Banana Yellowman Bundt Cake

March 4, 2015

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Banana Yellowman Cake…Wow! The recipes have great eye-catching names this year. Chicken Skink yesterday and now Banana Yellowman. So what is a Banana Yellowman Cake? Well, it is a delicious moist banana cake that is shot through with little sticky nuggets of Yellowman and glazed with a caramel frosting. But what is Yellowman? Oh, right, unless you’re from Ireland, the term is probably not one you are familiar with. Yellowman is what Honeycomb is called in Ireland. It is also known as Cinder Toffee in Britain and Hokey Pokey in New Zealand and Cornwall. (I was tempted to call this cake a Hokey Pokey Cake because after I took one bite I was fairly certain that this cake could be “what it’s all about”, but since I’m including it in the St. Patrick’s Day countdown, I decided to go with “yellowman”). So, Yellowman is that yellow or golden sugary toffee with a crunchy sponge-like texture. You’ve maybe seen it in the middle of a Crunchie candy bar.

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I’m not sure if you can just go out and buy it in a shop, but the good news is that it is very easy and fun to make. And if you have kids, they can help out and get a quick chemistry lesson as well. You see the reaction between the vinegar and the baking soda produces carbon dioxide gas, which gives the Yellowman its bubbly, crunchy consistency.

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The reaction is quite dramatic  once that baking soda is added. Seriously it foams up to about 4x its original size, so make sure you are using a deep pan. And do exercise caution because you have to heat it to 300°F (150°C) before you add that baking soda, so there is potential there for some serious burns. Once you have a batch of Yellowman made up, you can use some of it in this cake, of course, but you can also dip it in chocolate for a great treat all on its own, or crumble it over ice cream.

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I first came across this recipe on a great blog from the West of Ireland, Warm & Snug & Fat. The husband has never met a banana dessert he didn’t like, so I knew this cake would be a winner. And I am often looking for a way to use up bananas that have crossed over that thin line of ripe enough to way too ripe. This cake takes care of four of those types of casualties. After the Yellowman has been made, the cake comes together quickly and easily. And boy does it deliver on taste. Moist, tender, very notable banana flavour and when you get a bite with one of those bonus golden nuggets of goodness, it is pure bliss.

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This cake would be just fine without the frosting, but the frosting really puts it over the top and provides something to which even more of that crumbled Yellowman can cling on to. And as far as Yellowman is concerned, the more the merrier!

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Banana Yellowman Bundt Cake

  • Servings: 1 bundt cake
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Warm & Snug & Fat

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 225 grams (8oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 heaped tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 110 grams (4oz) caster sugar (can substitute granulated sugar)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75 grams (3oz) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 65 grams (2½ oz) yellowman/ honeycomb, smashed (recipe for yellowman/honeycomb below)
  • 4 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed

For the caramel frosting:

  • 115 grams butter
  • 115 grams light muscovado sugar
  • 140 ml heavy cream

Directions:

 Sift the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl and stir in the sugar.

Mix in the egg, melted butter and vanilla but do not beat.

Fold in the honeycomb and mashed bananas, using a fork. Again, do not beat.

Spoon into a buttered and floured bundt tin or lined (3½ inch x 8 inch) 900 gram/2lb loaf tin and bake in an oven preheated to 350° F ( 180° C, gas mark 4) for 50-60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springs back when prodded gently with your finger.

Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Once cake is completely cool, drizzle caramel frosting over the top. You can also add some extra crumbled honeycomb to garnish.

Enjoy!

Yellowman, Honeycomb, Cinder toffee, Hokey Pokey

recipe from: Nigella.com

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams caster sugar (can substitute granulated, but you should probably give it a couple of pulses in the food processor to make the sugar “superfine”)
  • tablespoons Lyle’s golden syrup
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 25 ml water

Directions:

Put the sugar and syrup into a saucepan and stir together to mix. If you notice that sugar is clinging to the sides of the pan, you can paint the sides with a pastry brush dipped in water. Once you turn on the heat, it is very important that you do not touch it! That’s right, no stirring.

Place the pan on the heat and let the mixture first melt. Continue watching the pan closely. You will notice that it will liquefy and then turn a dark amber color. It should reach a temperature of 150°C/300°F. Or you can drop a bit of it in a small bowl of water and if it forms a hard ball when it hits the water, it is done. I think the thermometer version is easier. It will take about 3 minutes or so, depending on how high you have the heat.

Take the pan off the heat, whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. Take care because the mixture will bubble up crazily, like a volcano comes to mind. Turn this immediately onto a piece of baking parchment or greased foil. Don’t try to smooth it out. Just pour it and leave it alone.

Once it has cooled, smash it will a rolling pin or hammer so that it splinters into many pieces.

Store in a air-tight bowl.

Banana Yellow Bundt Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Chicken Skink

March 3, 2015

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Yup, you read that right…Chicken Skink. Skink is an old Irish term meaning “broth”. So Chicken Skink is an Irish Chicken Soup. You might have actually heard the term before in the famous Scottish dish, Cullen Skink. Cullen is a small town in Moray on the Northeast coast of Scotland. Apparently the way they make skink there is with smoked haddock. The husband was very happy I chose to go with an Irish skink, since he has a seafood allergy.

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This skink has chicken in it, along with leeks, carrots, celery and peas. It is enriched with cream and egg yolk which makes it a bit heartier than  your average chicken soup, which is a good thing because winter seems to be firmly entrenched around here. This skink is just what you need to warm you up but not weigh you down when you’re dashing around to all the St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivities. Make a big pot up of it today!

