Cannabis tourism in California- a women’s wellness retreat with puff love

At the Ganja Goddess Getaway, yes, there are yoga class and spiritual talks but the mother lode comes from the spliffs, edibles and pot-infused mocktails that aid the healing

Wearing a T-shirt with the slogan” Mary Jane Smokewear”, a woman with long, grey pigtails crawled towards me, offering a reach off a balloon suitcase inflated with marijuana vapours. I was sitting cross-legged under a Ganja Goddess Getaway-branded gazebo on a perfect California afternoon and it was the umpteenth period that day that a stranger had come over, unprompted, to share their weed.

The bag was just one route my fellow ganja goddesses were get high. Plates piled with spliffs, giant blunts, laced caramel-pecan candies and fruity mocktails enhanced with pot-infused tinctures also made the rounds. At one point, I was handed a wizard pipe packed with a “tiramisu”. Where a domestic goddess might use cream and ladyfingers, a ganja goddess get “baking” with alternating layers of green and hash.

This is a canna-holiday, California-style. After new laws permitting recreational marijuana use came into effect in the nation on 1 January, canna-visionaries wasted little time integrating their product into the region’s aspirational aesthetic. You can tour the “sun-grown”, ” craft” cannabis fields of the north’s Humboldt County while in Los Angeles marijuana chef Chris Sayegh plans to open the city’s first” high cuisine” cannabis restaurant( running name: Herb ).

‘Mama’
‘ Mama’ Sailene Ossman, one of the getaway’s co-founders serves a weed-laced sweet treat.

The women-only Ganja Goddess Getaway bills itself as a wellness retreat with a( herbal) difference. The retreat itself is in the woods near the coast at Pescadero, about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco. At the end of a long clay way, in a meadow surrounded by redwoods, I saw about 135 “goddesses” engaged in a rite of” puffed and pass “. Twentysomething daughters sporting cannabis-leaf-motif leggings shared bongs with middle-aged females dressed in loungewear. Others passed spliffs all over the hot tub, lined up for henna tattoos, or got cannabis oil massages. Two friends who had “followed” the pungent aromas all the way from Chile snored peacefully through a Laughter Yoga class.

The getaway’s five co-founders are a diverse mixture: Ceo Deidra Bagdasarian is also the entrepreneur behind award-winning cannabis confection company Bliss Edibles, while event co-ordinator Trish Demesmin was an administrator at Oakland’s cannabis business college, Oaksterdam, and is now chairwoman of a medical cannabis delivery company. “Mama” Sailene Ossman is the company’s head of public relations and attributes her nickname to” being famous for bringing the food and the weed”, while married couple Kelli Valentine and Ciera Lagges complete the quintet, the former as in-house filmmaker, the latter as chief creative policeman. Together, they all preach cannabis as a” meditative and spiritual” plant.

Bagdasarian’s vision for the getaway has changed since it launched in 2016( when merely women with a medical marijuana card could attend ).

” In the beginning, I just wanted it to be a good vacation, like a stoner-girl slumber party ,” she told me. Soon, however, she noticed the women were undergoing “transformational” experiences,” So I wanted to foster a space where women can use cannabis as a tool for self-improvement .”

Deidra
Deidra Bagdasarian, co-founder and CEO of Ganja Goddess Getaway

This constructs the retreat less a group slump in front of Netflix and more a series of wellness seminars wherein the crowd passes weed around while listening to talks with topics such as Give Plants A Chance. During this, Bagdasarian recounted the incapacity of Prozac to assuage her depression. She railed against accepted norms of big pharma, sugar and a culture of chemicals. But cannabis, Bagdasarian said, was a healer. Everyone was paying attention until a butterfly flapped into the gazebo, depicting an en masse, distracted “woooah”.

It’s true the women I gratified here weren’t simply in it for the laughters. They all talked about how cannabis had helped them with ailments and conditions, such as depression, nervousnes and insomnia. Many had travelled solo, from “non-legal” states including Nebraska, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida and they formed fast bonds, sharing in-jokes over breakfast and doing morning meditation together.

” No one’s judging ,” said a 35 -year-old from Sacramento, when I asked what the appeal was.” This is two days where I get to merely be myself and focus on me .” Like the majority of women I spoke to, she asked to remain anonymous, for fear of what her workplace, family and friends would think.

Ganja
‘ Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed .’

A lot of Americans are in the “cannabis closet”, Bagdasarian said. But here, they can meet” their tribe “. And cannabis, she added, is a useful facilitator.” It lets you take your mask off. Women like being vulnerable and connecting. We give them a safe space where they can do that .”

“Safe”, however, is a relative word given the United States’ tangled cannabis statutes. In January, us attorney general Jeff Sessions announced he was dedicating federal prosecutors carte blanche to go after cannabis growers, marketers and users who are violating the nation’s rule of law. The shock memo eluded Obama-era policy to leave states that had legalised the medication alone. President Trump, however, recently promised to respect states’ rights on legal pot. More states are discussing” going recreational” this year, including Michigan, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Such ambiguity has stalled many California cities from writing regulations that would grant cannabis tourism a “green” illumination. It’s frustrating for Bagdasarian, who cites finding venues as her biggest challenge. Few places permit open intake and cannabis businesses are blocked from promoting themselves on social media. Ticket seller Eventbrite recently cut ties with the getaway, citing federal law.

