Archive for Renaissance Culture

Capturing the Collective Mood of the Times

Alchemist Gift Marcella
Alchemist Gift

Alchemist Gift

You can buy Alchemist Gift on this website through Paypal.

One element of historical writing or for that matter any writing depends on the collective mood of the times and characters. While writing ‘ALCHEMIST GIFT’ I did a lot of research not only in the daily mundane activities during the Renaissance but also the motivations of the people during that era. There are always the staples of the human condition: love, hate, greed, lust, envy, honor, fear and hope (to name a few) that transcend time and are always pushing and pulling us in our emotional lives.


The one shining light in this terrible twilight was the Catholic Church. Click To Tweet
Marcella, Strong and Resilient

Marcella, Strong and Resilient

During the Renaissance, the vast majority of the people were peasants, many were subsistence farmers who didn’t own the land they were tilling. These hapless folks were susceptible to every disease, the whims of the weather, military invasions from the local fiefdoms, pestilence and famine. The one shining light in this terrible twilight was the Catholic Church. The church had a very large say in every aspect of a person’s life. Try to imagine that no matter how miserable your life was, if you obeyed all of the church laws and with the help of the priest, you would go to heaven when you died, and if you did not …an eternity of torment and greater suffering in hell awaited you.

Sofia, Roland's Love and Salvation

Sofia, Roland’s Love and Salvation



When I was developing my characters’ psyches, I tried to incorporate the hopes and fears they would have. For that reason you will see my characters pray, make their confessions, and show their respect toward the clergy and church teachings. I think it would be natural for my characters to prayer and show concern for their immortal souls. They weren’t religious fanatics, only people trying to find balance between the here and now and what the promised afterlife had in store for them.

Thank You for Your Interest

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Mark Giglio, Author and Artist

Mark Giglio, Author and Artist

Scullery Maids Preparing Feast for Alchemist Gift Party

Preparing the Feast for the Alchemist Gift

Renaissance Book Release Breakout Party

Sunday, Oct. 19, 1pm PST
Email for directions
Join webcam online
@alchemistgift on twitter


Sundried Tomato and Olive Polenta - Ancient Renaissance Recipe

Sundried Tomato and Olive Polenta – Ancient Renaissance Recipe

Sundried Tomato and Olive Polenta – Ancient Renaissance Recipe

By Mivashel


Serves: 6-16


16.0 slices


  1. 1

boil the vegetable broth; once boiling, stir in the polenta – let it simmer on low heat while stirring frequently for 15 minutes.

  1. 2

Remove from the heating element; stir in the crumbled feta, shredded parmesan, chopped sundried tomatoes, chopped up basil, and sliced olives.

  1. 3

Once stirred in evenly, put the mixture in a GREASED cake pan (or any circular or square shaped container of similar diameter) and spread/press down evenly.

  1. 4

let the mixture firm up in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.

  1. 5

once firm, cut the firm polenta mixtures into slices (approximately 16); coat in flour, shaking off excess.

  1. 6

fry the floured polenta in olive oil until nicely browned; then drain on paper towel.


To Make a Tarte of Spinage
Proper Newe Booke, p. 41/C11
Take Spynage and perboyle it tender, then take it up and wrynge oute the water cleane, and chop it very small, and set it uppon the fyre wyth swete butter in a frying panne and season it, and set it in a platter to coole then fyll your tart and so bake it.
20 oz spinach
1/4 lb butter
1 T sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t mace
1/4 t salt
9″ pastry shell
Note: recipes for other pies in this book say “season it up with sugar and cinnamon and sweet butter” or also with mace or just with sugar and butter.
Parboil spinach 3 minutes, rinse in cold water, wring it dry. Fry 2-3 minutes in butter with spices. Cool. Fill shell and bake at 350deg. for 40 minutes.

Note: You can buy prepared pie dough and cut into small circles for tine tartes for appetizers or desserts. Each pie crust makes about 18 tartes. 2 pie crusts to a package means 36 tartes per package.

We also varied the recipe with fetta cheese for some and ricotta and egg for others.

Alchemist Gift Renaissance Book Release Breakout Party

Alchemist Gift Renaissance Book Release Breakout Party Feast

Alchemist Gift Renaissance Book Release Breakout Party Feast

Can’t attend Alchemist Gift Renaissance Book Release
Breakout Party in person?

Be there live through our webcam. Sign up at gotowebinar.
See you Oct. 19 at 1pm PST

Please register for Alchemist Gift Renaissance Book Release Breakout Party
on Oct 19, 2014 1:00 PM PDT at:

Can’t come in person?
Come to the Video Conference of the Book Release Part
and participate in all the events:

Renaissance Food
Renaissance Costumes
Reading of segments of Alchemist Gift by Mark Giglio, author
Book Signing
Tour of Mark’s home hosted by Mark
tour of Alchemist Series Art Furniture hosted by Mark
tour of Alchemist Series Paintings hosted by Mark

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email
containing information about joining the webinar.

