There’s Something Lemon Going On: Pots & Co.

Upside Down Lemon Cheesecake by Pots and Co.

London Dessert Company Makes Southern U.S. Debut

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that my past two posts included recipes for a no-bake lemon cheesecake and lemon ricotta cake. Last week between voluntary lockdown (I live in Florida, the COVID-19 epicenter,) the Hurricane Isaias threat and heat, I just didn’t feel like baking. So, today’s post is about an unexpected surprise and tasty Upside-Down Lemon Cheesecake made by Pots & Co. that has made its Southern U.S. debut.

Upside Down Lemon Cheesecake by Pots and Co.
Upside-Down Lemon Cheesecake by Pots & Co. © Pots & Co.

In Pots We Bake

Pots & Co. bakes their delicious desserts in ceramic pots because it gives them depth and creaminess, plus doubles their fridge life. Once you’ve tasted one though, I doubt that they’ll be in your fridge for long! In addition, the pots are reusable and besides using them to bake something new, try something decorative. For example, check out this nice display of plants using Pots & Co. pots.

Reusable and Recyclable pots by Pots & Co. © Pots. & Co.

Dessert with Conscience

For anyone watching their weight, no dessert is guilt free. However, in times like we’re now living, I am the first person to advocate for indulging your sweet cravings! Rest assured, the portions are small enough to satisfy them without breaking the calorie-counting bank.

Most importantly, the pots and packaging are eco-friendly. Even if you don’t reuse the pots, they are recyclable. Moreover, if you add them to the regular trash by mistake, they are biodegradable and release only the Spanish clay in which they’re made of, back into the earth.

Pots & Co. desserts are now available in the Southern U.S. at Costco.
Something yummy arrives at my door! © Author

A Full Range of Yumminess

I received a box of four Upside-Down Lemon Cheesecakes, but as you know I love chocolate (check out next week’s blog for a new recipe.) I think I’ll next try either the Chocolate Fudge Lave Cake, Chocolate & Salted Caramel Lava Cake, or 70% Chocolate Ganache. You can find the complete range of flavors and heating instructions (if needed) here.

Pots & Co. eco-friendly packaging.
Pots. & Co. Upside-Down Lemon Cheesecake has eco-friendly packaging. © Author

From London to Your Fridge

Good news! Since June 15th, Pots & Co. desserts can be found in the U.S. They’ll be sold at Costco in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Yes, Florida! 🙋🏻‍♀️

In Pots We Trust

In 2014, founder Julian Dyer had a dream with determination. Having grown tired of the restaurant world, he wanted to bring proper desserts to people at home. Julian explains, “I was standing in a lemon dessert factory and there wasn’t a fresh lemon in sight. I’m a chef – this didn’t make sense. So I started making potted desserts using top ingredients.”

There’s something very nice about guilt-free consumption. In Pots & Co., we trust that quality with conscience can be a regular, if not a daily addition to our table and home. I hope you can try them and if you do, let me know in a comment below!

“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” ~ Ernestine Ulmer (American Author – 1892-1987)

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

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Lemon Ricotta Cake Recipe and Where You’ll Find the Best Lemons in the World

Fast and easy Lemon Ricotta Cake recipe.

Lemon Ricotta Cake is a Perfect Finish to the Summer BBQ Dinner!

Here’s the perfect way to use up leftover Ricotta cheese. This Lemon Ricotta Cake recipe is the ideal finish to the summer BBQ dinner. The “secret sauce” is the lemon rind which means that you need real lemons. Please don’t use bottled lemon juice! Keep scrolling to read where you’ll find the best lemons in the world. 👇🏼

A Little History

Woman holding freshly made Ricotta cheese.

It was impossible for me to find the Lemon Ricotta Cake’s true origin despite the many versions that are available on the internet. I am going to guess Sicily, because that area of Italy claims to be the founder of ricotta cheese. (Since my readership is largely based in Italy, feel free to comment at the end of the blog should you know differently. 👇🏼)

I love how in traditional Italian Cuisine, you can find innovative and tasty examples of how nothing went to waste. Ricotta (it’s really a curd rather than cheese) came about when someone wanted to find a way to use the whey leftover from other cheeses. In fact, Ricotta translates to “re-cooked.” One of the earliest references to ricotta was made by a Sicilian history professor.

Curious about how Ricotta is made? I suggest that you watch this video.

World’s Most Famous Lemons

Probably the biggest and best lemons in the world come from the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento. Have you been there? If so, tag #LiveinItalyMag @LiveinItalyMag in your photos for re-gram consideration.

Now despite Sorrento’s claim to lemon fame, it’s believed that this citrus fruit’s roots go back to Northern India, China and Malaysia. It was the Medici’s of Florence that brought lemons to Italy and started cultivating lemons in the 16th Century. Read more here.

Freshly baked Lemon Ricotta Cake on a cooling tray.

Let’s Bake!

This cake is called Migliaccio (pudding) in Naples. The name is indicative of the Lemon Ricotta Cake’s texture. In this version, semolina is used rather than flour. Here again, is a great example of making something delicious of ingredients readily on hand.

Note: I found the original recipe on Cooking Classy

  • 1 1/3 cups (188g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (356g) whole milk ricotta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter parchment.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together sugar, butter and lemon zest until pale and fluffy.