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Chicken Skink

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 4 small carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 small leeks, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 3 1/2 Cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 4 small scallions, some green tops included, sliced
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 Boston or butter lettuce leaves, shredded
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

Put the celery, carrots and leeks in a saucepan with the stock, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

Add the chicken, peas and scallions. Simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the peas are just tender.

Remove the pan from the heat. Lightly beat the egg yolk and cream together and stir the mixture into the soup. Reheat gently, stirring.

Ladle into warm bowls, add the lettuce and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Chicken Skink brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Irish Soda Bread Muffins

March 2, 2015

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Yes indeed-y…Day Two of the St. Patrick’s Day count down and today I’m featuring Irish Soda Bread Muffins. Now before you folks in Ireland sneak a peek at the ingredients and start shaking your head, raising your eyebrow and getting a bit huffy…let me explain. I didn’t actually say “traditional Irish Soda Bread” Muffins. I openly admit, these muffins are a departure from “traditional” Irish Soda Bread. Traditional Irish Soda bread is a quick bread, meaning it uses baking soda as a leavener rather than yeast. The only other ingredients involved are flour, either whole meal, used for the every-day, or white, which was used for special occasions, buttermilk and salt. That’s it! Back in the day, currants were a luxury item which again might have been used along with a bit of sugar or an egg if the bread was being made for a special occasion, but not on a daily basis.

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Soda bread was traditionally cooked in a lidded cast iron pan which was placed directly on the coals of a fire. Irish immigrants brought the recipe for this bread with them when they came to America. This is the point where things begin to change, or I suppose you could say evolved if you had a friendly eye to the changes. Clever folks are quick to adapt to new situations and that is just what these immigrants did. Finding themselves in a new land where the availability and cost of ingredients were very different from what they had found at home, they had to improvise. And these modifications were often reflected in the dishes that were cooked. That is why an Irish-American might have a very different idea of what “traditional Irish” food is. Soda Bread is a great example of that phenomena, as is Corned Beef (shock…horror…but more on that later). I love traditional Irish Soda Bread and make it myself all the time. I also like the thoroughly Americanized versions, for the most part…. (Cue the ominous sounding music here)

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Once in America the flour used in soda bread became almost exclusively white, butter was not only slathered over the slices of bread but was also added into the dough, as was sugar, eggs, raisins and often caraway seeds. I have to stop right here and say that while I’m ok with all of the other modifications to this bread, I HATE caraway seeds in my soda bread. I’m actually glad you can’t see the face I’m making right now, but it is a cross between disgust and outrage. Wait…perhaps I do have a picture that I can share that will convey my feelings adequately…

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Me upon finding out there are caraway seeds in my soda bread. Should I be troubled that this is one of the husband’s favorite pics of me?!!

I’m serious, I don’t know how folks could ruin perfectly good bread with those dastardly little seeds. Just say NO! Ahem…So back to these lovely Americanized Irish Soda Bread Muffins we have here. Gone is the big round soda bread loaf, replaced with perfect serving sized muffins. Needless to say, there are no caraway seeds, but there are Irish Whiskey plumped currants, as well as a blend of All-purpose flour and King Arthur Irish Wholemeal flour, which gives them a pleasant toothsome texture over those made with white flour alone. Though if you don’t have Irish Wholemeal flour, you could use regular whole meal flour, or just use 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose in a pinch. The muffins are just perfect with a nice cup of tea, moist, tender, slightly sweet, but not too sweet. Just enough to satisfy any tea time cravings. They are delicious all on their own, with a bit of jam spread over the top, or my favourite…covered with lashings of butter! Certainly a crowd pleaser for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Irish Soda Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces, 177 grams)  All purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces, 85 grams) King Arthur Irish Wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces, 74 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces, 170 grams) currants (first choice) or raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 ounces, 227 grams) buttermilk yogurt, or sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 85 grams) butter, melted; or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • sparkling white sugar, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

Place currants/raisins in bowl and cover with boiling water, adding 1 tablespoon irish whiskey to the mix if you’re feeling a bit devilish. Let raisins steep for about 10 minutes to plump. Thoroughly drain before incorporating into the batter.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and melted butter (or equivalent).

Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients; honestly, this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quickly and gently fold in the plumped currants or raisins and then quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups. Top with sparkling white sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.

Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Guinness Hot Chocolate topped with Guinness Marshmallows

March 1, 2015

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Hello, hello, hello! Today is March 1st, which means that starting today I will be posting one Irish-y recipe every day all the way up to the big day…March 17th….St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve been inexplicably doing this for a few years now, so I’ve got quite a lot of great St. Patrick’s Day food ideas for you from past years as well. Just click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. There are over 50 recipes to choose from there. Not to mention all those that I will be adding this year. Which brings me back to today. I wanted to start my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon off right and I thought I’d go for something boozy and decadent! That is just what I’ve got going on here with this Guinness Hot Chocolate topped with Guinness Marshmallows.

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And let me be clear….this is homemade Guinness Hot Chocolate…no powders here…with homemade Guinness Marshmallows bobbing around on top! Whaaaaat?!! Before I did it, I didn’t know marshmallows could be made at home…well that’s a bit of a fib…I should say I didn’t think I would ever do it.

