Italian Food Stories
This Year Choose your Christmas Food Gifts with PepeGusto
Just a few days to Christmas: have you already thought about the gifts this year? In Italy it’s common to give as Christmas presents - to friends, relatives and colleagues - boxes full of food and wine products, to make the Christmas table even richer and more tasty! With PepeGusto you can take at your home this Italian tradition and transform the usual Christmas gift into a chance to taste selected products of the highest quality. You choose the pack and we'll take care of everything: don't worry about the shipping because your gift is in good hands! What are the best Christmas gifts for a food lover? In Italy we have a huge variety of products, but of course it’s important to choose products that can travel and are well preserved. For this reason we have selected the best of the PepeGusto catalogue! Take a look: you can choose between extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, pecorino cheese and aged Parmigiano Reggiano, tomato sauce and pasta, chocolate and special jams. Of course the Artisan Panettone or Pandoro cannot be missed in a Christmas gift box. This year’s new entry, however, are the objects for the kitchen: what about a nice handmade wooden chopping board? Or a couple made by fork and spoon, ideal for cooking and handmade in olive wood? If you prefer ceramic objects, you can also choose a typical hand painted South-Italian jar (with the colors of the sun and the sea!) with its set of glasses in the same style. When you receive a gift, we know very well how fundamental the presentation is: for us at PepeGusto this is always an important part but, if possible, at Christmas we are even more careful to include in the gift pack ribbons, bows, pins, stickers and small extra gifts. Never miss a personalized handwritten card for the recipient: the wow effect is guaranteed!
TUSCANY, OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Tuscany is probably the most famous Italian region in the world for the richness of its art, the sweetness of its landscapes, the quality of its wines and the variety of its cuisine. Unfortunately, the image of this beautiful region is also made up of stereotypes and clichés, which detract from its beauty but which do not tell everything about it. In anticipation of a trip to visit this territory, we would like to recommend something that is perhaps far from the usual tourist routes, but that will fascinate you with its beauty and uniqueness, in a small search for the most unusual and fascinating places. After visiting the beautiful cities of Pisa and Lucca, in the surrounding countryside you will find the San Rossore Natural Park, an estate of 24,000 hectares, to be explored on foot, by bicycle or even on horseback! And maybe take the opportunity to have a picnic on the grass with the best traditional Italian products. Bread, cured meat and prosciutto, cheeses and compotes… a journey into nature, through time and ancient flavors. But if you really want to take a journey through history, then you can't miss the Abbey of San Galgano, built in 1218 and now without a roof. Time has transformed the floor into a green lawn, but the real attraction lies in the chapel next to the abbey, a real sword in the stone! The sword was really stuck in a stone by a noble knight around 1100, who had decided to give up all earthly possessions. Despite countless attempts, no one has ever managed to remove the sword from its seat. And if this trip to Tuscany takes you away from the cities, you can visit the ancient abandoned village of Isola Santa in the Apuan Alps. An ancient village of centuries-old buildings, where in some of them you can even stay overnight, surrounded by lush nature in the heart of the famous Apuan Alps. But if you really can't stay away from the charm of Florence, after the 'institutional' visit of the most famous places in the city, you can go to the discovery of its secret places (every city has them!), such as the Vasari Corridor, a secret passage wanted by Cosimo de Medici that, through towers, bridges and palaces, connects Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti; or the Burelle, the ancient Florentine prisons, built in the depths of the city, near Palazzo Vecchio, a terrifying but fascinating place. Every season and every occasion will be ideal for a trip to this beautiful region, which you will fall in love with whether you decide to visit the most famous places or want to discover its secrets.