Mix in eggs one at a time (mixture will appear lumpy), blend in vanilla.

Add in half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined, add ricotta and mix just until combined.

Add in last half of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Gently fold batter to ensure ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared springform pan and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven until cake is set (a toothpick can come out moist but no batter), about 45 – 50 minutes.

Let cake cool 10 minutes then run a knife around edge to loosen any edges that may have stuck slightly, remove springform ring and continue to let cool.

Once cool, dust the Lemon Ricotta Cake with powdered sugar and serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream, if desired.

Lemon Ricotta Cake dusted with powdered sugar.

A Ricotta Life Lesson

I’m enjoying this journey to discover the history of some of the ingredients that go into Italian dishes and desserts that I love. I hope you will enjoy joining me on this food journey too.

Quality ingredients are key. However, being mindful and not letting anything go to waste strengthens our appreciation of what we make.

Cu’ non mancia ccu’ so’ cucchiaru lassa tutto ‘o zammataru. (Those who don’t eat with a spoon will leave all their ricotta behind.) ~ Professor Santi Correnti, chairman of the history department of the University of Catania and a preeminent historian of Sicily.

If you like lemon desserts, check out this easy, No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake recipe.

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

Focaccia, the History of Vitello Tonnato, and a French Wine Connection

Focaccia con Formaggio made with Stracchino Cheese

Finding Liguria Close to Home

All food bloggers including me, need to take a break from the kitchen for rest and inspiration. This week’s blog post explains the reason why I tried to make Focaccia and the history of Vitello Tonnato. There’s a perfect pairing and French Wine connection explained at the end too.

Riviera Focacceria Miami: A Focaccia Tradition Born in Liguria

Feeling a little “flight grounded,” I’ve been needing another escape. A lunch get-together in Miami gave me the energy boost that I needed to return to the writer’s keyboard! If traveling to South Florida, I highly recommend that you visit Riviera Focacceria. It’s located at the Shops of Midtown Miami.

Street view of Riviera Focacceria Italiana located at the Shops at Midtown Miami. © Author
Riviera Focacceria Italiana is located at the Shops of Midtown Miami.

Currently, you can’t sit inside because of Coronavirus restrictions. However there’s a shady patio with a succulent wall on one side and animated street view on the other. To simulate an ocean breeze, try a wine “infused with the sea” and enjoy one of their seafood dishes. Your imagination and taste buds will quickly transport you to Liguria on the Italian Riviera!

Ligurian Focaccia at Riviera Focacceria Italian in Miami.
Riviera Focacceria Italian offers a shaded outdoor patio and delivery options. © Riviera Focacceria

A Focaccia First

I first visited Riviera Focacceria in 2014, (shortly after it opened) to pick up lunch to take to a meeting. The smell of freshly baked focaccia lured me in and the variety of baked yumminess on display were fascinating. Little did I know, that Miami’s best Italian sandwich was in that takeout bag! Forget Panini made from Ciabatta bread. When eating a sandwich made with homemade Focaccia, your teeth first sink through a crispy exterior. Then, they’ll descend into buttery craters to reach their final destination: delicious fillings like cheese, Prosciutto, Speck or vegetables. It’s heavenly!

When the Calf Met the Tuna Fish: Vitello Tonnato

Vitello Tonnato means veal with a tuna sauce.
Vitello Tonnato (Veal in a Tuna Sauce) is a classic dish from Piemonte. © Author

Vitello Tonnato means Veal in a Tuna Sauce. Although this partnership seems odd, think of it as the Piedmontese “Surf and Turf” — thin slices of aromatic veal served cold and topped with a creamy tuna, anchovy and capers mayonnaise. Trust me, it’s delicious and the history of Vitello Tonatto is quite fascinating.

DYK Piemonte (land of Barolo and Barbaresco) is only a one and half hour drive from coastal Liguria?

The concept of “fat” relating to meat and “lean” to seafood, as two separate nutritional entities dates back to the Middle Ages. At some point in Italian food history, a cook decided to challenge this idea and the first experiment, to no surprise, was adding anchovies to a sauce. Salt-preserved anchovies were used to boost the flavor of meat sauces and at this moment in history, an umami lover’s miracle was born!

Fast forward and some culinary experiments later, a medical researcher came up with three variations of Vitello Tonnato. Not only were they tasty, but he felt that each would benefit the digestive track.

Enjoy Vitello Tonnato with freshly baked Focaccia dipped in olive oil made in Liguria at Riviera Focacceria. © Author

By the 1950’s, Vitello Tonnato became the culinary sensation that we know today: thin slices of veal topped with a sauce enriched with a creamy mayonnaise.

You can read the full story here.

A French Wine Connection: Domaine Ménard-Gaborit, 2012 Monnières-Saint-Fiacre 2012 (Muscadet Sèvre et Maine)

🍇: Melon de Bourgogne

Pays Nantais (Nantes) is located in the western Loire Valley.
The Loire River is the longest river in France. © Shutterstock

Muscadet was on my wine newbie “to do” list. Melon de Bourgogne is the only grape used in Muscadet. The Pays Nantais region (where this wine dominates) is located in the western Loire Valley on the Loire River — the longest river in France. Additionally, it’s also 31 miles (50 km) from the Atlantic Ocean. Muscadet Sevre-et-Maine is the most famous Muscadet appellation.