Countdown 5 Days to Go

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Alchemist Gift Book Release Party Countdown

Sorbet a Renaissance Treat

Sorbet a Renaissance Treat

The Menu is Ready Day 6

Alchemist Gift Book Release Party
Oct. 19 Sunday 1pm PST
online on Twitter & Facebook
in Southern California email for directions


Carmelized Nut Clusters (Hazelnut and Walnut)
Sundried Tomato & Olive Palenta Fritters
Spinach Tarts
Artichoke Crostini
Deviled Eggs

In Mezzo Piatto

Wine and Honey Sorbet

Zuppa Piatto

Golden Truffled Bisque w/ Pesto Crostini

Insalata Piatto

Spinach Arugala Salad w/ Fennel

Carne Piatto

Grave of Small Birds
Anise Toast (Biscotti)

Pesce Piatto

Seethed Salmon in Aspic

Piatto de Dessert

Cherry-Berry Tarts
Lemon Curd Tarts
Custard w/ Raisins and Honey


Spiced Apple Cider
Red and White Wines (pinot noir, moscoato and champagne)
Water with Lemon or Lime and Mint

Renaissance Breatkout Book Release Party Sorbet

Recipe for Wine Sorbet

We tried a recipe with honey and wine with both a cabernet and a white Italian Moscato, a little sweeter than most white wines but not too sweet. We mixed the Moscato with blended fresh strawberries and left out the honey. Pictures tomorrow on how we made it. You’ll love it. It’s easy and refreshing.


redwine sorbet

redwine sorbet

All you need is

1/3 c. honey

1c. water

2c wine

1/4c lemon juice

any type of wine will do

breadpan for sorbet

breadpan for sorbet

 We used a simple bread pan to freeze the sorbet.
but ice cube trays or any shallow pan will work.

making syrup

making syrup

 Boil the water and honey on the stovetop
Bring to a boil
Simmer for 5 minutes
Then let it cool in the fridge

redwine sorbet

redwine sorbet

Combine cooled sugar water mixture with the rest of the ingredients
wine, and lemon juice
and put it into the freezer

stir sorbet

stir sorbet

 Set your timer on your cell phone
and stir the sorbet every 30 minutes
keeping the crystals from becoming too solid




 Enjoy your wine sorbet.

It does have a kick so be aware.

You can make it with anything you like. honey or sugar. fresh fruit and wine or no wine at all.

It’s to your taste.

Also see the blog on the history of sorbet

Sorbet a Renaissance Treat

Sorbet a Renaissance Treat

Sorbet a Renaissance Treat

A History of Sorbet for our Renaissance Breakout Party

We are celebrating the Release of Mark Giglio’s novel “Alchemist Gift” on Sunday, Sept. 28 from 1pm on until we are done. You are invited to join us at our home on facebook or twitter.

We encourage you to buy the book and celebrate as well with your own Renaissance Breatout Party


You can buy a paperback or an ebook here: GetBook@


We will be enjoying sorbet as they did in Renaissance times. We will enjoy some made with wine and honey as Nero did and some without wine and some perhaps with cooked pears in wine. We are going to test it today with wine and honey. We’ll let you know how it tastes.

The French also use sorbet between courses to clear the pallet. We will be enjoying that tradition as well on Sept. 28. Come join us at our home or on Twitter or Facebook from 1pm-7pm

Food, costumes, book signing.

Here is a short history:


The Nero Connection in 1 AD

Sorbet as a frozen dessert alternative actually has a history that pre-dates ice cream by a thousand years. Nero, the Roman Emperor, during the first century A.D. positioned runners along the Appian Way. They passed buckets of snow hand over hand from the mountains to his banquet hall where it was then mixed with honey and wine.

Marco Polo brought Sorbet from Asia at the end of the 13th Century

Asian culture also has a place in history for the first frozen desserts. At the end of the 13th century, Marco Polo returned from the Far East with recipes of concoctions made from snow, juice and fruit pulp.

The habit of mixing the ice with some fruits aromas arrived to Italy passing from the far East through the Middle East, in fact the word sorbet seems to come from the arabic sharba which means fresh beverage. (…) In the mountains near Sorrento you can see the ‘ghiacciaie’ or ‘niviere’, artificial caves where they used to put the iced snow with lemons covered with ferns.

