On the island of Capri and the Sorrentine Peninsula, grow the famous orb-shaped lemons of Sorrento with their thick and aromatic peels, sweet flavour and high content of essential oils.The lemons are famous in this region, but even more famous is the luscious liqueur that is made from them: Limoncello.
In this two part series we take an in-depth look at Amarone wines. This first part looks at what makes these wines so special (and expensive!) to wine enthusiasts. The second part – which will be posted in a few days – features a very well known producer of beautiful Amarone wines, Masi Agricola, which Adriatic is proud to bring to South African wine lovers.
Sirman, renowned manufacturers of fine culinary equipment, have released their anniversary tribute to the piece of equipment for which they are, arguably, most famous for: The meat slicer.
The gorgeous Sirman Lx 350 slicer stands regally on its own lustrous red stand, shining in epic glory; ready to shred any parma ham, mortadella or salami that comes its way into the perfect slice. And we really, really wish we could fit one into our own kitchen!
Not Just A Pretty Face
The slicer works by manually cranking the handle to spin the blade and move it forward and backward to finely slice the ham, which is securely held by the spiked platform.
- Quality material, design and engineering
- Classical, elegant styling
- Easy to use
- Easy to assemble / disassemble
- Solid cast iron with epoxy resin.
- Carriage and other details made of anodised aluminium alloy.
- Self adjusting blocking arm with stainless steel removable pusher.
- Carriage easy to remove.
Watch this video of a man slicing: ham, parma ham, salami and mortadella from every angle to understand just how beautifully this piece of equipment works.
Ciro Molinaro from La Cucina di Ciro, happily slices antipasti for guests at his restaurant on his new Lx 350
The Sirman Lx 350 is available at Adriatic.
“This is a sauce you start making on Sunday morning and leave it to cook in order to be ready in time for Sunday lunch”, says Linda, our contributor for today’s recipe. “I love to eat this with an Italian table red, like the Barone Rosso from Fantinel.”
This classic pasta sauce is made even more delicious with the addition of smoked bacon, which should be thinly sliced and of excellent quality. Ensure that you choose a mixed mince from your local butcher that includes both pork and beef (we prefer a top-side, pork mix). And of, course, allow for a long period of cooking time on a low heat so that the flavours can slowly amalgamate and soften. Enjoy!
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 2 celery sticks
- 1 packet of smoked bacon
- 2 brown onions
- 50g butter
- Olive oil
- 500g excellent quality mixed mince (top-side beef and pork)
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 500g pasta (small tubes or egg tagliatelle work well)
- Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese
Chop the bacon, onion, carrots and celery into squares.
Place carrots, celery, bacon bits, splash of olive oil and butter into a heavy pot on a low-medium heat and cook with the lid off for 30 minutes.
Add the mince and turn the heat up high to fry.
Once the meat is crisping, stir in the white wine and wait a few minutes for most of it to evaporate.
Now add the stock, tomato paste, tomato cans, origanum and salt and pepper. Stir well and reduce the heat to medium. Cook with the lid on for 1.5 hours.
Cook pasta according to packet instructions once the sauce is ready. Then pour the liquid part of the sauce into the pasta first to reduce sticking, stir, and then add the rest of the sauce.
Divide into bowls and grate over a generous portion of parmesan cheese. Serve with a delicious red Italian table wine.
Motta Metallurgica, makers of fine metal household products, have made a name for themselves producing excellent quality barista equipment for coffee making.
Their product range offers full-kit barista equipment and individual items. We explore the range in light of the everyday necessities that any professional or at-home barista would use.
Milk jugs are used for steaming and frothing milk in the making of latte, cappuccino and macchiato.
Two jugs are recommended for the best latte art as the steamed milk can be divided to have a more consistent pair of cappuccinos.
As you separate the frothed milk between the two, pour the runny milk first and top up with the frothier for a perfect cappuccino.
Smaller jugs may suit individuals who are looking to make one milky coffee at a time.
These gorgeous milk jugs come in three striking colours: black, red and white; and you can have one of each at the price!
