Casa La Strega and us

The Province of Benevento, Italy
is the place of origin of the Cenicola ancestors.
It is also the place of origin of Liquer Strega.
Pictured on the bottle label are witches dancing around a nut tree.
Tasting Notes: Liquore Strega      10/18/06, by Kate Hopkins
Liquore Strega is an 80 proof herbal concoction, with a reputed 70 ingredients. Amongst those ingredients include mint, saffron and fennel. Strega is now the second liquor I've found with saffron, with Fernet-Branca being the first.
The story behind Strega is interesting as well. In 1860, Giuseppe Alberti found monks from Benevento, Campania who made this liquor. Promising to do nothing but good with the recipe, and coaxed the secret recipe from them. At first he sold it as a medical elixer (as many liquors were). Sales were poor. Smart businessman that he was, he decided to sell it as a liquor instead. He renamed it to Liquore Strega, which roughly translates to liquor of the witch. From there, the sales took off.
Strega is best served alone, either straight up or on the rocks.
Eyes:Strega is a bright yellow, nearly fluorescent yellow. It is saffron that gives it this color. Swirling the liquor in a glass shows it to be a nearly viscous syrup.
Nose: Strong, very medicinal.
Taste: Let it be said that Strega is a very complex drink. It starts sweet from the sugar, but then it becomes very bitter from the herbal components. Not herbal in an Absinthe sense, but more in a robituseen sans-codeine sense. The tail end of drink finishes with a strong liquorice flavor, most likely coming from the fennel.

Strega also refers to La Vecchia Religion
(the old religion),_or_the_Gospel_of_the_Witches

How much of this is true and how much
is legend I do not know but I am searching
constantly for information. It seems this is the area in Italy
where it was first formed and practiced many years before Christianity.

        How we got our kennel name
When our daughter was twelve years old
we had our first litter of German Shepherd puppies.
One day she asked if she could go to a friends house.
I told her it was too close to dinner time,
she could go another day.
Disapointed, she went outside and started marching
around the huge old walnut tree in our front yard
chanting over and over,
" My mother is a mean old witch.
She's nothing but a mean old witch. "
I glanced up on our cabinet
and noticed the bottle of Liquer Strega
that we occasionally served our weekend dinner guests.
I looked out the window and watched our daughter
marching around the nut tree.


We had not as yet chosen a kennel name.
I thought how appropriate,
this is my house, I am a witch.
Thus the birth of our kennel name.
Casa La Strega. House of the witch!

We live on 52 acres in the center of New York State.
Our dogs all enjoy being taken to run and play out there
in our fields and woods. We hope you will enjoy your visit with
our Poodles and German Shepherds.
Now a little something about our backround.
Being an animal lover from early childhood
it is only natural that I chose to work with dogs.
I did a lot of work with horses in my teen years
inluding giving riding instruction teaching children
and beginner adults.
My older cousin raised, handled and showed collies, shelties,
and maltese. She finished her tricolor collie at Westminster
in the old Madison Square Garden, when you only needed
a pointed dog to show there.
When I was first married, before my children were born,
I wasn't thinking of breeding and raising dogs.
I just wanted a companion to love. My cousin gave me a gift.
The result of her CH collies one night stand out on the town.
Even though Lil wasn't a purebred, I loved her with all my heart.
We had Lil for 5 years. During those years, we had our daughter
and first son. Our son suffered severly from allergies.
The worst offender was Lil. I was forced to find a good home for her.
Two years after that, we had our second son.
Three years later, I noticed that son #1 was ok around the neighbors dog.
I knew it was time to get another dog. I saw in the paper, a request
for foster homes to raise puppies for the seeing eye foundation.
I called for information and told the director that I was worried that
our son might have trouble living with a dog in the house.
I was told that if our boy had any trouble, they would come get the pup
and place her in another home. We opted to raise a german shep. pup.
We had our wonderful Norda 18 months before she had to go back.
That was our introduction to the fantastic German Shepherd breed.
We decided it was time to have our own German Shepherd.
A schoolmate of our daughter had two really nice shepherds.
Her parents introduced me to the German Shepherd Dog Club of NNJ.
I went to meetings, watched classes and learned all I could from
the wonderful breeders & trainers I met there. It took me 3 months
before I found my ideal puppy. A beautiful black & gold
Ch Falco of Thunder Rock daughter. I purchased her with the goal
of having a well trained family companion. Breeding and showing
had not entered my mind. After a few classes, I was talked into
showing her for her CD title and as long as I was going to the shows,
also in conformation. She did very well. We even had a couple of reserve wins.
I handled her myself and was great in obedience, but conformation was definately
 not one of my talents. I have since shown a number of our dogs to obedience titles.
I also worked with them as therapy dogs.
I decided I'd like to try my hand at raising a litter, and once I did, I was hooked.
I was a veterinary assistant for a number of years.
I taught classes at the Shep. club. As my boys grew up, they
enjoyed training and showing the dogs with me.
Especially my younger son.
We moved to our present home in 1970. We had a top producing
reg. Jersey herd and we showed the cows at county fairs & NY state fair.
We retired from farming in 1980. After that, my husband worked for a
pharmaceutcal firm until his retirement a few years ago.
I have been teaching canine obedience adult education classes,
as well as my own private lessons and classes since 1968.
Our dogs herded our cows and worked with us in security at a
number of the county fairs.
I was animal controll officer for our town from 1977 to 1980.
We aquired my first poodle in 1979. Casa Strega's Peek-a-Boo Silver
was a very nice akc reg.poodle. She had been hit by a car and abandoned
by her young owners who could not pay the vet bill. I contacted them to try to
help them but they just did not want to be bothered with her care or expense.
They relinquished her to me with her AKC reg aplication which they never
bothered to send in. She was 3 and 1/2 years old.
Before we had her spayed, we bred her once at the request of our vet
to have puppies for 3 elderly couples who had recently lost their old dogs.
We sold all the puppies with spay/neuter contracts.
One of the couples became too ill to keep their girl & we took Diva
back before she was old enough to be spayed.
Diva de Casa Strega and All Points Rochambeau Gabrel
(the beautiful young stud that I purchased) became the foundation for
our Casa La Strega Poodles.
12 generations later, we are still breeding the lines from our 1st poodle.
Old Boo lived to be 18 without one sick day in her wonderful, loving life
Gabe lived to past 17.
Since my husband Phil has retired, he has the time to be a true partner
in all our endeavors. Especially the dogs. It is so nice to have him
to depend on full time for help, companionship and advice.

July 2004                                              

  In June of 2006  Phil had a number of ministrokes which left him with Vascular dementia. We have been married since 1953. He has been residing in the Oxford Veterans Home since Feb. 2011 when it became impossible for me to care for him at home any longer.

                                  DEC.16, 2011                OUR 58th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY