Category Archives: Pizza and Wine

CAMPANIA DINNER AT KESTE WALL STREET

Keste Wall Street is doing a dinner series very Monday night with the food and wine of one of Italy’s 20 regions. The one which I attended was on the wine and food of Campania.

The Chefs that prepared the food were Roberto Caporuscio (owner of Keste), Angelo Competiello, Ciro Iovina (Song e Napule Pizza) and Domenico Tolomeo.

Appetizers

GATEAU DI PATATE Baked potatoes with eggs, salami, smoked buffala mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano and bread crumbs. –gluten free-

CAPONATA DI MARE Mixed seafood cooked separately and mixed together. –gluten free-

POLPETTE NAPOLETANE Neapolitan meatballs, with raisins, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, eggs. –gluten free-

PIZZA ALLA SCAROLA Pizza dough filled with cooked escarole and olives –gluten free-

Chef  Angelo Competiello  presenting the appetizers 

ALICI ALLA SCAPECE Fresh anchovies with lemon and mint

Chefs Ciro Iovina and Domenico Tolomeo

First Course

PASTA E PATATE Pasta Garofalo cooked with potatoes

PIZZA DEL MONACO Puree of zucchini and provolone del Monaco

PIZZA MARGHERITA made with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil -it was not on the menu, it was something extra

Dessert

TORTA CAPRESE Chocolate cake with almond flour -gluten free-

PASTIERA NAPOLETANA Traditional Neapolitan cake with wheat berries and ricotta cheese 

There was a selection of wines from the Campania producer Fabulae

Asprinio “Jesce Soul” made from 100% Asprinio

Pallagrello Bianco made from 100% Pallagrello

Aglianco Sannio “Eduardo” made from 100% Aglianico

Roberto Caporuscio, our host, was the main speaker for the evening.  Next Monday, February 3, Keste Wall Street will be presenting a menu featuring the wine and food of Puglia.

Keste Wall Street   77 Fulton Street, NY, NY
(212) 693 – 9030

 

 

 

 

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Puglia comes to Kesté

A number of years ago Michele and I were on a press trip to Puglia and we visited Cantina Due Palme. Recently I received  and invitation for an event called  “Wines of Excellence Made in Puglia: Cantine Due Palma at Keste Wall Street.”

It is always a pleasure to go to Keste and I wanted to catch up on the wines of Due Palme.

Roberto Caporuscio, Pizzaiolo/Owner of Keste, was the host for the evening.

We started with  a focaccia typical of Puglia, made by Roberto. The flour is a mix of Super  Nuvola “0” flour from Caputo, semolina and potato.  The topping is tomatoes and olives.

There was Buratta, a cow’s milk cheese, which originated in Puglia that has an outer shell of mozzarella and inside a mix of shredded mozzarella and cream called stracciatella. It is made fresh everyday at Keste.

Olives from Puglia-Cerignola

Roberto with his former students

Two former students of Roberto, Penelope and Lucie, made the pizza. They have since opened a pizzeria in Quebec City called Nina Pizza Napolitaine.  Roberto said they were his best students and after I tasted the pizza I could not agree more, it was that good.

I asked Robert what flour he uses for his pizza.  He said he uses a mix of 50% Tipo 1 and 50% Super Nuvola Tipo 0 from Caputo.

The Pizza

Pizza with  a mix of homemade straciatella, and smoked and regular mozzarella infused with fresh mint and limoncello, and topped with fresh figs – fantastic.

Pizza with stracciatella cheese, broccoli rape and sausages

Pizza with ricotta and onions sauteed with mixed berries

Vegetarian pizza

Figs marinated in red wine

Cantina Due Palme is a Social Cooperative with its main headquarters located in Cellino San Marco, Puglia.  It was established in 1989 but its roots go back to 1943. In  the beginning there were only 15 members and today there are 1,000 and they have merged with 4 other large wineries with a total capacity 10,000 HL of wine.