Melon de Bourgogne’s history is quite intriguing. Should you wish to know more, listen to the Wine for Normal People podcast titled, “Muscadet – The Overlooked White of Loire.”

Octopus and Artichoke Appetizer at Riviera Focacceria In Miami.

Funnily, luck was on my side that day. My favorite wine guru decided that the Domaine Ménard-Gaborit wine would go well with Vitello Tonnato. We also ate an octopus and artichoke appetizer and seafood pasta.

I greatly enjoyed the new release, Contre Courant (“against the current”.) With “notes of seabreeze,” it paired perfectly with lunch. Additionally, the one that I took home, the 2012 Monnières-Saint-Fiacre, had me thinking and salivating for days!

Note: This wine is not on Riviera Focacceria’s wine list. However, they have a wide selection of quality wines that complement the Ligurian-inspired menu.

You can buy this wine at Wine by the Bay.

Just Go!

Riviera Focacceria’s central location makes it a perfect spot for lunch or a relaxing evening with full course dinner. They also offer delivery services should you be staying home during COVID-19 and need a cooking break. Check out their food and wine menus here.

A first attempt at making homemade
Focaccia.
My first attempt at making Focaccia. © Author

In short, here is why I tried to make Focaccia. I hope to one day get better at making this Ligurian specialty. Somethings like Focaccia though, may be best left to the experts.

At Riviera Focacceria, the spotlight is on Ligurian cuisine. Enjoy regional icons such as: Pansotti, Focaccia di Recco (filled with Stracchino cheese,) and Mandilli de Saea “silk handkerchiefs.”

3252 Buena Vista Blvd #110, Miami, FL 33137 | www.rivierafocacceria.com @rivierafocacceriamiami

A Food and Wine Journey

Our plate and glass keep us connected with Italian history and culture. That connection makes us want to visit Italy over and over again. Or, some may even wish to live there one day.

Thanks to the people who keep these gastronomic traditions alive, we can find some new experiences close to home too.

It’s the not the destination, It’s the journey. ~ Ralph Emerson

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

Note: I thought long and hard about writing about a veal dish. If you’d like to know more about this subject I suggest you read this website. There is a movement for better practices in cultivating the meat and that can be read here.

Torta di Formaggio al Limone senza Cottura

when life gives you lemons, make an easy no-bake lemon cheesecake
  • 1 ½ tazze di briciole di cracker graham (375 g)
  • 3 cucchiaio di zucchero (37.8 g)
  • 7 cucchiaio di burro fuso (100 g)
  • 1 confezione di limone Jell-O (84 g)
  • 16 once di crema di formaggio ammorbidita (250 g)
  • 1 tazza di zucchero a velo (125 g)
  • 1 cucchiaino di estratto di vaniglia (3.3 g)
  • 2 cucchiaio di panna acida (30 g)
  • 1 tazza e mezza di panna (360 ml)
  • 1 cucchiaio di scorza di limone appena grattugiata (17.07 g)

Unisci le briciole e gli zuccheri del cracker Graham in una ciotola di medie dimensioni. Aggiungi il burro fuso e usa una forchetta per combinare bene gli ingredienti.

Versare il composto in una padella a forma di molla da 9 “o 10”. Usa il fondo (pulito!) Di un misurino per inserire saldamente le briciole sul fondo della padella e premere delicatamente i lati. Usa le dita per mettere le briciole saldamente nei lati della padella.

Mettere in frigorifero o in congelatore mentre si prepara il ripieno di cheesecake.

Versare la miscela di gelatina di gelatina di limone in 1 tazza di acqua molto calda e mescolare bene. Mettere da parte per raffreddare.

Nel frattempo, mescolare crema di formaggio e zucchero a velo insieme fino a che liscio e ben combinato.

Aggiungi la panna acida e mescola bene.

Mescolare in estratto di vaniglia.

Solo una volta che la miscela Jello non è più calda al tatto, versare gradualmente nella miscela di crema di formaggio. Mescolare lentamente all’inizio (per evitare schizzi) e quindi aumentare la velocità fino a quando la miscela è completamente combinata (mettere in pausa per raschiare periodicamente i lati della ciotola). Mescola molto bene.

In una ciotola separata, versa la tua crema pesante e usa un miscelatore elettrico con attacco a frusta per battere a picchi rigidi.

Piegare la panna montata in una miscela di cheesecake fino a quando non ben combinata.

Piegare nella scorza di limone, se si utilizza.

Versare sulla crosta del cracker Graham e trasferire in frigorifero per almeno 6 ore o durante la notte per raffreddare.

Se lo si desidera, coprire con panna montata prima di tagliare e servire.

Ritorna al blog qui.

