As expected, the first 12 include the most famous Italian winemakers and producers, such as Marchesi Frescobaldi (Ornellaia), Bruno Giacosa, Giuseppe Quintarelli, Giacomo Conterno, Biondi Santi, Romano Dal Forno, Gianfranco Soldera, Giuseppe Mascarello and Angelo Gaja.
"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly." - M. F. K. Fisher
Such a true and simple, yet powerful statement, isn't it? I've heard that the dinner party is a lost art, which makes me a little (very) sad. I love gathering around the table to share food with my family and friends, it's something that I don't think will ever get old for me.
This past weekend I hosted a wine & cheese party for some girlfriends, and it went so well I thought I'd share some tips here with you. We had 8 girls, including myself, 7 wines, and 7 cheeses. I think you could get away with 4 or 5 of each, but we just couldn't help ourselves. I asked each guest to bring either a wine or a cheese based on a suggested pairings list, which cut down my shopping list for the party. This seemed to work really well!
Following last month's successful festival, John Bensalhia investigates the history and local attractions of Franciacorta.Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons. Last month, the fabulous Franciacorta Festival took place – as reported in Silvia Donati's piece here. Franciacorta sparkling wine is one of the best of its kind – with its spicy, crisp and delicious taste. In fact, the area has long been known for its best known export. Tracing the first instances of grape growing, the history books take us back to the Middle Ages and even Roman times.
The enduring properties of Franciacorta wine are due in part to two key natural elements. One of these is the good climate: the weather is generally constant and mild. The other factor is the strong soil conditions. The soil is unique – partly as a result of glacial action that left glacial debris in the earth, including sand and gravel. This very special soil means that it drains excellently, which makes it a perfect choice for grape cultivation and wine making. Records indicate that Franciacorta has been populated since the Palaeolithic era. The archaeological records are said to have been left by the Cenomani of Brixia – an ancient tribe of Cisalpine Gauls, Romans and Lombards. Meanwhile, the name Franciacorta is thought to come from curtes francae, which were fortified courts of the Frankish empire that had been introduced in the eighth century. The name is said to have been introduced in 1277. It is said to have appeared in a municipal statute of Brescia, referring to the area south of Lake Iseo which was located between the rivers Oglio and Mella. If there's one notable connection with Franciacorta apart from wine, then it's the long history that it has with various monastic institutions through the years. One of the most notable examples is the female monastery of San Salvatore (also known as Santa Giulia of Brescia) which was set up in 753 by Lombard king Desiderius and his wife Ansa. The monastery marked the first mention of recorded property in Franciacorta. - See more at: http://www.italymagazine.com/featured-story/finding-franciacorta-brief-guide#sthash.KLVSxt3n.dpuf
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