Knock-boxes are used to dispense with the tightly packed coffee grounds from the porter-filter after the coffee shot is pulled.
The grounds can then easily be repurposed in your garden as compost, or thrown away.
Gently tap the rubber pole in the centre of the knock-box with the porter-filer and, if you have tamped correctly, the puck (or round of coffee grounds) will easily fall out in a solid mass.
Looking at the shape and texture of your puck can give you a good idea of the shot you have just pulled.
It should be firm and hold its circular shape, even once it has been tapped out into the knock-box. If your puck comes out of the porter-filer as a squishy lump of mush; start again.
A tamper is a personal thing.
Choosing one is like choosing a watch or handbag; it has to suit your sense of style as well as feel comfortable in your hands.
The tamper is pressed directly into the porter-filter over the coffee grounds and neatly swivelled to obtain a smooth finish.
The weight with which you tamp and the evenness of the tamp will determine the consistency in your shots.
A tamping mat is where you secure your porter-filter when you tamp it with 20kg of weight to get the perfect consistency with your puck.
Rest your porter-filer on your mat when you press down with your tamper to get that perfect shot or when you are not using your coffee machine.
A tamping station can hold your tamper, porter-filter and other accessories while you are working, and for easy access or storage.
Using a thermometer helps the barista to get the milk just right.
You want your cappuccinos to be about 60 degrees Celsius to be perfect.
Over-steamed milk can ruin the taste of your cappuccino as it will add an unpleasant burnt flavour to the coffee and be too hot to drink.
A good cappuccino needs to meld coffee and milk in the same sip at the perfect temperature.
Latte Art Pen
If you want to show off a little, use the latte art pen / spoon to decorate your milky coffee by dipping it into the coffee and marking the frothed milk with twirls, dots and writing.
Get creative by adding faces, words and other objects to your drink.
When cleaning your coffee machine, it is important to regularly use a good descaling powder when you back-wash your coffee machine.
Use the porter-filter brush to clean out any coffee grit from the sieve in the porter-filter, which can become blocked with the fine particles.
A clean coffee machine makes more delicious coffee because there are no stale grounds to pollute the espresso.
Choose a barista kit to get great value for money and all the essentials you will need to be an at-home barista.
“This dish is reserved only for freshly made Italian Luganica salsiccia, and no other type of sausage will do”, says our anonymous contributor of this recipe, “the key to this dish is cooking it slowly for a long period; at least three hours”.
The speciality sausage called Luganica is pork based and flavoured with a variety of herbs that may change according to the secret recipe of the sausage-maker. A variety of peppers are used to flavour the dish (green, red and yellow and sometimes a paprika pepper too!). The addition of chilli in this dish is optional but very much recommended.
If you are unable to find this salsiccia at your butcher or deli, pop past the Adriatic warehouse to pick some up.
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 kg Italian Sausage (Luganica)
- Assorted peppers (paprika peppers may be used instead of red peppers for a bit of spice)
- 2 Onions
- 6 medium potatoes
- 1 chilli
- Olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
Peel and quarter the potatoes and peel the onions and slice them into wedges.
Place the onions, potatoes and sausage in a casserole dish and drizzle with olive oil.
Place the casserole dish in the preheated oven covered with the lid for 40 minutes.
In the meantime empty the tomato cans into a bowl and mix in the oregano, salt, pepper and chopped chilli and slice the peppers into medium sized strips.
Add the peppers and tomato mixture to the casserole dish and cook, covered and at the same temperature for one hour. Stir once at the half hour mark.
Remove the lid of the casserole and cook for another hour at 220 degrees or at 180 degrees if you feel it is drying out too quickly. As ovens vary, you will need to keep an eye on the dish. You are looking for a thick consistency in the tomatoes and soft, mushy potatoes that break when you mix them. Mix once or twice during this cooking period.
But what exactly is a caper? And what is the difference between the small round ones and the larger, balloon-shaped ones that carry a long stem?
A caper, as we know it, is actually a flower bud grown from the capperis spinosa plant that has been picked before it has been allowed to open.