An art & food tour Roma
Rome the Eternal City, the capital of Italy. Before traveling to Rome you must read a book and see a movie, one of the best books in English is SPQR A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard, and one of the best movie is The Great Beauty of the Italian filmaker Paolo Sorrentino, who is compared to Federico Fellini. Thanks to The Great Beauty you can understand the character of the contemporary Rome. Rome is immense, it is the most populated city in Italy, it takes years to get to know it, it is one of the largest archeological museums in the world, chaotic, bohemian, grotesque, unfaithful lover, Rome is a city that captures the imagination... Rome was the capital of an empire of extraordinary dimensions. A city where architecture and art had reached unthinkable levels. A city of intellectuals and philosophers, but also of astrophysicists and emperors. The city of the Pantheon and the Colosseum of Piazza Navona, of Campo dei Fiori, the city that hosts the Pope and his museums. The city that is the cradle of European culture and knowledge. A city that captivates just walking through its streets. Rome retains a unique spirit, full of charm and charisma. A city where traditional recipes keep alive the memory of the past and where even the definition Caput Mundi always maintains its relevance. The typical Roman dishes are many and some of them are a true icon of Italian cuisine in the world. The dish that best represents the Roman tradition and cuisine is certainly the “Pasta alla Carbonara”. The history tells that the origin of “Pasta alla Carbonara” dates back to 1944, in an ancient Roman trattoria located in Vicolo della Scrofa. An old legend says that the combination of different ingredients provided by American soldiers during the second world war led to the creation of this dish, made with eggs, Guanciale (Bacon) and cheese. The traditional recipe consists only of egg yolks, Guanciale (Bacon), Pecorino Romano cheese, (a cheeses made from sheep's milk) salt and pepper, and most importantly... cream is absolutely forbidden. Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish style artichokes) are another typical dish of Roman cuisine; a crispy frying artichokes, turns like chips. This preparation has its origin in the ancient Roman taverns, in particular in the area of the Jewish ghetto. Walking through Campo dei Fiori you can not avoid to try another typical dish of Rome ... Fried salt Cod Filets (Filetti di Baccalá Fritti) another Roman Jewish récipe. What are you waiting for ... wear your sneakers and enjoy the eternal city.
Verona, A Timeless Love Story
How to start talking about Verona without naming the timeless and never ending story of Romeo and Juliet? Second only to Venice in terms of romance and passion, Verona is in effect called the city of love thanks to the story of these two unfortunate lovers. Mandatory stops of the visit to this city are therefore Romeo's house, Juliet's tomb and obviously Juliet's house with the famous balcony under which Romeo declared his love to this young woman. While we do not know if Romeo and Juliet actually existed, we know with certainty that the noble Montague and Capulet families did exist, who lived in the houses attributed to the two lovers. Juliet's tomb, on the other hand, was identified in an empty red marble sarcophagus outside the city walls. Visited by ordinary people, romantics from all over the world and people of culture, as also reported by Lord Byron in his letters from Italy: “It is a plain, open, and partly decayed sarcophagus, in a wild and desolate conventual garden once a cemetery now ruined to the very graves. The situation struck me as very appropriate to the legend, being blighted as their love.” And like every Italian city and region, the particular atmosphere, passion and love of this city is also found in its gastronomic traditions, in the aromas and fragrances of its products. Those who love Verona for its ancient monuments, its silent streets, the gentle bends of the Adige river, cannot fail to be passionate about its products that tell us so much about this city and the region that welcomes it. A tradition of rich, elaborated dishes, made with love (we are in the city of love, aren't we?), but starting with simple ingredients. Why not try the Risotto of Amarone, red like passion. Prepared with Vialone Nano rice, typical of this city, and Amarone, the precious red wine from Valpolicella. Let yourself be guided by love and passion for a romantic trip to this wonderful city, visit its enchanting corners and try its surprising typical products, for an experience that will leave a sweet memory in your heart.
An art & food tour Modena & Luciano Pavarotti
The beautiful Modena, Heritage of Unesco for is Cathedral, “Torre Civica” and “Piazza Grande”. Modena is located in the north-central part of Italy in the region of Emilia Romagna motherland of Balsamic Vinegar, Tortellini, Tigelle and Ferrari. Modena is also the birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti, and is the city of one of the best restaurant in the world; Osteria Francescana of Massimo Bottura chef. Walking around the city center of Modena it´s easy to find what is now an icon of Modena street food, the “Crescentina” or “Tigella. Their name comes from the homonymous tool of terracotta or firestone with which they were originally cooked, from the Latin tegere (to cover). “Tigelle” are typical focaccias of Modena, prepared with lard, water, flour and yeast. Tigelle are left to rise and then cooked in the “tigelliera”, a double metal mold which closes like a book placed on the fire. “Tigelle” with Parma Ham and crescenza are one of the many ways in which these delicious focaccias can be stuffed, usually filled with salami, vegetables or the typical “cunza” what is a mixture of lard, rosemary and garlic typical of Modena enjoy it with a good glass of Lambrusco. Is highly recommended to visit the Luciano Pavarotti´s Home Museum; the museum is an encounter with the life and the history of one of the most admired geniuses of the world. The Luciano Pavarotti´s Home Museum is twenty minutes away by car, although there is also by public transport, you can reach from the center of Modena, the beginning of the Emilia Romagna countryside where you will find a traditional country house of the area. It´s not just any country house. It is the house where Luciano Pavarotti lived and died. A house has maintained in a perfect state of conservation, in which it has a well cared for garden and its interior has been modified to access a museum. It has a well-curated room where the elements of life in his house are intermingled with the display of his art in perfect order. Costumes, programs, distinctions and a tour that places the visitor in the main theatrical scenarios of the world of opera and Pavarotti life. You will not fail to hear a well-balanced sound, with the unmistakable voice of Luciano Pavarotti in every corner of the house, as well as an unknown live audiovisual recording of a backstage. At the end of the tour and see the murals, very well done, with photos in collage style, where Pavarotti and Friends, redimension the world personality that the tenor has had. He will not pass unnoticed a beautiful kitchen, where Luciano Pavarotti was also honoring his chef skills.