Salice Salentino DOP Riserva “Selvarossa” made from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nero. The soil is baked red clay and the training system is alberello. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried in the cellars to concentrate the sugars and flavors and to enrich the structure. The wine is aged for 9 months in French oak barriques and then in bottle until it is ready to be released. The wine has hints of cherry jam, dates and vanilla with a note of toasty oak and a touch of spice.

Primitivo Di Manduria DOP “Sangatano” made from 100% Primitivo Di Manduria. The soil is red in color because of iron oxides with a rocky limestone substratum. The wine is aged for 6 months in American oak barriques followed by maturation in the bottle for a period of time. This is a wine with black fruit aromas and flavors with hints of vanilla and chocolate.

Rosso Salento IGP “1943 The Presidents Wine” made from Primitivo and Aglianico from vineyards planted in 1968. The grapes are hand harvested and some of the grapes are dried (appassimento) in the cellars which are kept humidity free to avoid spoilage. The wine is aged for 9 months in new barrels and for a period in bottle before release. This is an intense and complex wine with hints of coffee, ripe cherry, plum and spicy notes of vanilla. It is called The Presidents Wine because it produced from the old vineyards planted by Angelo Marci, founder and president of the company, in 1968 using the alberello vine training method.

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Prosecco and Pizza Masterclass at Ribalta NYC

Last fall, Rosario Procino invited me to be a judge at a pizza and Prosecco contest at Ribalta, his restaurant. The contest consisted of pizzas made by 5 different pizzaioli and we were judging which pizza went best with Prosecco. It was great fun and all of the pizzas were winners and went great with the Prosecco as far as I was concerned.

Recently I was invited by Gruppo Italiano: Restoratori, Distributori ed Importatori  to go to Ribalta for pizza and Prosecco.  This time, it was not for a contest but for a Pizza & Prosecco Master Class. The speaker was Tess Rose, wine educator.

There were 3 flights of Prosecco each with three wines.

Pasquale Cozzolino the chef/pizzaiolo at Ribalta made 3 different pizzas to go with each of the flights.

The first flight of Prosecco was Extra Dry, the second also Extra Dry but with a little more residual sugar and the last was Brut, which is the “driest” of the 3. Prosecco DOCG has three levels of sweetness: “Dry” 17-32 g/l, “Extra Dry” 12-17 g/l, and “Brut” 0 -12 g/l.

Prosecco is the leading selling sparkling wine in Italy. In addition, it outsells Champagne in the UK and sales of Prosecco increase every year in the United States

Prosecco is produced exclusively in the area of northeast Italy between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea. The two regions in which Prosecco is produced are Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia in 9 provinces.

Prosecco DOCG must be made with at least 85% Glera grapes with the addition of Verdiso, Bianchetta, Trevigana, Petera and Gela Lunga. Prosecco Superiore Spumante may also contain up to 15% of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero and Chardonnay.

When at least a minimum of 85% of the wine comes from a specific vintage, the year may be indicated on the bottle along with the term Millesimato.

Prosecco may be made in 3 different styles: Spumante bubbly), Frizzante, lightly effervescent), or Tranquillo (still). Only the Spumante version is allowed to have the name Superiore.

Most sparking Proseccos are made using the “Charmat Method” in an autoclave (pressurized tank). For “metodo classico,” it is also permitted to carry out the second fermentation in the bottle.

The vine training system for Prosecco can be double  arched cane, sylvoz, guyot and metodo spalliera.

The Prosecco Extra Dry: Astoria, Mionetto, La Marca, Carati 075, Perlino, Sant’Anna. Brut: Bianca Vigna, Torresella, Valdo.

Sant’Anna Extra Dry Prosecco NV made from 100 Glera. The grapes are destemmed  and gently crushed The must is then transfered into steel vats where fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature.When yeast is put  into the tanks and remains for a period of 4 months it tranforms the wine into a sparking wine. This is a Prosecco with hints of peach, pear and a touch of white flowers.

Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC NV Made from 100% Glera (Veneto). The vineyards are the traditional “Metodo Spalliera”, where the stems can be as long as one meter and are tied to a horizontal wire. Grapes are hand picked during the last week of September. Soft pressing and fermentation occurs at 64F in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. To obtain small and fine bubbles (perlage) a selection of natural yeasts is made. There is 3 months of Charmat-Martinotti aging, followed by 3 months in bottle before release. This is a sparkling wine with hints of peach, melon, pear and golden apple.

