Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Small world....

So I was at the Italian Food and Wine Show and I met a great couple who runs a wine business/coaching/education business named TWC Wine Imports.  We start talking about Italian wines, I mentioned how I was just in Italy and so do they, we talk about what wineries we visited and I mention a small boutique winery in Castellina in Chianti named Poggio Amorelli.  Turns out they had just been there the week before so we spend 10 minutes talking about Marco, the family, the dog, the horse...The point is you have to visit this small family run winery to understand how special it is.  I have been to several wineries but this one, I don't know why was just special, it's like there was magic in the air.  Marco comes out to greet us and even though he is well over 40 I am so drawn to him, something about him is just so attractive...maybe the fact that he makes wine for a living but that is besides the point.  He is so captivating and most importantly passionate about what he does.  We go for a little tour and sit down at long wooden tables and benches for the tasting.  One sip and I am hooked, Jael and I look at eachother and we are hooked.  We order a case to be shipped back to Canada. 

Poggio Amorelli

Poggio Amorelli Chianti Classico, DOCG (my personal favourite)

So next time you are in Castellina in Chianti check out this place, it's worth the trip.  You will sample 5 of their wines, olive oil, grappa with amazing homemade salami and fresh pecorino cheese.  As I said, I don't know what they put in their wine but there is something about this place that is just special...see for yourselves.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Italian Food and Wine Show

Since I miss Italy so much, well especially Tuscany, it was refreshing to attend the Italian Food and Wine Show in Ottawa's Little Italy.  Drank so many wines, tasted some great foods but best of all tasted some fabulous olive oils from Italy, Greece and Morrocco. 

We settled on two:

Extra-Virgin from Olearia San Giorgio (Calabria)

Extra-Virgin from Le Tre Colonne (Bari)

I strongly suggest you treat yourself to some premium oils and most importantly USE THEM, don't let them sit around for years because you want to save them.  People, these are not Barolos, it's olive oil, it oxidizes hence that awful taste you can get at the back of your throat sometimes when you eat it if it has sat on the shelf for too long.  One thing though, don't cook with it, eat it raw as is, on salads, on pasta, bread, antipasto, or drizzled last minute on pizza.

Now my two-cents on nutrition:  Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, these are the healthy fats we should be eating more of.  These are heart healthy and have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease and reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL is bad, HDL is good...think H, Happy=Good).  If it were up to me I would take every corn, soy, vegetable oil out of everyone's pantry, that stuff is truly awful for our bodies, it is so refined and has very little nutritional value.  You may be spending more on olive oil, but it's worth the splurge for both taste and nutritional value.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


This is the first time in my life that I have had no idea what I will be doing next week, in a month, two months....and although it's liberating it's getting me nervous.  What if nothing works out?  There are zillions of people out there who love to cook, honestly, what makes me any different.

Even if nothing works out I will always be the #1 cook for the family.  Last night we hosted a celebration for my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.  My favourite part is planning the menu so here it is:

Tuscan Antipasto: Bresaola, Proscuitto, various Pecorino cheeses, olives, bread
 Cristal Champagne, 1993

Primi Piatti
Spaghetti, pancetta, garlic, tomato, basil, Grano Padano
Chianti Castello Poppiano, 2004

Braised veal, white wine, capers, onions, pimentos, sage
Red potatoes, rosemary, black pepper
Zuchinni, basil
Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, 2000

Peach clafouti crostata/shortbread crust
Vanilla bean ice cream

It was great, I never use a recipe so it wouldn't be fair to post one up, have you try it and then complain...maybe I should try writing stuff down...what a concept.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Back ....

So I have returned from France and Italy after an "extended" stay and suffering from post-vacation high. Mostly I am discouraged about the state of our food here. Sure we have tons of it, whatever you want, whenever you want...but that is just the point, it's all mediocre at best. I have never eaten so much white bread, cured meats, full fat cheeses, at one point I ate pure shmaltz flavoured with fennel, who was I? Drinking wine more than water, I wasn't running, or biking..wait, I did a one day bike tour of Chianti but that doesn't count. All this to say I did not gain a pound, never felt healthier, had better skin and was happier than ever.

I am back in Ottawa now exploring new opportunities with this new found love of Tuscan food. I want to embrace it, I am afraid of losing it, so hopefully this will encourage me to keep it alive and inspire me.

Check back for a look back at my trip...once I figure out how to add pictures.