Thursday, October 17, 2013

Barolo Wine

One of the two main areas that I am visiting in November is Piedmont. Piedmont is know for two things: white truffles and wine. I am more familiar with white truffles than its wines, so I have been doing a bit of research on its wines to learn more before I go.

So far, here is what I've leared:

  • There are 3 "B"s when it comes to wines in Piedmont: Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera
  • Both Barolo and Barbaresco use Nebbiolo grapes. The difference is where it was grown.
  • Usually, Barolo is the strongest of the three and needs to be aged the longest before its taste mellows out. A good bottle of Barolo is usually aged 10+ years, 25+ years, or some times 50-100 years. In the meantime, Barbaresco can be enjoyed much younger, and same goes for Barbera.
  • In the past 15 years, much thanks for global warming, Barolo has been really good almost every year except for 2002/2003, and 2010. As to the best year in the past 15 years, people have different opinions. It seems that 2001, 2004, 2008 are some of the favorites.
  • Each year, when a vintage is first released to the market, the price is usually much lower initially, but it goes up very quickly after 2-3 years. Many Barolo that comes from great wine makers can go up 10 times or higher several years after the initial release.
  • Because of Barolo's intensity and powerful characteristics, it is best enjoyed with rich meat/cheese dishes.

For this, I am thinking about visiting some reputable wine producers when I'm there and bring some young Barolo back to age, and then resale them at a later time. I might be able to recoupe some of my travel cost. LOL!

I bought a bottle of Barolo last month, before I did this research. It was the least expsensive bottle. (2003). Now I realized why it was the least expensive. LOL. I used a glass of it to make Bolognese sauce, which was amazingly good!

I might get another bottle of Barolo of a better year and try it again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Modena Balsamic Vinegar

I will visit 2 balsamic vinegar producers when I am in Modena next month, so I have been doing a bit of study on this thing that some people call "Black gold of Italy".

Turns out, there is an organization in Italy governing Balsamic Vinegar production and only the authentic ones that are produced in the Modena area can be labeled as "Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena". It has to be aged at least 12 years to get this certificate. And then, if the vinegar is aged for over 25 years, it can add an additional label: "Extra Old"

I bought a bottle of "extra old" Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOC(Certified) some 15 years ago at William-Sonoma outlet for $49 dollars. Its original price was $249 dollars! At $49 dollars, it was a steal! Too bad there was only one left!

I drizzled some on parmasan cheese and it was delicious!

Just out of curiosity, I did a search on balsamic vinegar on Amazon and to my surprise, there are people selling 100 years old balsamic vinegar!!! And there are more than one kind.

Mussini 100 Year Balsamic Vineagr, Il Grande Vecchio, 2.39 Ounce Glass Bottle, $336-$473.78

Leonardi "Reserva Oro" 100 Year Balsamic Vinegar, $599

Aged Balsamic Vinegar Tradizionale from Reggio Emilia - Gold Seal - 100 year - 1 bottle - 3.4 fl oz, $258.53
(This one is from Reggio Emilia, not in Modena. It is still certified though. Maybe that's the reason why its price is lower.)

LA DAMA Traditional Balsamic Vinegar aged 100+ years IGP (Case of 4), $2,970
($700+ per bottle. Crazy......)

I'm going to hunt them down in Italy and see if I can bring a bottle home!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Emilia Romagna

Watching this video gets me really excited. I've made a reservation for a table in the restaurant that Tony had the duck-press sauce in Imola, Ristorante San Domenico. I later realized that it has 2 Michelin stars! This will bring the total Michelin stars of this trip to 19! I will visit 4 of the 7 Michelin 3-star restaurants in Italy. I seriously need to start training for this food marathorn. LOL.

I do have a question, though. He never visited Piedmont for white truffles. Considering how famous Piedmont is and how off-the-tourists-beaten-path it is, I can't believe that he never visited this place for no reservation.

November trip Itinerary

Flight ticket - booked!

Hotels - Booked!

Rental car - Booked!

Restaurants - Booked!

And my itinerary looks like this as of today:

I will visit the following restaurants:

  • Pronto Pesce (Venice)
  • Al Covo (Venice)
  • Osteria Ca'D'Oro (Venice)
  • Trattoria da Romano (Venice)
  • Le Calandre (Rubano)***
  • Antica Corona Reale-da Renzo (Cervere)**
  • Osteria La Torre (Cherasco)
  • Piazza Duomo (Alba)***
  • Dal Pescatore (Canneto sull'Oglio)***
  • Osteria Francescana (Modena)***
  • Ristorante San Domenico (Imola)**
  • Epicure (Paris)***

I also have cooking classes, market tours, balsamic vinegar, parmasan cheese, and prosciutto producers visit booked.

This is seriously going to be my epic dream food trip!

Friday, October 11, 2013

November epic food vacation!

I am planning an EPIC food trip in November.

"EPIC"! I said.

It's so epic that my heart pumps faster everytime I think about it.

I feel my head spinning when I think of the places that I will visit and food that I'm going to eat. Venice, Padova, Turin, Alba, Bologna, Parma, Modena, Florence. And as if it is not enough, I will have a 19-hour layover in Paris on my way back!

It's almost like...

Falling in love for the first time...

Yep! Falling in love for the first time!

And this time, I am falling in love with Italians! (Like it's a surprise! LOL~)