Catherine de Medici introduced Sorbet to France in 1533

Frozen desserts are believed to have been brought to France in 1533 by Catherine de Medici when she left Italy to marry the Duke of Orleans, who later became Henry 2nd. By the end of the 17th century, sorbet hit the streets of Paris and spread to England and the rest of Europe where they were enjoyed by commoners and courtiers alike. The French are responsible for the culinary tradition of using sorbet to cleanse the palate between courses.

During the renaissance the sorbet become very popular in the European courts banquets such at De Medici. (..)In the VII century the sorbets were sold in specialized shops and they were considered a very refined beverage especially in Naples and Venice. Afterwords the sorbette or ice water become more and more common between all social classes”

Today sorbet can mark the end of a meal as something special with just the right hint of culinary glamour. It has become known as a healthier frozen desert that can be enjoyed anytime. Sorbet seems to have an unlimited flavor roster. Savory sorbets such as celery, gazpacho, olive oil, garlic, and other non-traditional ingredients have become more common.

We will make ours the old fashioned way

We will put our sorbet into the freezer and stir it about every 30 minutes. You can also go modern and use an ice cream  machine




Renaissance Breakout Party Alchemist Gift

Renaissance Breakout Party Alchemist Gift

the paperback is out

and You are Invited

Oct. 19, 2014 1pm

2529 Daily Dr., Fallbrook, CA 92028

email: for directions


Follow the Festivities

on Facebook and Twitter

Alchemist Gift online eBook Cover

Alchemist Gift online eBook Cover

Alchemist Gift Now on Good Reads

Alchemist Gift Needs Beta Readers on Good Reads

Below you will see a review from one of the beta readers for Alchemist Gift. If you would like to be a beta reader at Good Reads and leave a review for Mark please contact Mark or Mary Ellen for a copy of the book. Your opinion counts. Also as supporters please choose your perk at Indiegogo as soon as possible.

Big thanks to Mary Gray Perez for her generosity. We are now at $330 with most of our close family and friends still to weigh in. We went to a training last night on promoting the book and realize we also need to do a book trailer which is like a movie trailer. Weigh in now so we can reach the first goal of $600 this week by Friday. There are still many more goals to reach. Read more

Alchemist Gift Added Book Excerpts

Alchemist Gift – Indiegogo Campaign Needs Your Support Now

Alchemist Gift Book Cover

Alchemist Gift Book Cover

We are counting on our core family and friends supporters to give us the first milestone of $600. Once that level is reached we can order the layout of the book with Create Space who will set it up for Amazon as a printed paperback and E-Book with their Kindle reader. You can download the Kindle reader for free on your computer. There is no need to buy a device.

That is why it is so important that core supporters pick a perk now! There are still many things to be done like getting the book reviews and contacting producers but we need to show that we have some support to take that step.

Please pick your perk today. Go to and search for Alchemist Gift. We greatly appreciate it.

Here’s your snipit below. You can also find all three by clicking on the link: Excerpts from Alchemist Gift

Rene and Bella love at first sight

Alchemist Gift - Rene Hermes young

Alchemist Gift – Rene Hermes young

When the girls completed the first circle and the first course of ribbons were woven into a delicate sheath at the head of the erect pole, Bella passed by Rene who stationed himself so she could not miss him. She could not help look into his eyes. In that timeless instant she too became transfixed by the handsome young man who looked at her with such a sincere and inviting smile. She involuntarily followed Rene with her gaze, turning her head away from the dance as she passed and almost lost the rhythm of her steps as she barely avoided running into the next girl she was to circle.

Each waited with impatience for the other to be within sight. Bella’s heart raced.  She was swept up in a transcendental moment as she joined with the blue sky, the white clouds, the shimmering sun and the gentle breeze that rippled the grass. For a few expanding seconds she lost herself in the vastness of eternity, found herself again and understood her place in that vastness as she returned to the here and now and sensed her future could not be lived without the young man who somehow filled her soul and she opened her heart to this magic possibility. Read more

Alchemist Gift Author Mark Giglio’s Birthday is Today

Wish Mark, Alchemist Gift Author, a Happy Birthday

Alchemist Gift author Mark Giglio

Alchemist Gift author Mark Giglio


Alchemist Gift does have some funny segments. That’s why Mark looks so happy. And our friends have stepped up to the plate to get the indigogo campaign off to a good start.

Melissa Batten, the first to support – $10
Mary Ellen Wilson – $50
Sue Klinker – $25
Cheryl and Dave Plotus – $25
Tomas Gayton – $25
Marlene Sudomir – $25
Anonymous – $25
Terri Francois – $20
Mark Gaggia – $25


We now need about $200 more to get the book layed out by Create Space. Soon after we will be able to send out the E-books. Read more

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