Caper berries, however, – with their oblong shape and long stems – are the fruit of the caper plant that is yielded after the bud is allowed to flower and the flower falls off.
While the caper and the caper berry taste similar, capers tend to have a more intense flavour.
Capers flourish in hot, dry climates and are grown all over the world: in the Mediterranean, Asia, North Africa, Turkey and Australia.
The best capers are said to come from a tiny, volcanic island off of Sicily named Pantelleria (from the Arab Bint – al Rion, meaning ‘daughter of the wind’ due to the strong winds that sweep through the land).
This island is south west of Sicily and is very close to Tunisia, benefitting from the sun and dry climate.
Dry, salt cured capers are more difficult to make as it is necessary to constantly turn them to ensure that each caper is sufficiently cured, while capers in liquid can be left to cure without further interference.
Capers can be used in a variety of dishes from sauces to be sidled over fish and chicken, to salads, to pastas (such as the famous Putanesca pasta) to stews and caponata.
Now you know a little more about the humble caper.
Adriatic has recently introduced the Florio Terre Arse Marsala wine to list of speciality wines. What follows is a history about this enigmatic beverage and tasting notes for your interest.
Marsala – A History
Marsala is a fortified wine from Sicily that is produced within and surrounding the region that shares its name. Marsala wine may only come from this region in order for it to be labelled Marsala.
The story goes that during the Napoleonic occupation in Italy, Englishman John Woodhouse landed at the port of Marsala and discovered that the local wine was fortified in wooden barrels and tasted similar to the Spanish and Portuguese Sherry and Port. The English needed a wine for use on ships for long-distance sea travel in order to ship it back to England. By adding brandy to the wine, Mr Woodhouse developed in the wine a resistance to temperature changes and subsequently invented Marsala.
The wine proved successful in England, and Mr Woodhouse eventually returned to Sicily to begin commercial production of the wine. Florio bought the Woodhouse production and is still one of the largest producers of Marsala.
Florio Marsala – Terre Arse
There are various types of Marsala wine. Some are better for aperitif, while others are best suited to being consumed after the meal, and others still are considered to be ‘meditation wines’: a wine to be sipped slowly while in quiet contemplation, each sip a new discovery of the characteristics of the wine.
The Florio Terre Arse is a meditation wine if served between 12 and 14 degrees Celsius, or an aperitif at 8 to 10 degrees.
The Grillo grapes used to make the Terre Arse Marsala come from the coastal strip in the northern part of Marsala. The area is a D.O.C (Designation of Controlled Origin) region. Grown in arid soil on vines facing the sea, this Marsala wine shows a distinctive dry vanilla-liquorice flavour and burnt honey aroma to be savoured and enjoyed.
Rainy winters and hot, windy summers allow the grapes to have high sugar content if left to ripen into September.
The grapes are pressed and fermented at a controlled temperature. The wine is then blended with wine distillate as per tradition. The wine is then left in oak barrels for at least 8 years and a further 6 months in the bottle to create its distinctive golden colour.
If this Marsala is stored at about 14 degrees Celsius in a dry place with no direct sunlight, it has a lifespan of practically forever. Florio Terre Arse has been produced since the 1981 harvest to great acclaim.
Discover this wine at Adriatic.
Spaghettini Aglio Olio with Calabrese Peperoncino
This traditional Italian pasta from Calabria in southern Italy is a favourite of Natalie (28), a law graduate, and Dale (30), research analyst in the finance industry. The couple, who live in Johannesburg and both have Italian heritage (Natalie in Padua, Veneto; Dale near Caserta, Campagnia) share a love for Italian cuisine.
“One day we felt like eating this traditional dish, so we looked up some online versions of the recipe. Calabria is famous for its cuisine and love of spice. The delicious, fruity chilies that are grown in the area are the special ingredient in this simple pasta dish. Some aglio olio recipes suggest the use of Parmesan cheese in the dish; however, I prefer the sharp, salty, wild taste of Pecorino cheese. And as this sauce is essentially a flavoured oil, I like to use spaghettini rather than spaghetti because the delicate pasta allows the flavour of the oil more mouth space.”