Tarta de queso con limón sin hornear

when life gives you lemons, make an easy no-bake lemon cheesecake

Ingredientes

  • 1 ½ tazas de migas de galletas Graham (375 g)
  • 3 cucharadas de azúcar (37.8)
  • 7 cucharadas de mantequilla derretida (100 g)
  • 1 paquete de gelatina de limón 3 onzas (84 g)
  • 16 onzas de queso crema ablandado (250 g)
  • 1 taza de azúcar en polvo (125 g)
  • 1 cucharadita de extracto de vainilla (3.3 g)
  • 2 cucharadas de crema agria (30 g)
  • 1 ½ tazas de crema batida (360 ml)
  • 1 cucharada cascara de limón (17.07 g)

Instrucciones

  • Combine las migas de galletas Graham y los azúcares en un tazón mediano. Agregue mantequilla derretida y use un tenedor para combinar bien los ingredientes.
  • Vierta la mezcla en un molde de resorte de 9 “o 10”. Use el fondo (¡limpio!) De una taza de medir para empacar firmemente las migajas en el fondo de la sartén y presione suavemente hacia los lados. Usa tus dedos para empacar las migajas firmemente en los lados de la sartén.
  • Coloque en el refrigerador o congelador mientras prepara el relleno de tarta de queso.
  • Vierta la mezcla de gelatina de gelatina de limón en 1 taza de agua muy caliente y revuelva bien. Ponga a un lado para enfriar.
  • Mientras tanto, revuelva el queso crema y el azúcar en polvo hasta que quede suave y bien combinado.
  • Agregue la crema agria y revuelva bien.
  • Mezclar en extracto de vainilla.
  • Solo una vez que la mezcla de gelatina ya no esté caliente al tacto, vierta gradualmente en la mezcla de queso crema. Revuelva lentamente al principio (para evitar salpicaduras) y luego aumente la velocidad hasta que la mezcla esté completamente combinada (haga una pausa para raspar los lados del tazón periódicamente). Revuelva muy bien.
  • En un tazón separado, vierta su crema espesa y use una batidora eléctrica con un batidor para batir a picos rígidos.
  • Doble la crema batida en la mezcla de pastel de queso hasta que esté bien combinada.
  • Doblar en la ralladura de limón, si se usa.
  • Vierte sobre la corteza de galletas Graham y transfiérelas al refrigerador por al menos 6 horas o toda la noche para que se enfríen.
  • Si lo desea, cubra con crema batida antes de cortar y servir.

Regrese al blog aquí.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake

when life gives you lemons, make an easy no-bake lemon cheesecake

Feeding Five Under 25$

There’s nothing pleasant about living in South Florida these days. This year, the stifling heat and humidity are minor burdens compared to the reality of living in Florida, the COVID-19 epicenter. We’re just sitting and watching our impending, pandemic doom. Read it to believe it here. So, when life gives you lemons, make an easy no-bake lemon cheesecake.

Here’s the recipe below and some history about this famous saying at the end 👇🏼 – just keep scrolling if you’re not making this dessert. However, I suggest that you do because it’s a great finish to a BBQ dinner.

easy no-bake lemon cheesecake

No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake (Original recipe from Spend with Pennies)

La receta en español


La Ricetta in Italiano

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 package lemon Jell-O 3 ounces
  • 16 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest freshly grated

Combine graham cracker crumbs and sugars in a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and use a fork to combine ingredients well.

Pour mixture into a 9″ or 10″ springform pan. Use the (clean!) bottom of a measuring cup to firmly pack crumbs into the bottom of the pan and gently press up the sides. Use your fingers to pack crumbs tightly into the sides of the pan.

Place in refrigerator or freezer while you prepare cheesecake filling.

Pour Lemon Jello gelatin mix into 1 cup very hot water and stir well. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, stir cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth and well-combined.

Add sour cream and stir well.

Mix in vanilla extract.

Only once Jello mixture is no longer hot to the touch, gradually pour into cream cheese mixture. Stir slowly at first (to avoid splashing) and then increase speed until mixture is completely combined (pause to scrape down sides of the bowl periodically). Stir very well.

In a separate bowl, pour your heavy cream and use an electric mixer with whisk attachment to beat to stiff peaks.

Fold whipped cream into cheesecake mixture until well-combined.

Fold in lemon zest, if using.

Pour over graham cracker crust and transfer to refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight to chill.

If desired, top with whipped cream before cutting and serving.

fourth of july no-bake cheesecake

Notes:

I made two versions. For the second one, I used strawberry Jello because I needed a July 4th dessert. It came out pink, so I added a strawberry to the center and outlined the no-bake cheesecake with blueberries and whipped cream. Hooray for the red, but really pink, white and blue! 😊

The lemon version is a much tastier and more sophisticated dessert, because it doesn’t taste at all like Jello. Next year, I’ll just add some red food color to the original, no-bake lemon cheesecake recipe.

lemons for lemonade

When Life Gives You Lemons

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” is a memorable proverbial phrase that many of us like to pull out of our pocket and slap on like a Band-Aid, when something goes wrong. The phrase originates from a obituary titled, “The King of Jesters” penned by Elbert Hubbard who was inspired by the life of a disabled, but highly successful, dwarf actor.

In stressful times such as now, we turn to these words of wisdom and hopefully, find positive ways to escape. For me, it would be a visit to a museum, walk on the beach, or lunch with a friend. However, these simple solutions are now like unattainable luxuries as Floridians struggle to stay healthy and economically stable.

