Monthly Archives: December 2018

Hello Grappa in Pictures

I drink Grappa all year long but as the weather turns colder and the holiday seasons is under way I tend to think of Grappa more often.

While writing on another subject I came across a number of pictures of my last “Hello Grappa” trip that I wanted to share.   As I looked through my photos, I sipped a glass of grappa and enjoyed a grappa brownie that Michele had made. For more on Grappa see Hello GrappaDistilleria Marzadp,  Grappa Cocktails

The first stop  was the Bonollo distillery near Padua (Trento)

Bonollo

Elvio Bonollo after the Grappa tasting

Bonollo- The vinaccia, after it has been distilled.

 Grappa Prosecco

Grappa Amarone

Our next stop was the Bottega Distillery in Bibano di Godega (Veneto)

Before the tour of the distillery and the grappa tasting we had the chance to see a glass blowing demonstration

The result

A Grappa Masterclass with the enologist Lorenza Scollo who is very interesting and knowledgeable 

Tasting Grappa with another Grappa lover Tom Maresca at Bottega

Grappa Prosecco


Grappa Bianca

Grappa Moscato

Grappa in Barrique

That night we had dinner with the dynamic and entertaining Sandro Bottega

We also visited the Bepi Tosolini Distillery in Udine (Friuli-Venezia-Giulia)

Lisa Tosolini giving us a tour of the distillery 

Most of the barrels have been signed by visitors to the Distillery. Michele had been here on another press trip but could not find the barrel she signed the first time so she signed another barrel.

I even signed a barrique!

 

Must

The vinaccia (must) going into the still

Individual tasting sheets for the tasting conducted by Lisa, very interesting and informative.

Grappa Friulano

 Most

Grappa Ramandolo

We also tasted a unique Smoked Grappa, almost like an island scotch

Next stop was the Castagner Distillery in Treviso (Trento)

Giulia Castagner

Making Grappa 

It is all done by computer 

Giulia conducted a  tasting for us of a number of Grappas

Grappa Riserva Leon 7 years old

Grappa Brunello di Montalcino

Last but not least was the G Bertagnolli Distillery in Mezzacorona ( Trento)

Stefano Pederiva, the export manager explained how grappa is made

Stefano conducted a Grappa tasting

Aged Grappa Gran Grappino

Traditional Grappa from Trentino

5 year old Grappa in barrique


I was very impressed with all of the grappa that I tasted. Today there is a grappa for every taste:  traditional white Grappa, Grappa aged in different size barrels and woods, Grappa aged in used port barrels, smoked Grappa, Grappa aged in amphora and Grappa aged in barriques.

 

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Pizza at Sottocasa

I first met Luca Arrigini when he was with the master pizzaiolo Roberto Caporuscio at Kestè on Bleecker Street.

Luca opened Pizzeria Sottocasa in Brooklyn and Michele and I tried it several years ago. We really liked the pizza but somehow we did not have the opportunity to return.

Two weeks ago friends that live in Harlem said they have been ordering pizza from their local branch of Sottocasa and invited us to join them there. We were glad to go.

Luca is from Milan and now lives in Brooklyn where he normally works, but he told me he would meet me at the Harlem location when I came. His partner Matteo Prospiti and his wife Elena live in Harlem so they are typically at that location.

The Brooklyn Sottocasa is located at 298 Atlantic Ave (718) 852-8758. The Harlem branch is at 227 Lenox Ave (646) 928-2870. Both locations are on the ground floor of a brownstone, which is where the name comes from.

We started with gluten free focaccia because one in our party is on a gluten free diet. It crisp, tasty and very good.

Next we had a regular Margherita made with tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. The crust was flavorful and well risen and a light dusting of semolina underneath gave it a subtle crunch. The toppings were good, too. The tomatoes were sweet and the mozzarella fresh tasting.

After that we tried the Napoli made with tomatoes, mozzarella, anchovies, oregano and basil which we also enjoyed.

Our friend ordered a gluten free Margherita, which was very good for gluten free.

The last pizza was a Laura, named after Luca’s wife. It was topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, mascarpone, speck and rosemary.

Luca said they make Neapolitan style pizza because he believes it is the best pizza of all.

The dough is made with Caputo 00 flour and rests in different stages for 48 hours, though it is usually never used before 60.

They use only Italian organic tomatoes for their sauce, freshly crashed and with just a little salt added. Fior di Latte mozzarella from Wisconsin is the cheese they use. They break the cheese by hand everyday to insure the right texture. The extra virgin olive oil is from Sicily, labeled directly for Sottocasa.

We also enjoyed the generous salads, which were lightly dressed and a good complement to the pizzas.

The wines 

Brunello di Montalcino 1990 from Livio Sassetti made from 100% Brunelllo. The wine was drinking very nicely, showing no signs of age and should last for a number of years.

Barbaresco 1971 from Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% Nebbiolo. This has developed into a classic mature Barbaresco and is a pleasure to drink.

Both wines were a perfect complement to the pizza.

The cappuccino.

Matteo offered us two amaros and said because they were across from a school they did not have a liquor license and only could serve wine. The two Amaros were wine based.

The first was Pasubio Vino Amaro from G Cappelletti which was very nice but a bit too fruity.

The second, Cardamaro Bosca, was stronger and with more herb and spice flavors. We all really liked it.

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Filed under Barbaresco, Brunello, Pizza, Pizza Restaurants, Produttori del Barbaresco, Sottocasa, Uncategorized

Grappa Brownies

By Michele Scicolone

For a spirited holiday season, I can’t think of a better dessert than these luscious brownies made with three of my favorite ingredients: chocolate, espresso coffee and grappa.

The chocolate takes two forms, unsweetened squares and semisweet chocolate chips and the coffee is dry instant espresso powder which deepens the chocolate flavor. But the grappa is the best part, adding a sophisticated warmth and richness which makes these brownies different from all the others. A clear, traditional style grappa is best for this recipe.

The brownies can be cut into small squares to add to a cookie tray, or into larger pieces to serve with ice cream, berries and hot chocolate sauce for a dessert. A splash of grappa on top is a nice final touch!

Makes about 16 to 32 brownies

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

2 large eggs

1/4 cup grappa

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

On a piece of wax paper, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.

Place the unsweetened chocolate squares in a small heatproof bowl or double boiler and set it over, not in, a pan of simmering water. When the chocolate has softened, stir until smooth.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer at medium high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and beat well. Then add the instant espresso powder, eggs, grappa and vanilla. Scrape the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. At low speed, stir in the dry ingredients. With a spatula, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. The cake will still be very soft. Do not over bake.

Place the pan on a rack to cool. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container with wax paper between each layer.

 

 

 

 

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