A Wine Moment | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Cacc’e Mmitte sounds as an unpronounceable strange name for a wine and perhaps it is, but the flavor is unbeatable. It’s not a new discovered wine for me since I come from the same region of the wine, I am surprised to know that a few wine representatives now carry the Cacc’e Mmitte in their selection of wines for restaurants and pubs.
In the Southern Italian dialect form, this name refers to the easy drinkability of the wine after it has been freshly pressed and the easiness to refilled the glass with a wine that doesn’t need much aging.
In reality making this wine is an ancient procedure. In the remote times of south Italy, farmers rented all the wine making equipment for only one day to anyone who wanted to make wines, but the pressing process had to finish in one day to leave the premises free for the next person. At the end of the procedure the wine must was taken out of the wine pressing tanks “Cacce” and transported away to a new cellar premise, then a new tenant came in for one day and used the same tanks “Mitte” to crush their grape and produce a wine style of their liking.

The Cacc’e Mmitte is a D.O.C. wine originated in Lucera, in the Foggia district of Puglia region, where the Gargano shows off the beauty of the Adriatic cost.
In 1995 Italian laws set the D.O.C. label to protect names, origins, production methods and characteristics of Italian food and wine, therefore it stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin).

I love its ruby color and its intense aroma, its alcohol content is about 11.5%. What do we pair this wine with?

A few days ago, I tried it with Valdeón Due Leche Blue cheese from the Spanish region of León, wrapped in sycamore maple or chestnut leaves. It’s made with cow and goat cheese, hence the name due leche and I must say the odor is pungent, but an incredible bombardment of flavors happens when brought in the mouth. Needless to say we consumed a large piece of the Valdeón in a short hour and only two people.

Now take out your tulip shaped calyx, pour yourself Cacc’e Mitte wine, enjoy it with the Spanish Valdeón, add a few nuts and forget the world. Ciao,
Valentina

http://www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2013 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Val in ParadiseValentina Cirasola has been in business as an interior designer since 1990 improving people’s life by changing their spaces. Most often she designs kitchens and wine grottos; outdoor kitchens and outdoor rooms; great rooms and entertainment rooms. Her deep interest in food led her as an autodidact in the studies of food in history, natural remedies, nutrition and well-being. Finally she wrote two books on Italian regional cuisine and one book on color theory. Get your copy of Valentina’s books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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The Memory Of Food | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Have you ever heard about the memory of food? If you have ever lived in another country besides the one you live in, or in different ways than the urban life, then you know how food is supposed to taste.
You would remember, or your palate, I should say, would remember a buttery lettuce, the crispness of a radish, the flavorful crust of home-made bread, or how a juicy apple tastes like a real apple and not like a potato.

As a girl going with my family up to the Italian country side was such an exciting event every time and not only because of the winding road around the mountain.
I knew that once we arrived  to Irsina in Lucania (Italy), we had left the urban life for sure and entered into an ancient time, where life was very slow and still is, food took center stage in everybody’s day and where people care about what mattered the most to them.
Irsina is a very small town of a few thousand of people including animals, a small Hamlet where my father was born. Nostalgia for his roots brought us to go back there from the city of Bari at least once a month. We knew that besides enjoying my father’s family, we would enjoy the typical mouth-watering dishes of home-made food, wines, breads, sausages and several other food variety preserved under oil or vinegar, such as eggplants, mushrooms, artichoke, peppers, fruit and much more.  Most of the food in Irsina is based on home-grown agricultural produce, meats, cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, today as many centuries ago. 

My Grandfather, nonno Ciccio, was the village artist. Many churches of the village and surrounding towns commissioned him to build almost life-size Christmas characters to fill the Presepe (Manger).The statues were carved in wood and then hand-painted. They represented various people of the village, the butcher, the sheep herder, the doctor, house wives, kids, anybody living in his fantasy.
He built almost life-size wood miniature of villages, animals, houses, street views, fountains, then he placed all the wood characters and filled the scenery of a Manger. They were beautiful, tall, almost real, they stood proud to come alive at Christmas and to be part of the nativity scene.

Nonno Ciccio used to make trenchers, a rectangular or circular flat piece of wood on which meat, or other food, is served or carved. On the trencher he would serve lard and anchovies, one of the dish of his liking that I have never forgotten. He cut the lard from the prosciutto  and sliced it paper-thin. He arranged it on the trencher very neatly and inserted one anchovy fillet between each layer of lard, then he chopped parsley coarsely and threw it on top, a swirl of olive oil, home-made crusty batard bread, a nice goblet of home-made “no name” red wine and we could not wait to sit with him at that rough table to eat that delicacy!
At every meal, in the middle of the table,  there was a braid of sun-dried chili peppers and a jar of olive oil flavored with chili peppers. Red wine, chili peppers and home-made food was the reason of my grandfather red cheeks. He was a happy camper! While I am writing, I can taste again that delicate flavor of prosciutto fat mixed with the salty and fish flavor of the anchovies. The balance and contrast was perfect with the acidity of the dark green olive oil of those parts.