For this reason, the getaway is limited to private retreat centres, where camping is the most practical accommodation. In Pescadero, attendees shared 12 -person bell tents or brought their own; there were also more comfy, though higher-priced alternatives, of a shared yurt with wood-burner and cots and dorm-style rooms in the main lodge. Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing limitless food and weed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to savor fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or beverage( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitors, demonstrations and special menu. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have risen beyond local status to that of crowded international celebrations, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval banquet at the Sagra della Castagna. Photo: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll discovery chestnuts roast in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop town an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone era. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit tart in the competition for best historic banquet. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve jump to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to eat, year-round
Get a savour of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to bide
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by forest at Podere Pontepietra ( doublings from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and views of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photograph: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colouring or flavour, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the festival in its honour now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 came last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna set it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to feed, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its is accessible to customers from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to remain
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doubleds from 95 B& B ), a pretty, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria. Photo: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle festivals is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop township of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a celebration as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent restaurants scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy scent persists. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to eat, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities guess black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek eatery that recently opened in town.

Where to bide
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doubles from 60 B& B ), just three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Devoted protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but gets sharper as it ages, relies on kine grazing on Alpine grasslands. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern boundaries of Italy is how much the cheese and the preparation process feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and writer of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is only a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to eat, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roasted lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to remain
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Guests revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a pretty, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this celebration celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcoming, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and wash it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the streets. On every alley theres something happening, says Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked me: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I only have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to feed, year round
Between its starring cook and lovely place in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to remain
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doubleds from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed homes unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a pony stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great sums, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this celebration in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, welcoming about 300,000 guests. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the field since the middle ages. This festival in the fruits honor is Italys foremost, but its not just marrone youll discovery here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused dark chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to feed, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has procured a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to stay
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doubles from 70 B& B) is a running 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers surprisingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

10 top tips-off from our Los Angeles correspondent

Stars in the sky and on the silver screen, trips to the beach and a cemetery, plus a stroll with a local actor who calls himself the people walker LA delivers the goods for our west coast writer

Hollywood movie magic

Watch a movie at the Aero in Santa Monica, or the Egyptian in Hollywood: both are part of AmericanCinematheque, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Americas indigenous art form the moving picture. It has an old-style ambience and eclectic choices, and after screenings there are often Q& As with the films directors and stars. You can see top talent, especially in autumn the run-up to awardings season when Oscar hopefuls come out to lobby.
americancinematheque.com

See the real stars

Garvey
Garvey Ranch Observatory in Monterey Park. Photograph: Lawrence K/ LA Times/ Getty

Garvey Ranch Observatory, 10 miles east of downtown, hosts telescope building and mirror-making sessions, as well as public stargazing every Wednesday night. The presence of Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Space X, plus UCLA and USC, stimulates Los Angeles quite the physics hub so you find top boffins and engineers coming here to play astronomer.
Garvey Ranch Observatory, 781 Orange Avenue, Monterey Park,
nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov

Futuristic food

Five
Dishes at Baroo

Some of LAs best food is found in nondescript-looking restaurants on bland strip malls. These include Baroo, wedged between a 7-Eleven and a hair salon. Named after the rice bowls that are one of the few possessions Buddhist monks are permitted, it is a shrine to fermenting. Chef and co-founder Kwang Uh induces passionfruit kraut and fizzing pineapple tepache ($ 3 ), kimchi fried rice seasoned with fermented pineapple and a herb-strewn grain dish called noorook ($ 12 ), sluiced with pureed beets and a variant of koji the fungus to benefit from induce sake and studded with nuts and grains. The LA Timess food oracle, Jonathan Gold, raved: Noorook savor like nothing you have ever feed. But it does taste a little like the future.
baroola.strikingly.com

Hire a people walker

Chuck
Chuck McCarthy, the People Walker

For$ 7 a mile Chuck McCarthy, an underemployed performer who came up with this sideline, will accompany you on foot. Calling himself the People Walker, he started it as a joke, then discovered a market. He is based in Los Feliz, near the Hollywood Hills, and has colleagues dotted around other neighbourhoods. Having spent an afternoon with Chuck I recommend him. Hes affable, wry and knowledgeable about local lore.
facebook.com/ thepeoplewalker

Stroll amongst the tomb of Hollywood

Grounds
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Photo: Alamy

Forever Cemetery is the resting place of Cecil B DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and hundreds more stars. Its on the National Register of Historic Sites, and deservedly so. There are concerts year-round and outdoor screenings of classic movies and modern blockbusters in summer, when people bring rugs, food and wine. I watched Sunset Boulevard here , not far from Gloria Swansons grave. Not at all creepy. I guess shed have approved.
hollywoodforever.com

Take the Expo line to Santa Monica

Expo
Expo line light rail train. Photograph: Ted Soqui/ Corbis/ Getty

Six decades after the last Pacific Electric red vehicle streetcar left Santa Monica, a new rail line connecting it to downtown Los Angeles opened in March 2016. For $1.75 one way, its a new route to find and experience a city that most visitors navigate by auto. The Expo line is not fast all overground, it stops at traffic light, taking 50 minutes to cover the 14 miles but that devotes time to soak in the cityscape and fellow passengers who can be executives, skateboarders, maids, techies and hipsters.
metro.net

Rent a bike

Cyclists
Cyclists employing LA Metros Bike Share programme. Photograph: Marcus Yam/ LA Times/ Getty

LA may still be the worlds auto capital but bike-friendly initiatives, including new motorcycle lanes, have attained much of the city viable for those on two wheels. The city is mostly flat, with a blessed climate, so theres no excuse. There are rental stores all over the city but a good option is the city-run Metro Bike Share, which has thousands of green bikes parked all over the place. If youre going to use it merely a handful of hours, the walk-up rate is $3.50 per half-hour. If you plan on riding more than six times during a visit, plump for a $20 monthly pass. Check whether you overlap with one of CicLAvias occasional fun cycling events. Or, if feeling adventurous, join one a wolf pack hustle organised group rides and races around the city.