I’ll continue to temporarily forget by escaping to my kitchen and “make lemonade (or lemon cheesecake) from lemons.” However, it’s getting harder…

If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back? ~ Steven Wright

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

You can find other dessert recipes that I’ve made at the following links:

P.S. I am very thankful for all you who have shared this recipe. I was asked to post it in Spanish and Italian, so there are links at the top of the recipe. I am not fluent in Spanish or in Italian, so I used Google Translator. So, excuse any typos! 😊

Falling in Love with Franciacorta DOCG

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta DOCG Wines

Ricci Curbastro Guided Wine Tasting Seminar: History, Area, and Wines

If you haven’t had an opportunity to try Franciacorta, know that there are many reasons to do so. Once you’ve had just a few sips, I can almost guarantee that you’ll fall in love and possibly make this style of wine you’re preferred choice of bubbly. Today’s blog post is solely dedicated to the wine presented at the Ricci Curbastro guided wine tasting seminar.

Yes, I’ll mention the suggested pairings at the end and possibly in a future post. However, today I’ll recap the one hour, World Wine Web Masterclass seminar led by wine expert, Lyn Farmer and featuring Riccardo and Gualberto Ricci Curbastro of Ricci Curbastro Farm Estate Winery. A group of about twenty-five guests including lucky me, had a chance to learn about the history, vineyards and wines.

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta DOCG

What is Franciacorta?

Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy, Italy and is also a style of high-quality sparkling wine made using the Traditional Method or when speaking about Champagne, Méthode Champenoise. Now is not the time to compare ‘apples and oranges,’ because Franciacorta has its own unique identity, so let’s first dive into some history.

Riccardo Ricci Curbastro and Gualberto Ricci Curbastro Sr.

Franciacorta History

The cultivation of vines in Franciacorta goes back very far. Think about evidence of prehistoric grape seeds and mentions in the writings of Pliny the Elder. You can read more here.

The agricultural tradition of the Ricci Curbastro family dates back to the thirteenth century.  Eighteen generations later, Riccardo leads the business alongside his eldest son Gualberto who bears his grandfather’s name.

Franciacorta received its DOCG status* in 1995 and was the first Italian sparkling wine to achieve this designation. The region consists of about 120 producers. Gualberto explained at that time, the term Traditional or Classical Method was no longer used and replaced with Franciacorta as the only word to describe the wine style.

*Read about Italian Wine Classifications here.

1908 Map Ricci Curbastro Soil

There’s Something About Soil

A few years ago when Riccardo was sorting through papers, he discovered a map that dated back to 1908. It documented the research that his grandfather and great grandfather made to decide what was the best combination in terms of grafting American roots and European varieties after the phylloxera epidemic.

“Franciacorta is the stratification of great patience and a lot of research in getting always better and better quality,” remarked Riccardo with a tone of admiration and appreciation for his forefathers.  “And, we started a long time ago.”

He explains that Franciacorta has over sixty soil profiles. For this reason it is very important that Ricci Curbastro has vineyards in three different villages because of the variations in soil. Plus, the microclimates are different between the three. I suggest you watch the full video on the World Wine Web’s Masterclass Facebook page to understand more.

“There is something pretty unique in terms of characteristics: soil and climate,” says Riccardo when explaining the area, located at the foot of the Alps and north by the shores of Lake Iseo. The area has an unusual mix of climates, including Mediterranean.

Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta Brut NV
Franciacorta Brut NV (60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir) © Author

The Wines

One of the ingredients of our wine is time. ~ Riccardo Ricci Curbastro

We tasted three wines: Franciacorta Brut NV (60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir); Franciacorta Brut Satèn 2014 (100% Chardonnay); and Franciacorta Rosé Brut NV (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay.) You can read the wine specs here.

What engages me the most about wine seminars is to hear from people who create the wines. The insights and anecdotes are a trajectory from what’s in my glass to the vineyard and history.

Franciacorta Brut Satèn 2014
Franciacorta Brut Satèn 2014 (100% Chardonnay) © Author

For example, I learned that the word Satèn (silk) is a name that is typically only from Franciacorta and infers Franciacorta’s past when they were producing a lot of silk, as well as wine. Silk is a perfect metaphor for Franciacorta Satèn: “When you touch a scarf you have the sensation of something that is smooth but, at the same time, it is a very strong cloth,” explains Riccardo noting that the first parachutes were made of silk. “The wine’s strength is like roundness and very good structure.”

Franciacorta Rosé Brut NV (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay)
Franciacorta Rosé Brut NV (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay) © Author

Not Just for Toasting

Lyn, Riccardo and Gualberto emphasized that the Ricci Curbastro wines go well with food and are not just for toasting at special occasions. Gualberto who grew up with Franciacorta at the table said when speaking of the Rosé Brut: “We’ve tried the best and worst with Franciacorta, but barbeque is always a good combination.”

Riccardo refers to the Rosé Brut as a “light red” and explained that the dryness, acidity and elegance of the wine balances with the richness of grilled meat.

We were drooling, when Lyn presented his 11:00 am “perfect pairing” – Smoked Salmon and Bacon-Wrapped Scallops. Yum and I need to hurry back into the kitchen lab!