An Interview with Capurso Wine
For some reason it seems that lately we are destined to meet strong women working in the wine world. Even Selene was a beautiful discovery! Together with her sister Camilla, they deal with the commercial activities of Capurso Wine, including welcoming customers to the cellar for visits and wine tastings. They also take care of administrative issues and communication. Dad Nunzio Giovanni Capurso is the winemaker that takes care of everything concerning the vineyards and the wines. Selene, can you help us to deepen the philosophy of your company? We believe that sustainably growing grapes is not only a necessity for those, like us, who want to do well in viticulture, but it is also feasible and profitable. We want to produce with care and awareness, using natural resources efficiently and maintaining economic and social prosperity for ourself and our territory. We make the best use of the most advanced tools for integrated pest management and proactively adopts the latest practices to protect us and the environment tin all agricultural operations, thus reaching all around sustainability - economic, social and environmental. How do your coffee differ from the others on the market? We use only 3 hectares of the 15 we have, because we want to make a few quantity of bottles, but high quality wines, more controlled and with a very selective harvest of the best clusters. Our wines are made only with our grapes (exclusively indigenous varieties of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Croatina) and the vineyard is very close - in the same farm - to the cellar, where grapes are processed. What is the relationship between Capurso Wine and its territory of origin? Everything began in Valpantena Valley, whose name derives from “pan-theos” (valley of all gods) with ancient viticultural traditions. The valley is like a “natural amphitheater” and we are in the heart of it, protected by Lessini Mountains and by Torricelle Hills. Its microclimate, with significant temperature fluctuations between day and night, its prolonged daily exposure to sun, light and continuous breeze (both day and night) and its alluvial soil consisting of clay and limestone, together guarantee high quality grape production. We take care of our territory even preserving, improving and increasing biodiversity. For this reason we have installed four hives for the bees, that are inextricably linked to agriculture and play an important role in the pollination of flowers; their presence is a sign of the excellence state of health of the environment. Then, we have some nests for birds and batbox, homes for insects pollinators and flowery areas. Please suggest us some food pairing with your wines. We love to drink our Diavolo Rosso with game meat or matured cheese, while Amarone is perfect at the end of a meal as conversation wine paired with dark chocolate.
Italian Recipe: Truffle Experience
The truffle is rare, precious and delicious! The hunting of truffles is an ancient Umbrian tradition. Umbria is one of the regions with the highest rate of black truffles in Italy. The black truffle in Umbria is also called 'The King of the Table', 'The black diamond of the kitchen' or 'the black gold' because its selling price is very high. For some researchers the truffle, thanks to its aroma, represented a sort of "fifth essence", capable of giving a feeling of ecstasy which delighted the sense of smell and the palate. Truffles grow underground, attached to the roots of oak trees, and truffle dogs are employed to help in their searching. An ancient legend tells that truffles need water, heat and thunders in order to grow. This ancient legend does not differ so much from the scientific reality, as thunders are attracted by trees rich in water such as the oak, that is the best place for truffles to grow. Black Truffle ripens and can be harvested in the months between November and March. Black Truffle has a roundish shape and its dimensions vary between those of a small hazelnut, up to those of a big potato. Truffle has many beneficial properties. It is famous for its richness in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals rich in iron, calcium and vitamin C. It has also elasticized properties that stimulate the production of collagen and its ingestion helps the digestion. Many benefits can be obtained from the consumption of black truffle. The limited contribution of carbohydrates and sugars means that black truffle can also be consumed by pople with diabetes. Rich in proteins and fibers, poor in fats and cholesterol free, it can be consumed without any problem by pople of all ages and by whom that having cardiovascular problems. It does not contain gluten and therefore it can be consumed by individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. The taste characteristics of the black truffle is very complex and difficult to reproduce, more than 50 different compounds are involved in its final composition, among them, fruit aromas, olive, butter, leather, mushroom, corn or caramel, also umami, the fifth flavor that goes a little beyond sweet, salty, bitter and acid and so on. The aromas and flavors of fresh quality black truffles are like great wines, which contain something magical inside that makes them unique. Fresh Black Truffle can be eaten in raw in fine slivers, to preserve at the best is fragrance, to prepare a pasta, scrambled eggs or a risotto, or in cream to spread directly on bread or on meat and vegetable dishes. Pair the Black Truffle with a good glass of Italian wine for living an unique sensorial experience…Cheers!