Celebrate the sundowner at Hotel Erwin

Sunset
Sunset at Hotel Erwin, Venice Beach. Photograph: Alamy

Its in every guidebook but for good reason: have a sundowner on the Erwin hotels rooftop bar in Venice. After mixing with the artists, buskers, exhibitionists, hustlers and tourist hordes on the boardwalk, youll require a beverage and theres no better position than the sunshine sinking into the Pacific. The hotel has been a Venice landmark since the 1970 s: a funky, architectural survivor amid the gentrification that has transformed the rest of the neighborhood. Try a blood orange julep for $15, an average price for the area.
hotelerwin.com

Check out improv slapstick for $16

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to savor fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or drink( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitors, demonstrations and special menus. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have soared beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

A
A costumed medieval dinner at the Sagra della Castagna. Photograph: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll detect chestnuts cook in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop township an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone era. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit tart in the competition for best historic banquet. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve leap to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to feed, year-round
Get a taste of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to remain
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by forest at Podere Pontepietra ( doublings from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and views of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photo: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colour or flavours, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the celebration in its honour now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 came last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food writer Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna put it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to feed, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its open to clients from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to remain
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doublings from 95 B& B ), a fairly, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop township of SantAgata Feltria. Photograph: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle festivals is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a celebration as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent restaurants scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy scent persists. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to eat, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities believe black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek restaurant that recently opened in town.

Where to bide
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doublings from 60 B& B ), just three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Dedicated protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but gets sharper as it ages, relies on cows grazing on Alpine pastures. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern boundaries of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and author of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is simply a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to feed, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roast lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to remain
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a fairly, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this festival celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcome, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and rinse it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the streets. On every alley theres something happening, says Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked me: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I only have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to eat, year round
Between its superstar chef and lovely locating in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to bide
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doubleds from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed houses unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a horse stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great sums, at the celebration in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this celebration in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, welcoming about 300,000 guests. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the area since the middle ages. This festival in the fruit honour is Italys foremost, but its not just marrone youll determine here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused dark chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to feed, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has procured a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to stay
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doublings from 70 B& B) is a running 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers surprisingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Cannabis tourism in California- a women’s wellness retreat with puffed love

At the Ganja Goddess Getaway, yes, there are yoga class and spiritual talks but the mother lode comes from the spliffs, edibles and pot-infused mocktails that aid the healing

Wearing a T-shirt with the slogan” Mary Jane Smokewear”, a woman with long, grey pigtails crawled towards me, offering a reach off a balloon purse inflated with marijuana vapors. I was sitting cross-legged under a Ganja Goddess Getaway-branded gazebo on a perfect California afternoon and it was the umpteenth hour that day that a stranger had come over, unprompted, to share their weed.

The bag was just one route my fellow ganja goddesses were getting high. Plates piled with spliffs, giant blunts, laced caramel-pecan candies and fruity mocktails enhanced with pot-infused tinctures also made the rounds. At one point, I was handed a wizard tube packed with a “tiramisu”. Where a domestic goddess might use cream and ladyfingers, a ganja goddess gets “baking” with alternating layers of green and hash.

This is a canna-holiday, California-style. After new laws permitting recreational marijuana use came into effect in the nation on 1 January, canna-visionaries wasted little time integrating their product into the region’s aspirational aesthetic. You can tour the “sun-grown”, ” craft” cannabis fields of the north’s Humboldt County while in Los Angeles marijuana cook Chris Sayegh plans to open the city’s first” high cuisine” cannabis restaurant( working name: Herb ).

‘Mama’
‘ Mama’ Sailene Ossman, one of the getaway’s co-founders serves a weed-laced sweet treat.

The women-only Ganja Goddess Getaway bills itself as a wellness retreat with a( herbal) difference. The retreat itself is in the woods near the coast at Pescadero, about an hour’s drive south of San Francisco. At the end of a long clay track, in a grassland surrounded by redwoods, I find about 135 “goddesses” engaged in a ritual of” puffed and pass “. Twentysomething daughters sporting cannabis-leaf-motif leggings shared bongs with middle-aged females dressed in loungewear. Others passed spliffs around the hot tub, lined up for henna tattoos, or got cannabis oil massages. Two friends who had “followed” the pungent aromas all the way from Chile snored peacefully through a Laughter Yoga class.

The getaway’s five co-founders are a diverse mixture: Ceo Deidra Bagdasarian is also the entrepreneur behind award-winning cannabis confection company Bliss Edibles, while event co-ordinator Trish Demesmin was an administrator at Oakland’s cannabis business college, Oaksterdam, and is now chairperson of a medical cannabis delivery company. “Mama” Sailene Ossman is the company’s head of public relations and attributes her nickname to” being famous for bringing the food and the weed”, while married couple Kelli Valentine and Ciera Lagges complete the quintet, the former as in-house filmmaker, the latter as chief creative officer. Together, they all preach cannabis as a” meditative and spiritual” plant.

Bagdasarian’s vision for the getaway has changed since it launched in 2016( when only women with a medical marijuana card could attend ).

” In the beginning, I just wanted it to be a good vacation, like a stoner-girl slumber party ,” she told me. Soon, however, she noticed the women were undergoing “transformational” experiences,” So I wanted to foster a space where women can use cannabis as a tool for self-improvement .”

Deidra
Deidra Bagdasarian, co-founder and CEO of Ganja Goddess Getaway

This stimulates the retreat less a group slump in front of Netflix and more a series of wellness seminars wherein the crowd pass weed around while listening to talks with topics such as Give Plants A Chance. During this, Bagdasarian recounted the inability of Prozac to assuage her depression. She railed against accepted norms of big pharma, sugar and a culture of chemicals. But cannabis, Bagdasarian said, was a healer. Everyone was paying attention until a butterfly flapped into the gazebo, drawing an en masse, confused “woooah”.

It’s true the women I met here weren’t only in it for the giggles. They all talked about how cannabis had helped them with ailments and conditions, such as depression, nervousnes and insomnia. Many had travelled solo, from “non-legal” states including Nebraska, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida and they formed fast bonds, sharing in-jokes over breakfast and doing morning meditation together.

” No one’s judging ,” said a 35 -year-old from Sacramento, when I asked what the appeal was.” This is two days where I get to simply be myself and focus on me .” Like the majority of women I spoke to, she asked to remain anonymous, for fear of what her workplace, family and friends would think.

Ganja
‘ Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing limitless food and weed .’

A lot of Americans are in the “cannabis closet”, Bagdasarian said. But here, they can meet” their tribe “. And cannabis, she added, is a useful facilitator.” It lets you take your mask off. Girls like being vulnerable and connecting. We give them a safe space where they can do that .”

“Safe”, however, is a relative word given the United States’ tangled cannabis statutes. In January, attorney general Jeff Sessions announced he was giving federal prosecutors carte blanche to go after cannabis growers, vendors and users who are violating the nation’s rule of statute. The shock memo defied Obama-era policy to leave states that had legalised the medication alone. President Trump, however, recently promised to respect states’ rights on legal pot. More countries are discussing” going recreational” this year, including Michigan, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Such ambiguity has stalled many California cities from writing rules that would grant cannabis tourism a “green” lighting. It’s frustrating for Bagdasarian, who cites procuring venues as her biggest challenge. Few places permit open intake and cannabis businesses are blocked from promoting themselves on social media. Ticket seller Eventbrite recently cut ties with the getaway, quoting federal law.

For this reason, the getaway is limited to private retreat centres, where camping is the most practical accommodation. In Pescadero, attendees shared 12 -person bell tents or brought their own; there were also more comfy, though higher-priced options, of a shared yurt with wood-burner and cots and dorm-style rooms in the main lodge. Organisers must also be dextrous around legalities: they can’t sell cannabis but they can give it away. Hence the getaway’s “all-inclusive” ticket, encompassing unlimited food and weed.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

At least eight hurt as ski lift hurtles out of control in Georgia

Skiers were forced to leap from the faulty chairlift, with some fling from carriages at speed

At least eight people have been injured after a malfunctioning ski lift threw people from their seats at a ski resort in Georgia.

Skiers and snowboarders were forced to jumping from the faulty chairlift on Friday as their seats lunged backwards down the mountain, with some people falling from carriages at velocity, in what one witness likened to” a scene from a Final Destination movie “.

Videos of the accident at Gudauri resort in Georgia show a pile-up of transgres and distorted chairs at the bottom of the lift as spectators scream at people to jump.

Ryan Wilkinson, 24, from Kent, was queuing at the lower end of the lift with a group of friends when he saw the incident happen. He said the ski lift had been closed for mends all week, but reopened on Friday morning.

” The lift stopped for a minute. There is a language barrier with the Georgians, so we didn’t know what was happening. Then it started reversing backwards slowly, then it got quicker. There was a guy in the office smashing on a machine and yelling who seemed powerless to stop it ,” he told.

” All the chairs were full of people. Everyone was screaming in Georgian and English for people to jump off. The only thing that stopped it getting worse was the friction caused by the pile-up of chairs at the bottom. People would have kept flying round otherwise.

” One girl in red was too scared to jump. It looked like she’d been spat out of a washing machine when she made the bottom. It was like a scene from a Final Destination cinema .”

An emergency stop led to the chairs sliding back at high speed, the economy minister, Dimitry Kumsishvili, told journalists, adding that the incident was ” allegedly caused by an electricity outage “.

” The interior ministry has launched war criminals probe into alleged violation of safety norms ,” he said.

The health minister, Davit Sergeenko, said the affected tourists- who were Georgiain, Russian, Swedish and Ukrainian- did not suffer serious injuries.

” Two of them including a pregnant woman from Sweden were airlifted to a hospital in Tbilisi ,” he said.

A spokesman for Doppelmayr, the Austrian manufacturer of the chairlift, said two technicians were in transit to Georgia to respond to the incident. No initial cause was given.