The Proseccos we tasted were all made  by the Charmat-Martinotti method. For the most part the flavor profiles are much the same, the only difference is in the amount of residual sugar.

I  liked all of the Prosecco that I tasted. However I think the Extra Dry works much better as a aperitif.

With the first flight we had the pizza topped with smoked mozzarella, zucchini, sun dried tomatoes and a touch of hot pepper.  This was the most difficult pairing, as the touch of hotness in the topping did not make for a good combination with the Extra Dry Prosecco.

With the second flight we had the pizza topped with mozzarella, speck and 30 month old Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. The Extra Dry Prosecco with a little more residual sugar worked a little better with this pizza.

For the last flight we had the pizza topped with ‘nduja, a spicy sausage spread and mozzarella. This pizza was paired with the Prosecco Brut and it was the best of the 3 combinations.

Happy  4th of July!!!

 

 

 

 

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Making Mozzarella and Burrata at Keste

I often go to Keste Pizza & Vino Wall Street and always enjoy the pizza and other foods made by the owner/pizzaiolo Roberto Caporusico. I look forward to speaking to Roberto about pizza, Naples and food in general. Roberto has mentioned a few times that he now makes his own mozzarella and burrata. The last time I was there I had the chance to try his burrata filled with small mozzarella balls. It was creamy and really different from any burrata I had had before. Roberto said he was doing a mozzarella and burrata making demonstration and invited me to come.

Roberto

Roberto began by speaking about his background. He said that before he became a pizzaiolo he worked as a cheese maker, making mozzarella, a semi-soft Italian cheese made from the milk of cows or water buffalo. Burrata is made the same way as mozzarella but it is formed into a pouch and then filled with cheese curds and cream. For both the mozzarella and the burrata Roberto uses cows’ milk. When the pouch for the burrata is formed he fills it with small mozzarella balls soaked in heavy cream for 5 days.

Before Roberto  began the demonstration he said  the water he was using was very hot and he put on two pair of black gloves to protect his hands.

 

These are the curds that are waiting to be mixed with hot water.

The mozzarella balls soaking in heavy cream for the burrata filling.

Roberto making the mozzarella. He is mixing the cheese curds with hot water.

 

Checking the consistency

Mozzarella is one of a category of stringy cheeses in Italy

The  cheese  is  smooth  and  stretchy

Shaping the mozzarella

The  Mozzarella

Rolling out the mozzarella to make a roulade

The stretched mozzarella is stuffed with puree of artichokes and tomatoes

Then it is rolled up like a jelly roll

It needs to be refrigerated so it firms up

 

Making another roulade layered with culatello, a type of prosciutto made from the tenderest and most flavorful part of the pig, and greens.

Culatello

Rolling the cheese and fillings

Slicing the roll into pinwheel slices.

Roberto said the mozzarella rolls should be placed in the refrigerator overnight so they become firm before they are ready to be served. These were in the refrigerator for only about 30 minutes and while the one made with the culatello was fine, the one with the artichoke mix and the tomato needed more time in the in the refrigerator because it was difficult to cut and came apart.

The one with the culatello came out perfect and delicious

 

The burrata stuffed with small mozzarella balls soaked in cream

Pizza with burrata and tomatoes made by Giorgia, a master pizzaiolo, and Roberto’s daughter.

With the mozzarella we drank still and sparkling Asprinio  from  Fabulae, Campania Felix Wine

“Jescesoul” Terre del Volturno IGT made from 100% Asprinio. The grapes are grown in sandy soil with good superficial permeability of volcanic origin near the city of Caserta. The training system is Svlvous and Alberate Aversane. The vines are 12 meters tall among poplar trees. Harvest is by hand the last week in September and the first week in October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature for 3 months. The wine remains in the bottle for two months before release. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, a touch of lemon, nice minerality and good acidity.

