Although there are a million and one ways to drink coffee in Italy, I’m always surprised and delighted to discover a new one. Especially one like caffè alla salentina, perfectly suited to the summer weather which has finally arrived.
Prosecco is perhaps the most famous Italian wine outside Italy today, with the possible exception of Chianti. It seems that people can’t get enough of it. Before the 1990s, it was relatively unknown but, in the last five years, sales have outstripped those of Champagne, making it the world’s most popular sparkling wine.
An honest mistake
I was standing behind my friend the other day as he ordered some espressi at the bar. Suddenly he let out a gasp. He’d ordered all three coffees in porcelain cups but our other friend preferred his in a glass. I glanced at the cups ranged on the bar to check that they weren’t still empty, but it was too late. All three were filled with perfect Italian espresso.
Exploring the wines of the new Tuscan revolution
When people think of Tuscan wine, they think of Chianti, and rightly so because the Chianti region occupies the majority of the wine producing area of central Tuscany, and is the third largest Italian region in terms of DOC/G production.
Most people are aware also that forty years ago, there was a revolution in Tuscan wine precipitated by a perceived drop in quality of Chianti. At this time, a number of producers stopped adhering to the rules of the Chianti DOC and started producing the wines they wanted to make with a heavy focus on quality. Today, these wines—most notably Sassicaia and Tignanello—are known as ‘super Tuscans’ and are recognized as amongst the very best Italian wines.
What few people know, is that a similar revolution has been taking place, quietly over the last ten years and today we are enjoying the first fruits. This time, producers are seeking to produce quality wines by rediscovering both traditional methods and old grape varieties that were eclipsed by mass production and the ubiquitous Sangiovese.