Racconto diVino :: The taste of words

“It is already difficult to express a scent, a taste, a sensation with the words of one’s own language, let alone transporting the baroque and imaginative descriptions, which the authors do not skimp on, with the strict German precision or with the sharp English simplicity … it is a thankless task. As the authors Fruttero and Lucentini say, he [the translator] is asked to consider as his greatest triumph that the reader does not even notice him.”

It’s a wine story, where words become flavors and adjectives turn into scents … [Read more (in Italian) :: Il sapore delle parole via Verba Volant]

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Italian Flavours :: In Vino… Venea

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Venea, a family story of wine and “spirito abruzzese”| photo: ©MateldaCodagnone

The English Idiom “good things come in small packages” translates the Italian “nella botte piccola c’è il vino buono” (small casks carry top-quality wine). If this holds true for “things” in general, it should be truer for wineries.

Venea is a 25-acre winery on the hilly backcountry around Fossacesia (Chieti). The name recalls a former Roman temple dedicated to Venus Conciliatrix (“the peace maker”), on whose ruins the Abbey of San Giovanni in Venere was built in the IX century A.D.

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Paolucci’s family | photo: ©MateldaCodagnone

This is just one instance of how Paolucci family is strongly and firmly tied to this stretch of land, caught between the sea and the Maiella massif. Nicolino, Serena, Michele and Elena are the kings and queens of this tiny kingdom, a treasure chest where you can find excellent wine and extra-virgin olive oil.

Nicolino Paolucci spent some years in the local cooperative winery and then he realized it was high time to run his own wine business. He and his wife Serena merged the lands both families owned since four generations ahead and started their own “cantina”.

However, with such a rich and important background, one should not think that Venea is tied to bygone days. Their approach to wine-making is updated to the new trend, e.g. it is respectful of the environment through the implementation of the integrated pest management. Even the choice of the name for their rosé wine comes from the title of the one of the most popular Italian rocker’s songs – Vasco Rossi’s Albachiara. But again their roots come up again with a tribute to a local noblewoman, who gives her name to Venea’s Trebbiano and Chardonnay white wine – Spinalba.

Venea’s style mixes old and modern references but keeps its focus on the land. Venea’s estate is included in the upcoming Parco della Costa dei Trabocchi (Trabocchi Coast Park), whose aim is to protect this unique area from unauthorised building development and other land violations. The Trabocchi Coast Park setup could be another asset for the Paolucci, whose love and respect for their land is the leading inspiration for their activity.

Contact: Nicolino Paolucci
Telephone & fax: +39 0872 60303
email: info@venea.it
Azienda Agricola Venea – Via Piano Madonna – 66022 Fossacesia (Chieti)

#PastryNotes :: “Bocconotti di Castelfrentano” A bit of Heaven

To put it bluntly, I don’t like cakes, sweets, pastries and so forth. If I needed a treat, I’d rather go for a slice of pizza, some “pane bruschettato” or some focaccia. But. (There’s always a “but” in a categorical statement as the one above).
I didn’t like sweets much until someone (may he be blessed a thousand times) introduced me to a pastry tart called bocconotto.

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Classic Bocconotto di Castelfrentano – Plate: Abruzzo Creativo
photo: ©MateldaCodagnone; food styling: Orsola Ciriello Kogan

The name itself recalls a single morsel (“boccone”) of sheer delight. This tiny tart – no bigger than a mouthful – is typical of the Frentania, the area between the Sangro and Biferno rivers, but it is popular throughout the Abruzzo region. The village of Castelfrentano (Chieti) is the proud birthplace of bocconotto (or “castellino”) where almost every family has its own recipe for it – and, needless to say, each family says their bocconotto is the best you can have on Earth.

Basically, the bocconotto is a pastry tart filled with a mixture of dark chocolate, ground and toasted almonds, eggs and cinnamon plus some “secret” ingredients that any confectioners will never reveal, not even over their dead bodies.

The size of the bocconotto is “the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?

There’s no evidence that Oscar Wilde tried a “bocconotto”, but his words fit perfectly both for the cigarette and the tiny pastry. What more can one want? Maybe a second one, to be enjoyed after a sumptuous fish-based dinner on a trabocco. Want to know more about? Stay tuned. Some time soon I’ll take you on a trabocco.

#FoodStyling Notes :: Zucchine, Zucchini & Courgettes

Gallery: Zucchini, ingredients in season…

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Zucchini Quiche…
Recipe and Food Styling: Orsola Ciriello Kogan
Photo: Serena Eller :: Prop Styling: Cristina Gigli

| “I must have flowers, always, and always.” ~Claude Monet |

Delightfully yours,
OrsolaCK @ Appetibilis

Links: Quick and Tasty Zucchini Recipes via health.com

Rabbit Leftovers Polpette

I love testing recipes, especially the ones that require slow cooking… Last week I tried to slow roast a whole rabbit, (a bit too much for a dinner for two). No specific recipe and I didn’t bother to write down what I’ve been using, (oops). I tend to work with what I have available at home, particularly those ingredients that risk to be on their way to the wastebin. (I always manage to find a lonely carrot or a single tomato…, but this is another recipe).

Chef all'opera... (un po' disordinate 'ste polpettine!)  Photo: OCKstyle
Chef all’opera… (un po’ disordinate ‘ste polpettine!) Photo: OCKstyle

Here I am with a lot of roasted rabbit, some beef-mince, half courgette, a chunk of stale bread and one egg. It’s “Polpette time!”, however the mix was a bit too soft for classic polpette, ergo I opted for a quenelle shape. And into the oven they went, 180C (about 370F), 15-20 minutes.

Delightfully yours,
Orsola CK @ Appetibilis

Inspiring source:
~ How to cook rabbit via greatbritishchefs.com
~ Oven Baking Temperatures Conversions via joyofbaking.com