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Behind the Scenes at the Venice Film Festival

Hello lovely readers! I’m just back from a delightfully laborious Labor Day weekend in Venice, Italy, where I was in attendance for the premiere of the excellent film, Contagion. It was just over 48 hours of jam-packed happenings and the food was sublime. Below is my little scrapbook.

Happy back to school. Not.
Love, gp


7:00 pm

Another airport lounge … on my way to Venice.


11:38 pm

I arrive starving and order a perfect Spaghetti Pomodoro at the Hotel Cipriani. (See bottom of the newsletter for the recipe.)

Hotel Cipriani
Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin,
Giudecca 10,
30133 Venice
+39 (041) 520 7744


10:30 am

Hair and makeup with Renato Campora and Emma Lovell.


11:20 am

I don’t feel ready.


12:14 pm

Holy boatload of paparazzi!

A boat chase follows. Definitely a first.

Laurence Fishburne steps in to block them.


12:35 pm

We head to the Casino on the Lido for a Press Conference on the movie. Our crazily talented director, Steven Soderbergh, arrives.


12:40 pm

Good morning to you, too …


1:00 – 2:00 pm

Press conference and photo call: “Yes, this movie made us wash our hands more often.”


1:32 pm

At the end there’s a stampede for photos and autographs that nearly knocks the table over. Calmare ragazzi!


1:46 pm

The jetlag is kicking in … more makeup and then the photo call.


1:50 pm

My view, more or less.

The top of our boat.


2:00 pm

Matt and I head to our next stop.

Weirdly enough we end up on the same pier as the one at the end of The Talented Mr. Ripley.


3:00 – 4:30 pm

Matt and I chatting on our TV interviews that were held in Ca’Giustinian, a 15th century gothic Palazzo. I’m trying to keep a straight face but he keeps making me laugh. We have 12 six minute interviews back to back with a 1 minute break between each.


4:36 pm

That’s that … off to get ready for the premiere.


7:00 pm

The premiere is held at the Sala Grande.


7:13 pm

Fresh off the boat.

These tough guys won’t let me greet the fans!


9:45 pm

The cast stands at the end of the movie. It’s my first time seeing it too.


10:00 pm

The candlelit dinner after the screening takes place at the Palazzo Pisani Moretta, which is beautifully decorated especially for the party.

Hey guys, where is everybody?

Me and one of the film’s producers, my old friend Ricky Strauss.


10:30 am – 2:30 pm

Press day #2 begins with 25 six minute TV interviews with Matt.


2:30 pm – 3:45 pm

In the afternoon it’s 5 roundtable interviews (15 minutes each) with the international press.


12:30 pm

Lunch break! I have amazing Fritto Misto followed by whole wheat spaghetti with Anchovy Sauce at the Grand Canal Restaurant at the Hotel Monaco (I asked for the recipe which is at the end of the newsletter). This is a really special place to eat.

Grand Canal Restaurant
Hotel Monaco
San Marco, 1332
30124 Venice, Italy
+39 (041) 520 0211


4:00 pm

I have some free time at the end of the day to go exploring. We sneak out of the back of the hotel and ride down the canals to buy a friend a birthday gift.

Bummed out gondolier.

I have some free time at the end of the day to go exploring. We sneak out of the back of the hotel and ride down the canals to buy a friend a birthday gift.

Bummed out gondolier.

I stop by this amazing antiquarian jewelry shop, Bastianello Arte, which has some pretty spectacular pieces. Venice has been a center of jewelry making and trading for centuries and it’s a great place for a really special find.

Bastianello Arte
San Marco, 5041
30124 Venice
+39 (041) 5226751

Just a few of the gorgeous jewels I saw. I need a sugardaddy …


8:30 pm

I have a special dinner with a few close friends at the Terrazza Danieli on the top floor of the Hotel Danieli. It has a spectacular view of Venice. This is an incredible lobster salad with artichokes and purple potato puree we had, that was followed by a perfect pesto pasta with candied tomatoes and soft mozzarella—red, white and green to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Italian unification. (See below for recipes.)

Terrazza Danieli
Castello 4196
Venice 30122
+39 (041) 522 6480


10:30 pm

The weekend is over and I head back home on a boat to the airport.


12:30 am

My flight is delayed.


3:30 am

Home.


8:00 am

School run. Ouch.


Recipes

Pasta Al Pomodoro

Pasta Al Pomodoro

This recipe is from one of our favorite hotels in all of Italy—quite simply, no one does this basic pasta better.

Get Recipe

Bigoli in Salsa (Whole-Wheat Spaghetti in a Light Anchovy Sauce)

Bigoli in Salsa (Whole-Wheat Spaghetti in a Light Anchovy Sauce)

This is Italian flour that’s much more finely milled than American. This recipe is from the Grand Canal Restaurant at the Hotel Monaco.

Get Recipe

Lobster Salad with Purple Potato Foam & Italian Caviar

Lobster Salad with Purple Potato Foam & Italian Caviar

I loved my meal at the Terrazza Danieli so much that I asked for the recipes. They’re a bit complicated (N2O anyone?) but they’re easy to adjust. I love knowing how they make spaghettini from scratch…

Get Recipe

Red, White, and Green Spaghettini

Red, White, and Green Spaghettini

I loved my meal at the Terrazza Danieli so much that I asked for the recipes. They’re a bit complicated (N2O anyone?) but they’re easy to adjust. I love knowing how they make spaghettini from scratch but you can always buy fresh pasta from your local shop, or use…

Get Recipe

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