From Russia with Nostalgia Exhibition in Turin

This winter has seen Turin’s Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo play host to Modernikon: From Russia with Nostalgia – an exhibition including installations, videos, performance and photographs by 20 artists, which recount the world of Russia.  In many of the exhibits modernity and the legacy of an era that still does not seem to have found its end have been reappraised. Both in “Post-post-modern” and the more recent “Altermodern” period, modernity has been seen from a Eurocentric perspective, excluding the realities that, although under a regime, had developed precise ideas and forms, among these, the former USSR.

What emerges from this early season exhibition at the Fondazione Sandretto is a geography of contemporary Russian art, which contemplates a rare vivacity for times of repression, considered by most as times of darkness. In Modernikon there is continuity with tradition, but in terms of a conceptual, formal and expressive re-evaluation of the past based on full awareness of history.

It’s not too late, take a trip to the exhibit now and explore Russian culture.

Modernikon. Contemporary art from Russia curated by Francesco Bonami and Irene Calderoni Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Via Modane, 16 (Borgo San Paolo) – 10141 Torino runs until 27 February 2011, Tuesday to Sunday 12 – 8pm; Thursday 12 – 11pm. Admission: € 5; concession € 3; free entrance Thursday from 8 – 11pm.  For more information visit

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Cross Border Skiing

The 2009/2010 ski season will see the opening of a new cable car and ski piste linking Slovenia’s Kanin resort and Italy’s Sella Nevea resort.  The ski area will be accessible with one lift pass, allowing skiers from both the Slovenian and the Italian sides of the mountain to enjoy the slopes at both resorts.


The internationally connected ski centre will be the first of its kind in an area where, for most of the previous century, there was a strict border divide between the two countries.  Expected to be called Kanin–Canin, the centre will be one of the largest ski areas in Slovenia.

Read more…

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Open Border Initiatives

playing-together-thumbSlovenia is working directly with its neighbouring regions in Austria and Italy to encourage travellers in each country to extend their trips and explore beyond the borders.

The Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the federal state of Carinthia in Austria and the whole of Slovenia have teamed up in a ‘triple borderlessness’ initiative under the banned of ‘Playing Together’, outlining a number of different touring itineraries and packages to suit travellers with different interests.

The Playing Together scheme highlights the geographical closeness of the three countries, even suggesting the ultimate ‘dine around’ day where travellers enjoy breakfast in Slovenia, lunch in Italy and dinner in Austria.

With easy border crossings between Slovenia, Italy and Austria, touring travellers can – in just one day – hear three different languages and experience three different cultures; or enjoy views of mountain peaks, the Mediterranean sea and a cosmopolitan city.

Examples of water-based activities, golfing, hiking, cultural experiences, gastronomy and winter activities in each of the three countries are listed on the Playing Together website, along with an offers page of available packages.

For more information visit

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The Perfect Polenta

Packet of Polenta Valsugana, 375g, £1.39 available at Waitrose
Packet of Polenta Valsugana, 375g, £1.39 available at Waitrose

The first time I encountered polenta was, when at the age of 13, I spent a few weeks of my summer holiday in Slovenia with our family friends.  Although they live in Ljubljana, the capital city, we stayed at their weekend house, in what I regard as being the most picturesque village in the whole world, Kranjska Gora.

Slovenia shares borders with Italy, Austria, Hungary and Croatia. The fluctuating borders and unbelievable social mobility during times of peace and war throughout 2000 years, have meant the areas, particularly nearer its borders, take a great deal of influence from its neighbours.  No better example of this is food.

While staying in Kranjska Gora, it is possible to cycle, ski or drive to Italy in order to buy some pasta and bring it back for lunch. Although, at the time, in 1999, the border guard was somewhat suspicious of two British sisters, travelling with a Slovene family. However, in 2004, Slovenia entered the EU and since then, it is no longer necessary to declare either your British friends, or your tortellini!

The Detela family would serve up polenta as a side dish to accompany many dishes. One great Croatia dish for which polenta is the perfect accompaniment, is brodet, a fish stew popular on the Dalmatian coast (I will post a recipe for that soon!)

For now, here is my recipe for the perfect polenta.


4 tbsp poltena per serving

250ml boiling water

pinch of salt

drizzle of olive oil


Put the polenta into a saucepan (4 tbsp per serving)

4 tbsp polenta per serving

Add the 250ml of boiling water.

250ml boiling water per seving

Heat on a medium heat.


Constantly stir with a wooden spoon.

After five or so minutes, when the mixture has thickened, remove the pan from the heat.

Ready to take off the heat

When the polenta is ready to take off the heat, pour the polenta into a foil dish.

Pour into foil dish

Let the mix settle evenly.

When it has cooled slightly, drizzle olive oil over the top.

Let it cool and place in the refrigerator until the mix has formed a perfect solid.

Place the foil dish under your grill and gently grill the polenta until slightly crispy on top.

Turn out polenta and grill the other side.

Either serve whole or cut into slice.


Done! A different accompaniment to potatoes or rice, super cheap and really delicious!  Plus, when you have a small kitchen as I do, it is great to be able to prepare side dishes in advance, whether eating on your own or feeding your ravenous friends, thankfully, for that polenta is perfect.  Get it all ready and just grill, just prior to serving up your main course.

Of course, if you would rather it less solid, heat the polenta in the saucepan with the boiling water and pinch of salt, stir until thick and serve!  It truly is as simple as that!

Packet of Polenta Valsugana, 375g, £1.39 available at Waitrose

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