Cappuccino at the Lodole Country House
Nei dettagli. Into the details. Let’s get into the details of making the perfect cappuccino. First you must begin with good coffee beans correctly roasted and packed. Illy, one of the world’s largest producers of Italian espresso, offers a blend made up of 9 varieties of Arabica beans for your pursuit of the perfect cappuccino.
Then there is the making. Mastering the 4 M’s of Making a Good Espresso results is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure. You will need about 25ml of espresso for the perfect cappuccino. Next the details of the milk; chilled milk in metal pitcher with the proper pouring performance. Frothing the milk to the proper temperature (150 ºF -160 ºF), inserting the steam wand at the proper angle (diagonal, just below the surface of the milk) and moving it deeper into the milk at just the right moment to create the proper foam can be daunting.
If all goes well you will have made a proper cappuccino which according to Illy’s Università del Caffè should be about 150ml, containing one espresso coffee and equal parts of steamed milk and froth. To me making a proper cappuccino is about the simple fact that Italians care about the particulars, the collective attention needed to accomplish a task at its highest level of enjoyment. Seeking perfection in the art of the everyday, bothered by the devilish details.
Stringozzi seems like the perfect pasta to make on April 15th and here’s why. The name stringozzi comes from the Italian word stringhe (fpl), meaning laces as in shoelaces or strings because of its shape, a thick round ribbon. A more colorful version of the pasta’s name links it to the word strangozza, a cord used by medieval peasants who in protest to a Papal tax on salt levied during the 1540 Guerra del Sale (Salt War) in Perugia attacked tax collectors in the streets and tried to strangle them with their shoelaces.
Similar to thick rolled spaghetti, or a Tuscan pici, Umbrian stringozzi has a toothsome flavor that goes well with a full-bodied tomato sauce or meat ragu or sliced truffles or . . . simply dressed with herbs, garlic and buttery olive oil.
It’s the beginning of April and we’re filled with Springtime enthusiasm for a story about wine.
In the wine valleys near Bergamo in Northern Italy, always the rules for the production of vino rosso Valcalepio remain the same and require that, in the spring following the vintage, the union of the two wines obtained by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is to be made. When spring begins wines are assembled as indicated – 40 to 75% Merlot, 25 to 60% Cabernet to create Valcalepio rosso, an Italian “Bordeaux- style” blend. Such a mixture gives Valcalepio a special ruby red color and a pleasant scent. Soft yet spicy it goes with a variety of meats and cheeses, butter-based dishes and the polenta specialities of the region.
Little known in the United States, Valcalepio rosso is a great wine to inspire your inner Italian this Spring.