Tag Archives: Sicily

SQ – New Italian Wines

Okay, I know, I'm drinking Campari. But I do like Italian wines.
Okay, I know, I'm drinking Campari. But I do like Italian wines.

Superquinn continues to update its wine range, with the relaunch of its Italian offering this month. Sixteen new wines have been selected by Superquinn wine buyerRichard Moriarty, taking the range of Italian wines to 56. Most of the new wines are exclusive to Superquinn and come from regions the length and breadth of Italy – from Alto Adige in the Alps, down to Sicily.

Some of the new wines include:

Costacielo – the Lunarossa winery stands in the hills on the Salerno peninsula, mid-way between the Amalfi and Cilento coasts. The company is regarded as one of the new gems of the Campania region; its forward-looking approach is underlined by the strikingly modern presentation of the wines. Lunarossa has a strong belief in the potential of the area’s traditional grapes, often combining these with international varieties to create interesting new blends of aroma and flavour. Costacielo Fiano Falanghina is priced at €17.99.

Cusumano – Sicily with its rugged terrain, sunny climate and high quality indigenous grapes is at last starting to show the world its potential for quality. Third generation family winemakers Alberto and Diego Cusumano are typical of the new wave of Sicilian producers. Cusumano Inzolia and Cusumano Nero D’Avola are priced at €10.99 each.

Tolloy – Alto Adige is one of the most picturesque landscapes in Europe. The presence of the Alps, which protects the region from the cold winds originating in the north, and the influence of the Mediterranean climate grant the ideal conditions for an extraordinary viticultural variety. Tolloy Gewurtztraminer Alto Adige, Tolloy Merlot Alto Adige and Tolloy Pinot Bianco Alto Adige are priced at €10.99 each.

Villa Sparina – Located in Monterotondo, the heart of Gavi DOC, Villa Sparina was founded by Mario Moccagatta. Head enologist Beppe Caviola, one of the foremost winemakers in Piemonte, has brought Gavi to new heights exploring the full potential of the Cortese grape. All of the Villa Sparina wines are produced from estate grown fruit and are estate bottled. The vineyards are overseen by agronomist Federico Curtaz, formerly of Gaja. They are increasingly oriented towards reducing yields, in an effort to achieve the highest possible quality. Harvest is delayed until the last possible moment, giving the wines great concentration and a wonderful balance of acidity and fruit. Villa Sparina Gavi Di Gavi is priced at €17.99.

The relaunch of Italian wine at Superquinn coincides with a special promotion in Superquinn stores, which will run for four weeks from 15th April to 12th May 2009 inclusive, when consumers can save up to 50% off selected Italian wines.

The above information comes from the Superquinn press release. I don’t know much about Tolloy but Cusumano, Costacielo and Villa Sparina, I really rate as producers. I drank a lot of the Cusumano Inzolia as my regular lunchtime tipple on my holiday in Sicily last year. Goes great with triglie (red mullet). The Villa Sparina Gavi is very fine too. And I’ve just looked at my notes to see I gave a heads-up to a Costacielo wine at the Gilbey’s tasting earlier this year.

This is a bold move by SQ, great to see a supermarket veering away from the ‘usual suspects’.  I wish them success with it.


Two Fish recipes from Sicily

Two interesting recipes courtesy of Salvatore Barbara, chef of the fab Dubbesi restaurant at the Kempinski Hotel Giardino di Costanza, in Mazara del Vallo, Sicily. A large part of the menu is devoted to fish dishes including local specialities such as fish couscous, slightly seared fresh tuna, swordfish
Messina-style, mixed grill of fish with rosemary and also dishes in which
Sicily becomes an international crossroads, such as the trilogy of tuna
consisting of three tuna tartares, in Sicilian, French and Japanese styles, all
in a single dish.

Fillet of sea bass with aubergine caviar and thick fish stock with field balm

Ingredients and method:
Aubergine caviar: Cut three large
aubergines in half, prick them with a fork and bake them in the oven until soft.
Remove the peel, drain off the excess liquid and add extra virgin olive oil, a
little sweet paprika, a very small amount of crushed garlic, a teaspoonful of fresh lemon juice, and a leaf of fresh mint. Chop finely with a knife or mash
with a fork.

Thick fish stock with field balm and cinnamon
Lightly fry half an onion, a clove of garlic, and a bay leaf together, then add the carefully washed sea bass carcases, and cover with white wine. Allow the wine to evaporate, add a stick of cinnamon cut in half, two mint leaves, very lightly dusted with flour, a stick of celery and half a carrot. Cover with water and reduce by 50%. Season to taste and strain.

Sea bass fillets
Place the fillets in a pan with a clove
of garlic, still in its skin, and a sprig of thyme. Fry lightly on both sides,
then remove from the heat, spread with a little of the aubergine caviar and
finish off the cooking in the oven.
Arrange on the dish, accompanied by the cinnamon sauce that has been heated up in the pan the fish was cooked in and blended with a little olive oil; arrange two potatoes “ad oliva” (olive-style) and decorate with fried mint leaves and a stick of cinnamon.

Three-sesame-seed tuna with baby spinach and brunoise of crunchy vegetables with 25-year-aged balsamic vinegar

Ingredients and method
Take 200 g. of tuna; 100 g. brunoise made from a mixture of carrots, celery, courgettes and peppers; a suitable quantity of baby spinach and the zest of a Sicilian lemon; black, golden and white sesame seeds to coat the fish; and traditional Modena 25-year-aged balsamic vinegar.

Coat the fish with the three sesame seeds and sear it lightly in a grill pan.
Boil the diced crunchy vegetables in water with bay leaves for about two
minutes, and dress with extra virgin oil flavoured with red garlic. Wash the baby spinach well, squeeze dry, and add a little oil and some strips of lemon zest. Arrange the dish on a plate and finish with a trail of 25-year-aged balsamic vinegar and a few flakes of coarse sea salt.

The island of Sicily is intimately bound up with the world of fishing, an activity that has, over the centuries, become a culture and tradition, extending its influence to poetry, sculpture, painting and literature. Good cooking, too, is fundamentally linked to the world of fishing, and conceals a poetic and mysterious quality: every dish has its own history and tradition and derives from the centuries of dominations and influences that the island has been subjected to, from the Arabs to the Normans, and from the Byzantines to the Aragonese.
The Kempinski Hotel Giardino di Costanza is in the province of Trapani, a short distance from Mazara del Vallo, easily reached from Palermo airport in less than an hour by motorway.


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