Asprinio Spumante ‘Aspritz” VSQ made from 100% Asprinio. The grapes are destemmed and a soft pressing takes place. Fermentation is for one month in stainless steel tanks to prepare for the classic method which takes place in the bottle. The wine is then manually capped and rests for 9 months before release. The Spumante was straw yellow in color because the juice was left on the lees and is full bodied. It has hints of citrus fruit, a touch of lemon, with good minerality, acidity and a note of brioche. Both wines were a great combination with the mozzarella but the Spumante was the perfect combination.

 

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Pizza, Champagne, Older Italian Red Wines at Keste

Every so often Ed McCarthy sends out an e-mail to a group of Pizza and Wine lovers known as the G6. This time we agreed to meet at Keste Wall St for the pizza and as usual we will bring Champagne and older Italian red wines.

When we arrived, Roberto Caporuscio, master pizzaiolo and owner of Keste told us about a new appetizer he wanted us to try. It was homemade burrata with small mozzarellas inside.  He served it with ripe tomatoes and herbs and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Roberto

I spoke with Roberto about the type of flour he uses to make the dough for his pizza. When I first went to Keste on Bleecker Street ten  years ago,  he was using 100% Tipo  00.  When  he opened  Keste on Wall  Street,  he started  using  Tipo 1.  He said he now uses 70% Tipo 1 and 30% Tipo 00. I really enjoyed the  pizza.

As always, we started with Champagne Perrier-Jouet “Belle Epoque” 2004 Made from 50% Chardonnay, 45% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. The wine is aged for over 6 years and the dosage is 9 grams per liter.  It has both delicacy and structure with a crisp freshness, hints of peach, pear and citrus notes. I was very impressed with this Champagne.

Our first pizza is  always a  Margherita made mozzarella, tomatoes and basil.

Barbaresco 1999 Produttori del Barbaresco made from 100% Nebbiolo. The wine is aged in large oak barrels for two years. This is a very traditional co-op, maybe the best and one of the oldest. It has all the classic Nebbiolo flavors and aromas but the wine needs more time to develop.

The next pizza was made with sausage, pistachio nuts and mozzarella.

Barbaresco 1988 “Gallina di Neive” Bruno Giacosa made from 100% Nebbiolo. Giacosa was one of the great producers of Barbaresco and the 1988 was drinking exceptional well.

Then the Sorrentino made with smoked mozzarella, basil and lemons.

Barolo 2001 “Monprivato” Giuseppe Mascarello made from100% Nebbiolo, The Monprivato vineyard is about 15 acres on a southwest- facing slope in Castiglione Falletto. The chalky and gray marl soil is perfect for growing Nebbiolo. This is classic Barolo but it needed more time.

The next pizza was topped with culatello, a type of prosciutto made from the choicest part of the pig, known for its tenderness and flavor.

Chianti Classico 1969 Riserva Ducale Ruffino showing its age but still drinking very well for a wine 50 years old.

Next we had a fried pizza, the Montagnara  topped  with  mozzarella and flavored with truffle  paste.

Roberto said he had a special pizza that he wanted us to try and it was a pizza with caviar and  avocado.  

We ended on a sweet note with fried dough sticks topped with Nutella

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Pizza Popolare $5 at Kesté

 

Roberto Caporuscio is a master pizzaiolo and I have enjoyed his pizza since he first opened Keste on Bleecker St.

Recently he invited me to Keste at the Fulton Street location.

 

For the month of December, Roberto is reducing the price of three of Keste’s most popular pizzas to $5  each, the same price you would pay for them in Naples!

The pizzas include:

Mast’Nicola made with grana, lardo, basil and extra virgin olive oil. Roberto said that this pizza dates back to the 16 century before tomatoes were known in Europe.

Marinara Kesté made with tomato sauce, cherry tomatoes and oregano. Roberto said this pizza dates back to the 17 Century when tomatoes came into Europe from the New World.

Margherita made with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, grana, basil and extra virgin olive oil. He said this was the most famous pizza and it dates from the 18 Century. It is my favorite and has been since I first went to Naples in 1970.