Homemade Marshmallows waiting to be dusted

Homemade Marshmallows waiting to be dusted

Woooweee! They can and I sure did. And once you taste them, you’ll be spoiled for those little plasticy nuggets that come in bags at your local grocery.

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You’re kind of getting two recipes today as well. Of course, they can be served together. Gooey Homemade Marshmallows melting on top of a big mug of piping hot silky smooth liquid chocolate and Guinness blend is a no-brainer for sure, especially in light of the lovely weather we have been graced with this winter. But you can also just serve these marshmallows as a treat all on their own. Once you’ve accessorized them to meet whatever your tastes might be, they simply look divine and taste pretty heavenly as well!

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I’ve provided you with a couple of toppings options, but really you can add whatever you like. Get creative! But definitely try your hand at a batch of these Guinness Marshmallows today!

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But let’s not forget that rich, thick and creamy Guinness Hot Chocolate with all of the Guinness Marshmallow excitement. It will be exactly what the doctor called for to warm you once you’re back inside after the parades. Cold weather simply calls for the comfort of Hot Chocolate and the addition of the Guinness, which adds a bit of a nutty depth of flavour, really ups its game.

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Yup, this Hot Chocolate with an Irish twist is pretty special all on its own, but when you pop a couple of the marshmallows on top, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven! So there you have it…day one of this years St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-polooza done and dusted. Only 16 more to go! Hope you’ll stick around for all the fun!

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Guinness Hot Chocolate topped with Guinness Marshmallows

  • Servings: 3 cups or 24 ounces for the hot chocolate. Number of servings will vary according to the mug size you plan to use and anywhere from 9 - 120 Marshmallows -depending how you slice them
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipes from: Guinness Marshmallows: Yes, More Please! Guinness Hot Chocolate: The Beeroness

Ingredients:

For the Marshmallows:

  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin /approx. 21 grams (I used powder, you’re welcome to use gelatin sheets )
  • 1 cup cold, flat Guinness Stout
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 2 pinches of sea salt
  • 2 large egg whites beaten until stiff peaks.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To dust:

  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • ½ cup cornstarch

For Toppings:

  • 1 cup dark chocolate for melting.
  • caramel sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons roasted salted pistachios crushed.
  • Salty, pretzels
  • Maldon flaky salt

Directions:

For the Marshmallows:

Whisk the Guinness to flatten. Or just crack one open and leave it sitting the night before you plan to make the marshmallows. Remove some of the foam if necessary.

Lightly oil your 8×8 pan and generously dust with the confectioners sugar and cornstarch mixture. Reserve the rest for use when cutting the marshmallows.

Using the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, place ½ cup of Guinness and sprinkle the 3 envelopes of gelatin powder. Leave to bloom.

In a separate bowl, whisk your egg whites until stiff peaks set aside.

In a medium saucepan (and when I say medium, I mean you want to have sides at least 4″ high – if you’re nervous like me, go for an even deeper pan!) over medium high heat mix the sugar, corn syrup, and the other ½ cup of flat beer until the sugar is dissolved. At this point attach the candy thermometer to your saucepan and bring this sugary mixture to a slow boil until it reaches 240°F/ 116°C . This sticky, lava-like syrup will bubble up and foam like mad before it reaches 240°F. Stay calm! And stay back…it also pops and spits and burns like the dickens if any of that molten stuff lands on you! Remove from heat.

Fitted with the whisk, start your stand mixer on the slowest speed. Being very careful, start adding the hot syrup in a low stream to incorporate with the bloomed gelatine.

Once you pour in all the syrup, mix for 2 minutes and then proceed to add the egg whites along with the vanilla extract.

Mix  on high for about 10-12 minutes, until the mixture has double or tripled in size, it turns an off-white color, it has a nice shine to it and it holds stiff peaks.

At this point with the help of a spatula (lightly spray the spatula with some nonstick spray), Pour all this fluffy and highly sticky gooey goodness into your greased and powdery pan.

 Flatten the top and allow the marshmallow to dry for at least 4-6 hours. Overnight is best. The marshmallow should fill springy and soft  to the  touch.

Once dry, over a piece of parchment paper generously dusted with powder sugar and cornstarch mixture, un-mold the marshmallow sheet with a little spatula pulling from one corner and place the big square on top of the paper. With the help of a dusted knife, pastry cutter, pizza cutter or scissors, cut your marshmallows into squares.

Once they are cut, place the remainder of the confectioners sugar and cornstarch mixture in a bowl and toss the squares, so every side is covered with powder to avoid sticking. Shake the excess powder, and place the marshmallows on a clean cookie rack.

At this point, you will need to decide how many of these marshmallow are going to be used in hot chocolate and how many will simply be devoured all on their lonesome. The only reason I say this is that I prefer to have non-pretzelfied/pistachio’ed marshmallows on my hot chocolate, but to each his own. Proceed with toppings as you see fit!

Melt the dark chocolate, and warm any other sauces you plan to use. Drizzle the marshmallows, sprinkle with toppings of your choice.

Devour!

Guinness Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar (if desired – remember those marshmallows will add quite a bit of sweetness as well)

Directions:

In a pan over medium high heat, add the cream, milk and chocolate chips. Stir until melted, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in the Guinness. Depending on your personal preference, add in the 2 tbs of sugar for a higher level of sweetness.

Return to heat and stir until desired temperature is reached (Usually between 140 and 160 degrees F).

Serve hot chocolate topped with Guinness Marshmallows.

Enjoy!

Guinness Hot Chocolate Topped with Guinness Marshmallows brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Pici al Ragu Di Cinghiale (Pici with Wild Boar Ragu)

February 27, 2015

 

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So I’m sure you’re all glad to know that you’ve reached the third and final installment of my odyssey of Italian Holiday posts. Yup, today is it and then on Sunday, two short days from now, I will be embarking on my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon! That’s right…I’ll be doing one blog with an “Irish-y” Recipe everyday up to March 17th – St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve found some great dishes to share with you this year. There has been an absolute run on Jameson’s, Baileys and Guinness in my house, so I hope you will remember to check back in to see what I’ve been getting up to. And speaking of great recipes, I definitely have a winner to share with you today, Pici al Ragu Di Cinghiale (Pici with Wild Boar Ragu)! I had this dish for the first time, oh and the second time, and maybe the third time during our holiday in Tuscany. Sooo delicious. Pici Pasta, for those of you who don’t know, ’cause I certainly didn’t before our visit, is a thick, hand-rolled pasta which originates in the Province of Siena in Tuscany.

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Traditionally the dough is only made with flour and water, though in some areas it is made with the addition of an egg and some olive oil, as I have done here. Making Pici is a very forgiving introduction to homemade pasta for folks because traditionally it is not uniform in size and varies in thickness along its whole length. There is no special pasta making equipment necessary either, the pasta is simply rolled on the counter or between your hands.

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I paired my Pici with a wild boar ragu. Apparently there are plenty of wild boar in Tuscany. There was some sort of wild boar dish on the menu in nearly every restaurant we visited. Even our Trekguyd in Cinque Terre mentioned that he had come across a wild boar or two while hiking on those trails which certainly got me to be a bit more alert. But here in good old Virginia, I think it has probably been quite a while since a wild boar sauntered by. Luckily I live very close to The Organic Butcher. I rang him up to ask if he had Wild Boar, expecting the person on the other end of the line to laugh at me and instead what I heard was, “yes, of course. How much are you looking for and how would you like it cut?” Wow, huh! But if you don’t have an organic butcher near you, feel free to substitute in some ground pork or italian sausage. The ragu will still be delicious I’m sure!

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So I’m going to jump right into the travel blog portion of this post now. If you are totally over that, feel free to scroll down to the bottom at this point to get the actual recipe. After reluctantly checking out from the perfect La Bandita Townhouse, we set out for the tiny town of Castelnuovo Berardenga, which is located about 9 miles east of Siena, kind of at the end of the Chianti Wine Trail which winds south from Florence. We didn’t actually stay in the town, but stayed just a few miles out at the stunning Castello di Montalto.

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The date of the original construction of the castle is uncertain; perhaps as early as the 7th or 8th century. We do know for certain that members of the Berardenga family were living at Montalto by the 11th Century. Ownership of this castle has only changed hands 4 times, the last time being in the 19th Century. The descendants of those owners still reside in the castle and have made portions of the estate available to rent. We stayed in the very romantic former gatekeeper’s lodgings, San Martino, so known for the fresco of St. Martin,  located right above the castle gate.

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The castle and grounds were absolutely beautiful. And although the owner had recently taken a fall, she took the time to check in and make sure that we had everything that we needed. We were very happy with the apartment, but were even more thrilled when we found out it came with a resident cat, Pinky, who seemed very content to hang out with us through our stay!

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As I mentioned, the closest town to the castle was Castelnuovo Berardenga. Unlike some of the other places we visited which had seen their fair share of tourists, this town did not seem touristy at all. And although I had learned a few words of Italian, it really had not been necessary, up to this point. The first night we arrived, the castle concierge recommended that we go to dinner at a small trattoria only a short distance away. She said that it “was not touristy or expensive” and that “all the locals eat there”. Sounded great, so off we went. The restaurant, Il Bivacco, was wonderful. The atmosphere was very cozy, apparently the restaurant now resides in a renovated blacksmith’s forge. The food was tasty, plentiful and inexpensive. We ate there a couple of times over our visit. However, we did not hear a lot of English spoken at all, certainly not by our waiter. The very first night, being somewhat tired after driving the Italian highways, and being a bit weary of wine at that point (it can happen…), the husband said “I’ll have the big beer” to the waiter. Not being at all ready to order, I said “yes, that’ll be good”, and held up two fingers. So, you’ve probably guessed it by now, but the “big beer” was immense! I’m talking like a pitcher. Seriously, it took me two hands to lift it!! Not only were we laughing, but I think the folks at the neighboring table were quite amused as well. Though I should probably mention that the husband had no difficulty finishing “the big beer”. We were a bit more cautious after that…

Now that is one big beer!

Now that is one big beer!

Siena was very close, 15 -20 minute drive away from Montalto, so we couldn’t pass up visiting and I’m so glad we didn’t! I loved Siena! We visited the Duomo and I was completely floored! As I mentioned, we saw a lot of churches in Italy, but I was really unprepared for Siena’s Gothic Cathedral. Stunning, incredible, spectacular….none of those words seem to do it justice!

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The black and white stripped walls which lead up to starry blue ceilings were inspiring (though I will mention that as soon as we entered, the husband did lean over and whisper to me “Who let Beetlejuice loose in here?”)