Poolside with Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta DOCG wines.

Falling In Love

While I won’t write about it today, I suggest you watch the video and learn more about the Sustainable Winery 3E logo that is on the back label of Ricci Curbastro wines. You can also read more here.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I suffer from an extreme case of the travel bug. As I navigate through a perpetual state of pandemic-related immobility, virtual wine travel is now my preferred, #MyArtEscape.

Lyn commented on one of my Instagram posts that “Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta is the ultimate postcard in a glass.” I couldn’t agree more!

Once you’ve watched the seminar, read the Ricci Curbastro website to learn more, and drink the wines, I suggest that you watch this film: “F is for Franciacorta.” If you’re anything like me, you too will be ‘falling in love’ with Franciacorta.

Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the common sense. ~ Helen Rowland

F is for Franciacorta produced by the Franciacorta DOCG Consortium that celebrated its 30th year this past March.

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

A Very Special Thanks for the Invitation to this Virtual Event 💕

Recent mentions of Ricci Curbastro Franciacorta in the Food Wine Travel Magazine.

A Reason for Riesling

Ingredients needed to make roast pork loin with apricots/

Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce Recipe Paired with 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch

Roast pork loin with apricot sauce recipe.
This Roasted Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce pairs perfectly with the Gunderloch Riesling. © Author

Today’s recipe and pairing wine is taking me out of my comfort zone. This Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce recipe nicely complements the 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch and is a perfect Sunday meal that will give you more time to relax than spent in the kitchen.

How Do You Like Your Wine?

Typically, I like white wines that are bone dry and red wines with some ‘oomph.’ When it comes to food, I prefer dishes that are savory and avoid anything sweet that goes alongside them like turkey with cranberry sauce.

Studying the Riesling wine classifications while preparing for the WSET 2 exam. Read more below. 👇🏼 © Author

Just like last week, I still have my nose in a glass and in a pile of books. If you’re not making these recipes, scroll down for some Weingut Gunderloch history and some introductory German wine vocabulary too. 👇🏼

Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce (The Spruce Eats)

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 3 small cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1.5 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 4 1/2 pounds)

For the Apricot Sauce:

  • 10 to 12 ounces apricot preserves (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth (or dry sherry)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

In a large food storage bag or glass bowl, combine 1/2 cup chicken broth, the soy sauce, minced garlic, dry mustard, thyme, and ginger.

Add pork roast, turning to coat well.

Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove pork roast and discard the marinade.

Heat the oven to 325 F.

Place pork roast, fat side up, on a rack in a foil-lined roasting pan.

Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer or instant-read food thermometer registers at least 145 F when inserted into the center of the roast.

Remove the roast from the oven, tent loosely with a sheet of foil, and let it stand for 15 minutes before slicing.

Apricot Sauce

Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine the preserves, 2 tablespoons of chicken broth or sherry, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce.

Bring the sauce to a boil and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 1 minute.

Slice the pork loin thinly and serve it with the apricot sauce.

Ingredients needed to make pork with apricot sauce recipe.
Just a few simple ingredients needed to make a delicious and easy Sunday meal. © Author

The Wine: 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett by Weingut Gunderloch

The Weingut Gunderloch vineyards are in an area called Roter Hang which means ‘red slope’ and located in Germany’s Rheinhessen, Germany’s largest wine region.  This area had been known for producing average wines, but this reputation is being redefined by wineries such as Weingut Gunderloch. You can find out more about this area here, but to put it into a better perspective, I suggest that you watch this video.

I found this wine at Wine by the Bay in Miami and a great write-up with descriptor here. I’ll dive briefly into Riesling and sweetness below, but here are Tim Lemke’s notes:

“The nose is powerfully floral and lemony. It smells absolutely wonderful. The palate offers crisp lemon, apple and peach flavors with good balance, perfect acidity and a pleasant mouthfeel. It has plenty of fruit, and is more tart than sweet. The finish is plenty long, and features lingering peach flavors. This is a pretty tasty Riesling.”

Cous \cous is an ideal side dish to accompany a roast pork loin with apricot sauce.
Couscous is an ideal side dish to accompany the sweet pork and wine. Cook as directed on the package with chicken stock and garnish with parsley. © Author

Just How Sweet is Sweet?

As Tim Lemke describes, the 2015 Jean- Baptiste Riesling Kabinett is somewhere between dry and sweet. That hint of sweetness means that it pairs very well with the Roast Pork Loin with Apricot Sauce. Although designated as “Kabinett,” I feel that this wine is much more complex than the definition of Kabinett implies. Possibly, the aging in this case made the difference and Wine Newbie me feels like it drinks more like a Spätlese. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment at the end. 👇🏼

Speaking of sweet, if you’re practicing for the WSET 2 exam and struggling with the Riesling classifications, here is a short breakdown of some of the things we must know: “Sprechen Sie Deutch?”

Landwein: Table wine and generally low quality. Like the category, “Protected Geographical Indication” it means that there are regulations in place.

Qualitätswein: Like the category, “Protected Designation of Origin.” Read more here.

Prädikatswein: Same as, “Protected Designation of Origin, but” this category is divided into subdivisions by levels of ripeness (sweetness.) I found it hard to memorize at first, but generally with repeated practice, it began to register:

Kabinett: Usually light wines made of fully ripe grapes.

