Annette Joseph has made styling, decorating, entertaining, Italian lifestyle and all round having fun her life’s mission. She shares her passionate love for Italy, her home styling tips and recipes through her three books, workshops in Tuscany and highly attractive Instagram channel. We had a live chat – part of our TF Together series – to present her new book, Italy is my Boyfriend.
Early contact with Italy came thanks to her painter father, whom she accompanied on trips here from their summer base in her family’s native Hungary. Annette gained an appreciation for the light, the food, and the “naturally styled” feeling of Italy. A trip around Europe at age 19 with a friend was her first more sentient one and it was love at first sight. But like any relationship, hers with Italy is a long one, and not without a few bumps in the road.
As an adult, already with two children, a family vacation prompted the desire to purchase property on the Italian Riviera. Her book Italy is my Boyfriend is a hilarious memoir that details years of house-hunting with the intimacy of a close friend and the handy advice of someone who has seen it all. Along the way she makes local friends – an improbable yet entirely real troupe of strong characters who take her on adventures and vice-versa – and she reflects on the Italian way of life with the experience of an insider but the detachment of a North-American who has a foot in each culture.
In the end – spoiler alert! – she finds the perfect 12th-century ruin of a castle in Lunigiana and sets about to restore it from the ground up. Along the way, she shifts her career away from styling for American magazine shoots towards mentoring and teaching, and La Fortezza, as her new home is called, is the center of her workshop business. An expert in entertaining, Annette is also author of Picture Perfect Parties, published by Rizzoli in 2013, and students learn how to cook, style and shoot in this idyllic setting.
The consummate party girl (but in a good way!), we asked Annette to share a recipe that would transport us to the coast. Here’s one she often found herself sipping when she spent the summer months in Alassio, Liguria.
How to make an Americano
Ironically, as classic Italian Cocktails go, this one is as classic as it gets. This cocktail is a perfect balance of bitter Campari liqueur and sweet Vermouth.
- 1½ ounces Campari
- 1 ½ ounces Italian vermouth
- Splash of soda
- 1 twist lemon
Fill a highball glass with ice, pour in all ingredients, and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Watch the interview with Annette Joseph
Find out more about Annette’s work on her website.