Italian Cousins Blog
March 2013 Italian Cousins..What was in the pack
March 2013 - The Mediterranean Diet
The first release of our newest variety. Now sold out, but of course we kept a bottle for each of our Italian Cousins. Fiano is a Southern Italian variety that is Fresh and vibrant with a nutty palate and touches of honey. 2011Opera Block Cabernet Merlot We have recently changed the name of our reserve range from Family Reserve to Opera Block. We are excited by this young but smooth blend. Smooth tannins and bold fruit with a lingering & delicious palate.
2010 Messing About Malbec/Jacquez This European style red is made from a blend of two of our oldest grape varieties. Both the Malbec and the Jaquez have been growing in our vineyard for over 40 years and this is the first time we have put the two together. Our ’Messing About’ range has enabled Dylan to create new favourites for our customers. Juicy is a great way to describe this blend. Always perfect with pizza and pasta, put this bottle of Summertime in the fridge or on ice. Serve with great friends.
La Molisana Whole Wheat Fusilli One of the greatest benefits of the Mediterranean cuisine is the fibre rich foods. Changing to whole wheat pasta is a change that we have been reluctant to make, but look forward to hearing some feedback! Raw Materials Black Lentils Low in calories and high in protein, lentils make a great soup, side dish for chicken and pork or a nutritious vegetarian main. In Italy if you want to ensure prosperity in the New Year, you must eat lentils on New Years Eve. These Australian grown chickpeas are perfect in soups, stews, salads, curries and much more. A simple Chickpea soup made with carrots, onion, celery, a spoonful of tomato paste and macaroni is a Puglisi family favourite. Make your own hommus or falafel for high protein, high fibre, low GI snacks. You will have no excuse to not make hearty Minestrone Soup this winter. In our opinion Borlotti Beans are the heart and soul of minestrone. Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil First cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a reuseable crock. Barrel Room Homemade Passata Home made by our BarrelRoom Café chefs just for our Italian Cousins. Use this passata as the base for your next pasta sauce. We hope you can taste the difference. There are plenty of seconds tomatoes available on the Granite Belt during summer. Have your bottles ready so that you can take advantage of your next visit to the region with a boot full of ripe tomatoes (and a few wines).
Rizzoli Anchovies in Extra Virgin Olive Oil Rizzoli have been producing Anchovies for over 100 years. They are matured in wooden barrels, fleshy in texture and delicate in flavour. Perfect for our Bagna Cauda recipe.
Recipe Cards(to add to your recipe card-holder) Pasta e Fagioli. There are numerous names for this simple, inexpensive, homestyle meal including ‘Pasta fazool’ and ‘Pastafasulu’. You might remember its reference in the Dean Martin song ‘That’s Amore’. Simple and hearty, the epitomy of satisfying vegetarian cuisine, full of legumes and served with a dash of olive oil. Bagna Cauda. This is a rich and intense fondue style dip. Try as an entrée at your next dinner party.
Italian Parsley. Access to fresh parsley is imperative in an Italian kitchen. We wish you success in growing these seeds and enjoying the flavours and fragrance year after year. Chop fresh parsley and blend with finely diced lemon to make a gremolata as the final addition to a rich osso bucco just prior to serving.
The Mediterranean Diet. Read with a glass of red wine! Learn to live like the people in the many countries surrounding the Mediterranean. Enjoy life, eat the best quality food you can afford and reap the benefits for you and your family.
Posted by Italian Cousins at 24/04/13 3:34 Comments
Chianti - Vineyards on every hillside
It's true, the vineyards are stunning and at this time of year, they are just starting to change colour, lovely yellow hues are beginning to appear across the hillsides, its just magical.
Radda is a quiet little town, full of ancient buildings and quaint little shops. The locals are very friendly and welcome tourists from all over the world to their very beautiful part of the world. The town is so ancient that their are many Etruscan tombs and we walked through a small stone thoroughfare that has a sign indicating that it is circa XIV (that says 14!!) A mazing!!
So, this area is all about the wine and food, we have had 2 amazing meals at La Botta di Bacco and enjoyed a number of local Chianti there.
