Friday, July 24, 2009

New And Old Ideas Of Absinthe







Absinthe or as it is called, The Green Fairy, has quite the reputation to live up to if one were to believe all of the accusations made against it of bygone days. The drink, a bright green alcoholic beverage is made up of herbs and ethanol. Those who made it famous during the early 19th and 20th century include many artists and writers such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse- Lautrec, Charles Baudelaire, and others. While there is an essence of creativity tied to the drink, there is also a history of lunacy or outrageous behavior. In this, the drink became outlawed with the belief that it had high doses of the ingredient thujone, which was making people act bizarre or insane. It hasn't been until the last few decades that advocates of absinthe and scientists alike have taken another look at the drink to see why it received such a bad rap. With modern technology, it was determined that the drink itself was not dangerous at all and the amounts of thujone were actually rather innocuous. Scientist Ted Breaus published a treatise in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, stating that most absinthe-based liquor being produced now contains the chemical in a 5:1,000,000 ratio. That's 5 parts thujone to a million parts of absinthe. So why did it make people behave so bizarre? And why have countries spent years treating absinthe as contraband only to be purchased on the black market? Historical evidence has shown that during the early days of producing absinthe, many of the home brewed or bootlegged brews did not undergo any type of distillation or sanitary processing. This may have caused impurities to show up in the drink and contaminate it. Such impurities could have caused dangerous forms of hallucinations. This, followed by early researches done on the drink proving it bad, can also now be proved to be faulty. In truth, people just drank too much of it and the bad behavior of people was simply about being very drunk. Today, like all alcohol, absinthe is highly regulated by both international and national laws. Only absinthe liquors with thujone-free labels (or less than 10:1,000,000/10ppm thujone.) are allowed to be put up for public sale. There are also medical warnings included regarding over-consumption of liquor. Many countries that had outlawed absinthe in the past are now changing their laws around. In the 1990s, the European Union began to reauthorize absinthe's manufacture and sale. As of February 2008, nearly 200 brands of absinthe were being produced in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Spain, and the Czech Republic. Commercial distillation of absinthe in the United States resumed in 2007 Other countries never banned absinthe, notably Britain, where absinthe had not been as popular as in continental Europe. Absinthe was also never banned in Spain, and its production and consumption has never ceased. Australia was another country that never prohibited the manufacturing or use of absinthe, although they do have strict rules on importing any product containing oil of wormwood. In 1906, Belgium and Brazil banned the sale and distribution of absinthe, although they were not the first. Absinthe had been banned as early as 1898 in the colony of the Congo Free State. The prohibition of absinthe in France in 1915 led to increased popularity of pastis (and of ouzo, to a lesser extent), which are anise-flavored spirits that do not contain wormwood.

In Switzerland, the ban drove the purchase of absinthe underground. Clandestine (illegal) home distillers produced absinthe after the ban, focusing on la Bleue, which was easier to conceal from the authorities. In the Netherlands, restrictions on the manufacture and sale of Absinthe were successfully challenged by the Amsterdam wine seller Menno Boorsma in July 2004, making absinthe legal once again. Belgium, as part of an effort to simplify its laws, removed its absinthe law on 1 January 2005, citing (as did the Dutch judge) European food regulations as sufficient to render the law unnecessary (and indeed, in conflict with the spirit of the Single European Market). In Switzerland, the constitutional ban on absinthe was repealed in 2000 during an overhaul of the national constitution, although the prohibition was written into ordinary law instead. Later that law was repealed, so from 1 March 2005, absinthe was again legal in its country of origin. Today, matter-of-fact, most members of the European Union are now allowed to sale absinthe, as long as it is limited to 10 milligrams of thujone per kilogram (some of the absinthes of yesteryear boasted up to six times that amount). You can buy absinthe in grocery chains in the Czech Republic and in liquor stores in Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand and Japan. Bars and restaurants in Britain began serving it when they discovered it was never formally banned in the country. Yes, the legacy of absinthe as a mysterious, addictive, and mind-altering drink continues to this day - this is why it is said there is an absinthe of old and new. But even with this legacy, more and more people are starting to enjoy absinthe again, knowing it is a safe yet unique drink, finally back on the shelves for consumption.Green Devil provides information, tips and kits on the making and history of absinthe throughout the ages. Learn more about the allure this beverage has held over the centuries or make your own absinthe alcohol and find out for yourself. Visit online for more information.

by ROBERT BELL

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Big Guns of Italian Wine in Town





Giuseppe Tasca D'Almerita and Daniel Bellino Zwicke, Vittorio Fiore with Marilisa Allegrini, and Angela Macullan at Winebow Tasting 2008



Some ot the "Big Guns" of ITALIAN WINE where in Town and at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting on September 16th & 17th. First-Off was Vittorio Fiore, one of the Greatest Italian Winemakers of this time or anytime. Vittorio was Show his renowned Super Tuscan Wine "Il Carbbonione"
Vittorio produces Il Carbbonione on his beautiful wine estate Podere Poggio Scalette high up in one of Greve's highest vineyards where you can see the whole Chianti Classico wine zone from this vantage point. It is a beautiful sight where I have been forunate on two occasions to spend time tasting wine with Vittorio and his sons while nibbling on the wonderful homemade Salami and Prosciutto that son and Vineyard Manager Jyuri Fiore makes with the help from great old friend "Dante." Dante is a wonderful old village farmer who knows how to make fantastic Salumi, among other things. He's a absolute gem!