2021 Italian Capital Of Culture: Parma
What makes a city in the Italian province, of just over 200,000 inhabitants, the Italian Capital of Culture 2020-2021? Mainly its history, which sees it as the capital of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza for more than 400 years, as well as being the seat of one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in the 11th century. The imposing palaces, such as the huge monumental complex of the Palazzo della Pilotta and the Palazzo del Giardino, the vast gardens, squares and municipal and religious buildings, bring back to the splendor of the period in which it was the capital of the duchy. Home to numerous theaters and libraries, as well as the birthplace of writers and great musicians, it was magnified by Stendhal in The Charterhouse of Parma and by Proust in Swann’s Way. This dynamism, which influenced by historical events has made it a surprisingly modern city, has also led it to be the capital not only of Culture but also of the art of knowing how to live and above all of the agri-food sector. The numerous outdoor restaurants and bars, which attract tourists all year round, offer some of the most famous and copied products of this territory in the world. Parmigiano Reggiano, the King of Cheeses and symbol of the city, and Prosciutto di Parma, are products protected by their respective production protocols, which certify their origin and quality. The sincere wines of the area, such as Lambrusco, accompany every occasion and every lunch. Not for nothing Parma, in the heart of the Italian Food Valley, was also designed Unesco Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015. The history of the Italian people has always been closely linked to culture, and for Italians, culture also means food culture, knowing how to eat well, enhancing typical and traditional products. A trip to this magnificent city that can also be done through its products and wines, which with their aromas, their characteristic flavors and their uniqueness lead us to appreciate the ancient traditions, as well as the desire to live that this city expresses through its history, its culture and its surprising modernity.
Coffee in Italy
For an Italian there are sacred things, mom, pasta and coffee. Coffee in Italy is an institution, it is an important part of the social life of every Italian. Italians are known for drinking an average of 4/5 coffees per day. The history of coffee in Italy began in the 1600's but it was already spread centuries before in the Orient. When it was discovered, coffee was considered as a beverage having magical properties and for this reason Arabs initially hid its existence, hindering its exportation. In 1400 were established the first coffee shops in Arab countries and this beverage, besides being used as a medicine, was considered as a good occasion for social meetings. At the end of 1600's coffee was introduced in Venice thanks to a botanical doctor, Prospero Alfino. According to the legend, after a journey in Egypt, where coffee was already common, he brought the beverage to Venice, describing it as having a "taste similar to chicory". Just for this reason, Alfino had catalogued coffee as a medicine and in fact the first place where it was sold was the pharmacy. Italy is the only country in the world that when you go to the bar, the Bartender always remembers which is your coffee. Nowadays there are various ways to drink coffee, each person has his own particular. Let's see which are the most requested: Espresso: exists only in Italy, is the Italian coffee for excellence, all over the world know us for our espresso coffee. L 'espresso is a coffee to 2 sips, to know if it is a real espresso, just take a sugar bag, if the sugar falls slowly drawing a sort of smile ... it is a real espresso and if the sugar falls to the bottom of the coffee it is a fake. Remember coffee in Italy always smiles to you. Caffé Macchiato: also called only “macchiato”, is another typical Italian coffee, consisting of an espresso with a small amount of hot, foamy milk. Cappuccino: normally is drink for breakfast at the bar, together with the croissant (croissant and cappuccino is really a classic Italian breakfast). Let's see now the recipe for cappuccino. First you have to put the milk in a metal pot. Put the jug under the metal case of the cappuccino machine. At this point, open the steam valve and whip the milk; to obtain a nice foam, you will need to move the jug slightly with delicate movements from top to bottom. When the milk is well whipped, put it into the coffee cup... and the cappuccino is ready. Caffé Corretto: it is an espresso coffee to which is added some liqueur Grappa in the north of Italy or Sambuca in the center and in the south of Italy. It seems that originally it was the workers of northern Italy, who during their breaks used to add a drop of grappa to their coffee in order to find some warmth and relief from the cold temperatures. Then there are various alternatives to the classic espresso coffee, such as, for example, the long coffee “caffé lungo” that are more or less 3/4 sips, then there are those who want it warm and those who want it with a very hot cup and finally those who can not tolerate the cup and drink it in glass “caffé in vetro”, a habit from Tuscany. Whatever your coffee is, what you can not do is to come to Italy and not try one.