The fixed-grip four-seat chairlift was installed at the Georgian ski resort in 2007. The design includes an emergency brake and backup power generator, the company told.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

The world on a plate: the diverse kitchens of Queens, New York

A food tour of New Yorks most multicultural borough revels in Latin American and Asian cuisine, but also highlights how gentrification threatens to end this riot of flavours

I‘m waiting for what will turn out to be the most impressive sandwich I’ve had in recent memory. In the smaller dining room in the back of Beky’s Bakery, owned Roberta Torres sits at the head of the table, as their own families eats breakfast around her. She wears her trademark Frieda Kahlo apron and maintains one eye on the line of customers forming at the counter. The ceiling is strung with fake blooms and a telenovela plays on the TV. We could be in Puebla, Mexico, where Roberta is from, but we’re not; we’re in Queens, New York, one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in the US, where perhaps more speeches are spoken than anywhere else on the planet, and Beky’s is just one of virtually 6,000 restaurants representative of 120 nationalities that call this county home.

Beky’s
Beky’s Bakery

It was the success of Roberta’s pushcart — selling tamales on a street corner — that allowed her to open up this small place, squeezed between an insurance bureau and Juanita Salon. I would never have known to come here if I weren’t a guest of food blog and tour company Culinary Backstreets, which was launched in Istanbul in 2009, and had now been spreading to nine cities, including Tokyo, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and, in April 2017, Queens.

But back to the sandwich. It’s a cemita : a toasted sesame-seed topped bun stuffed with melted queso oaxaca , chorizo, and avocado with a smoky kicking from the chipotle. The trademark ingredient, however, is papalo , a Mexican herb with a unique floral edge. Our guidebook, Esneider Arevalo, 50, a deep knowledgable and charismatic man with startling green eyes, orders two for our group to share. One girl speaks for us all:” Every once in a while you eat a sandwich that changes your life .”

Eim
Thai restaurant Eim Khao Mun Khai.

This is the third stop on the tour, which moves through Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Corona- the neighborhoods with the largest foreign-born populations in Queens. Everyone else in our group of five- an academic bunch, all women- has taken a Culinary Backstreets tour before. They recommend I pace myself.

As we stroll along Roosevelt Avenue, the borough’s main boulevard, lined with dollar stores, pharmacies, and cafes, Esneider tells me about his childhood, pausing to let the rumble of the elevated subway pass overhead. He left Medellin, Colombia, at 17 to join his mother, who had endeavoured to Queens two years previously. He soon found run as a dishwasher. I asked how he aimed up as a guidebook with Culinary Backstreets.” I come from foodie royalty ,” he says.

A
A Chinese herbalist in Elmhurst

His mother, Maria Cano, is the well known but now retired Arepa Lady, whose pushcart on 79 th Street and Roosevelt Avenue described acclaim from Chowhound’s Jim Leff and the late Anthony Bourdain. Esneider himself worked his way up to become head chef of Angelica Kitchen, New York’s original farm-to-table vegan restaurant. His and his mother’s story is the stuff of American dreamings, even if that dreaming has been complicated by the current political climate.

We stop at Seba Seba, a 30 -year-old corner diner where locals eat plates of pollo asado ( seasoned grilled chicken ), to pick up a container of Colombian pastries: pan de yuca , almojabana , and bunuelo . The bunuelosteams as Esneider transgresses it with his hands to share between us, passing out napkins from his tote bag of renders.” It savours like a Colombian hushpuppy ,” one of the group says, referring to deep-fried maize dough balls that are particularly popular in the American south.

Roasted
Roasted corn vendor, Elmhurst

This whole experience is pleasingly low key- there’s no being corralled into restaurants that accommodate tourist groups- and Esneider brings not only culinary expertise but testimony to the immigrant experience of 48% of the borough. He has also travelled extensively through his work with Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers’ Movement and touring in his DIY punk band Huasipungo. Right now, he is the sole operator for Culinary Backstreets New York.

We pass a corner usually populated by street vendors, but there’s just one female, her cart piled high with food including over-ripe mangoes. The day before there was a police raid on unlicensed vendors.” The pushcart has been the traditional port of entry into the economy for a lot of immigrant households ,” Esneider tells.” But there is a cap on licences and people without them are vulnerable to police harassment. They say they want to control quality, but it’s part of the gentrification process. By increasing police presence in neighbourhoods they want gentrified, they squeeze out local industries .”

Mi
Mi Otra Casa, a Mexican bar and eatery in Elmhurst

The next stop is food truck Hornado Ecuatoriano to try hot morocho , a sweet-spiced corn drink similar to rice pudding, and a popular midday snack in Ecuador. As we eat, we talk about how high-end eateries with trendy food trucks monopolise the licences needed by immigrants. This is not a tour for the Instragram-happy foodies( though Esneider might benefit from it ); it pushes you to look more deep into your food selections, to examine how what we eat intersects with the economic aspects of immigration and gentrification. I always try to eat sustainably, but up to now I had never considered the socioeconomic ramifications of which food trucks I frequent.

