Some time ago Valeria invited me to dinner. While we enjoyed delicious homemade seafood dishes (directly from the Chioggia fish market!) we inevitably ended up talking about the countless things we love and share.
It was such a great evening that I could hardly believe we were just a few kilometers from home.
Valeria lived
in London for a long time and then in Sidney, but she came back to Veneto, her homeland, to work at her cookbook which will come out soon. 
I got used to travel quite long distances to reach “my fellow beings”. New friends and people, who miraculously appeared in my life filling spaces in my heart, often took me far away from home.

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Past Workshops, Summer, Workshops



Soundtrack [Stay Gold – First Aid Kit]

Just like Autumn comes back coloring the first leaves of the trees, there is something which almost cyclically brings me back to Gradara. If I think that until last year I didn’t even know where this little diamond town was, I can’t believe that now I feel at home when I am there.
There is an entire family waiting for me: a Mom who cares if I eat or not, a Dad who is always busy but with a chirpy mood, an always happy dog who wags the tail (which he has not!)… and a dear friend – almost sister, whose hug can erase in just a second the distance which normally divides us. Continue Reading

Summer, Workshops



That’s right. I am announcing a workshop in Australia and I don’t know how I will manage to end the page without screaming too many times yeeeeeh-yhuuuuuu-whoooo-jabadabadoooooo while jumping up and down and throwing my passport towards the ceiling like a mad woman. You can imagine me this way, while I prepare some cakes with a vaguely aristocratic name, wondering if they can be valid as an “Australian recipe” since I twisted it by spreading in the house the very essence of Italy: espresso.
Before giving you the details of one of the most exciting projects for 2017 I want to tell you about the intensity life slaps us with, sometimes. But this is not a sad story, I promise.

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Past Workshops, Summer, Workshops



[ Read Betty’s post here! Valentina’s post coming soon! ]

When the icy frost whitened the garden more than six months ago, it was hard for me to imagine that summer would be coming again… together with those days at the end of July which seemed far, far away. Let’s hold a workshop together – someone had said – and that sentence was enough to spur an endless row of ideas, e-mails, shared folders and dreams arising from the desire to create a chance to share, more than anything else.
With Valentina and Betty at my sides I could undertake something that was a new adventure for me and take the first step towards the very first workshop of my life. Continue Reading




In this season of the year, even though I wake up early, the sun is already high up in the sky and a warm breeze moves my linen curtains bringing an intense scent from the blossomed lavender bushes in the garden.
I still remember when they were planted, when my Mom – wearing one of her long Bordeaux dresses – extracted from some earthen pots the little lavender plants which became big bushes within a few years, purple in the month of July. She had just come back from one of the best journeys of her life: a long exploration of Provence, through the little villages of Southern France and immense flowered landscapes. Continue Reading


Creamy yogurt and cherry syrup popsicles with dark chocolate and salted roasted almonds


Guys, brief note before the post: the nominations of the Saveur Blog Awards 2016 are open! So, please if you like The Freaky Table, don’t forget to give it a vote!
Please nominate my blog in the “Best Photography” category or if you prefer in “Best New Voice” category. Every single person will support my blog, can make the difference… and something nice could happen! Vote here: http://www.saveur.com/blog-awards-2016-nominate by entering my url: www.zairazarotti.com

Even though the cherry tree was planted in my garden, it does not belong to me.
It belongs to earth, the earth we till asking the sun to be warm enough and the rain to be gentle enough to grow new fruit and vegetables each year.
The rain has fallen mercilessly turning the garden into a miniature lagoon. The grass has turned yellow and a few small canals have merged into a big one at the center of this imaginary Venice. Continue Reading


Passatelli, a recipe from the heart of Romagna + A two day workshop with Valentina announcement!


The blank paper sheet I have before me is flashing in all its annoying brightness.
It had been waiting me for days… weeks, I should say. Sometimes I feel like I can’t restrain the words on this page because all I want say seems too much. Or too big for words? I don’t know.
Just when I think I’ve put a thought into focus, another one gets in between, wiping out the previous, dragging me into a messy whirlwind of loose ideas. So, I put this task off for another time, and replace my white sheet with the deep black of the backdrop I usually use for my shoots, waiting for my thoughts become evanescent, less sharp and perfect.
I delude myself into thinking that it might be easier, but it isn’t – especially when these thoughts are stuck in my mind, crisp as the marks of my footsteps in the dew-covered grass. Continue Reading


A history of Roots | Strawberry oatmeal vegan cookies


“All of life is a coming home. Salesmen, secretaries, coal miners, beekeepers, sword swallowers, all of us.
All the restless hearts of the world, all trying to find a way home.
[Patch Adams – 1998 movie]

The scent of hot coffee when it comes out of the moka and the scent of home-made cookies when they come out of the oven are part of my idea of “home”.
Nevertheless, “home” is not only the place where I happen to live or the place where I feel I belong. It is a mixture of many more things and places.
I think of Venice as the city where I was born and where my family is deeply rooted.

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Coming back home after a travel is something like a little trauma for me.
Inevitably, I feel myself changed; the discoveries, the new places and people I’ve crossed on my path made me a new person. I go back retracing my steps, one after the other, trying to keep vivid all the details I have stolen with my eyes.
Back home I find everything exactly as I left it, except for the garden that now seems lusher. Everything has remained still since the moment I closed the door behind me to go and explore The Netherlands for the first time! Continue Reading


Something Green | Panna Cotta alle ortiche from my imaginary kitchen


Just like any other story, this one also arises from sudden inspiration. A fleeting flash of light happening by chance and unexpectedly, like a storm catching you by surprise.
I’ve been more in Tuscany than in Venice lately, continuously moving up and down from lagoon mist to green Maremma hills, as I have always done since I was born. What makes me trace over and over my Tuscan steps – the same steps I took along the Medieval alleys of a small village to reach the kindergarten when I was a child – is that I have discovered a comfortable and silent dimension which makes me more receptive and inclined to creative fits of all kinds.
I don’t do anything, ideas simply arrive by surprise or by chance.

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