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Starry ceiling

Starry ceiling

And we really lucked out because we were visiting outside of tourist season, which meant that the inlaid marble mosaic floors which are usually covered with plywood, had been unveiled. This was such a treat and is only done for a few months out of every year. The floors were crafted by about 40 artists and artisans between the 14th – 16th Centuries. They were just amazing and that was only the floors! Everywhere we looked we saw fantastic art by the masters, simply too many treasures to mention.

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Siena’s she wolf

And as if the Cathedral itself wasn’t enough, the Piccolomini Library is attached to it. You remember the Piccolomini family I mentioned in the last blog…yup…them again. This library was built to house Pope Pius II’s (aka Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini ) collection of illuminated manuscripts, which are certainly beautiful

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but the frescos on the walls and ceiling come very close to stealing the show!

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We spent hours in the Duomo and could’ve stayed for days longer and still not seen everything it had to offer. Before heading out to dinner though we did head over to the Museo del Opera to climb the 131 narrow, corkscrew stairs to take in the view from the Panorama del Facciatone which is located at the top of the Nuovo Duomo facade. It was a bit of a wait and a minor cardiac stress test to get up there but the views over medieval Siena were worth it!

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Having recovered from Siena, we set out on the nearby Chianti trail to check out yet another winery, but this time rather than go with the old-established vineyards we decided to visit a newcomer, The Cantilici Winery located in Castagnoli, a small medieval hamlet close to Gaiole in Chianti. The drive to get there was truly enjoyable, very picturesque and all of the wine we tasted was excellent.

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Our favourite was Tangano which is a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet grapes. Apparently “Tangano” is local slang for “really good-looking man”. We grabbed a few bottles to go and then headed over to the small local Osteria Il Bandito for lunch. What an unexpected pleasure. The atmosphere was charming and comfortable, the staff attentive and the food was fresh and absolutely delicious. What a delight!

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Sadly, it was time for us to leave Montalto but we were very excited to head back to Florence. We did have a couple of days left to explore the city before we had to board our flight back home and were going to try to fit as much in as possible. We lucked out again and stayed in a fabulous hotel, Mulino di Firenze, located about 15 minutes outside of the city. The hotel offered convenient shuttles in and taxis were not really very expensive. (Keep in mind, I’m saying that with a Washington, DC point of view).

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We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Florence and saw a lot more churches, visiting the Duomo (Santa Maria del Fiore) as well as Santa Croce and Santa Maria Novella. By the end of our time there we were without a doubt, “churched out”! And although Brunelleschi’s dome was impressive (yes…we climbed the 463 steps up to the viewing terrace),

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the inside of the cathedral was rather sparse (especially after just being dazzled in Siena). We were much more intrigued when we visited the crypt which houses the remains of the 7th Century church of Santa Reparta on top of which the Duomo is built.

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The little Baptistery was impressive as well. This building, the oldest in the city, was built on a 7th Century building and served as Florence’s cathedral until the early 13th Century.

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Baptistery ceiling

Of all of the Florence cathedrals that we visited, I much preferred Santa Croce where the graves of Michelangelo, Ghiberti, Galileo and Machiavelli can be found.

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Feeling that we had not yet climbed enough stairs on this holiday, we decided to trek up the 414 steps of Giotto’s campanile (bell tower of the Duomo), which offered great views of the city as well as of Brunelleschi’s Dome itself.

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And yes…we did end up spending a bit of time having a few pints in an Irish pub! Go figure!!! I don’t know what to say…there’s only so much wine one can drink before….I guess you wind up in an Irish pub!

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So that’s it for the holiday review. We had a fantastic time and hope to visit Italy again soon. Next time we are eyeing the Amalfi Coast with a requisite stop over in Pienza so we can pay a visit to La Bandita Townhouse! Until then, I hope you will enjoy this recipe for Pici al Ragu di Cinghiale. Believe me, unless your people grew up with an Italian nonna who made fresh pasta every Sunday, this dish will impress and with a bit of planning, is not very difficult to pull off. Buon Appetito!

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Pici al Ragu Di Cinghiale

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ragu recipe adapted from: Bon Appètit

Pici recipe from: Jamie Oliver

Ingredients:

For the Pici Pasta:

For the Spicy Wild Boar Ragu:

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
  • leaves from 4 -5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes (we used crushed tomatoes with spicy red pepper)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground wild boar (can substitute pork if there is no wild boar to be found)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3/4 Cup finely grated Parmesan, divided

Directions:

For the Pasta:

Place the flour in a large bowl. Add pinch of salt and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add the egg and olive oil to the well. Start to mix, slowly adding the 175 ml of water as needed. Once you have formed a firm dough, knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Wrap in saran wrap and place in refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, roll it out into a 1/4 inch thick rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into long 1/4 inch strips. Roll these strips on the counter or between your hands to form long tubes, about 24 -26″ long. Don’t worry if they look a bit irregular, that is part of the beauty of this rustic pasta. Place the pasta on flour dusted cookie sheet and cover with linen towel until ready to cook.

When ready to cook, place pasta in large pot of boiling salted water. Cook for about 6 – 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain pasta, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

For the Ragu:

Place onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup parsley in food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped. Place in small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add ground wild boar, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned. Transfer to plate with slotted spoon.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to oil and drippings in pot, season with salt and cook until golden, about 8 -10 minutes.

Stir tomato paste and 1 cup of red wine in a small bowl until combined. Add to vegetable mixture. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6 -8 minutes.

