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san martino in italy: puglia's 'thanksgiving'

It's not incidental that our favourite holiday here in Puglia- San Martino, which falls each year on November 11th- also happens to fall close to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, as both tend to be about the season's bounty, and pausing for a moment to reflect on it. Our version involves the year's first citrus fruits, roasting smoky and flaky chestnuts...

how to drink less wine (la moderazione per chi lavora nel settore)

I love wine. No, I mean I really, really love it. I love everything about it. I love the sound of cracking the scotch tape when unloading cases, of pulling spongy and squeaky corks, of splashing it into freshly-polished glasses, of that first sip of something unexpected, the way it fills my mouth as though the liquid were fermented from late-summer fireworks...

quiet time with arianna occhipinti: il frappato

I imagined that when she suggested that I visit today that she wouldn't have a lot of time for me. Just as I arrived, an impromptu group of French buyers asked for a tasting: this quickly moved into a 'drinking', the group expecting hours of hospitality, way beyond industry standards, their Gaul-hobbled Italian, painful to follow, well before their second...

our birthday: making la salsa

I suppose we could do just about about anything to celebrate our little school's birthday each year, but for the last 7 we've chosen it as the week to make la salsa, a Southern Italian ritual very,very close to my heart.  After San Martino, it just might be my favourite week of the year. Do we finish each night bobbing...

cerasuolo di vittoria docg: pierluigi cosenza

'Well, I'd answer your question this way: I'd like to think that my wine stands out because of its sense of balance', says PierLuigi. weighing the question with a refreshing degree of sobriety and contemplation. After all, he's not just a producer, he's also the marketing department at his family's small winery, not far from the east coast of Southern...

il carricante: alice bonaccorsi e rosario pappalardo

I had heard about Alice Bonaccorsi's carricante long before I started bicycling up Sicily's Mount Etna, the active volcano on the eastern part of the island. Lately, the white grape has been turning up on more and more top lists, including 3 of my favourite sommeliers and wine writers. An odd grape, it tastes of citrus, pink apples and bread,...

Gelato 2: Making it at Home

It all started with a letter in the mail. The page was scratched, almost attacked by green felt tip pen: it was a hand-written letter from Mario Batali, a well regarded, Italian-American restaurateur. Would I be interested in taking on his pastry chef for a few weeks? I agreed. And like that, without even realising it, I had signed on to making gelato...

Il Gelato a Lecce

I was recently interviewed for a book about gelato, the author's voice coming out my end of the receiver breathy, as if we're discussing something sacred and intimate, say, like The Northern Lights, or new form of tax evasion. 'So, tell me', she confided, a pause set up for dramatic effect: I heard her shift her weight in her chair. '...

fotografia-nuova-polignano-a-mare

  My policy is to administer a shy smirk, whenever students tell me how lucky I am, that my job is nothing more than cooking, eating and drinking wine. It's a compliment, of course, not because it's true- it isn't- but because once again I've managed to be able to make it look effortless, perhaps the biggest challenge to every small business:...