For a perfect Italian inspired end of the summer drink we’re recommending an Italian version of sangria made with Vermentino wine. This crisp white wine from the Mediterranean (Sardenga, Liguria, Corsica, coastal region of Maremma in Tuscany and further north into Liguria and inland to Piedmonte) conjures up images of boats and yachts sailing the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean. Its bright acidity and citrusy flavors make for an endless summer. Light and aromatic, its best food match is seafood and its low alcohol content means you can sip and savor until sunset and beyond.
Mediterranean A-listers navigate a sea of paparazzi along Costa Smeralda with chilled bottles of rare Ligurian Vermentino but you can party like a rock star spending much less. A high end Vermentino can be pricey but you can buy a good bottle of Sardinian sun for less than $20.00.
Got out of the car on the A-1 autostrada and headed over to the Autogrill with my cousin Lidia who turned to me and asked if I would like a Crodino. Colas and Big Gulps are not the drink of choice when Italians turn to a refreshing mid-day break or a non-alcoholic apertivo. Many Italians follow one of Italy’s legendary commercials when barman Dino is asked to “uncork a Crodino”.
A product of the 60’s, Crodino originated in Crodo in Italy’s northern Piedmonte where waters from the valley were made into a traditional extract drawn from an infusion of aromatic herbs, plants, fruit pieces, cloves and nutmeg oil selected to develop a pleasantly refreshing and invigorating beverage. In 1995 Crodino was acquired, re-launched and given a new image by Gruppo Campari making it the most famous non-alcoholic aperitivo in Italy. Crodino remains one of Italy’s most renowned and consumed drinks packaged in a distinctive 100 ml Campari-style glass bottle. Known for it’s light effervescence and distinctive bitter-sweet orange flavor, loyal Crodino drinkers in Italy and the EU have created an almost cult-like following creating an iconic brand that labels itself “the non-alcoholic blond drink that makes crazy the world”. Evidentally the US is not part of Crodino’s world as of this posting, meaning you cannot buy Crodino in the United States although I did see a pair of Born Oxford boat shoes in Crodino Orange for sale on E-bay.
Once I was obsessed with coffee holders in a car. In fact there was a time when the number and location of coffee holders was a deal breaker in the buying of a new car. I told the salesperson that I wasn’t totally happy how the coffee holders were positioned and found them to be inconvenient and difficult to use. He told me “it’s an imperfect world”.
I know THAT but it seems like the ergonomics and functionality of how we keep and drink our beverages on the go is of some importance. Coffee in the States is not a one shot espresso at the local bar. On trains, planes, cars, buses and subways or on a leisurely stroll in the park many Americans find coffee to be an agreeable traveling companion. So having a user-friendly, convenient way to transport your latte or americano is of some importance. Even James May, one of my favorite gearheads, seems to spend time considering this.
A nice thermal coffee mug that will fit your coffee holder comes in as many designs and variations as a coffee-house menu. Some of the best offer excellent temperature retention, leak and spill resistance, stability, comfort while drinking, are simple to open with one hand, easy to wash, durable and hold about 12 ounces of beverage. Also, Mr. Car Salesman, if driving, a 2-1/2-inch-diameter bottom fits most vehicle cup holders and most drivers consider the design, location and number of cup holders to be one of the most important attributes influencing their vehicle purchase.
My world still continues to remain imperfect but I’m happy to say that my recent driving machine includes well-placed cup holders, strategically located for comfort and safety. If a couch potato can dictate the type of cup holders in a recliner sofa what’s so unreasonable about wanting the same attention to a part of our lives that transports our hopes and dreams.
Tomatoes are in season and that means I’m getting ready to enjoy one of my favorite Italian antipasti and to cringe at the sound of millions of American bruschetta eaters mispronounce these delicious thick slices of bread grilled, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, topped with tomatoes and herbs.
Pleazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze pronounce this iconic taste of Italy correctly. “Ch” in Italian is always pronounced with a hard “k” sound. Think Chianti, Pinocchio, zucchini and BRUSCHETTA pronounced broo-SKEH-tah. If nothing else it will confuse the waiters at the Olive Garden and make me very happy.