Add reserved meat, crushed tomatoes and 1 cup of water to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, adding more water or perhaps a glug or two of wine as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt.

This ragu can be made 3 days in advance. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.

To Serve:

Add pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta cooking liquid to ragu and stir to coat. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan. Add more reserved pasta liquid if needed. Divide among bowls; top with more Parmesan.

Enjoy!

Pici al Ragu di Cinghiale brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 

 


Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

February 24, 2015

 

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After leaving the beautiful Cinque Terre, we headed south to explore Tuscany. And no dish better represents  Tuscany than this warming peasant-style soup of Chickpeas, Cremini Mushrooms & Farro. All of the ingredients featured in this soup can be found in abundance in the region. And besides evoking images of that beautiful Tuscan landscape, this soup is actually quite good for you. It is a vegetarian dish, though I suppose you could add a bit of pancetta or sausage if you really needed to satisfy the carnivore within you. It also has the ancient grain Farro in it, which has recently been stealing some of the limelight away from Quinoa as the next big supergrain that everyone should be eating. Though that doesn’t mean it has just been discovered.  Farro has been cultivated and used in Italian cooking for centuries. It supposedly fed the Roman legions at one time. A great source of protein and fiber, it has satisfyingly chewy texture and a nutty taste. It is a wheat grain, so unlike Quinoa, it is not gluten-free. Those little devils are definitely in there.

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I first tasted the soup that inspired this recipe in the small town of Chiusi, Italy. The husband and I were very interested in seeing some Etruscan tombs and artifacts and little Chiusi was one of the greatest city-states of the Etruscan league back in the day in the 7th century BC. Today the town has one of the finest collections of Etruscan archaeological findings in Italy housed in The Museo Archeologico Nazionale. The museum was fascinating, chock full of beautifully carved sarcophagi, expertly crafted jewelry, as well as stunning art and pottery.

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intricate mosaic of hunting scene

intricate mosaic of hunting scene

The most unusual, odd and somewhat creepy thing we saw there were these Canopic jars which have lids that were modeled as a portrait of the dead person held within.

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And although we thoroughly enjoyed our museum visit, we were just itching to head out to the outskirts of the town and go underground to explore some actual Etruscan tombs. There are over 400 of these tombs in the area. Although Etruscan tombs varied according to local custom, generally the rich were buried in stone sarcophagi which were placed in chamber tombs the walls of which were often decorated with brightly painted frescos. We toured the Tomba della Scimmia (Tomb of the Monkey) so named because there is a monkey portrayed in one of the frescos, not because one is interred there, The Tomba della Pellegrina (Tomb of the Pilgrim) and La Tomba de Leone, which date from around 470 BC.

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Fresco on wall in Monkey Tomb

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The Monkey himself, peeking out from behind some sort of plant.

So, as you can see, we were pretty physically active on this holiday, hiking up and down the Cinque Terre hillsides and venturing underground to explore tombs. We definitely enjoy those things, but we are also way into relaxing and being pampered. And that is just what we did at what we found to be the best hotel at which we have ever stayed, La Bandita Townhouse. This absolute gem is located in the center of historic Pienza. The charming hill town of Pienza is situated in the heart of Tuscany, nestled between Montepulciano and Montalcino. The town had been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and overlooks the Val d’Orcia, which boasts some of the most often photographed, unblemished landscapes that exist.

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Pienza city walls

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La Bandita Townhouse is a 500-year-old palazzo and convent, lovingly renovated by John Voigtmann, a retired record company executive. From the outside it is indistinguishable from its neighboring Renaissance age buildings. It is when you step inside the 12 room luxury boutique hotel that the magic begins. All of the nun’s cells have been replaced with an expert blend of contemporary furnishings accented by the old world charm of exposed stone walls and rustic ceiling beams.

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All of the light-filled rooms boast fabulous views of the charming town

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The view from our room out into a private medieval walled garden.

or the gorgeous surrounding countryside.

Crazy Tuscan Tree

Crazy Tuscan Tree

But as I’m sure you all know, design – stunning though it may be –  isn’t enough to make a great hotel experience. Customer service makes all the difference in the world and the folks at La Bandita Townhouse have perfected it. They were wonderful from the very first email when I was planning the trip, offering information on the surrounding area, restaurants, shops, towns, you name it, throughout our entire stay right up to the moment we reluctantly checked-out. And whenever we needed anything, which wasn’t often because they had obviously put a lot of thought into the layout of the rooms and common areas – and everything we needed, for the most part, was often to be found in the first place we looked for it, the attentive hotel staff was right there to help in any way that they could. And although Pienza is certainly a captivating town, La Bandita Townhouse is a destination all within itself. I can’t wait to visit again!

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Guest lounge and honor bar serves champagne every evening for happy hour.

 

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Not only was the hotel top-notch, but they also have a excellent restaurant as well which serves traditional Italian food but with a modern twist.

Visiting a winery in Tuscany and trying some of the local Brunello was high up on our to do list as well. The folks at La Bandita Townhouse were happy to assist us and quickly booked a tour and tasting for us at one of Montalcino’s premiere wine estates Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona. The estate, dating from the 17th Century and located just outside the medieval village of Castenuovo dell’Abate, was beautiful. The tour started with the history of the winery, peppered with some intriguing inheritance scandals, moved on to the production of the wine and concluded in their new modern tasting room. We sampled three of their wines, the 2012 Rosso di Montalcino, the 2011 Montecucco Sangiovese and the 2009 Brunello di Montalcino, as well as their olive oil and honey which were all excellent.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped to visit the 8th Century Abbey Sant’Antimo, a former Benedictine Monastery. This abbey is richly decorated and  functions today as a Cistercian house.

