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domenica 14 ottobre 2012

Il Perseo, e come si parla fiorentino

Finishing up my last few days as a Fiorentino.  Always will come back to these lands which I consider a certain type of home.  Heading south again to Rome and San Donato Val di Comino.  And hopefully a trip to Calabria as well.  Picked up some useful Florentine dialect (below) to entertain.

Passando la Piazza Della Signoria, Il Perseo di Benvenuto Cellini. 

Una lezione di dialetto fiorentino per voi...

sabato 13 ottobre 2012

Casa del vino in Florence, and the beauty of raw pork sausage

Stopped into Casa del Vino today by the San Lorenzo Market in Florence.  This time around the Panino con Salsiccia e Stracchino caught my eye.  An incredible combination here of raw pork sausage and the soft creamy cows milk cheese from northern Italy all on a toasty warm unsalted Tuscan roll.  We drank a classic glass of Colli Fiorentini Chianti from Fattoria Poggio Romita, followed by some Vino Nobile di Montepulciano from Trerose.  Raw pork sausage is not really something you find in the States due to the Trichinosis scare, but for me it captures the freshness and one of a kind texture of artisinal salsiccia.

I talked with Gianni Migliorini briefly who told me that the small panino, crostino and wine shop has been open since 1870 and owned by his family since 1930.  An amazingly tasty and affordable place for textbook Tuscan sandwiches and wine.

 Casa del Vino.

 Perfectly spicy yet delicate Crostino di Peporoncino.

 The Marvelous bowl to the left containing fresh raw pork sausage and stracchino cheese
 ready to be served up on a panino roll.

We went for an addition of a slice of grilled eggplant which paired wonderfully with the two.

In other Negroni News...

Jay and I stopped into Caffe Rivoire (where the recent Rape of the Polissena incident happened) in the Piazza della Signoria. Normally I would have avoided this caffe at all costs due to its super tourist appearance on the outside, but we found out that same day that this is the spot where the Negroni Cocktail was invented.  It was indeed an amazing Negroni and there were some locals inside enjoying aperitivo which was a comforting feeling.


Negroni Plaque that can be found inside of the caffè.

Roma Lungotevere

Photo: Jay Elling Photography.

Cycling to Fiesole for vino sfuso with a view

Yesterday charged it up the steep hill from Florence to Fiesole with my good mate Jay Elling.  We stopped for a spritz and a .75 L bottle of vino sfuso from the Colline Fiorentine at ''di Vino Paci'' for only € 1.80.

Vino Sfuso is a simple and wonderful thing to enjoy in Italy, and as fellow blogger/friend Alfonso just wrote today in his post, also tastes better than most Italian supermarket wines you find in the states for a fraction of the price. 

 di Vono Paci, vino sfuso, Fiesole.

 Out of shape but still going for it on the rental bike.
Jay looks into the distance towards florence from above.

lunedì 1 ottobre 2012

Marrakech to the Sahara and a taste of Moroccan wine

Yesterday, I returned from a two day trip (7 hour drive each way) into the Moroccan Sahara Desert.  I left from Marrakech with a group of seven others and when we arrived built a fire and camped out in the sand dunes underneath a full moon.  For my last day in Marrakech I visited the botanical gardens and made a stop into the wine shop aka the supermarket, the only place selling alcohol in most of the country.

 Stopping into the town of Ait Ben Haddou, famous for film settings 
for movies such as Indiana Jones and Gladiator.

On the road...

 Another view...

Long shutter self portrait in the Sahara.  

 Here I'm about to take off for a sunrise camel ride from Zagora, Morocco after a fine night of camping.

 A lot of this trip has been spent at the fruit stands.  In particular the ones selling this exotic thorned fruit called Ficus Indica which grows in Mexico, Africa and some parts of Europe.  Fico d'India in Italian and in English I tend to refer to it as an Indian fig. They are the fruit of a certain cactus of the same name and possibly native to Mexico.

Stopping at one of the many Marrakech Indian fig vendors for only 5 cents a pop. 
 These babies have a really soft ripe texture but with hard little seeds that are 
easy to swallow and man are they addicting.

Domaine du Val D'argan El Mogador Rose' visiting the botanical gardens in Marrakech.

Popped this bottle in the hotel by the pool tonight and it was actually quite fantastic.  We drank a red last night from the Guerrouane in the Meknès region which was quite rubbish, but this rose' here is definitely a contender.  I believe this wine is coming from mainly Muscat Noir grapes (13% alc.), and drinks similarly to a refreshing Provence rose' with a little bit of a herbaceous quality and a soft ashy, almost volcanic note that reminded me of a couple of Etna Rosato's I have had.

There are five wine growing regions in Morocco with 14 of them having AOG status.  This wine here lies in the south and outside of the five regions and Domaine du Val D'argan is the only winery located here (just 30 KM south of Essaouira, a lovely Moroccan beach town also famous for its seafood), with a production a little over 100,000 bottles a year.

Heres to discovering new wines in new places, especially in this case where the drinking culture is almost non existent.

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