The Best Ever Tiramisu!!

I made a new friend a couple of years back on a travel group on Facebook. We were both in Florida at the time and decided to meet for coffee … and have stayed in touch since. We’d connect here and there … until she invited me to participate in her online Beta Mastering Sponsored Travel course a couple of months ago.

As I was going through the course, I realized how perfect and relevant this information is for me. I am going to travel a lot for upcoming coloring books and getting sponsored by tourism bureaus, hotels, restaurants and attractions would be a win-win for everyone.

I have found the information she provides in the course to be invaluable, and it provides easy to follow step. This past week Marie was in town and I had the opportunity to see her in action …

Marie had set up a sponsored lunch at Terra Mia Ristorante & Wine Bar in Altamonte (Orlando). It is close to a major freeway which makes it easy to reach. Marie, Thuy Vi, a professional photographer, and I walked into a beautiful upscale Italian family-owned and run restaurant and were greeted warmly by the staff.

They showed us the restaurant, and we were promptly invited into the kitchen to meet the chef. Marie interviewed him, Thuy Vi and I took photos and video. We were then led to our table near the impressive “wine wall” with vintage wines, mostly Italian ones, some Californian.

We did take a look at the menu but decided to give the chef a chance to surprise us.  We had a delicious meal prepared by an Italian chef just for us. What a treat! The best surprise were the desserts, especially their Tiramisu, an old family recipe. Like it was made in heaven!

I had the opportunity to ask the owner, Rosario Spagnolo, a few questions about growing up in Italy, what his mom taught him and life in general:

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· Where did you grow up and how did you get to be in this area?

 I grew up in In Naples, Italy, in a family of four. My younger brother still lives there but I decided to move to Germany at age 18. In 1985, I fell in love with this country when I first moved to New Haven, Connecticut. In 1988 I jumped at an opportunity to open a restaurant here in Florida. 

 · How did you get into the restaurant business?

 Since the young age of 14 years old I have worked in the hospitality industry. In the neighborhood I lived the town catered to tourist. My parents had a pastry shop and it always fascinated me how their business made people happy.

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· Larrissa mentioned some of the recipes are from your mother. Did she teach you how to cook?

 When I was young, I loved watching my mom cook. It was a family tradition when she would make the Ragu Short-Ribs which is on our menu at Terra Mia. Also, being close to the water seafood was something we ate on a regular basis. We have two items reflecting this on our menu, the Spaghetti Vongole and Zuppa di Pesce.

· How old were you when you first started cooking?

 I didn't cook professionally until I opened my first restaurant. Prior to that I would consider myself as the captain of the dining room. I loved waiting on tables, carrying 8 or 9 plates to large parties, and making sure guest were leaving satisfied with their experience and their food!

 · Do you have any signature dishes?

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 My favorite and signature dish is the Branzino. This is something the chef prepares special. The dish consists of a whole Italian Seabass with a scampi sauce (extra virgin olive oil + fresh garlic + fresh herbs) and a side of freshly made pappardelle pasta.

· Would you like to share a recipe?

 Our recipes are our best kept secret. Nice try lol

 · What do you want to customers to know about you? I am a very simple guy that likes to make sure everyone around me is having a good time and is happy!  When you come to Terra Mia it is like coming to my house and I always love throwing a good party.

 · What are you passionate about?

 I love traveling with my wife. It inspires me to see different cultures. I would say I am also a foodie that loves to try different dishes. 

 · What are some things on your bucket list?

 I would like to finish visiting the seven continents. 

· How do you define success?

 I define success as being able to make others happy and still provide a great life for my family and myself.

· What is your secret to success?

 Consistency and ambition are the secret to my success. Oh, and having the best customers anyone can ask for!

· What do you love about your town?

 I live in Maitland/Winter Park and love how convenient it is. Whether it's going to a local sporting event, having a date night around town with my wife, or the close proximity to the airport. I love my town. 

 · Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to share my cuisine with anyone that is looking for a nice Italian meal here in Altamonte Springs. We have plenty of great Italian wines and beers to choose from and have the perfect venue for any occasion.

— Rosario Spagnolo
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It was such a pleasure eating at Terra Mia! As guests, we could feel the family spirit and love in the authentic Italian dishes! My favorite, as you might have guessed, was the Tiramisu! Thanks again, Roasrio!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Bibi LeBlanc