September 25, 2011

Wine all the Time

Living in Italy, wine is a part of everyday life and especially now that we live in the countryside, even more so. Not only do we drink wine, but can watch the vines growing and ripening during the season. Many of our neighbors produce wine for themselves as well as selling to the local cooperative winery.

Right now as I sit writing, I am almost drunk smelling the wine fumes fermenting. My neighbors press their own wine so I am ovewhelmed, hope I get some wine too!

There are traffic jams daily following the trucks loaded with the grapes going to the local press.

Each weekend in September is a wine festival, Greve, Panzano and Impruneta here in Chianti. Wine, wine and more wine.

Yesterday was a fun wine festival downtown Florence, WINE TOWN. Held in September downtown Florence, it is more than just wine. Private palaces are opened for the wine tastings and theatre, concerts and cooking classes are all part of the event. I attended a a cooking demo in the new space in the Central Market.
From 11am until 4pm demo classes by some of Tuscany's best chefs.

We had seats for the demo/tasting of Genuino Del Duca of the Enoteca del Duca from Volterra. He made a chicken liver mousse with vin santo reduction, a ricotta flan with fresh white truffles and the last dish a traditional Pappa al Pomodoro.

I adored the mini-pot as presentation. Catering and presentation has come a long way in Italy in the past few years. Each course was presented in a different plastic container- each lovely.

Pappa al Pomodoro is classic Tuscan recipe using stale Tuscan bread and ripe tomatoes.

Although you don't think of soup as a summer dish, this is served room temperature in Summer and hot the rest of the year. I have been making tomato sauce, Pomarola, with my tomatoes but really need to make a pappa before the summer ends.

It is raining this afternoon, so I think this week is my last chance.
If you still have some nice ripe tomatoes, try my version. 

Pappa al Pomodoro

8 whole garlic cloves
1-3/4 pound can of plum tomatoes
1 pound loaf of stale bread, sliced (or unseasoned stuffing mix)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced, only white part
6 cups water
1 bunch basil
Chili pepper

The night before slice the bread and leave it out to get stale. (This does happen in Tuscany with our unsalted bread.) You can force the drying in a warm oven.

Sauté the whole garlic cloves and leek in olive oil with the chili pepper. 

When the garlic has lightly browned and the leek is just getting golden, add the tomato sauce. 
Season with salt and add half the basil leaves torn into tiny pieces.
 Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon and stir. Cook until the tomatoes fall apart.

Tear the bread into small pieces and put into the sauce. 

The bread will soak up the sauce and get quite thick. 
Add enough water to soften the bread and to make it liquidy. 
Add the remaining basil and cook until the bread becomes a "mush"-- PAPPA!

Enjoy this thick stew-like soup on a cold day with a drizzle of extra virgin oil on top. I like to reheat it the next day by heating some sliced garlic and more chili in oil and using to reheat te soup. 
This gives it an extra kick!


  1. Naomi5:59 PM

    The wine must be so good! I need to give the soup a try, never made it before. - Naomi

  2. I love wine, especially the red wine and if I combine it with a good meal, it would make my day!

  3. Wine does not only provide pleasure and satisfaction but it also provides a good therapeutic effects to our body. It is proven that drinking 30 ML of wine a day makes the doctor away.

  4. I agree with the last comment. Wine makes us more lively. Wine is also proven to cause relaxing circulation. It can make our heart and blood vessels healthy. I love wine and I always make sure to drink it moderately.

  5. Italy is one of the countries I wish to visit. On the other hand, Florence seems like a very nice place. Hearing this wine festival makes me want to visit the city and experience this delightful event. Anyway, a cooking event is also very enticing. I will surely visit these beautiful cities soon. For now, I will enjoy the new Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot I bought online.