Last week, Ihsan shared with us a few memories from one of his early cheese sourcing trips – a 1993 trip to the Castelmagno region of Italy. In that post, he described one of his revelatory food experiences: Gnocchi al Castelmagno. Since that trip, he has been working on recreating the dish at home. Here is the current permutation of that recipe, one he says gets pretty close to that amazing, first taste! (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Italy’
Posted in Cheese, Cheesemaking, Education, Italy, Travelogues, tagged casaro, Cheese, cheesemakers, cheesemaking, Cravero, curds, DOP, food, Italy, parm, Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta, whey on November 26, 2011 | 1 Comment »
On a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to visit a co-op that makes Parmigiano Reggiano. It was a first for me – I have witnessed the cheesemaking process before and have even tried my hand at making chèvre but I had never before observed the making of a hard, aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. (more…)
Posted in Cheese, Italy, Travelogues, tagged Bra, Caggiano, Cantine Ascheri, Caseficio Caggiano, Cheese, Comté, enkir, food, Giorgio Cravero, Italy, Jason Hinds, Marcel Petite, Maria Caggiano, Matteo Ascheri, Mulino Marino, Neal's Yard Dairy, Parmigiano Reggiano, Philippe Goux, Randolph Hodgson, Romano Levi on October 21, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
Every two years, the biggest festival in the cheese world happens in Bra, Italy. The event is known simply as “Cheese.” Cheesemakers, cheesemongers, journalists, food lovers and folks lucky enough to live close by, descend on the small town of Bra to sample, sell and eat literally tons of cheese. This year at the biennial festival it was no different. With one exception. The thermometer hit a whopping 90°F. (more…)
Posted in Beverages, Italy, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Chianti, Chianti Colli Senesi, food, Giovanna Tiezzi, Italy, organic, Pacina, Sangiovese, Stefano Borsa, terroir, Wine, winemakers, yeasts on July 26, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Recently, we were thrilled to welcome Giovanna Tiezzi and Stefano Borsa to our shop. Giovanna and Stefano are the dedicated growers behind Pacina wine and they stopped by our Cambridge shop on a rare visit to the United States to taste out their ’07 Chianti Colli Senesi and speak to folks about what distinguishes them from other viticoltori in their region.
Where is Pacina?
Located about twenty-five minutes east of Siena in the Chianti district of Colli Senesi, Pacina is an old convent, dating to circa 900AD. The land where the convent is located is rich in wine history insofar as Pāca was the Etruscan god of the grape harvest, the equivalent of the Roman god, Bacchus, or the Greek god, Dionysius. For centuries, wine has been made in this region.
Flash forward to 2011: Pacina serves as a home to Giovanna Tiezzi and Stefano Borsa, along with their children, Maria and Carlo. Giovanna took over the estate that was bought by her great-grandparents. Today, she and Stefano cultivate a wide range of produce – from cereals, to fruit, to vegetables, to extra virgin olive oil. Giovanna and Stefano are, however, probably best known for their wine. As with everything they produce, it is organic. (more…)
Posted in Appetizers & Hors d'Oeuvres, Cheese, Main Dishes, Recipes, tagged Aligot, Appenzeller, Auvergne, Beaufort, Cantal, Cheese, Comté, cooking, Emmental, Emmentaler, fondue, fonduta, Fontina d'Aosta, Fontina Val d'Aosta, food, France, Gruyere, Italy, Laguiole, melted cheese, recipe, Recipes, Salers, Vacherin Fribourgeois on January 13, 2011 | 4 Comments »
As a child, I was an avid reader of Asterix and Obelix comics and there are a couple of images from the series that made an indelible mark. One was of Obelix furious and red in the face (I was always a little partial to Obelix) after Dogmatix had somehow been threatened. Another was of some poor, pathetic Roman who keeps losing his piece of bread in a large cauldron full of fondue. As the comic progressed (I think it must have been the one where Asterix and Obelix are in Switzerland), the cheese stretches all over the room and all over the partakers of the meal. That was my first image of fondue – it seemed fun, crazy and probably amazingly delicious. (more…)
Parmigiano Reggiano is essential to the economy in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. That may not be so surprising in and of itself but, did you know that the local banks there accept cheese as collateral? In 2009, Credito Emiliano had two climate controlled warehouses where they stored roughly 440,000 wheels of Parmigiano. All total, those wheels were worth approximately $187 million.
Parmigiano Reggiano was also considered sufficiently valuable to be the target of a heist. In February of 2009, thieves tunneled into a parm warehouse and stole 570 wheels before they were caught. Honestly, one wonders how well thought out the plan was, considering each wheel of parm weighs about 80-lbs. and bears a unique serial number (much like money) to identify it. The funniest part of the story, however, was the remark made by the vault manager after the cheese had been recovered: “Thank heavens we caught the robbers before they grated it!”* (more…)
Posted in Beverages, Italy, Travelogues, Wine, tagged growers, Italy, sommeliers, tasting, terroir, varietal, Vini Veri, VinItaly, VinNatur, vintage, viticulture, Wine, wine buyers, winemakers on June 29, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
To read Part I of Gemma’s post, please click here.
One of the most memorable tastings I had at VinItaly was with Valli Unite, a cooperative I visited in 2006, located in the hills outside of Tortona (essentially in the DOC Gavi growing area). Dreadlocked Alessandro, who now greets me on a first name basis, excitedly mentioned that in 2009 he made all of his wines without added sulfur. He recalled all of the questions and concerns that I have had over the years about sulfur usage. After some successful initial trials with Barbera and Dolcetto, he is confident enough to move forward with a more natural, minimalist approach in the cellar. This courage impressed me a great deal as did his desire to express as much terroir as possible in his wines. One of the questions that I like to ask growers is with regard to the future of their wines and their farming practices. Some producers express an ambition to sell more wine, expand into additional markets and find new exporters. Others talk about trying natural yeast fermentations, yield-reducing practices and no-sulfur cuvées. The latter type of grower is the one with whom I definitely want to establish a relationship. One can ascertain very quickly and easily who is thinking, trying, experimenting and who is merely responding to the market. (more…)
Posted in Beverages, Italy, Travelogues, Wine, tagged growers, Italy, sommeliers, tasting, terroir, varietal, Vini Veri, VinItaly, VinNatur, vintage, viticulture, Wine, wine buyers, winemakers on June 22, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
During the second week of April, I had the opportunity to attend VinItaly – one of the largest and most well-attended trade shows for wine professionals – and two smaller, organic off-shoot shows: VinNatur and Vini Veri. These tastings brought growers, suppliers, sommeliers, and wine buyers together near picturesque Verona. It was a very special opportunity to taste wines alongside the growers, a process that is important in gaining a true understanding of the wines on our shelves and the farming behind them. Attending a show like VinItaly is the next best thing to actually visiting a producer. (more…)
I wish I could say that my first introduction to guanciale was in Rome, perhaps at one of those little family restaurants in a tiny alley just off the Campo dei Fiori…
The Pasta alla Carbonara was so amazing I just had to ask what
was in it. They explained to me that the secret ingredient
that makes carbonara better in Italy was guanciale.
Alas… no. (more…)