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Drink Like an Italian: An Italian Thanksgiving

The holidays are here, which only means one thing: there’s lots of food and wine in our future. Between the grocery shopping, turkey prepping, and table setting, Thanksgiving can become a stressful time for everyone.

shutterstock_224254630

Image via Shutterstock

Luckily, Italians never seem to be stressed around the holidays. That’s because they live by the simple mantra, “No food without wine and no wine without food.” As long as there’s food and wine, it’s a party!

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Italian Traditions: What You Don’t Know About Pizza Margherita

As many of you know, Pizza Margherita is much-loved Italian tradition, and a favorite meal both in Europe and around the world. What you may not know, however, is the fascinating legend of the pizza’s origins.

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

While many have debated the true history of Pizza Margherita, the story goes that shortly after Italy unified in 1861, King Umberto I and his queen, Margherita, took a visit to Naples. While there, the Queen became bored of the French cuisine that was standard throughout Europe at that time. She requested that a local pizza maker present her with something a little more Italian. Read the rest of this page »

Impress Your Date with this Calamari Recipe

Neiman Marcus, a name known for iconic style and excellent taste, recently published Neiman Marcus Cooks, a completely updated edition of their classic cookbook. We are incredibly honored that Mazzoni was featured as a suggested wine pairing in multiple recipes!

We don’t want to leave our blog readers hanging, so today we’ll share with you a Calamari recipe from the book. Although the dish has become a popular appetizer, this isn’t your average Calamari. Impress your date or your family with this mouth-watering Flash-fried Calamari and Thai Chile Dipping Sauce. Pair with Mazzoni Vermentino Chardonnay and dig in. Salute!

shutterstock_219084934 Read the rest of this page »

Speak like an Italian: words we borrow from Italy

dolce vita fellini movieItalian phrases: That’s a poster from Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic film, left, “La Dolce Vita” (which means literally “sweet life”), gave the English language not one but two popular expressions.

Italian has given the English-speaking world so many wonderful words and phrases. Here are a few of them and their origins.

paparazzi

This word was coined by Italian director Federico Fellini for his 1960 film La dolce vita. One of the photographers that follows the main characters around Rome is named Paparazzi. Read the rest of this page »

Relax like an Italian: Go basketball crazy!

smardo samuelsAbove: The Italian professional basketball league is hugely popular among fans (image via Basket Streaming).

No, that’s not a photograph from a recent Cleveland Cavaliers game above.

The athlete in the image is Samardo Samuels, who plays for A-series Italian basketball champions Emporio Armani Olimpia Milano. Read the rest of this page »

Cook like an Italian in fall: roast chestnuts

recipe roast chestnuts

Above: The recipe for roasting chestnuts at home is easy. Just arrange the chestnuts in a seasoned cast iron pan and roast on your stovetop over low heat. When the shells start to opena and the chestnuts become tender, they’re ready to eat.

From the island of Sicily to Italy’s Dolomite alps, the tradition of roasting chestnuts in fall is practically sacred.

Across the boot, as the weather starts to get cold and the leaves turn to brown, you’ll find vendors slow-roasting chestnuts in the piazzas.

And every Italian will tell you that the aroma of roasting chestnuts brings back great memories of childhood and time spent with family.

It’s easy to roast chestnuts at home.

You can do it on a grill: whether gas-, wood-, or charcoal-fired, just arrange the chestnuts on the grill and roast slowly over low heat for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally until tender (cooking time may vary). When the shells start to opena and the chestnuts become tender, they’re ready to eat.

You can also do it on a stovetop: a seasoned cast iron pan is ideal for this.

Once the chestnuts are ready to eat, open a bottle of Mazzoni Piemonte Barbera (a classic pairing), close your eyes, breath in the aromas of the wine and chestnuts, and you’ll be transported to an Italian piazza on a fall day.

Drink like an Italian: Barbera?

best barbera italy wine

What is Barbera and where does it come from? And most importantly, why does a Tuscan winemaker use it to make one of his favorite wines?

Let’s face it: Not a lot of folks in America know what Barbera is. They may know their Cabernet from their Chardonnay and maybe their Merlot from their Malbec. But in more cases than not, most American wine lovers have ever heard of Barbera.

In fact, Barbera (pronounced bahr-BEH-rah) is one of Italy’s most popular grape varieties. Especially in northern Italy, it’s a dinnertime favorite for people who enjoy light-bodied, food-friendly red wines.

The thing that sets Barbera apart is its high amounts of natural acidity.

Acidity, you ask with a sour face?

As harsh as the word sounds, acidity in wine is actually a good thing. It’s what gives wine its freshness and it’s one of the components in a balanced wine that helps to make it food-friendly.

Just as acidity in vinegar or lemon juice helps to “cook” food in marinades, acidity in wine helps to draw out the flavors in food pairings.

That’s just one of the reasons why Italians love it so much.

So why is a Tuscan winemaker in central Italy like Alessandro Bindocci, who is known for his Mazzoni Sangiovese-Merlot blend, making a Barbera using grapes grown in northern Italy?

He fell in love with Barbera during his travels across the north of Italy. But he was disappointed to discover that many winemakers prefer oaky and overly concentrated versions of Barbera wines. And so he decided that he would make Barbera the way that he likes it: in a clean and refreshing style, light bodied, with fresh fruit aromas and flavors.

His family partnered with grape growers in the Asti region northwestern Italy, where the most famous bottles of Barbera are produced.

And thus was born his delicious Mazzoni Piemonte (Piedmont) Barbera, one of the best and most value-driven bottles of Barbera available in the U.S. today.

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