Un Bacio in Cucina

a photographic exploration of Italian food, culture & wine

Tag: studio

New Photo Studio for Food and Product Photography in Biddeford, Maine

What a difference a day, or should I say a geographical life change, makes. I made a bold move recently from New York City to Maine, spending the winter in New Hampshire’s White Mountains in the interim. It’s been several months since I’ve settled into a lovely mill town between Portland and Kennebunk, Maine. I have found the food and product scene here to be very creative, diverse and incredibly healthy given the abundance of organic farms, fresh seafood and the passion behind the creations of beautiful and delicious food products and packaging.  As a food photographer, I see Maine in the same way as having a big chocolate cake in front of me, highly irresistible to say the least. Lobster and seafood, blueberries, maple syrup…the list goes on. Most of the restaurants here serve wild harvested and organically grown foods from farmers, fishermen  and foragers from all over Maine and other parts of New England. You haven’t eaten lobster until you’ve eaten Maine lobster, no doubt about it! As a product photographer, the majority being food products, I have seen so many creative, organic and rustic packaging that is in alignment with the deliciousness of the food inside.
This has a been a busy week as I have several food and product photography shoots confirming through the summer months. Product photography is one of my niches and given I have a passion for lighting in my studio I lose myself in the process. I tend to get a little obsessed with getting rid of reflections on bottles and other highly reflective materials, which so many food products utilize.  Let’s face it, it’s easier to get it right in the camera than have to manage it after during the post production phase. I’d rather be eating a delicious meal at a local restaurant than working in Photoshop at my desk. Although I do love Photoshop. :). My website has a lot of examples of the types of food and product packaging I photograph. So happy to be a part of New England and all it has to offer. There is a reason the official slogan for Maine is Vacationland.

White Mountains TV Interview

I was recently interviewed on White Mountains TV in New Hampshire and here is the video of it. They haven’t had a food photographer on the show before so they thought it would be a fun and different perspective. Hey, who doesn’t like to talk about food, right?!  This area in the White Mountains is huge for weddings so there are a lot of wedding and portrait photographers here but not many that are professional food photographers.
The host Rob Clark was very animated and asked some great questions about the product photography and restaurant photography that I’ve been working on. We started off talking about my shoot in Sicily for a luxury olive oil company and estate called Mandranova and showed some images of the villa, the olive harvest and the food that will be in the book they are publishing this year.
Since I do a lot of bottle photography in my studio we touched on that as well and I was able to show some samples of my work and explain the importance of lighting and how it can make a dish look appetizing or not so appetizing.
It was broadcast in standard definition so the images were not crystal clear but hope anyone interested would check out my website. I now work out of New York and New Hampshire and am working on capturing some business from Maine. There are so many restaurants and foodies in Portland, Maine so I spend quite a bit of time there as of late.  Thanks for watching and check out more of my work and passions on my website at www.lesliebrienzaphotography.com.

 

Chocolate Easter Cakes with Honey Mascarpone

Since Easter is my favorite holiday I was inspired to create, style and photograph something beautiful and delicious as a personal project. This is a simple chocolate cake recipe that is layered with mascarpone, an Italian cheese made from cream, and candy coated milk chocolate Easter eggs. This will make a lovely dessert for an Easter brunch or dinner. It is unbelievably good and you are guaranteed to make a lot of new friends with this one. Enjoy!

Chocolate Easter Cakes with Honey Mascarpone

Chocolate Easter Cakes with Honey Mascarpone. Photo by Leslie Brienza

Chocolate Easter Cakes with Honey Mascarpone
Makes 4-6 cakes
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  2. 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon good quality unsweetened cocoa, I use Droste
  3. 3 tablespoons canola oil
  4. 3/4 cup water
  5. 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  6. 1 3/4 cups sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1/2 cup buttermilk
  11. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  12. 1 cup Mascarpone
  13. 2 tablespoons honey
  14. 6 ounces candy coated chocolate Easter eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and lightly flour a jelly roll pan
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat
  3. Once butter is melted whisk in the cocoa and stir until smooth
  4. Add the water and oil to saucepan and bring to a boil
  5. Remove the pan from heat and set aside
  6. While chocolate mixture cools whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl
  7. Pour the slightly cooled cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla
  8. Add the buttermilk mixture into the batter
  9. Pour the batter into pan and place in oven on center rack
  10. Bake until the top is firm to touch and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set aside to cool
  11. Once cake has cooled, cut out rounds using a biscuit cutter or top of glass, about 2 1/2" in diameter, set aside
  12. Mix honey and mascarpone together in small bowl
  13. Place one cake round on plate, spread mascarpone on top, add another cake round, then more mascarpone until there are three cake layers and three layers of mascarpone.
  14. Dust cakes lightly with powdered sugar and top with crushed chocolate eggs.
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