The $5 pizza popolare are available at Keste Bleecker St. and Keste Fulton St. The promotion at the moment will last until the end of the year.

Roberto speaking  about the pizza popolare

Roberto said he now uses 70% Tipo 1 and 30% Tipo 00 flour from Caputo for his dough.

The mozzarella is now made in-house.

Roberto also made a few of his other specialties.  Here he is cutting  focaccia stuffed with prosciutto and cheese

Fried Buratta Cheese

Roberto also made a pizza with mozzarella, anchovies and grated lemon rind 

There was a special dessert pizza that is not on the menu.

We had two wines:

Prosecco DOC “Cuvée Giuliana” Isotta Manzoni made from 100% Glera. The soil is clayey and calcareous, the vines are 25 to 30 years old and the vineyard is at 200 meters. The exposure is southwest and the training system is the traditional pergola. Fermentation takes place for 25 days in stainless steel tanks and it is aged for one month is stainless steel. The wine has hints of apple and lemon with a note of grapefruit and nice minerality.

 

Brunello di Montalcino 2013 Piancornello made from 100% Sangiovese. The training system is spurred cordon and there are 5,000 to 6,000 plants per hectare. The wine ages for 24 months in oak barrels and at least 4 months in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with red and black berry aromas and flavors, a hint of spice and herbs and touch of balsamic.

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Return to Sorbillo on the Bowery NYC for Pizza

I went to Sorbillo Pizzeria on the Bowery in NYC when it first opened.  Together with a friend, Michele and I had  three different pizzas. Michele liked them better than I did, but even she did not think they were that good. Then last month I was invited by Roberto Caporusio of Keste Wall Street to celebrate Neapolitan pizza being granted World Heritage Status by the United Nations. Roberto invited pizzaioli from NYC and other parts of the country.

Pizzaioli: Pietro Nesi, Antonio Esposito and Geggè Cozzolino

I noticed that one of the pizzaioli was from Sorbillo on the Bowery in NYC. I watched him as he made a pizza and when it came out of the oven I went over and had a slice or two. It was wonderful and I asked him his name and he said it was Geggè Cozzolino and he was from Naples. I told him next time I come to Sorbillo I wanted him to make my pizza. He said he would, but I should not come on Monday as it is his day off.

Yesterday Michele and I and 3 friends went to Sorbillo for lunch and Geggè made the pizza for us.  It was wonderful.

Geggè

Geggè with the Margarita

 

The Margarita — classic Neapolitan pie with tomato, mozzarella fior di latte and basil.

Folded pizza stuffed with escarole, olives, cheese and pine nuts.

Pizza with Pancetta and Nduja, a spicy sausage, and cheese

Bologna style, with Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto di Parma, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Other than the Margarita, we let Geggè decide which pizzas to make for us.  Everybody agreed on how good they were and we will be going back soon.

We brought our own wine and it was a perfect combination with the pizzas.  A Toscana Rosso, Fontefossoli  2014, the wine is made from 60% Montepulciano and 40% Ciliegiolo and the vineyard is certified organic. This is an easy drinking wine with nice red fruit aromas and flavors. The producer is Ceccherini.

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Three Pre- Birthday Celebrations with Wine and Food

The first celebration took place at the Oriental Gardens restaurant in New York Cities China Town

Soft Shell Crabs and they were fantastic!

We started with the Champagne Krug 1990  from the Krug Collection.

Then a fried sole with scallions.

Chablis Grand Cru just great

Puligny- Montrachet needs more time

1979 Chinon excellent

There was more food and wine but I got caught up in the eating and drinking.

 

Next on to La Pizza Fresca

We started with Krug NV

Then Chianti Classico 1971 Riserva Ducale from Ruffino

Pizza Margarita

Chateaueuf-du-Papes 1990 right on the money

Amarone 1967 Bertani

Pizza with Prosciutto

A young man waiting for his pizza

 

Next was Gastronomia Siciliana Norma

Buratta with arugula

Spaghetti with sea urchin (ricci di Mare) was fantastic

Chianti Classico 1996

Pizza with porchetta

Barolo 1989 – barolo at its best 1989 was a great vintage!