“It just has such a unique balance of flavours, while being comforting at the same time. It’s one of those recipes you turn to when you don’t want too much fuss in the kitchen but need something fulfilling.” And they enjoy it often, too… “Whenever I look in the fridge and see that we have flat-leaf parsley, I ask Dale to make this dish!”
Over the years the couple has tweaked the recipe to their tastes and come up with this – their favourite – version…
- Packet spaghettini pasta
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- 1/3 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup good white wine
- 1 to 2 Calabrese Chilies (to taste), split long-ways in half, de-stemmed and seeds removed
- Handful of flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the spaghettini as per the instructions on the packet.
- In the meantime pour the olive oil into a pan on medium heat.
- Place the garlic cloves in the sizzling oil.
- Keep a watch on the cloves; they must not burn.
- Place the chilies in the oil with the garlic.
- Once the garlic cloves are just beginning to brown, remove the pan from the heat.
- Remove the chilies and cloves with a heat-proof spoon.
- Carefully pour the white wine into the pan (watch out for splashes!) and let it reduce.
- Once your spaghettini is drained, put it back in the pot and pour the flavoured oil over the pasta.
- Split the portions into your serving bowls and sprinkle generously with parsley, pecorino and pepper.
Paolo Massimo tells us how he ended up in the winemaking industry; what makes Antinori special; and what his favourite South African variety is. See our previous introduction to Marchesi Antinori here.
Paolo, please tell us a little more about you…
I’m from Milan, in the north of Italy and studied economics. I worked in Export and later in wine for a different Italian brand, before eventually arriving up at Antinori, a flagship Italian wine business.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Wine is one of life’s great pleasures, and it often goes together with food… At Antinori, we have very good wines and combine them with very good food! What’s better than that? Exporting Italian wines is also an opportunity to work with the international image of Italy. Here art, culture, history, amazing landscapes, holidays and beauty are combined with good food and wine.
Marchesi Antinori maintains an ethos of “respect for tradition and the land”. What does this mean in reality?
Antinori is, first of all, an agricultural business; thus the land is crucial to who we are. Antinori owns only 2.000 hectares of vineyards in Italy. This is to ensure we are able to manage all activities ourselves so that we can deliver only the best quality. This approach entails intensive investment, but fits in with the long family tradition (26 generations!) of quality wine production and trade.
What is your favourite Antinori wine?
My personal preference is for the Chianti style of wines. Antinori Chiantis (like the Villa Antinori Riserva and the Pèppoli) are easy drinking – when you open a bottle, you finish it quickly! You also don’t have to eat something specific to enjoy these wines.
Antinori has extended from its base in Italy to vineyards in the USA, Romania, Chile, Malta and Hungary… We have to ask: South Africa next?
Not at the moment, no! Our core business remains very much in Tuscany, and the Chianti area in particular, and the logistics of managing an estate from afar can be quite challenging.
Antinori has been exporting to South Africa for many years. What informed this decision?
South Africa is an important wine market. Customers know about wine and local producers deliver good wines too.
What are Antinori’s top 3 sellers globally? And in South Africa?
In terms of quantity, Santa Cristina (red and white) and Villa Antinori (red and white), though we are surely most famous for Tignanello, Solaia and Cervaro. South Africa appears to be following the global trend.
What are your favourite South African wines currently?
I like Sauvignon blanc and have found a number of very good ones in South Africa. Incidentally, we have one Sauvignon from our Castello della Sala Estate in Umbria: the Conte della Vipera, a Sauvignon-Sémillion. It’s good but has a different style.
Have you spent much time travelling in South Africa?
I’ve visited a couple of times but always on business, unfortunately. The goal of this trip was to meet with Maurizio [director at Adriatic], who I’ve known for a long time, and to launch and present our wines to the South African market. I hope one day to take a trip to Durban or Cape Town though and enjoy a bit of holiday time.