An Interview with La Cafferia
Espresso coffee is an Italian cliché: we’re not able to give up our beloved coffee at breakfast, in the middle of the morning or the one after lunch. But coffee is such a little pleasure that the only fundamental rule is that it has to be a quality one. For this reason we choose La Cafferia brand for PepeGusto and we interviewed for you Gianluca Gilardi, Marketing and Quality Control Manager for La Cafferia. Gianluca, please help us to deepen the philosophy of your company. Our roastery has been operating in the coffee sector since the 1970s with the same goal: selecting quality raw materials to produce espresso coffee blends. We pursue this goal on a daily basis, combining craftsmanship and innovation. The human part of our work is still very important at all stages of the production chain, from quality control to receiving green coffee to roasting. In the last two years we have renewed all our equipment, increasing quality controls in all the steps of the production process. Technology has provided us with important tools that allow us to guarantee high and constant quality standards. How do your coffee differ from the others on the market? Our focus has always been the production of espresso mixes for bars, restaurants and hotels. Over the years we have introduced coffee for moka to ensure that the consumer can also have a quality artisanal product at home. We have also chosen not to follow the market segment of capsules and fast consumption but to pursue a "slow" consumption with products destined for moka. So we have introduced a line of gourmet coffees made for extraction in moka, 7 carefully selected single origin coffees from Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jamaica and Brazil. Moka is a traditional Italian ritual and we want to support it through the development of innovative products that stand out from the classic moka ground coffee tile that we have always found on the market. What is the relationship between La Cafferia and its territory of origin? The company is closely linked to the territory of Luino and the Province of Varese. First of all, our founder, Ferruccio Rizzi, from the very beginning wanted to combine a roastery with a coffee shop where he could offer his blends and also make communication and culture about the coffee world. Over the years we have maintained this model by opening two venues in Varese that serve both as a bar and a coffee shop. People can choose between different blends and single origin coffee, buy the quantity they want from coffee beans and have it grinded according to their needs. We want to maintain and build a relationship with consumers that only the shops of the past had, through advice, suggestions for using our products and daily relationships. Furthermore, in October we will be inaugurating a training room that we would also like to use for events and seminars, where to invite people who are not from the sector to tell and explain what is our supply chain, from coffee plantations in tropical regions until the roasting process. We believe it is important to create culture and information on coffee, which is unfortunately often a trivialized product. Please suggest us a recipe with your coffee. A simple and tasty recipe, that we make in our bars but it’s easily achievable even at home, is the CANNELLINO COFFEE. In a cup we dispense a cup of coffee, espresso or moka, add hot chocolate, milk froth made with a french press and finally garnish with cinnamon. It’s certainly a tasty and simple recipe, which satisfies the eye as well as the taste!
An interview with Corte Canella
Some weeks ago PepeGusto had the opportunity to meet the girls behind Corte Canella: two volcanic sisters, with an infectious smile and very willing to tell the story of their family company. A story made of passion for work, love for local wine and respect for agriculture. Today the blog hosts Valentina, the elder sister. Hi Veronica, we’re happy to hear from you again. Please start describing to our readers the roles of your family members inside Corte Canella company. Dad Francesco is THE winemaker: he takes care of everything concerning the countryside. Mum Adriana is the all-rounder that helps everyone; she’s also responsible for delivering wine and welcoming customers to the cellar. My sister Gloria takes care of administrative matters and social media. I deal with winemaking and commercial activities. Can you help us to deepen the philosophy of your company? Our philosophy has always been to produce quality wine: few bottles, but carefully followed in each step. The result is a niche product, aimed at a public that recognizes our passion and our work. We also want to respect our territory by using systems that protect the vine and guarantee a healthy product. What is the relationship between Corte Canella and its territory of origin? Corte Canella has always valued the territory in which it was born, both in terms of work and sales: we wanted to invest in our restaurants and in our people. We strongly believe in mutual and fair help between local businesses. Speaking of our land: we believe in respecting the soil in order to have better and better results. We have eliminated the chemical control and now we use a machine that moves the soil to remove the grass naturally. We believe in our DOCs (Controlled Designation of Origin) and we want to enhance them. How do your wines differ from the others on the market? Our wines are distinguished by their organoleptic characteristics, by the structure and the fragrances they have: this is the result of a careful and selected work done in the countryside. Please recommend to our customers some food pairings with your wines. Everybody knows that Valpolicella Superiore goes well with grilled and braised meat, but here is a very special tip for you: try our Valpolicella with baccalà (salted coldfish), a typical recipe of Venetian area; fish and red wine may seem an unusual pairing but this one is perfect… and it has been already tested and approved by our customers and friends!
