Wednesday, July 22, 2015

De Pata Negra

Pata Negra (black hoof), Jambón Ibérico, Jambón Ibérico de bellota not to be confused with the Jambón Serrano coming from the white pig in the eastern part of Spain.  The Jambón Ibérico is coming from the Ibérico breed of pigs known for its flavorful fat. And my is it wonderful. What makes this ham so special is what they eat.  Like anything really when it is feed good, but in particular the acorns that are a must in their diet make them taste so good.  The acorns have the same oleic acid that is found in olives.  This tastes makes its way into the fat of the animal giving it it's flavors and also it's delicacy, and as the Spaniards will say "olives with legs".  Resulting in a very creamy delicate fat.  Also the pigs themselves are known for their large bellies and little skinny legs.  See photo below...

On our recent trip to one of the Canary Islands (Tenerife) we had a really great recommendation to visit this lovely aperitif hot spot Depatanegra who also conveniently has a little specialty shop right next door for your at home consumption.  My taste buds have never felt so good, from the wonderful staff who were friendly and also knowledgeable and not to mention  patient (my italospanish is not so good) we ended up tasting the more interesting wines of the island a big surprise for my Nebbiolo taste buds and tasting our way through an over generous plate of Pata Negra!

We got to taste from the North West Salamanca and to the South West we tasted from the Huelva and Córdoba and then there was the Extremadura.  Each one was excellent in it's own way but for me the favorite was the Córdoba having such a rich nutty fruity taste in comparison to the others. 

If you are ever in Tenerife you must check them out.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Not all the Flavors are Mint

So today in the newspaper in Italy there was this super article about the reasons why the Italian men are the best in the world.
And this is the top 10 reasons why...

1. They know how to cook and they are good at it

2. If by chance they don't cook for you one night you can rest assure that they will buy you a very nice dinner.

3. They know how to entertain you. They have many hidden talents that when they need to can make you laugh at any second.  Like all of a sudden you are dancing salsa in the streets.

4. They know how to be sexy especially when they are on the hunt.  And they have a hard time accepting a NO so they will try everything to get a YES. (revert back to number 3)

5. They think they can do everything....

6. They are very creative with both positive and negative.  In any case they are able to find an excuse to get out of anything.

7. They Italian men you don't have to worry about them getting a beer belly because they all prefer to dink wine.  Which is said with one glass a day is supposed to help reduce belly fat.

8. They love to dress with style and elegance, and they don't leave that just to a wedding or a special occasion.

9. They love to drive fast.  (it is not always a good thing)

10. Their creativity does not stop in the bedroom.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Moccagatta Barbaresco

Every time I get the chance to visit another winery I am always so impressed.  I love to have the opportunity to see what the producers are doing taste the most current vintages and many times learn some new things.
It was a very wonderful visit we had with Martina Minuto. She welcomed us and gladly showed us around her winery.  She told us the history of the family, and how her father and uncle were the pioneers who made Moccagatta what it is today.  Typically the name of a family owned winery here in Piemonte is taken from the family name, however in this case Moccagatta being owned and operated by the Minuto family did not necessarily follow in that direction.  The once was farm house that has been wonderfully transformed into a fully functioning winery has been built on the Muncagöta vineyard.  Sound familiar?  Well their name was taken from the Piemontese name of this vineyard.
The wines we tasted were the Chardonnay "Buschet"
(coming from the word Boschetto) meaning little forest. I like tasting Chardonnay from Piemonte, it shows very differently than Chardonnay from France or the new worlds.  Chardonnay here has a nice history, it is in no way new to this area.  As a matter of fact the Marchesa di Cavour who was known to have such a love for Burgundy decided to not only have a french oncologist come to this area but with him she had requested he bring some clippings of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  So for all of you who were wondering it was because of her that we today will be able to find these grapes.
The two single vineyard Barbaresco that we had tasted were from the sites of Bric Balin and Barsarin.  Bric Balin is a special selection with in their Muncagöta vineyard which surrounds their estate.  Known for its clay and limestone rich soils makes a very muscular example of Nebbiolo coming from Barbaresco.  This wine had much more power fruit, structure with respect to the other vineyards we had tasted. The vintage 2012 is turning out to be a good structured very aromatic vintage loads of fresh red fruits and flowers.
Barsarin is located in Neive right on the boarder of Barbaresco where the soils are much richer in sand and limestone.  Here the sand helps to make the wine much more elegant, aromatic, and fresh.  This wine for me was much more approachable now the tannins were much more softer and it showed much more red fruits.  Both 2012's were wonderful and this experience was amazing.