Tag Archives: wine🍷

Birthday weekend, busy month, bread mania

Another year added to the 50-bunch and a turn in weather for the better. In one week it has gone from a cool 14-17° to a toasty 29°C this past Saturday. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day/weekend to celebrate at home with the MotH, furkids, and great food and drink. The MotH made his specialty saffron risotto (risotto alla Milanese) and osso buco. Opened a lovely Nebbiolo from the Langhe and voila! – Sunday lunch is served.

On my actual birthday (Saturday) we had a long day of errands, but with cured meats procured from the supermarket, some of that cheese bought on a foggy day a couple of weeks ago, and homemade flatbread, it was enough to fill the belly before stepping out for more errands.

June is always crazy like that and you’d think that I’d be prepared from day one. Well I am, on the garden front. But then I had to go and get myself interested in long fermentation breadmaking after spotting something on Instagram, and now I have 4 starters and 8 different types of flour (and growing) in the pantry. I have been baking A LOT of bread!

The end of an olive flatbread and a slice of turmeric bread

At first I simply used my starter in the premixed flours that I normally purchase at the super. Now I want to blend my own mixes, adding different flavors, textures, etc. I’m not quite there yet because I haven’t settled on the ideal flour for long-rise breads, but I love, love, LOVE it when I cut into a loaf and it has gorgeous holes! The month of May was cool enough that I could crank up the oven and not break a sweat (or overstimulate the sourdough starter), but now I need to adjust the whole dang schedule to avoid baking in the middle of the day. When I have attained the perfect loaf, I will certainly be breaking bread on these pages.

Wine trip to Lake Garda continued…

Even after all this time living in Italy, I still get queasy whenever we come across conditions like this. Just can’t stand fog. It’s damp, eery, and gives me the creeps. But figuring that wine is no good without some local cheese, I got it in my head to check out a cheese farm that I had found earlier on google maps. A half hour north from where we were staying, Il Castello was tucked away in quiet mountain location, reachable only by driving a bunch of skinny, twisting roads.

Località Castello, Via Castello, Ferrara di Monte Baldo VERONA

After coming all this way, I prayed that someone would be there… And someone was! An old man who didn’t know what to make of the Asian-looking gal stepping out of a bright orange Jeep. Only when MotH emerged from the driver’s side did everything fall into place. We, well he (the old man) talked some, lamenting the weather conditions because it was the period for bringing the herd to graze at higher elevation, but there was still snow on the ground and they had to wait.

A few minutes later an elderly woman comes out to show us into the cheese shop. They sell a little of everything: cheese, butter, salame, beer (from a local producer), ricotta, and fruit jams. She let us into the storing room for a look and photo op, and I was happy as a clam. We bought a small chunk of raw cows milk cheese, a salame, beer and apricot jam to bring back with us.

Rosato Lu.Mi, Rosso Verona I.G.T, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Ripasso, Amarone, Recioto

With the cheese squared away, and the fog thankfully lifted, later in the afternoon we went for a wine-tasting at Le Bignele Winery in Valpolicella. Located a half hour east from Corte Patrizia, the area of Valpolicella is known for its wine production (Wiki says it ranks 2nd after Chianti) and there are numerous wineries to visit and taste. I picked Le Bignele because of the high scores on Tripadvisor and it did not disappoint. Reasonable fee (6,45€ per person) for 6 tastings each, complete with a matching cheese or cured meat pairing. Of course we had the Italian-speaking guide but when we arrived at the last stop of the tour – the tasting room – there was a guide speaking in English to a couple of visitors.

The 6 bottles above? We liked all of them for various reasons and bought one of each. 72 euros well spent. I swear we’ll just have to get out to Valpolicella more often and check out several wineries on a weekend. It’s certainly closer than driving to Chianti but next time, I’m bringing our own cheese…