An interview with Le Guaite di Noemi
Today we have the pleasure to host a young entrepreneur in our blog: Noemi Pizzighella is a woman with a wide smile and a deep gaze, in love with her job and always around the world to promote the wines produced by her company… In fact we were able to interview her only between a business trip and a wine fair! "Le Guaite di Noemi" is a unique name for a company: please explain the meaning to our readers. "Le Guaite" is the name of the area where our "cru" vineyard is located, the highest point on the hill of Mezzane di Sotto, with a 360-degree panoramic view of Lessinia area. The term "guaite" in fact means "point of view". From our vineyards we can admire Verona, Po Valley, Lake Garda, Berici and Euganei hills and on clear days we can see even the Apennines mountains and Venice! My name, Noemi, had already been associated with a Recioto wine. In 2016 my personal project was born: I wanted to give to the company a different vision from the previous one of my parents. Thus the company has become Le Guaite di Noemi (Noemi's Guaite). Can you help us to deepen the philosophy of your company? Our philosophy is based on the company motto: “It’s not a question of fashion, money or duties. It's just a matter of passion and love.” This refers to the passion and values that my family has transmitted to me over the years. Respect for the nature and timing of wine production are very important to us. Our wines are ready for the market only when they are ready to be understood and appreciated by the customers. How do your wines differ from the others on the market? Our wines differ primarily in their style: I refer to both the design of the bottle and the style of the wine. Our wines are obviously linked to the tradition of Valpolicella, but in addition they have their own characteristic, like an indelible signature that immediately recognizes our company. What is the relationship between Le Guaite di Noemi and its territory of origin? The territory of origin for us is very important, but so are innovation and continuous study to give greater expression to our area. We always try to combine the emotional part of Valpolicella and our grapes with the power of our valley and continuous innovation. You're an Italian young woman... and you already received some awards! How do you feel about? Last year it was a real honor to be awarded as the youngest wine woman in the most important Italian association in this field. I strongly believe in the female presence in the wine sector, especially in the young women who are now entering this world. These awards have further encouraged me to work hard, even more than before, and to give even more voice to the feminine side of the wine world. Please recommend to our customers a food pairing with one (or more!) of your wines. I suggest Tano as a wine to be served with cold cuts, cheeses, white meats and simple first courses. Our Valpolicella Ripasso is perfect with red meats, first courses with game and aged cheeses. Finally Amarone della Valpolicella goes well with very mature cheeses, game meat and stews.
An interview with Acetomodena
Balsamic vinegar is different in so many ways from your standard vinegar: we can say it’s a food from its own, not only an ingredient of a recipe, nor a simple seasoning... It’s part of the Modenese culinary tradition and it’s often one of the the stars of a dish. In the past weeks, many of our faithful customers asked us more details about balsamic vinegars: for this reason we had a very nice chat with the Acetomodena Export Manager, that brought us through a wonderful tour in their headquarters. Can you help us to deepen the philosophy of Società Agricola Acetomodena? The Vecchi Family has been producing balsamic for several generations – some of the barrels in the Acetaia are over 150 years old! The company is an artisanal producer, focused on maintaining traditional methods and high quality, whilst focusing towards the future. How do Acetomodena vinegars differ from the others on the market? These are natural and high quality products, made by a family business in the countryside of Modena, using grapes from family vineyards. It’s not to take for granted that these are real balsamic from Modena, because there are so many fakes out there that take advantage of the so-called “Italian sounding”! What is the relationship between Acetomodena and its territory of origin? The Balsamic Vinegar of Acetomodena comes from a family tradition dating back over a hundred years. In the Modena countryside, situated next to the family vineyards is our beautiful vinegar farmhouse. We work carefully and patiently to produce a range of the highest quality Balsamic Vinegar of Modena and Balsamic Condiments, respecting the tradition of the territory. Please recommend to our customers a recipe with one (or more!) of your products. I’ll go with Risotto with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP. Ingredients for 4 servings: 320 grams of risotto rice, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 shallots, vegetable stock (1 litre), 50 grams of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, 5 teaspoons of Balsamic Vinegar. Preparation: Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped shallot, fry gently and then add the rice and toast it. Pour in half of the broth and stir. At medium heat, cook the rice, stirring and gradually adding the remaining broth. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add the parmesan cheese, stir, adding a teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar. Serve and drop a teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar on each portion. Serve warm.