Our first day in the Chianti region was a sightseeing tour to the medieval town of Sienna.. This ancient city has a lot of history and you can feel the stories seeping through the walls of the buildings as you walk past. It was almost like they were whispering their secrets to us as we wandered the city. Our gorgeous guide Barbara (I think the boys took about 1000 photos of her!!) had fantastic knowledge of the town and really came to life when she took us to the Cathedral of Sienna as it was the last day of a rare display of the floor mosaics and she was keen to explain their history and meaning.
The guides on our Italian Cousins tour have been nothing short of amazing. To be a guide in Italy, you must have a tertiary qualification - usually in languages, history or theology and then they are required to study extensively about the region they are guiding in and sit regular examinations to keep their registration, so all of the guides have been passionate and knowledgable and ready to share what they know about their area.....terrific.
Next day, we ventured to the neighbouring town of Castalina where we met Rosaria, who took us for a tour and wine tasting at La Castellina Fattoria. This small winery (about the size of Ballandean Estate) is family owned and has been making wine for generations in the town. Rosaria was great, and took us through a range of thier wines including their Chianti Classico, Chianti Riserva and then explained to us about the Super Tuscan wines and we enjoyed thier Merlot. The wine tasting was fabulous and everyone enjoyed the wine, food and the great information provided by Rosaria.
Our afternoon was spent at leisure enjoying the sounds and sights of the gorgeous town of Radda, all in preparation for our next day at the cooking school.
Cooking school day began slowly, as our chef let us know that the markets would begin late today, so we needed to meet him mid afternoon. The group decided to have a picnic lunch overlooking the picturesque hillsides, so we all had to head to the supemarket to choose some local delicacies.
Lunch was fantastic! Salami (many types), artichoke, olives, gorgonzola, pecorino, pane......it was all delicious and wonderful way to while away a few hours. You might even spot a bottle of Ballandean Estate Viognier in the pictures and it was gorgeous too.
Finally, it was time to enjoy our cooking class with the entertaining Lorenzo and his very talented Zia (aunt) Lorena. We began by taking a walk through the markets with Lorenzo to pick up some eggplant and zucchini and some cheese and salami from his uncle, then off to the kitchen.
The setting for our class was the ancient kitchen of our hotel, Palazzo Leopoldo and we began by preparing some lovely cheese souffle for our entree followed by the gorgeous recipe for cantucci in preparation for our dessert. The afternoon was definately a highlight of the tour and we laughed and created amazing food as well as learning some tricks of the trade from the lovely Lorena. After making our Ravioli, heading to the modern kitchen to learn about the meat preparation and watching the Vin Santo custard being prepared, it was time to sit at the table and enjoy a Chianti before the first course.
What a meal it was, enjoyed even more, knowing that we had assisted in its creation, but the presentation and flavours were outstanding. We would highly recommend Lorenzo and Lorena as they were a fantastic duo to spend an afternoon and evening with....a truly great experience.
Posted by Italian Cousins at 27/10/12 1:55 Comments
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The Ballandean Estate family would like to share with you what makes being Italian so special. Join the family and enhance your life with sensory packages, blogs and connections with all things Italian.
Italian Cousins is an Italian Food, Wine, Cultural and Educational Experience. It arrives at your door every four months as a package of food, wine, goodies and surprises! Italian Cousins communicates with you throughout the year All Things Italian through blogs, emails, facebook, links and gives you the opportunity to journey to Italy bi-annually.
Every 4 months Italian Cousins brings you:
- 6 Premium Ballandean Estate Wines perfectly matched to our delicious recipes
- Handmade pasta and other tempting goodies
- Authentic Italian cooking Ingredients
- Collectible recipes from our family recipe books
- Surprises (we love to surprise family)
- An exclusive invitation to our annual Scampagnata (Italian Picnic)
- 10% off wines purchased at the Ballandean Estate Cellar Door
- 10% off a la carte dining in the Barrel Room Cafe
- First Access to our Italian Cousins - All things Italian Tour of Italy (approx every 2 years)
When do I receive it and what does it cost?
Italian Cousins arrives at your door every March, July and November and costs $199 per package + $8 freight per package.
Your credit card will be charged on the first monday of the month.
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