Il Carbbonione is made of 100% Sangiovese. The 2004 vintage that Vittorio was pouring at the tasting was absolute perfection, strong but not too concentrated, exhibiting nice Black Cherry and earthiness in ,the mouth. Vittorio says it is one of his best vintage ever, "I agree completely."

Merilisa Allegrini (another Heavy Hitter) was on hand as well. Showing all the great Allegrini wines, including; La Grolla, La Poja, and thier 2003 Amarone, which as usual is one of the regions top producers of famed Amarone.

Giuseppe Tasca d' Almerita was present. Giuseppe and his family make one of Sicily's most famous and renowned wines "Rosso del Conte" Rosso del Conte is mad of 100% Nero d'Avola. This wine along with "Duca Enrico" is the greatest and most prestigious in all of Sicily. When tasted, I had a incrediable explosion of Ripe Red Fruit flavors in my mouth. The wine was phenominal, smooth, silky, and perfectly balance as Rosso del Conte usually is. This is one of Italy most consistenly wonderful primium wines. "Always Great!"


reported by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Don't More New Yorker's Do New Orleans??? !!!





"Arnaud's" it's awseome !!!
A "Muffuletts Sandwich" from Central Grocery.
Me and my "Muffuletta"


"Why Don't More New Yorker's Go Down to the "BIG EASY"?? "New Orleans" is the Bomb!!

This Question i Ask, truly Misti fies Me !!!!

I have traveled the World over! Been almost everywhere you can imagine, from; Cambodia, Saigon, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, Thailand, Phuket, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Havana, all over Europe from the whole of Italy on more than a dozen trips, to Paris, Monaco, Brussels, all over the united States, "you name."

Yes, I've been all over the World and love and adore many places. New Yorker's are great travelers. They travel the World more than any other Americans, yet for some reason they don't do new Orleans much, other than Frat boys and Girls looking to get "Their Wild-On" during Mardi Gras. but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the real New Orleans. The New Orleans of "Great Restaurants," wonderful food, awesome architecture, Cool People, Great vibe, and the greatest Music Scene on the planet. "Yes, I've traveled the World, and i can tell you that New Orleans is one of the "Coolest" most wonderful cities on Earth, "though you hardly ever hear people say." It is!

Why don't New Yorkers go there, instead of lame places like St Thomas and Aruba???
I love the town. been there 5 times, and I'll keep going. I constantly extol the virtues of "The Big Easy," and not a one of all the people i know who travel a fair amount has ever been there. I'm on a perpetual effort to promote this city i Love, especially since Hurricane Katrina, for the people and the city of New Orleans can use our help. They need people to go down there and spend money in their restaurants, hotels, and bars. The people of New Orleans love to and are used to having people come to their city for a good time. They'll welcome you with open arms.
Yes I'm a great advocate of New Orleans and constantly tell people about how great it is. Even before Katrina. "So America, and New Yorkers, you gotta check it out. "It's truly one of the Worlds great Cities."

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TRIPPA, TRUFFLES & SAUVIGNON





"GREATEST SUMMER TRUFFLES EVER!!!""""

We had another great plate of "Taglierlini with Truffle" the other day at Bar Pitti.
The Black Summer Truffles from Umbria have been so good this year, that they taste almost as good as the "White Alba Truffles" of the Autum and Winter Season.
It was quite funny when my friend Pat "P" and I took owe first bites, i said, "Patty Boy," these Truffles are as good as the "Whites." He agreed, and the words were barely out our mouths when Govanni came over and aske us how our Pasta was and added that they were "Stupenious" this year. "Just as good as the White Truffles." We told him that we just said the same thing, and at about a fourth of the price at $23.00 a plate, they were an absolute "Bargain."

We had a plate of Vitello Tonnato and "Trippa Fiorentina." both were tasty as ever.
If you haven't had any of the Norcia Summer Truffle, run on down to "Bar Pitti" and get a plate. "they're Amazing!!!!" We drank a bottle of "Macari Sauvignon Blanc,"
as everyone seems to be doing these days and we were as "Happy as Peas in a Pod."

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

Watch for Daniel Bellino Zwicke's upcoming book, "La Tavola" to be released November 2008 by Aardvark Global Publishing and read about the Adventures of the Table of
Italian-American New Yorkers.

Monday, August 11, 2008

SUNDAY SAUCE ....... Daniel Bellino Zwicke




SUNDAY SAUCE
Meatballs

and the "Meatball Parm Sandwich" you make on
Monday after the Sunday you make the sauce.








SUNDAY SAUCE


One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.