"The Legend of The Villa della Luna" ~ by Jana Kolpen

Hello and welcome!
Today I am joining the Novel Bakers as
we take a look at the charming book "The Legend of The Villa della Luna",
written and designed by Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen.

(This is the second in the series, following "The Secrets of Pistoulet"
which we visited two days ago.)

(Click the image to learn more)

Mlle. J has been invited from Paris to visit Italy ...

To give you a little background; from the back cover:

"Welcome to The Villa della Luna where the past embraces the future.
Within our gates are doors to be opened, tastes to be savored,
old legends to be traced, and new ones to be created."

"When Mademoiselle J. arrives at The Villa della Luna, she is
searching for a way to open her heart. As she wanders through
The Villa's ancient gardens and strolls along the rugged Italian
coastline, she comes to learn the legend of the rose garden that
blooms throughout the year, a memorial to a tragic accident
that took one lover and left the other afraid to love again.
Should Mlle J. approach this grieving man? Helping her to
decide are three wise teachers and the fortitude of such recipes
as Pasta Vivante, for those are are afraid of the passion of life,
ant the Focaccia of Forgiveness and Release, for those who need to
let go of an emotional burden."


The books are adult fairy tales, but with words and
lessons of wisdom woven throughout.

"Before climbing into the oversized bed with many down pillows, 
Mademoiselle filled the inviting claw-footed tub with warm
water.  Attracted by a slender bottle of gardenia
bath oil sitting on a glass shelf, she put several drops in her bath."


Of course, I am particularly drawn to the recipes of the books,
so that is what I'll be focusing on in this post!

Very little verbiage needed as everything is fairly self explanatory ~
I hope you enjoy!

I had planned on having a small outdoor picnic, but the
weather did not cooperate, so we're indoors for the day:

"Afternoons were spent in the cucina with Rita ..."

"One one such afternoon, Rita was preparing a pasta sauce she calls 'Vivante'. 
The aroma of tomatoes, [along with Pancetta, garlic and Porcini mushrooms]
strong and exciting filled the air with joy."

We truly enjoyed this pasta sauce!

In fact, it was my favorite recipe in the book.

I'm sure you could surmise this as I shared so many pictures of it !  


I apologize, I couldn't help myself.  :o)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My second favorite recipe was for the Amaretti Cookies. 

They are so EASY to make, just ground almonds, sugar, egg whites,
and almond extract.  (They are Fat-free and Gluten-free.)

Roll the dough into balls approximately "three fingers wide" balls*,  
(instructed the recipe), 
sift powdered sugar over the raw cookies, and
let them rest for one hour before baking in a preheated 300º(F) oven 
for about 25 minutes.

Note: My fingers are of average size; I hoped for average sized 
Amaretti cookies so I made the balls about two-fingers wide,
rather than three as the recipe suggests.
Hmmm, they spread more that I would have liked, 
making larger cookies than I had hoped. 
It could be that my hen eggs (the whites) were larger than those in the recipe.
That is one negative about the baked recipes in these books, they are
entertaining, but rather vague, and if you're a baker you know that accurate 
measurements are important. 

Not so important when it comes to cooking, but baked recipes
require accuracy.  (My 2 cents.)  ;)
Next time I would make the dough even thicker with more ground almonds, 
or fewer egg whites, and form balls about the size of
a small cherry tomato. The recipe is very good though, and if 
anyone wants it, you can find it on my recipe blog.

Click here for Amaretti Cookie recipe.

* * *

After baking, cool them thoroughly and wrap in tissue
paper . . .

 . . .  and put them on a pretty platter.

Preferably an Italian one. :-)

I've had this one for years and years . . . I'm not so much
into acquiring new serving pieces at this stage of my
life.  I know... BORING. 


My cookies spread out to about 2 1/4-inches, a bit larger than I was aiming for ~
but no matter, they go very well with: 


(just a few roses left blooming, not many more until Autumn here...)

And a few hours later, after our feast, at bedtime, 
 it would be extra nice to place one of these:

Under your pillow for a calming and restful night.



Thank you very much for coming to visit today, friends!

Please stop by to visit the other Novel Bakers today
to see their gorgeous photos and interpretations
of "The Legend of The Villa della Luna":

A Quiet Life

Home is Where the Boat Is

Rattlebridge Farm

Please check back Friday, when we'll
meet up in Ireland with "Circle of Kindness",
the third book in the series.

Have a wonderful day.



  1. Oh what a picture perfect and delicious tribute to Dancing with the Moon! From the beautifully wrapped Foccacia of Forgiveness & Release, Pasta Vivante and Wisdom Enhancing Amaretti! Love the wrapping! You're so right about baking, I didn't trust the recipe for the crescents so I improvised with another but I must try that beautiful pasta! I see nasturtiums in the background so I have a vague notion of the treat we're probably in store for on Friday! Such feast for the eyes and taste buds~ looking forward to our journey to Ireland :)

  2. Ok I ordered Pistoulet because of you and am over my limit this month:)

    This book looks just as cute..That Far niente bowl:)
    Too cute..I love the way you wrapperd the Amarettis..and I again see similarities in some of our pieces..
    The pasta is drool worthy.
    Tout est beau comme toujours Mary.

  3. How charming! And a recipe for amaretti!

  4. Mari, I'm swooning with joy--and hunger. I love how you wrapped your focaccia and garnished it with flowering rosemary (just as the recipe said). I'm going to re-make the pasta and use your lovely pictures as a guide. Be still my fluttering heart. I haven't made the cookies (meant to but lost the sesame seeds!). I adore how you wrapped them in the colors of della Luna. What a treat! I can't wait to show your post to Bandwidth. Looking forward to Ireland!

  5. Mari, I am astonished at how beautifully you've presented our book! Thank you!

    You are clearly very talented in so many areas! Cooking, photography, presentation. We are honored that you chose The Legend of the Villa della Luna for your blog. It's truly wonderful.

    Wishing you many happy hours in the cucina!

    Best wishes,

    Mary Tiegreen

  6. What a hoot - definitely not boring!!

  7. As always, perfection! Mari, I adore the wrapped focaccia and garnish. The pasta looks wonderful too! I make a similar cookie, and will try these. xo

  8. A dreamy experience, your words and photos had me tasting the beautiful pasta, smelling the rosemary focaccia baking, and wishing I could nibble on the almond cookies~the compositon of your shots and the subtle details make this post a joy to read. Thank you for this wonderful journey! {I would love your version of the cookies so I could make them for my gluten free grandson}

  9. You are so darn talented. What a presentation! Fabulous.

  10. Mari,
    Your rendition of The Legend of the Villa della Luna is simply beautiful!
    Thank you for such a lovely presentation of our book.
    Jana Kolpen


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

A Sampling of my food . . .


 Subscribe in a reader...or

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner