there!

  15. doggybloggy October 23, 2009 at 02:00 #

    when it rains it pours – congratulations on all fronts

  16. 5 Star Foodie October 23, 2009 at 03:44 #

    Awesome, congrats!!!

  17. duodishes October 23, 2009 at 05:43 #

    Congrats to you! It's awesome to be next to great blogs like yours. Looks delicious too.

  18. Conor @ HoldtheBeef October 23, 2009 at 07:48 #

    Well done Mardi they look great 🙂

  19. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 09:25 #

    Amanda, Jen, 5 Star, Conor – thanks all of you!

    doggybloggy – yes it's been quite the month!!!

    Kelly, Duo – looking forward to meeting you guys too!

  20. Miriam October 23, 2009 at 09:44 #

    Wow, congratulations on all your achievements!!!

  21. high low October 23, 2009 at 11:54 #

    Congratulations! Looking forward to meeting you in San Fran!

  22. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen October 23, 2009 at 14:32 #

    This looks so good! I hope we get to try it out at the festival! Congrats on both fronts! Looking forward to meeting you there!

  23. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 14:55 #

    Miriam – thanks – it's been a bit of a roller coaster these past couple of weeks!

    High Low – Thanks! Can't wait to meet you in person!

    Jenn – Me too I hope you get to try it! Looking forward to meeting you too!

  24. Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ October 23, 2009 at 14:57 #

    Congrats! I'm so happy for you! Your pizza's look delicious!

  25. Diana October 23, 2009 at 15:54 #

    Congratulations! Looking forward to meeting you in CA 🙂

  26. jen laceda October 23, 2009 at 17:04 #

    Congratulations, Mardi!!! I'll be voting for you!

  27. jen laceda October 23, 2009 at 17:06 #

    P.S. I love making pita pizzas! They're so convenient!

  28. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 19:33 #

    Reeni – thank you

    Diana – congrats to you too!

    Jen – thanks and yes, pitas rock!

  29. stephchows October 23, 2009 at 19:57 #

    I love your Bertolli idea!!! Can't wait to meet you and see you there! I hope yours gets picked for the top 3 to be made!

  30. Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite October 23, 2009 at 20:04 #

    stephchows – congrats to you too! Looking forward to meeting you!

  31. Neil C. Phillips October 25, 2009 at 19:48 #

    We cracked open a nice Chianti when Mardi made these to send the pics in to Bertoli, to relive a bit of that glorious terrace experience.

    Oh, the things I do to help the blog world of Mardi… 😉

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