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Love these gargoyles!

 

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Mystery creature…looks pretty scary!

 

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Sneak peek of one of the elusive monks in residence.

Well, I’m sure I’ve surpassed your vacation picture tolerance level at this point. So I’ll leave off for today. Stay tuned next time to hear about our stay in an 11th Century castle’s gate keepers lodgings, our visit to Siena and Florence and to get a great recipe for Wild Boar Ragu and homemade Pici pasta. Until then, if your home base is anything like good old Virginia, gripped by this relentless Winter, you’re probably still shivering in your boots. I hope you will make up a big pot of this hearty Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro soup to warm yourself and enjoy it with some toasted crusty bread and a bottle (or two….) of wine.

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Chickpea, Cremini Mushroom & Farro Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Williams Sonoma

Ingredients:

For the Soup:

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 1/2 oz./295 g) dried chickpeas, picked over and
    rinsed
  • 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l) cold water
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) warm water
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) vegetable broth or water
  • 1/3 cup (2 oz./60 g) pearled farro (if you can’t find pearled, you will need to soak the farro overnight.)

For the Mushrooms:

  • 1/2 lb. (250 g) fresh cremini mushrooms, (can substitute porcini mushrooms) brushed
    clean
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter

Extra Virgin Olive Oil for Drizzling

Smoked Paprika for Garnish

Directions:

Put the chickpeas in a large bowl with water to cover and soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Drain the chickpeas, rinse well and place in a large saucepan. Add the cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the chickpeas are tender, about 2 hours.

In a large, heavy pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and rosemary sprig and sauté until the onion is softened, 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the tomato paste in the warm water and add to the pot. Stir in the chickpeas and their cooking liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Add the broth, return to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the flavors have blended, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Discard the rosemary sprig.

Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender and return it to the pot. Alternatively, process the soup in the pot with an immersion blender. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat. Add the farro and cook until tender yet still slightly chewy, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms: Cut away the tips of the mushroom stems and thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise. In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and thyme sprig and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring often, until the mushroom juices have evaporated, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the thyme sprig. Stir in the butter.

Stir the mushrooms into the soup. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with a grinding of smoked paprika.

Enjoy!

Chickpea, Cremini & Farro Soup brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Pears with Pecorino, Pistachios & Honey

February 21, 2015

 

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Holy frozen tundra has it been COLD for the past week. I know, I know…it’s winter. It is supposed to be cold. And yes, I am the person who detests hot weather. And yes I will be complaining much more loudly and often once that sultry Virginia weather kicks in this summer. Still…it was been awful freaking, record-breakingly, bitter cold recently. Perhaps that is why I have found myself thinking fondly back on a trip that we took to Italy last October. That was where I had my first taste of Pears with Pecorino & Honey. I saw it served both as an appetizer and as a light dessert. The juicy ripe pears combined with the salty Pecorino cheese and the sweet honey was just sublime.

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Fresh, simple. locally sourced…seems to describe everything we ate on that holiday. And I can truly say, we didn’t have a bad meal the whole time we were there, whether we were dining in a fancy pants restaurant or a little local trattoria. Except for the bread that is…what a disappointment. In my visions of Italy I would always be sipping wine at a little table with some lovely cheese and a loaf of bread. Well, truth be told, I did have a few where I was zipping around on a Vespa with a bottle of wine and a fresh loaf of bread in tow (Ciao!) … but anyway, my expectation for the bread was way high and it tasted pretty abysmal. Well, in Tuscany proper anyway. Tuscan bread does not have any salt in it. Bleck! Apparently back in the day, their old enemy Pisa, set up a blockade of sorts which made it difficult to acquire salt. So the Tuscans started making bread without it and have kept up the daft practice even though salt is readily available. Talk about fearing change… But besides the bread, it was a fantastic trip. I have been dying to tell you all about, so I think I will take advantage of this weather which certainly brings hibernation to mind, to stay put (under a mound of blankets…) for a few moments and take the time to do just that over the next few posts.

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We arrived in Florence mid-October which meant the majority of the flood of summer tourists had subsided. The weather was absolutely fantastic, still warm during the day but a bit chilly in the evenings, though in light of recent weather around here, perhaps I will revise my opinion to say it was a bit “balmy” in the evenings. We rented a car and drove north to the Italian Riviera portion of the Ligurian region where we planned to spend 3 days visiting Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre, the “five lands”, is made up of the five towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare which seem to cling precariously to steep cliffs jutting up from the sea.

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The towns, along with the surrounding hillsides and coastline make up The Cinque Terre National Park which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. No car traffic is allowed in the villages but no worries, it is easy to travel between them by train or boat taxi. We had booked a room in the lovely Luna di Marzo hotel which is located in Volastra, a really small village, still in the park, located just up the cliff from Manarola. The views from the room were simply breathtaking!

 

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The husband and I were really psyched because not only was Cinque Terre amazingly beautiful, but the park has hundreds of miles of hiking paths which shoot dramatically skyward, wind through the hillside vineyards and olive groves and descend steeply to twist along rugged coastal footpaths. We love hiking and couldn’t wait to hit the trails and take in all of that the area had to offer.