Fancy, elegant hotels and farm houses in the South of Italy have revived the trenchers, in lieu of ceramic plates to serve appetizers, munches and some very particular old dishes that hold the aura of antiquity and need to be presented with a bit of choreography.

(Photos of Irsina found on: http://www.realpointitaly.com/property-for-sale-irsina-italy.htm)

Don’t be afraid of eating some fat and other food that have fallen out of the fashion. Our body needs all food type and every little piece of nourishment without deprivation. That’s the way to stay healthy and  happy, the rest will come by itself. Ciao,
Valentina
www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She operates in the USA and Europe.
She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn ugly spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos.
She writes often about food and she is the author of two Italian regional cookbooks available in this site at the Book Page:

Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M
Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts

Also available in various locations:
http://outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
http://outskirtspress.com/SinsOfAQueen
http://www.amazon.com/Valentina-Cirasola/e/B0031A02H2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?r=1&ISBN=1432762060

Who Says A Salad Must Be Green To Be A Salad? | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

 

Photo-Drawing Collage ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo-Drawing Collage ©Valentina Cirasola

 

Who says a salad must be green to be a salad?

Try tomatoes, oranges and black olive salad. Add lot of fresh basil leaves, salt and a bit of chili peppers, if you like a kick.
Don’t forget a few swirl of good quality extra-virgin olive oil, a Leccino oil from Puglia, accompanied with a fresh crunchy Pugliese bread.
This is a salad to first impress your guests with and then to die for it.
Its refreshing, very summery, juicy and very ancient Italian salad.
Find it in my book: Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity.

The book is making people who want to live a long happy life, really happy. Ciao,
Valentina

www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Author of two Italian regional cookbooks:

©Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity – watch the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M

©Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts

Both books are also available in this site at the Books Page and also in various locations:
http://outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna

http://outskirtspress.com/SinsOfAQueen

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0

Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 

Mixed Grilled Meats On Skewers | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Drawing ©Valentina Cirasola

Drawing ©Valentina Cirasola

I need to tell you about this Italian custom of each Saturday night in country towns of Puglia, in Italy. It is an excerpt from  my book: Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity. The book contains many cultural notes intended to let the readers discover the region of Puglia in the original way, from me, the writer and local of those parts.

Many people would turn their nose up at this dish, because it is made with animal interiors, but read it first, you will know why I am raving. “Gnumeridd” is the title of this specialty, which is the dialect version of the Italian mixed grilled meats on skewers.

At the end of the week butchers might have some left over meats and animal interiors. They don’t throw them away, but get creative on Saturday nights. They pull out their grill, place it right outside of their shops and cook the various cuts of meat on skewers: home-made sausages, small pieces of veal or lamb with bones and the “Gnumeridd”.

While people are strolling around, enjoying the Italian “Dolce Far Niente” (sweet to do nothing), the butchers grill. The air is filled with the enchanting and phenomenal aroma coming from the butcher’s shop and permeating the entire street. People are attracted by the flavors, their mouth waters, the only sensible thing to do is to stop by the grill and choose the pieces of grilled meat right off the grill which will be served in a cone of yellow butcher paper, wrapped in newspaper sheets. Among those pieces of grilled meats they will find the surprise, which are the “Gnumeridd”.

Customers will eat standing up leaning against the wall of the butcher’s store, or sitting along the sidewalk. They will eat using their hands, no forks are allowed and they will enjoy every bite while thinking that perhaps even God must have stopped there for a taste, since these bite size grilled meats are divine!

I define the “Gnumeridd” dish a hypnotic type of food, because it is tasty, juicy and aromatic. The reason for the superb taste is the good Puglia olive oil, good clay soil and no hormones in animal nutrition. All of these combined make simple food fit for a King. Once you try the first one, you will want more and more, like cherries. It is a social dish: if you are eating by the butcher’s store every one you know will stop by and with one excuse or another will want to eat with you. This is a specialty of a town in Puglia called Altamura (Tall Walls).

How do you find the interiors of animals in American supermarkets, since everything is sold in packages? For this recipe you need liver, hearts and kidneys. Go to the back of the store and ask your butcher to reserve for you the parts of your choice and the type of meat of your choice, such as lamb, or goat, or sheep, or beef. Ask him to take the fat off and chop them in bite sizes. This is the recipe for your enjoyment:

Finely chop any spices of your liking, except the laurel leaves and reserve.
Coarsely chop the raw liver, hearts and kidneys. Wrap them up into single slices of bacon to obtain rolls of about 4″ long. Tie these rolls with a 100% cotton thread.
Stick them tight on a skewer, alternating a laurel leaf between each piece of cubed meat and the Gnumeridd.
Baste them with a rosemary sprig in a marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper and grill them until done inside thoroughly and they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
This recipe can also be done with good cuts of stew meat and without the animal interior parts altogether.  Try it and love to hear your comments. Ciao,
Valentina
www.valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Author of two Italian regional cookbooks available in this site at the Books Page:
Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lnq8baaAq0M
Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts

Both books are also available in various locations:
http://outskirtspress.com/ComeMiaNonna
http://outskirtspress.com/SinsOfAQueen
http://www.amazon.com/Valentina-Cirasola/e/B0031A02H2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?r=1&ISBN=1432762060

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