Chefs Zach and Steve serve the real deal at Sotto…
Chefs Zach and Steve serve the real deal at Sotto…
If only you could have been a fly on the wall in our dining room at the moment that Tracie P drew that first drop of Fratelli Urciuolo 2008 Fiano d’Avellino to her lips last night. “Oh yeah,” she said with a joyous reverence, “THAT’s what Fiano d’Avellino tastes like.”
For all the blessings of our lives, there’s (almost) nothing that makes me happier than bringing home a wine that my super fine lady will enjoy. “This is the Fiano d’Avellino that I remember drinking in Naples and Ischia,” she said, speaking of the nearly five years she lived, worked, and cooked in Campania before returning to Texas.
With bright acidity, great minerality, and a characteristic “toasty” note that you often find in real Fiano d’Avellino (as Tracie P noted), the wine paired beautifully with another flavor system that she brought back with her from Campania: cannellini beans cooked with escarole and chicken stock and ditalini (tube-shaped pasta) — a southern Italian pasta e fagioli. Fanfriggin’ DELICIOUS people!
After being properly nourished, the band retreated once again into the Parzen studio, where we continue to write, record, and hash out the songs for the new album that we will begin “tracking” on Sunday here in Austin.
I’ll spare you the details of my digestive cycle, but the morning after a fantastic meal of real Fiano and Tracie P’s “greens and beans,” as she likes to call the dish, I AM READY TO MAKE MUSIC! :-)
Above: It’s easy to understand why they can make fresh, clean wines in the Commune of Lettere (Naples), where vines are tended atop the peaks of the Lattari mountain chain.
It’s another busy day over here at Do Bianchi Editorial and I really shouldn’t be posting. But when a lovely lady sends me an etymological quaestio, the chivalrous in me trumps my otherwise unflagging work ethic (hah!).
Over at My Life Italian, Tracie B has produced a truly wonderful and thoroughly delightful post on a wine we shared just over a week ago in New York: a sparkling red blend of indigenous grape varieties from the township of Lettere (province of Naples). You’ll have to click through to read about this wine and why it — together with Gragnano — is one of Neapolitans’s favorite pairings for pizza.
But as far as toponomastic matters are concerned, I poked around the web and found an answer to her query as to the origins of the name Lettere.
The most likely etymon I found was that Lettere is a corruption of Lattari (pronounced laht-TAH-ree, if I’m not mistaken), the name of the mountain chain where the township is located. The beautiful (and fruitful) mountains take their name, most believe, from the Latin mons lactarius, literally the suckling mountain (from the Latin lac meaning milk) because the mountain chain was known in antiquity as an excellent site for sheep to pasture.
Tracie B and I will be heading to central and northern Italy in early 2010 but we are hoping to head south next fall. We’ll be sure to take a print out of this listing of pizzerie in Lettere (click on “Dove Alloggiare e Mangiare”)!
And in the meantime, I’ll reiterate Tracie B’s advice: head to Kesté Pizza e Vino in New York and order some Lettere (or Gragnano) with your pizza!
Pizza is hot. No pun intended: for the last few months, pizza has been one of the hottest topics in the food and wine media — from Dr V’s post on the forbidden pizza-wine pairing earlier this year to Eric’s astute observations on the “wine and pizza debate” in May, from Alan Richman’s controversial list of his top 25 pizzerias in the U.S., also published in May, to Frank Bruni’s article in The Times yesterday about the “cult” of artisanal pizza in this country.
Above: Skewered mozzarella at Dough, wrapped in prosciutto and grilled at Dough. Has the mimetic desire kicked in yet?
I recently took Tracie B to try the pizza at Doug Horn’s Dough in San Antonio. I had eaten there a few times and was consistently and repeatedly impressed by the authenticity of the pies. It was time to call in the expert: after all, Tracie B lived in Ischia outside of Naples for nearly five years. She KNOWS her authentic Neapolitan pizza. She was duly impressed and suffice it say that we will soon be back.
Above: Self-Portrait in a Convex Spoon? I think I just gave myself an idea for this week’s Sunday Poetry. Doug’s panna cotta is as good as it gets. I told Doug that his panna cotta was one of the best I’d tasted outside of Italy and one of the best ever tasted, really. “I know,” he responded dryly. This guy doesn’t kid around.
As American writers, bloggers, foodies, celebrity restaurateurs, and food pundits and critics continue to argue the finer points of authentic Neapolitan pizza, few have taken note of Naples’s recent celebration of the 120th anniversary of the birth of the Pizza Margherita, which was created using the three colors of the Italian flag to commemorate Queen Margherita of Savoy’s visit to Naples in 1889. For the occasion, the city of Naples reenacted the parade held to welcome the queen to the once Parthenopaean Republic.
I found this YouTube of the event, worth watching if just for the costumes. Enjoy! And Frank, please call me! There’s great pizza in Texas, too!