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Luckily I had heard about Pall Forloney, the Trekguyd and was able to hire him to take us on a trek of all five towns and I’ve got to tell you this was the highlight of our holiday! Originally from Rhode Island, Pall has been living in Riomaggiore for over 10 years. I would say that he has all the knowledge of a “local”, which he certainly does, but it is more than that. He is so enthusiastic about the area and has been traversing it for so long, he certainly knows more than the average local. He proved invaluable to us during our visit.  Not only did he expertly guide us (and yes there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to hike it…or perhaps I should say a “savvy” vs. a “clueless” way…) on a small, personal, day long trek through all five towns and the surrounding hillsides,

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but he was also a fount of information on everything from local history,

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Saw lots of churches in Italy. But when Pall took us to The Black Church in Monterossa al Mare, it definitely stood out.

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It is the chapel of the Brotherhood of Death and Prayer and is filled with “momento mori”.

 

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The Brotherhood saw to the welfare of orphans, widows, shipwreck victims and the destitute.

 

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You could also have a burial mass said for folks who had been excommunicated here as well.

 

to Sciacchetrà wine production,

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on to general hiking tips and even recommendations for the best restaurants that the 5 towns had to offer. He took us to the best gelateria in all of the five towns! Not to mention he is a truly fascinating guy and great fun to hang around with. All park passes, train tickets and boat taxi fares were included in the price of his tour.

Relaxing on the boat taxi headed back to Riomaggiore after our trek.

Relaxing on the boat taxi headed back to Riomaggiore after our trek.

 

Having booked with Pall on our first day in Cinque Terre, we were able to benefit from all of his knowledge and make the most of our next two days there. Even after Pall’s tour was officially over, he was still trying to make sure we had a great visit. So, when the husband and I let him know we had never tried the local Sciacchetrà wine, he arranged to have us meet a friend of his, Roberto  who owns the Terra di Bargòn vineyard.

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For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Sciacchetrà wine, it is the white wine that has been cultivated and produced in Cinque Terre for many years. It is odd that there even is wine production in this area. Remember, the towns are situated on rather steep cliffs. Those industrious Cinque Terre dwellers from long ago literally carved out the terraces on which the vineyards grow and then undertook the backbreaking challenge of harvesting the grapes, carrying them on their backs down along the narrow, cliff’s-edge paths to town.

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But that wasn’t the end of the hard work for them. Then they had to dry the grapes. Sciacchetrà is a straw wine meaning that the grapes are dried to concentrate their juice. Though often thought of as a dessert wine, Sciacchetrà is considered a wine of meditation and is excellent paired with cheeses. We were very curious about it to say the least after hiking through the vineyards all day. With hardly any notice, just a quick phone call from Pall, Roberto was able to come meet us at his Cantina where the Terra di Bargòn Sciacchetrà is produced and cellared. What a treat! Roberto is quite a character. He told us all about the history of that rare wine, how his family came to produce it and gave us a first hand account of the labor intensive cycle of production.

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But better yet, he let us taste the Sciacchetrà of the year (there is a two-year fermentation) as well as a 2009 reserve and a 2003 reserve. It is difficult to describe the taste, but I would say sweet but not too sweet and silky smooth with hints of honey and apricot. All I can say is that it is unique, delicious and definitely something you should sample. (Sciacchetrà is not widely imported to the US. Terra di  Bargòn will ship to the US through their website if you are interested. Better yet….go visit them in Cinque Terre.) There are not a lot of folks in Cinque Terre today that are willing to do the kind of work that is required to make Sciacchetrà. Roberto is perhaps one of a dying breed. He offered us keen insight into a way of life which has been handed down for generations in Cinque Terre. Unfortunately this way of life and this special wine is in danger of being lost forever, but not if Roberto has anything to do with it. The authentic cultural experience of tasting the wine and meeting Roberto was essentially priceless!

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Cinque Terre was absolutely amazing. I am so glad that we decided to give it the time it deserved and did not try to do it as a “day trip” from Florence. It would not have done the slow-paced vibe of the place justice. Now, that being said, I do understand that in the Summer months, especially August, the place is over-run with tourists, so you might want to plan accordingly. What you must do is book a trek with Pall Forloney, the Trekguyd. While you are traversing the hills, he will have you up to speed and CT savvy in no time flat. And make sure you sample that Sciacchetrà wine while you still can. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this simple, yet elegant dish of Pears with Pecorino, Pistachios & Honey.

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It will have you dreaming of long and lazy, sun drenched days. When you gaze out your window, you won’t see a frozen, barren, arctic waste land. No. You’ll see a beautiful green and rugged coastline framed by the turquoise sea. Just make sure you don’t shatter the illusion by sneaking a peek at your thermometer!

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Pears with Pecorino, Pistachios & Honey

  • Servings: 2 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 pears
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/4 cup shaved Pecorino Cheese
  • handful of roughly chopped pistachios
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

For a Fresh & Light Spring/Summer Dish:

Core and slice pears. Scattered shaved Pecorino over pear slices. Warm honey and drizzle over pears and cheese. Sprinkle pistachios over the top. Season with freshly ground pepper if desired.

For a Warm & Comforting Fall/Winter Dish:

Core and slice pears. Place on broiler rack. Scatter shaved Pecorino over pear slices. Broil until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Warm honey and drizzle over pears and cheese. Sprinkle pistachios over the top. Season with freshly ground pepper if desired.

Pears with Pecorino, Pistachios & Honey brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


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