Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I love Italy in the Fall....

I just spent the weekend in Tuscany with Ettore and his mom, and it was fantastic!  I was able to attend the White Truffle Festival in Volterra, which I am soon going to write a blog on.  Unfortunately my house was robbed last week, and my computer stolen, so I don't have a proper computer with WORD, so it may bit awhile until I can write about anything with substance.  In  any case I felt compelled to leave you, my readers, with a few photos of what I bought at the market today, and also some photos of the black and white truffles I bought.  I love Italy in the fall because mother nature is really showing off her gifts.  As a vegan it is my favorite time of year, there are chestnuts to gather and roast, truffles, pumpkins and all sorts of lovely veggies available.  I usually go down the road to buy my produce.  I buy it from a local convent of nuns and friars who have dedicated themselves to cultivating organic produce that is in season and in harmony with the land.  It is less than a kilometer away from my house and they also sell whole grain pasta.  Right now they are swimming in pumpkins, so I decided to ease their burden, and plan to make some pumpkin soup this week.  Enjoy the photos!

 Black and White Truffles, the Food of the Goddess
 If I could only smell one thing for the rest of my life, I'd be happy with the aroma of a white truffle!
Lovely veggies from the organic market down the road.  I'm thinking pumpkin soup, pumpkin risotto, roasted veggies, and I am going to can melanzane sott'aceto this year

Happy Harvest Everyone!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wines of Lazio: Cesanese del Piglio

Wines of Lazio:  Cesanese del Piglio
Casale Della Ioria
Cesanese del Piglio
Tenute della Ioria
     It would be nearly impossible to have any sort of discussion on the wines of Lazio without discussing Cesanese del Piglio, Lazio’s first wine to acquire the D.O.C.G appellation.  We frequently take day trips to the region of Frosinone, which is south of Rome, we go for the fabulously underrated food and wine that we find in the many nearly abandoned towns in the mountains.  Piglio is a town in the ernico Apennines which is built on the foundations of a pre-roman town.  Piglio is near the medieval papal town of Anagni, and a day drip to a winery and a cultural visit to Anagni and lunch at Piglio make for the perfect day trip from Rome.  I  have already written about it HERE.  Piglio is now home to Lazio’s first DOCG wine(in 2008), a heartwarming red wine made from the Cesanese grape. 

     One of my favorite producers is Casale Della Ioria owned by the Perinelli family.  They make two Cesanese del Piglio, both from the Cesanese di Affile grape.  I am quite fond of the 2007 Tenuta della Ioria.  When we tasted it, when were in the amazing medieval town of Alatri which I think has Lazio’s best olive oil.  It is an intense ruby red wine, with gorgeous legs and great consistency.  It is suggestive of cherries under alcohol, blackberry jam, fennel, tobacco, earth tones, mushrooms, and sweet red peppers.  After w few minutes the dried red roses start rolling over everything, evocative of a very sensual perfume commercial from the 90’s.  It had balsamic notes.  In a nutshell,  a very complex and intense nose, but still developing.   Towards the end of our evaluation we started to smell coffee, but then we realized the waiter was making espresso!  This wine is dry, full bodied, with nice freshness.  I thoroughly enjoyed its rich but well balanced tannins that were harmonious with the weight and silky structure with slightly bitter finish.  It has a long finish that kept reminding me of fruits and dark earthy minerals.   I think this Cesanese has a great potential to age and soften but to remain complex.   A great wine in the winter to serve with complex and bitter foods, or roasted veggies with rosemary.

Wines of Lazio: Frascati Superiore

Wines of Lazio: Frascati Superiore
Casale Mattia
Frascati Superiore
Terre del Casale
     Frascati is the white wine most often consumed by the Romans, and most of its production makes its way down the hills of the Castelli Romani to be consumed in the trattoria and osteria of Rome.  Typically in Lazio winemakers make wines for quantity over quality, so there are many mediocre Frascati bottles out there, but there is hope.  There are a number of producers that are making great Frascati wines that evoke both the fertility of the land and the aromas of the grapes used.  Frascati does not need to be a boring and tasteless wine at all.  Casale Mattia is making great wines from organic grapes and a combination of modern and traditional winemaking.  They use all natural methods in their wine making process including natural yeasts instead of GMO yeasts.  