El
Ismael, a butcher at El Molino, a mashup Mexican grocery and Argentinian butcher shop in Corona

The tour continues to El Molino grocery store, where Esneider points out ingredients from cactus to panela ( unrefined cane sugar ), offering us recipe ideas as he goes; then onwards to La Caridad, a Cuban-owned botanica ( a store selling alternative health products and folk medicines ), its shelves stocked with effigies, candles, and colognes promising to deliver everything from salvation to retaliation. A shop next-door sells white garments as crisp as frosting for girls’ quinceanera , Latin America’s coming of age tradition- like sweet sixteen but going a year earlier.

Hornado
Hornado Ecuatoriano

We maintain eating: alfajores ( a dulce de leche cookie ), a chivito ( a steak sandwich ), and champus , a spiced Colombian drink of mashed lulo ( a citrus fruit native to northern South America ), corn, and pineapple. At this point everything is blending into one delicious cultural medley.

This is not a tour for Instagram-happy foodies. It pushes you to look at your food choices

We turn down 82 nd Street and for the first time we insure chain store like Gap and Old Navy. While Jackson Heights was designated a Historic District in 1993 its protections don’t extend this far. Despite local resistance, the Jackson Movie Theatre was demolished after 90 years serving the community and will soon to be replaced by a Target department store.” A Target will give 15 tasks but take 30 from local industries ,” says Esneider, who campaigned against the re-zoning.

Lhasa
Lhasa Liang Fen. Photograph: Melanie Einzig

As we enter Elmhurst the restaurants switching from Latin American to Pan Asian. We pick up some Hainanese chicken rice at the tiny Thai restaurant Eim Khao Mun Kai and a box of momos ( south Asian dumplings) from Lhasa Liang Fen, where two Buddhist monks are watching a documentary on Tibetan hip hop.

We take our wares to the historic Moore Homestead Playground for a picnic in the spring sunshine. Two older men argue over a game of Chinese checkers while kids play handball on the courts below. Esneider talks us through each dish, navigating its history and geography. I think about how there is no linear narrative to the migrant kitchens of Queens. Each community has created a sense of home through the ritual of making and sharing food, and in turn, has added yet another thread to the multicultural knot that ties Queens together, constructing it ever more robust, ever more colourful, and, of course, ever tastier.
* The full-day United Kitchens tour is $150 per adult; the four-hour Corona’s Culinary Essentials tour $95. Walks are for four to seven people and all food is included in cost. Walks can be altered for vegetarians and others with various dietary requirements

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Why now is the time to visit Key West

Key West, Florida( CNN) Key West gets a lot of airtime on New Year’s Eve and during annual events like October’s bacchanal Fantasy Fest. But there’s no better time to visit the last stop on US 1 than right now, through the spring.

The sun is shining, there’s very little rainfall, and the town is buzzing with energy and events to maintain Conch Republic locals, snowbirds and day-trippers alike busy.

Plus, direct flights and new hotels, restaurants and more are making a quick Key West getaway that much more attractive.

Italy’s best-kept food secret: the sagra festival

Italys food festivals are not just a chance to savor fantastic regional specialities, but also to delve into local culture and autumn is the time to go

Italys best-kept food secret is the sagra . A festival organised to show off a local food or drinking( or both ), a sagra is a place where youll eat well and learn. Most sagre have local producers selling the goods, but there are also tastings, competitors, demonstrations and special menu. And theyre not just about the food: many sagre have their roots in old country fairs or pagan festivals celebrating the harvest and have been running for decades, even centuries. And while some have risen beyond local status to that of crowded international festivals, hundreds remain events where youll dine and drink elbow-to-elbow with locals. Here are seven autumn sagre that are both bustling but still true to their roots.

Sagra della Castagna, Soriano nel Cimino, Lazio

29 September-2 October and 6-9 October

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A costumed medieval dinner at the Sagra della Castagna. Photograph: Marcello Mascellini

Yes, youll discovery chestnuts roast in every piazza in this unspoilt hilltop township an hours drive north of Rome. But this sagra is about more than that: its also when Sorianos four districts duke it out over which one best transports the town to a bygone era. In the Convivium Secretum, for example, costumed locals serve dishes such as capon fricassee and white-rabbit pastry in the tournament for best historic dinner. There are also jousts, archery and in a dramatic finale 700 townsfolk, each looking like theyve sprung to life from a Renaissance painting or medieval tapestry, parading through the streets.
Admission for ticketed events from 2,
sagradellecastagne.com

Where to eat, year-round
Get a savor of Soriano nel Ciminos history and in-season specialities such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and chestnut-and-beef stew at Rottezzia Osteria-Birreria ( 10, Via Dello Scarico, +39 0761 7490 22 ), where the owner gives tours of the caves that make up the medieval stone quarry-turned-wine-cellar and now osteria.

Where to remain
Try the 19 th-century stone farmhouse surrounded by wood at Podere Pontepietra ( doublings from 55 B& B ), whose three rooms have private bathrooms, wood-beamed ceilings and the opinions of the Tiber valley.

Mortadellab, Bologna

20 -2 3 October

Plate
Mortadella, a dish many see as the Italian precursor of bologna. Photo: Charlotte Observer/ Getty Images

The pink sausage known as mortadella bologna has been beloved for ages it was even traded like currency in the middle ages. And with its IGP protection ensuring no preservatives, artificial colouring or flavour, this version is as far from US or UK baloney as you can get. No wonder the festival in its accolade now in its fourth year has become so popular: 130,000 arrived last year. Mortadella is sliced and served with bubbly aperitivo in the city streets, says Italy-based food novelist Eleonora Baldwin, while tastings, demonstrations and rivalries sprawl across Bolognas central Piazza Maggiore. As the president of the Consorzio Mortadella Bologna set it: I guarantee that it will be love at first slice.
mortadellabologna.com

Where to feed, year round
Try mortadella at Pasquini& Brusiani , a butcher-delicatessen that has been cooking by traditional methods since 1950; its is accessible to clients from Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Where to bide
Overlooking vineyards and the hills of the Parco dei Gessi Bolognesi at Ca del Frate ( doubles from 95 B& B ), a fairly, peaceful B& B six miles from the centre of Bologna.

Fiera del Tartufo Bianco, SantAgata Feltria, Emilia-Romagna

Every Sunday in October

The
The medieval hilltop township of SantAgata Feltria. Photograph: Atlantide Phototravel/ Getty Images

The most famous of Italys truffle celebrations is the International White Truffle Fair in Alba. But the medieval hilltop town of SantAgata Feltria near where Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Le Marche and Umbria intersect is home to a festival as local as it is vibrant. In the main tent restaurants scoop out dishes such as truffle-infused cheese fondue, truffled veal and gnocchi with truffle, while vendors proudly display their( wonky-looking) wares and no matter where you walk, the earthy perfume lingers. Dont miss the race of the truffle-hunting dogs on 11 October.
prolocosantagatafeltria.com

Where to feed, year round
Enjoy upmarket versions of local specialities think black-pig carpaccio or ravioli with truffle, sausage and mascarpone at Il Tulipano Nero , a sleek restaurant that recently opened in town.

Where to bide
In a medieval village complete with tower and a B& B restored by local artists into the enchanting Il Borgo del Sole e della Luna ( doublings from 60 B& B ), simply three miles from town.

Bitto in Centro, Morbegno, Lombardy

15 -1 6 October

Blocks
Blocks of bitto( cheese ). Photograph: Getty Images

The small town of Morbegno is near the border of Switzerland, 70 miles north-east of Milan, and few foods reflect that like its beloved cheese. Dedicated protected( DOP) status 20 years ago, bitto , which is soft and sweet when young but get sharper as it ages, relies on cows grazing on Alpine grasslands. The sagra offers tastings and bitto-centric menu( look for the most traditional dish: the cheese melted over pizzoccheri , a buckwheat pasta ), as well as vendors selling products such as Alpine-herb amaro or local honey. What I love about this sagra and many sagre on the northern borders of Italy is how much the cheese and its preparations feel distinctly connected to the neighbouring nations, in this case Switzerland, says Katie Parla, an Italy food expert and author of the book Tasting Rome. Its a wonderful reminder of how what is perceived as authentic Italian cuisine is only a small part of Italys gastronomic culture.

Where to eat, year round
Try bitto at the Slow Food restaurant
Osteria del Crotto , which also serves local dishes like roasted lamb and ricotta ravioli.

Where to remain
Sleep in silence and wake up to the crisp Alpine air at the homey B& B Costiera dei Cech ( doubles 58 B& B ), which is in the mountains a six miles drive from Morbegno.

Bacco nelle Gnostre, Noci, Puglia
5-6 November

Visitors
Visitors revel in the foodie streets at Bacco nelle Gnostre

Held in a pretty, whitewashed town halfway between Bari and Taranto, this celebration celebrates the Pugliese spirit at its most welcome, where locals prepare food at home and share it with passersby in the towns distinctive gnostre ( semi-private courtyards ). Grab a steaming dish of orecchiette or grilled octopus and rinse it down with a glass of vino novello, primitivo or negramaro, while listening to the thrum of tarantella that threads through the street. On every alley theres something happening, tells Puglia native Antonello Losito, founder of Southern Visions Travel. If someone asked me: I want a quick showcase of Puglia, as Ive never been before and I only have two hours, Id bring them here.
formichedipuglia.it

Where to feed, year round
Between its star cook and lovely place in a courtyard in the heart of Noci its no wonder that LAntica Locanda is famous for its top-notch versions of traditional dishes like orecchiette with capocollo or fava beans and chicory.

Where to bide
The historic masseria( fortified farmhouse ), Abate Masseria ( doublings from 89 B& B ), is spotted with trulli ( the cone-roofed homes unique to Puglia ), all carefully restored and complete with a swimming pool, tennis courts and a horse stable thats now a restaurant.

Fiera Nazionale del Marrone, Cuneo, Piedmont

14 -1 6 October

Marrone
Roast with the most marrone are celebrated, and eaten in great quantities, at the festival in Cuneo

Now in its 18 th year, this festival in Cuneo, 60 miles south of Turin, has become one of Italys most popular, greeting about 300,000 visitors. And with good reason. The chestnuts more desirable, sweeter cousin( and the one used for marrons glacs ), marrone have been cultivated in the field since the middle ages. This festival in the fruits honor is Italys foremost, but its not only marrone youll detect here: 250 vendors also sell local olive oils, cheeses, wine and the not-to-be-missed cuneesi al rhum , a local speciality of rum-infused darknes chocolate.
marrone.net

Where to eat, year round
With an emphasis on Slow Food, local and organic products, Osteria Senza Fretta ( the no-rush osteria) has determined a following for dishes such as vitello tonnato ( sliced veal in a tuna-flavoured sauce) and Alpine-herb risotto.

Where to stay
Agriturismo Tetto Garro ( doubleds from 70 B& B) is a working 15 -hectare farm of walnut, chestnut and hazelnut trees, whose impeccably renovated barn offers surprisingly stylish and contemporary rooms.

La Sagra dellUva, Marino, Lazio

30 September to 3 October

Read more: www.theguardian.com

10 top tips-off from our Los Angeles correspondent

Stars in the sky and on the silver screen, trips to the beach and a graveyard, plus a stroll with a local performer who calls himself the people walker LA delivers the very best for our west coast writer

Hollywood movie magic

Watch a movie at the Aero in Santa Monica, or the Egyptian in Hollywood: both are part of AmericanCinematheque, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Americas indigenous art form the moving picture. It has an old-style ambience and eclectic choices, and after screenings there are often Q& As with the cinemas directors and superstars. You can see top talent, especially in autumn the run-up to awardings season when Oscar hopefuls come out to lobby.
americancinematheque.com

See the real stars

Garvey
Garvey Ranch Observatory in Monterey Park. Photo: Lawrence K/ LA Times/ Getty

Garvey Ranch Observatory, 10 miles east of downtown, hosts telescope house and mirror-making sessions, as well as public stargazing every Wednesday night. The presence of Caltech, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Space X, plus UCLA and USC, constructs Los Angeles quite the physics hub so you find top boffins and engineers coming here to play astronomer.
Garvey Ranch Observatory, 781 Orange Avenue, Monterey Park,
nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov

Futuristic food

Five
Dishes at Baroo

Some of LAs best food is may be in nondescript-looking restaurants on bland strip malls. These include Baroo, wedged between a 7-Eleven and a hair salon. Named after the rice bowls that are one of the few possessions Buddhist monks are permitted, it is a shrine to fermenting. Chef and co-founder Kwang Uh constructs passionfruit kraut and fizzing pineapple tepache ($ 3 ), kimchi fried rice seasoned with fermented pineapple and a herb-strewn grain dish called noorook ($ 12 ), sluiced with pureed beets and a variation of koji the fungus are applied to construct sake and studded with nuts and grains. The LA Timess food oracle, Jonathan Gold, raved: Noorook savours like nothing you have ever eaten. But it does savour a little like the future.
baroola.strikingly.com

Hire a people walker

Chuck
Chuck McCarthy, the People Walker

For$ 7 a mile Chuck McCarthy, an underemployed actor who came up with this sideline, will accompany you on foot. Calling himself the People Walker, he started it as a joke, then discovered a market. He is based in Los Feliz, near the Hollywood Hills, and has colleagues dotted around other neighbourhoods. Having expended an afternoon with Chuck I recommend him. Hes affable, wry and knowledgeable about local lore.
facebook.com/ thepeoplewalker

Stroll among the tombs of Hollywood

Grounds
The Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Photograph: Alamy

Forever Cemetery is the resting place of Cecil B DeMille, Jayne Mansfield, Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks and hundreds more starrings. Its on the National Register of Historic Sites, and deservedly so. There are concerts year-round and outdoor screenings of classic films and modern blockbusters in summer, when people bring carpets, food and wine. I watched Sunset Boulevard here , not far from Gloria Swansons grave. Not at all creepy. I guess shed have approved.
hollywoodforever.com

Take the Expo line to Santa Monica

Expo
Expo line light rail develop. Photograph: Ted Soqui/ Corbis/ Getty

Six decades after the last Pacific Electric red automobile trolley left Santa Monica, a new rail line connecting it to downtown Los Angeles opened in March 2016. For $1.75 one way, its a new style to insure and experience a city that most visitors navigate by vehicle. The Expo line is not fast all overground, it stops at traffic lights, taking 50 minutes to cover the 14 miles but that devotes time to soak in the cityscape and fellow passengers who can be executives, skateboarders, maids, techies and hipsters.
metro.net

Rent a bike

Cyclists
Cyclists employing LA Metros Bike Share programme. Photograph: Marcus Yam/ LA Times/ Getty

LA may still be the worlds automobile capital but bike-friendly initiatives, including new bike lanes, have stimulated much of the town viable for those on two wheels. The city is mostly flat, with a blessed climate, so theres no excuse. There are rental stores all over the city but a good option is the city-run Metro Bike Share, which has thousands of green bikes parked all over the place. If youre going to use it just a handful of hours, the walk-up rate is $3.50 per half-hour. If you plan on riding more than six days during a visit, plump for a $20 monthly pass. Check whether you overlap with one of CicLAvias occasional fun cycling events. Or, if feeling adventurous, join one a wolf pack hustle organised group rides and races around the city.

Celebrate the sundowner at Hotel Erwin

Sunset
Sunset at Hotel Erwin, Venice Beach. Photograph: Alamy

Its in every guidebook but for good reason: have a sundowner on the Erwin hotels rooftop bar in Venice. After mixing with the artists, buskers, egotists, hustlers and tourist hordes on the boardwalk, youll require a drinking and theres no better view than the sun sinking into the Pacific. The hotel has been a Venice landmark since the 1970 s: a funky, architectural survivor amid the gentrification that has transformed the rest of the neighbourhood. Try a blood orange julep for $15, an average cost for the area.
hotelerwin.com

Check out improv slapstick for $16

Read more: www.theguardian.com