 

 

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Pizza Tour of Naples

 

New York City winters can be brutal, and this one was no exception.  Michele and I wanted to get away, but where to go?  Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean? We have tried them all and found them lacking. Not because of the weather, which was great, but lacking because of the food and wine! So we decided to go where the weather would be better than in NYC and still find great food and wine:  Naples and Rome.IMG_7299

Naples is the most unique of the Italian cities.  It is like one big street fair, there is so much going on all the time. Naples also has a natural beauty.   Mt.Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples are breathtaking.  The Neapolitans are theatrical and dramatic, and of course there is the food. The best pizza is Neapolitan pizza and the best place to have it is, of course, Naples.IMG_7241

It was a beautiful sunny day when we arrived and we decided to go for pizza by the waterfront.  One cannot think of Naples without thinking of pizza.

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

Gino Sorbillo Pizzeria

 

We went to Gino Sorbillo-AKA Lievito Madre al Mare, they have 3 locations in Naples.  This one is on Via Partenope overlooking the Bay of Naples. They have a large outside dining area and it was very crowded, everyone wanted to sit outside.  Here is a sample of the menu:

IMG_7245

A big trend in Naples is for the pizzerias to list the source for their ingredients, many of which are organic and artisanally made.  On the menu, a green leaf  showed that the product was Biologica and a snail if it was recognized by “Slow Food”.IMG_7242

Michele had the MargheriTTa Gialla Massimo Bottura, made with tiny yellow tomatoes and bufala milk cheese. These deep yellow tomatoes had a honey-like flavor and were among the sweetest I have ever tasted.
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The next day on the way back from our tour of Naples Underground we stopped at Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria- San Domenico Maggiore Piazza. They also give the source of the products they use and even the name of their pizzaiolo, Maestro Michele Leo, is listed on the menu.  Next door, they also have an elegant Michelin-starred restaurant, which we did not visit.

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This place was recommended by Maurizio de Rosa, who was born in Naples and is a partner in Prova Pizzeria in NYC.IMG_7264

Michele had a pizza Margherita and I had a fried pizza stuffed with ricotta and cicoli, which are the little crispy bits left after rendering out the lard from pork fat.  IMG_7287

Before we left NYC we went to Don Antonia by Starita and spoke with Roberto Caporuscio, the owner and pizzaiolo. We have known Roberto for a number of years ever since he opened Keste. Roberto said we must go to Pizzeria Starita a Materdei dal 1901.  The owner, Antonio Starita is his mentor and partner in the New York restaurant.  IMG_7282

Our friend food writer Arthur Schwartz, who spends part of each year in Salerno, decided to come to Naples to join us. It turned out there were five of us, Arthur, his partner Bob Harned, and their friend Contessa Cecilia, who drove.IMG_7284

We ordered fried zucchini flowers, arancini and potato croquettes to start. Then we had Pizza Maradona, a fried rolled stuffed pizza, Pizza Mastanicola topped with lard, basil and pecorino, and a Sorrentina pizza made with sliced lemons and provola cheese.IMG_7283

We arrived at 12:30 and when we left there was a long line waiting for a table even though this is a large place.IMG_7290

50 Kalò di Ciro Salvo , Piazza Sannazzaro 201/B. This is the hottest pizza place in Naples right now, the one everyone is talking about.  The pizzaiolo, Ciro Salvo has researched pizza making techniques and insists on a very long slow rise for his dough which results in a tender and more digestible crust.  He uses only the finest ingredients for his toppings.  In Greek, the name Kalo means beautiful and good.IMG_7292

We started with a few fried foods, potato croquettes and frittatine, cheesy pasta shaped into disks and fried, which were excellent.  Then we had a Pizza Margherita and Pizza Porcini with sausages.IMG_7293