An interview with Sabatini Gin: meet Chiara
Sabatini Gin comes from the two greatest passions of the Sabatini family: the one for Tuscany and the one for good gin. Sabatini Gin is the first 100% Tuscan London Dry, flavored with local botanicals. From the first moment in which PepeGusto added Sabatini Gin in its catalog, it was a huge success. But why is Sabatini Gin so requested by our customers? We wanted to understand more chatting with Chiara, Sabatini Gin Brand Manager. Hi Chiara and welcome to PepeGusto blog. Can you help us to deepen the Sabatini Gin brand philosophy? Sabatini Gin is born from the deep love of a family for its land and traditions: in our brand, the excellent quality of Tuscan raw materials meets the love for good drinking. This passion has been handed down to the family by the great-grandfather Guglielmo, enologist, who founded in the 20th century distilleries and brands still sold in Australia and South America. Today the company is run by the four men of the Sabatini family: Ugo, the two sons Niccolò and Enrico, and the cousin Filippo. The right association between tradition and modern tastes was realized after eight attempts: this is how Sabatini Gin is born, a London Dry gin with a Tuscan heart. Nine botanicals are cultivated in Villa Ugo, the historic residence of the family, to be then used for our gin: Tuscan juniper, Florentine isis, wild fennel, thyme, sage, lavender, olive leaves, coriander and verbena. Cultivation and harvesting of these botanicals is done according to seasons. The final result is an aromatic bouquet that recalls the Mediterranean fragrances of the Italian countryside. The desire was to create a balanced product, which did not exceed too much into aromas, leaving the palate clean with a pleasant taste, the one that makes you want to drink a second glass in good company. How does the Sabatini Gin product differ from the others on the market? The first distinctive note consists in the fact that Sabatini Gin combines Tuscan raw materials and the tradition of London distillation. In fact, while the botanicals are cultivated and treated in Cortona, the distillation takes place in a small historic distillery in London: the Thames Distillery. So ours is an Italian but at the same time international gin. The second note is given by the opportunity to visit the production area at Villa Ugo: on our website you can book a visit to the botanical garden, where you can touch the Sabatini Gin botanicals, as well as taste the product in the cocktail bar inside the family garden. In this way, enthusiasts and professionals can fully experience the reality of Sabatini Gin, knowing the place and the people who are part of it. What is the relationship between Sabatini Gin and its territory of origin? It’s a very close relationship: we deeply love Tuscany and try to enhance it to the fullest. Even the design of our bottle is a tribute to Tuscany: the light blue background and the green hills with cypresses recall the classic Tuscan landscape. Pease Chiara, recommend to our customers a recipe or a cocktail with Sabatini Gin. We are great lovers of Gin and Tonic or, as we call it, Saba Tonic: it’s made with 50 ml of Sabatini Gin, tonic water and two verbena leaves. A great alternative is the Negroni, probably the most famous Tuscan aperitif: it’s made with 30 ml of Sabatini Gin, 30 ml of red vermouth, 30 ml of bitter and orange peel (we love add an olive too).
