Tag Archives: victor rallo

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Vic Rallo & Axel Heinz at the 2014 NJ Wine & Food Fest

Vic Rallo, Axel Heinz of Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia and Tony Verdoni talk about wine, food, and Italian culture at the NJ Wine & Food Fest! From the estate to the grapes, learn more about what makes the wines of Ornellaia something truly unique. Look for more videos from the NJ Wine and Food Fest panel coming soon!

Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Filming Eat! Drink! Italy! Season 2: Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Yesterday we visited the Consorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele in San Daniele di Friuli. Daniela the marketing manager for the Consorzio walked me through the process of curing prosciutto. After filming we went to the center of San Daniele and ate a plate of Prosciutto with fresh figs, melone, and mozzarella di Bufala and drank a few bottles of Livio Felluga 2012 Friulano!!!!
La Forza Friuli,
Vic

At Consorzio di Prosciutto San DanieleConsorzio di Prosciutto San Daniele

Iacopo Lenci, Victor Rallo, Agostino Lenci

Interviews with Agostino & Iacopo Lenci

We recently hosted Agostino and Iacopo Lenci at Undici in Rumson, NJ for a unique tasting event. Agostino is the winemaker for Fattoria di Magliano, and Iacopo (his son) is the brewer of Bruton Italian Beers. We tasted the wines of the father, and the beers of the son in one outstanding and truly special night! You can view the photos from that event here.

I got to sit down with each of them and talk about their craft, the area in which they work, and the culture behind each product that they make.


Victor Rallo Interviews Brewer Iacopo Lenci of Bruton Italian Beer over Basil T’s microbrews. Learn how a lack of historical beer culture allows Iacopo to explore and create as a brewer, and how the Italian craft beer scene is exploding across Italy.


Victor talks with Agostino Lenci about the beautiful estate of Fattoria di Magliano in costal Tuscany. Just over an our outside of Rome and a short drive from the beach, Fattoria Magliano not only produces top-notch Tuscan wines, but has an old farmhouse turned into an inn, making it the perfect getaway when seeing the sights of Tuscany and Rome.

Russian Titanium Corkscrew

The Russian Titanium Warhead Corkscrew

In 1995 I gave a lecture-tasting for the New Jersey Chapter of the Society of Wine Educators. After the talk, a gentleman approach me to thank me for clarifying the laws which deal with the wines of Italy. Then he said that he had something interesting that he would like me to have.

He handed me a small, metal object. When he saw the confused look on my face, he told me his story. He was a nuclear scientist and had participated with the Russians in dismantling some of their nuclear warheads. They were searching for applications of the titanium used in the weaponry. He suggested corkscrews. A Russian counterpart, also an enophile, thought that was a superb idea.

So, among other objects, tiny, functional titanium corkscrews were created, and I was among the recipients. It is lighter than air and durable beyond imagination. It is completely unreliable as a wine opener, but I keep it as a good luck charm. A dysfunctional corkscrew is a better device that a functional nuclear warhead. I guess we can conclude that they  have beaten their nukes and turned them into corkscrews — or something like that.

Fabrizio Iuli & Summer Wolff

The Wines of Iuli with Fabrizio Iuli & Summer Wolff

Victor talks about the wines of Iuli with winemaker Fabrizio Iuli and Indie Wines founder Summer Wolff. Fabrizio explains the deep family tradition that has earned him the unofficial title of Barberaista, and remarks upon the beautiful vineyard of Iuli nestled deep in the wooded hills of Monferrato. Iuli winery produces biodynamic wines without chemicals or pesticides to create truly Italian Barbera.

Victtorio Marzotto Inverview

Talking with Vittorio Marzotto of Ca’del Bosco Winery

Victor talks with Vittorio Marzotto of Ca’del Bosco Winery in the Franciacorta region of Italy. Learn how Ca’del Bosco uses one-of-a-kind advanced technology to limit exposure to oxygen, creating stunning sparkling wines that are a true expression of the terrior, that rivals the best French champagnes.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Wines: Planning for the Big Day

THANKSGIVING WINES: PLANNING FOR THE BIG DAY

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest wine sales day of the year in the U.S.A. Wine shops bring in extra cash registers. Be prepared to make sound selections for your friends. Thanksgiving is the finest hour for you to please and to impress your guests with an assortment of exciting wines. When you write out your wish list, keep some basic factors in mind:

I. Guest considerations: Aunt Lucy drinks wines once a year (maybe twice) and thinks dry wines are sour. Provide her with an off-dry wine; a German Dornfelder, a Lambrusco Amabile, a Moscato. Uncle Ethan doesn’t drink at all. For him, how about an autumnal apple cider? Hot shot Louie gulps only hulking, oaky, high alcohol Cabs with 98-point ratings. Although such wines overpower turkey, you should do what you can to make him happy.