If you go here for dinner, it is best to get there early. It is a big place but if you arrive after 8:00 PM you will wait on a long line to get in.
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For the most part the Neapolitans  drink, beer, soda and acqua minerale with their pizza.The wine lists at the pizza places are  for the most part short and the price for a  bottle of wine produced in Campania  is about 18 to 20 euros, about what you would pay retail in the US for the same wine. Among the wines we drank which went very well with where a Coda di Volpe “Amineo” 2013 Cantina del Taburno, Lettere della Penisola Sorrentina 2013  Grotta del Sole, a red sparkling wine and Falanghina Sant’ Agata Dei Gotti 2013 Mustilli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Provence

When we arrived in Provence the weather was very hot, just perfect for enjoying the Rosé wines from this enchanting part of France.  Of course we would drink some white wine and if the weather cooled off, a red wine or two. We had rented a house in Abignon near Carpentras. It is very near to great wine areas such as Gigondas, Beaumes de Venise, Cotes du Rhone, and Vaqueyras, so wine would not be a problem.

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

Buying Shrimp at the Market in Isle Sur La Sorgue

We decided to go out for one meal a day, usually lunch, and have one meal at the house. There is a large organic garden where we can pick our vegetables and there are a number of towns nearby with great farmers markets.

Veal and Langoustine

Veal and Langoustine

 For lunch one afternoon we went to Restaurant L’ Oustalet in Gigondas. This restaurant has a very interesting menu different from the typical ones in the area.  One of the courses I ordered was a carpaccio of veal and langoustine mixed together covered with foam. It was not what I expected but it was very good. They also have a very good wine list from which I ordered a bottle of white wine:IMG_3512

Coudoulet de Beaucastle 2011 Cotes- Du-Rhone made from 30% Bourboulemc, 10% Clairette, 30% Marsanna and 30% Viognier. The vines grow in a 3 acre vineyard between Orange and Avignon. There is manual harvesting, sorting of the grapes, pneumatic pressing, racking and fermentation partly in oak barrels and stainless steel tanks for 8 months. The wines are assembled and bottled without passage at low temperatures. This white wine with a mineral  and savory character, subtle citrus fruit, good acidity, a very pleasing dry finish and long aftertaste.

The Pizza

The Pizza

The house has a pizza oven on the property and one afternoon we decided to make pizza. Michele made the dough and I tended the fire and baked the pizzas.  With the pizza we drank:IMG_3526

Bandol Rosé 2012 AOC Bondol Domaine Tempier made from 50% Mourvédre, 28% Grenache, 20% Cinsault and 2% Carignan. The soil is a mix of clay and limestone; it is tilled mechanically and by hand. The grapes are harvested by hand and carried in small bins of 30 kg and hand selected in the vineyard and cellar. Vinification is by direct pressing or after cold maceration or by saignées between 5 and 10 percent. This is a Rosé with a lot of body and flavor, floral overtones, peaches, a hint of spice and good acidity. The wine worked very well with the pizza with its different toppings.IMG_3491

Les Palliēres “ au petit Bonheur” 2012 Rosé Vin de Table- the winery is located outside the village of Gigondas.  Made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Clairette, the blend depending on the vintage. The soil is clay and limestone and the vines are at 250 to 400. The grapes are sourced from younger vines and the juice is obtained from directed pressing.  Fermentation takes place in 650-liter demi-muids. This is a very pleasant wine with nice fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of melon. We enjoyed this wine with the shrimp that we purchased at the market.

Sparibs

Sparibs

We passed a farm stand one day advertising fresh cepes, porcini mushrooms.  They were big and beautiful and Michele bought a few to serve as our appetizer that night for dinner.  She larded the caps with slices of fresh garlic, drizzled  them with olive oil and sprinkled them with fresh thyme from the garden.  After roasting in a hot oven, they were tender and meaty, just the way we have eaten them in Italy.  For a second course, we had rotisserie spareribs that we had gotten at the market in Carpentras.  The wine for the night was a perfect choice: IMG_3529

Gigondas 2005 Clos du Joncuas made from 80% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah. They use organic methods in the vineyards and traditional vinification. The wine has red and black fruit aromas and flavors, hints of blackberry, blueberry and a touch of spice. It was an excellent combination with the roasted porcini mushrooms we had at the house. I do not believe this wine is imported into the US but I really liked it. The wine cost 14 Euros in the coop store in Gigondas.

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