An interview with Cassano 1875: meet Maurizio
Sorrento, Amalfi, Capri: everyone loves these beautiful places in southern Italy. Sun, sea and excellent food provide the ideal setting for a perfect holiday. But what many tourists don’t know is that in these places one of the most perfumed and intense liqueurs of the Italian tradition is produced: we’re talking about limoncello. Today PepeGusto meets Maurizio Ercolano, owner of the Cassano 1875 liquor factory, who has dedicated his life to this precious nectar. Hi Maurizio and thanks for your willingness. We’re curious to know something more about your factory and its history… Cassano 1875 is a craft reality that operates in the production of liqueurs in the Sorrento Peninsula. The range of products offered originates from the local tradition, from the ancient recipes of the farmers and fishermen of Sorrento. Our company, despite having started the business only in 1998, immediately managed to impose its products on the market. Which is your top product and why do you think it's better than the others? No doubt it’s Limoncello di Sorrento, that we obtain by cold pressing. The indisputable quality of our limoncello is essentially due to the handmade nature of the production and the very high organoleptic properties of the lemons "oval variety of Sorrento" (European IGP certification - Protected Geographical Indication), which are cultivated with a technique that has remained unchanged over time. Our company also guarantees the traceability of the production chain. The answer will probably be obvious: what relationship do you have with your territory? As I said before, our liqueurs are made following ancient recipes, which are intrinsic to the history of our places. The air, the sun and the soil of the Sorrento Peninsula are the first “makers” of the tastiness of our products. In addition, this area has a natural touristic vocation and our company over time has chosen to contribute to the attractions through guided tours: visitors can see closely the steps of processing the limoncello, its storage and the quality of the raw material. Last but not least: a secret recipe with your limoncello… We call it “Terra delle Sirene”, Land of the Sirens: you have to mix 8 parts (cl.) of lemon sorbet and 2 parts of limoncello; then add some fresh raspberries and pomegranate grains and blend. Add sparkling white wine (we use Italian Spumante) as a final touch and serve cold. Summer in a glass!
6 tips to choose the best extra virgin olive oil
The Italian extra virgin olive oil is probably the best in the world: surely it is the favourite of those who want to eat well, in a healthy and tasteful way. But how to choose the best extra virgin olive oil? Here we explain six infallible tips. 1 Read the label carefully 2 Analyze the perfume 3 Taste: the right and the wrong 4 Look through the glass 5 Don’t be fooled by the price 6 Preservation 1. Read the label carefully The first advice is to read the label very carefully: a clear and deep information is a sign that we can trust the product. The European legislation includes two abbreviations for the highest quality brands: IGP (Protected Geographical Indication) and DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin). These are given to agricultural and food products whose quality and characteristics depend on the geographical origin and whose production takes place in a restricted geographical area. It is also important to verify the origin of the olives: there is not one region better than others, but there are virtuous techniques in management of the olive grove, in harvesting, in transformation and conservation; all these techniques allow to obtain a quality oil. For example, the fact that the olives are processed in the company's mill is an additional guarantee, because olives can be processed after a few hours of harvesting, giving the oils the highest nutritional values. Obviously you have to check the expiry date and prefer the new extra virgin olive oil, looking at the production year. The sentence "100% Italian oil" is also a guarantee of quality. On the contrary, the text "oil coming from the European Community" must make us think that the oil can be Spanish, Greek, Turkish or a blend. 2. Analyze the perfume Many think that a lighter or darker color is a quality factor for oil, but this is not true; one of the most important distinctive elements, instead, is the perfume. It seems obvious, but a good extra virgin olive oil must have a scent of olive, because olive oil is essentially olive juice. You can say you have a good oil in your hands also if you smell these fragrances: freshly cut grass, tomato, artichoke, apple, almond. 3. Taste: the right and the wrong The next step to understand if an extra virgin olive oil is good is the taste. If we notice a bitter taste in the mouth, slightly tending to spicy in the throat, then the oil is good. To properly savor the oil, you have to keep it inside your mouth for at least 20 seconds before swallowing it. One of the most common oil flaws is the rancid taste, due to the aging of oil that is caused by light, heat or oxidation. In general, the average life of an oil is a couple of years. Another flaw is the fermentation, which occurs when the olives are piled up in poorly aired and humid environments: in this case the oil takes a slight vinegar smell. 4. Look through the glass Just like wine, even in the oil bottle there should not be a solid bottom, unless it is “olio novello” (new oil), which should however be consumed immediately. Another aspect to take into consideration when choosing oil is the glass of the bottle, which must be dark, to keep the product safe from light and heat. 5. Don’t be fooled by the price We must be wary of oils at low prices. A good extra virgin olive oil, made with artisanal and quality methods, has a minimum cost of 12 euros/liter. If the price is lower, almost certainly its quality is not excellent and the liquid is composed of a mix of oils from European and non-European countries. 6. Preservation Even the consumer does his part: once you have purchased a good extra virgin olive oil, it is important to keep it in the correct way. The bottle must be stored away from the stove and in the dark, at a temperature between 11 and 16 °C. Plus, when you open a bottle, you have to close it immediately: the oil has no preservatives so if left open it will oxidize. Conclusion You now have all the right information to choose the best extra virgin olive oil: take a look inside PepeGusto pantry for your gourmet shopping!