     I tasted a 2008 Casale Mattia Frascati Superiore called “Terre Del Casale.”  I quite enjoyed it, thug I feel that most Frascati are best when consumed in their first year.  Visually, I could tell it had a bit if age(for a Frascati), as it was darkening.  It was a very crystalline hay yellow with moderate consistency with average arches.  The hay color had a bit of golden hue in it as well.  It had very intense aromas that were clean and crisp which were suggestive of citrus such as grapefruit, lemons, and limoncello.  Underneath all that was the aroma I most associate with a Frascati, apricot.  It also had undertones of citrus flowers, fresh cut grass, shell like minerals, and fragrant bread.  On the palate it was medium bodied, dry to off dry, very fresh, silky, and with a long mineral finish which came directly from the volcanic soil the vines are planted in.  I enjoyed every sip, and think it is a perfect white wine for the spring and summer, but even in the cooler months when we start to make soups.  The aromatic qualities would pair perfectly with a warm minestrone or vegetable risotto.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

Urgent Adoption after 14 year in a Shelter...Alberto deserves a family!!

 UPDATE:  ALBERT HAS FOUND A HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 He is Alberto, a small and invisible dog who has spent his entire life in a small box. Alberto unfortunately did not have anything in life as he was locked up in the kennel when  still young and with great desire to live, but his exuberance , his vivacity, year after year have faded due to a prison term that has been for too long.  He has known only a life with gravel and loneliness, no cuddling, no walks, no grass .... Now, at age 14 Alberto year is pretty wary of people, but is he wrong? Who would not be against a hand that he long ago considered friends forever, for life, and instead was just locked up forever in a prison? Perhaps Albert has lost hope of finally finding a bit of love, but not us, we would like for him a true adoption of the heart that can make him understand that not all hands are bad, some can give a lot of pampering, we would like for him to find a real home with a nice soft and warm bed and a bit of serenity .... now he is very old and time is running out !!!!!! He should get along with both male and female dogs.  14 years is a long time but Alberto deserves his ransom !!!!!!  Daniela 348 1013553  Rossella  339 1233445
  in English Ettore 349 719 7590

Lui è Alberto, un cagnolino piccolo e invisibile che ha praticamente passato la sua vita chiuso in un box.Alberto purtroppo dalla vita non ha avuto proprio niente visto che è stato rinchiuso in canile ancora giovane e con tanta voglia di vivere, ma la sua esuberanza, la sua vivacità, anno dopo anno sono sfiorite a causa di una prigionia durata troppo a lungo, che gli ha permesso di conoscere solo ghiaia e solitudine, niente coccole, niente passeggiate, niente erba....Ora, all'età di 14 anni Alberto è piuttosto diffidente nei confronti delle persone, ma come dargli torto? Chi non lo sarebbe nei confronti di una mano che lui, tanto tempo fa considerava amica per sempre, amica per la vita, e invece proprio per sempre lo ha rinchiuso in una prigione? Forse Alberto ha perso la speranza di trovare finalmente un pò di Amore, ma noi no, noi vorremmo per lui una vera adozione del cuore che gli possa far capire che non tutte le mani sono cattive, alcune sanno dare tante coccole; vorremmo per lui una vera casa con una bella cuccia morbida e calda e un pò di serenità.... ormai è molto anziano e il tempo stringe davvero tanto!!!!!!Va tranquillamente d'accordo sia con maschi che femmine.14 anni sono tanti ma Alberto merita il suo riscatto!!!!!!  Parma, info e adozioni Daniela 348 1013553  Rossella  339 1233445