Spätlese: Literally means “late harvest” and are more intense in flavor and concentration than the latter categories.

Auslese: Select picking of very ripe bunches.

Eiswein: Ice Wine – Wines of at least BA intensity are harvested while frozen

Beerenauslese (BA): Berries Select Picking – Individually selected, overripe berries.

Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): Dry Berries Select Picking – Individually selected, overripe berries that are dried up on the vine, almost to raisins.

Refer to this link for more details.

Neither the wine or this recipe would have been at the top of my “kitchen lab” list, but I needed to try Riesling as part of my wine education journey. I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone. And, once again the wine inspired the dish. There are many “Reasons for Riesling” and future wine pairings too!

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Neale Donald Walsch

@AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

Tapas, Tempranillo and Tests

Vina Olabarri Spanish Tempranillo wine pairs perfectly with Tapas.

How to Bring Travel to the Table

I’m so antsy, aren’t you? South Florida summers aren’t pleasant, so since I won’t be hopping on a plane any time soon, I need to find ways to bring travel to the table.

Try making these homemade tapas recipes and pair them with a Rioja wine.
Try making these homemade tapas recipes and pair them with a Rioja wine. © Author

Two Spanish Tapas Recipes and Rioja Wine

Take me back to Spain! It’s time relive vacation memories by making two classic Spanish recipes: Huevos Rotas (Potatoes with Broken Eggs,)  Espinacas con Garbanzos (Chickpeas with Spinach,) and drink a Rioja Gran Reserva (Tempranillo.)

I’ll get to the WSET 2 studying part near the bottom of this blog 👇🏼. It’s important too, so keep reading…

Huevos Rotas is a tapas dish made of potatoes and topped with eggs, that's easy to make.
Huevos Rotas (Broken Eggs) rest nicely on top of these deliciously seasoned potatoes. © Author

Huevos Rotas (NY Times Cooking)

Traditionally, this is a Tapas dish and not a side or breakfast!

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 pounds new potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if necessary
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  •  Lemon wedges, for serving
  •  Flaky sea salt, for serving

In a measuring cup, combine the olive oil, paprika, red-pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, a generous grind of pepper and 1 cup water. Put the potatoes in a large skillet and pour the olive oil mixture over them. Then, bring the potatoes to a boil, then cover and cook on high until the potatoes are fork-tender, 6 to 9 minutes.

Uncover and turn the heat to low. If the potatoes are sticking or dry, add more olive oil. Next, arrange the potatoes in an even layer, cut side down if halved, then add the onion and garlic surrounding the potatoes. Finally, cover and cook until the potatoes are golden-brown and the onions are softened, 4 to 6 minutes.

Stir the potatoes (if they’re sticking, add more oil). Make 4 nests in the potatoes and crack an egg into each. Season with salt and pepper and then, cover and cook until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny, 4 to 6 minutes.

To serve, break the yolks gently with a serving spoon, then scoop some potatoes and an egg onto plates or into shallow bowls. Serve with a squeeze of lemon and flaky salt.

Chickpea salad or Garbanzos Espinacas con Garbanzos in Spanish is easy to make and delicious.
Chickpea salad or Garbanzos Espinacas con Garbanzos in Spanish is easy to make and delicious. © Author

Spanish Chickpea Salad (Adapted from NY Times Cooking)

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1-pound cans chickpeas, drained (liquid reserved)
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup prosciutto cut into strips (optional) – I skipped this part and substituted baby spinach
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, simmer the onions and garlic in olive oil until they are soft but not browned. Add the chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, parsley, oregano, cumin and prosciutto, if using, and simmer for 30 minutes more.

Taste the mixture and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper. If it does not seem moist enough, add a little of the reserved chickpea liquid or some olive oil, or both. Serve lukewarm with a green salad and good bread and butter or garlic oil.

Note: Since I was serving Serrano ham and Manchego cheese on the side, I skipped that part and substituted baby spinach instead. Simply stir in about 2-3 cups into the chickpea mix until the spinach wilts, but still keeps a bright green color.

Enjoy some Spanish Tapas with this Rioja wine by Viña Olabarri. © Author

The Pairing Wine: 2004 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva

80% Tempranillo, 12% Graciano, 8% Mazuelo

I love Spanish wines, but the majority that I’ve tried are quite powerful. They work well with Spanish and Latin food that’s not spicy, but seldom would I think to drink one without food. However, the 2004 Viña Olabarri Gran Reserva is definitely a Rioja wine that I’d sip while reading a good book. I’ve never had a Gran Reserva wine before, so it was a treat to experience a wine that had been aged for 36 months in French and American oak barrels, plus cellar aged for another 36 months!

Here are the tasting notes provided by Viña Olabarri:

Color: Deep ruby red color with subtle brick red hues on the rim from the ageing process.

Bouquet: Intense aromas of black fruit and spices, with a mineral hint.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, integrating beautifully the rich ripe fruit with the sweet spices provided by the oak.

A pleasant, clean aftertaste of remarkable harmony.

A Little History

Viña Olabarri was founded by Pablo Olabarri Bikandi, who since 1958 spent long periods of time in Haro; due to his love of Rioja wines, in 1985 he decided to buy an old 19th century winery in Calle las Bodegas, in Anguciana.

As a result, the need for bigger, more modern facilities to make the wines took him to build a new winery in the outskirts of Haro in 1989, with capacity to hold 4,000 barrels and up to 800,000 bottles.

His son, Luis Olabarri is currently in charge of the winery.

Wine study time at desk to prepare for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust exam.
I’m preparing for the WSET 2 exam with some delicious “homework!” © Author

It’s Test Time!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I’ve had my nose in a glass and a pile of wine books for some time. I started the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) course, but was finding it difficult. Although I can master self-study, I really needed to begin my wine journey with some guidance.

One good thing that’s come from the COVID-19 pandemic, is that there has been a plethora of new opportunities to learn online. I’ve wanted to take a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) course for some time, but found it difficult to find the time. Also, since Florida Wine Academy is located in Downtown Miami, getting there once I finished my workday would have been a challenge. Shortly after participating in a couple Florida Wine Academy’s free Zoom webinars, they announced that the WSET 2 would be offered online. I immediately registered!

Registrants have the option to purchase the wine packs through them, but I found the required wines either near my home or at Wine by the Bay in Miami.

The course is six weeks and I’ve completed that part and now am studying for the exam. It’s been an exciting journey so far and the most important thing I’ve discovered, is that I’m still a Wine Newbie and loving it. This trip will take a lifetime and just when I’ve mastered one part, I realized that there’s so much more to discover.

This education is brain stimulation and tasty and I look forward to many more food and wine pairing weekends!

Wine Newbie Resources

Here are some additional resources that I found useful to enhance the WSET text and workbooks:

“The discovery of a wine is of greater moment than the discovery of a constellation. The universe is too full of stars.”

― Benjamin Franklin

If you have a useful wine education resource to share, feel free to post it in a comment below. Plus, if you have your own Spanish tapas recipes or a Rioja wine to share, tag me in your photos on Instagram! Or, let me know how you bring travel to your table.

Follow @AllegoryPR #MyArtEscape

Past Blog Posts Related to Spain

Home Show’s Virtual Showcase Connects Homeowners with Florida Businesses

home design online through a virtual home expo showcase in florida

Find Home Design Online

Miami, FL…June 8, 2020…The Home Design and Remodeling Show now offers a variety of virtual experiences to respond to the surge of online shoppers since the start of the stay-at-home order mandated by the State of Florida.

The “At Home with the Home Show” (#AtHomewiththeHomeShow) online showcase is designed to help South Florida homeowners connect with home remodeling and improvement businesses, while giving reputable companies a platform to speak about product offerings and services by educating the consumer. The online amenities will continue to expand and serve as an additional resource to in-person Home Shows.

Although many businesses are back open, consumers have become reliant on, plus feel safer initiating their purchase decisions through online shopping. With so many choices, the search can be daunting and making the best selection also depends on selecting trusted and recommended sources.

The Home Design and Remodeling Show has been featuring businesses that would typically exhibit at either the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Home Shows. Select companies will be showcased by way of video interviews with their owners; blog posts, social media and Instagram lives. The video interviews take place each Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. on the Home Show’s Facebook page.

A resource guide is available via the Home Show’s YouTube channel covering topics such as:

  • All About Impact Windows
  • How Much Will Solar Power Cost?
  • The Many Benefits of Living Walls
  • Types of Hinges for Modern Interior Doors
  • How Consumer Habits Have Changed Since Coronavirus
  • Add Luxury Style to Your Home by Replacing Boring Doors
  • Top Ways to Create a Stylish Patio
  • Best Ways to Upgrade Popcorn and Ugly Ceilings

This month, the Home Show will focus on hurricane preparedness and how to protect the home.

The Home Design and Remodeling Show’s digital platform has grown to over 30,000 followers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter combined and has thousands of email subscribers; plus includes a multimedia advertising campaign, sponsors and cross-promotional partnerships. For more information, visit www.homeshows.net.

About the Home Design and Remodeling Show

For the SIXTH consecutive year, BizBash named the Home Design and Remodeling Show as one of Miami/South Florida’s Top 100 Events and placed fourth in the Trade Shows, Expos & Conventions category. The Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Home Design and Remodeling Shows have been South Florida’s largest and premier home improvement expos for over forty years. Homeowners can find a diverse range of products and solutions tailored specifically to the Florida housing market. Plus, encounter some of South Florida’s most prominent home designers and home remodeling companies. Because the Home Show features superior vendors, tens of thousands of excited homeowners attend the Home Show every year.

The Virtual Home Design and Remodeling Show

Initiated in 2020, Home Show Management has expanded to include an online showcase of some of the best home design products and services in South Florida and beyond. Home Show’s multimedia platform is your first step in home improvement. Connect with trusted sources by watching, “At Home with the Home Show” interviews and business spotlights on YouTube and Instagram Live.

Follow @FLHomeShows on Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter; and FloridaHomeShow on Facebook.

Subscribe to us on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/flhomeshows

Visit our Blog: www.homeshows.net/blog

Home Show Images by Request

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MEDIA CONTACT: lisa@allegorypr.com