II. Turkey: Since domesticated turkeys are mutations of wild turkeys (game birds), Pinot Noir works best for me. It doesn’t have to be a lordly Burgundy at an aristocratic price. How about a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon?

When paired with turkey, light white wines leave me with a metallic, bitter aftertaste. I suggest trying a fuller, oak-aged California Chardonnay or a rich Pinot Blanc or Pinot Grigio from Alto-Adige, Friuli, or Alsace.

III. Festivities: Make Thanksgiving sparkle with a Champagne toast. Or it could be a Prosecco or a Cava, but top shelf only. Your guests deserve the best.

Beaujolais Nouveau has just arrived! Salute the new vintage. We are all obliged to try the new wine, at least once. Actually, once is enough for me. Look for Californian or Italian versions (Vini Novelli), but these may be harder to find.

IV. Other foods to be served: This is where the fun ascends to a higher plain. With hors d’oeuvres, antipasti, pasta, vegetables, root or otherwise, there is an opportunity to show dozens (well, quite a few) of various wines. Try a rose from Provence.

V. Save room for dessert and dessert wines: I like Vin Santo with pumpkin pie. You don’t have to like what I like, but keep the party going.

VI. Really special wines: If you’re feeling inspired, break out a large format or an old vintage you’ve been saving. Why are you saving it? Thanksgiving with friends and relatives is the reason why.

VII. Ask your wine shop owner and clerk: What do they recommend? More importantly, why?

VIII. Other beverages: Check your stocks of beer, spirits, soda, etc. for the malcontents.

IX. Bring out the cots: Everyone will need to take a nap. No one leaves hungry. No one leaves drunk. If necessary, no one leaves.

X. Post-nap activities: Play cards, watch football games, make turkey sandwiches, tell the same stories which you have been spinning for the past 20 years.
Next week, I’ll let you how I made out. Let me know how you did. Happy Thanksgiving!

Napkin Notes

Napkin Notes


During our recent two-week trip thru Tuscany and Sicily, we shot approximately 30 segments for the upcoming PBS series, Eat, Drink, Italy with Vic Rallo. I must say it was hard work, but we did eat and drink very well. While I was cooking, Tony was either on the couch or comfy chair taking a nap, or looking in on the filming of the recipe and cooking segments for the show. But while we were eating, he continually took food and wine related notes on napkins.  Tony is an expert in all things Italian, especially wine, and is involved intimately in the show when we interview wine makers and winery owners, or are simply talking wine. And like all great Italian wine lovers, the food is just as important to Tony as the wine. Unlike any other country in the world, Italian wines and food are meant to go together. This is the way it has been for a thousand years or so, and like his Italian predecessors, Tony loves the beautiful marriage food and wine creates. As we traveled thru Italy, Tony created a book of napkins on which he scribbled his notes. Below is his review of the food and wine we drank and ate on our last trip transcribed from his napkin notebook.

La Forza,

Vic Rallo

What follows is an account of how we wined and dined throughout Italy from October 13-24, 2012 while shooting, Eat Drink, Italy with Vic Rallo.

Your first observation may be that we were on the wrong side of gluttony. Actually, our meals were served over a time period of 2-3 hours each, occasionally more. Much of the time we spent planning our next shoot with Allison, our fixer, Mark and Mario, who manned the cameras and set up the lighting, and Massimo (aka Max), the sound man. They joined us for just about every meal. We would all joke about the “light” lunch which we had requested. Several times we ate food which Vic Rallo had prepared. There was always the opportunity and temptation to overdo things, but it would have been counterproductive and unprofessional to do so. We are always professionals; well, almost always.

We drank the wines of the producers whom we visited. This is not a bad situation, since we were forced to taste the wines of Nozzole, Tenuta Sette Ponti, San Felice, Castello di Ama, Tolaini, Badia a Coltibuono, Nardi, Casanova di Neri and Fattoria di Magliano. Often we tried older vintages, dating back to 1970. At restaurants we always ordered local wines. Two whites stand out in my memory: Donnafugata Damarino 2011 in Sicily and Mancini Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 2011 in Fiumicino, near Rome’s airport (well, Sardinia is almost local to Rome).

You will note the shift in gears from Tuscany to Sicily. You can get excellent seafood in Coastal Tuscany, but we were mostly inland in Montalcino and Chianti Classico with only one short side trip to the Maremma. We were offered beef from the Chianina breed, Tuscan prosciutto, wild boar and beans – special, local white beans of Zolfino cooked in fresh olive oil and sage, and served with lots of salt less Tuscan bread. It was enough to make us all mangia fagioli (bean eaters).

Sicily offered us fish and crustacean of every type, shape, and form. You feel that you are dining as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Carthaginians did on timeless, fresh seafood. You had to leave room for desserts: cannoli, cassatta, exotic melons and fruits, such as fichi d’india, prickly pears that bloom out of local cactuses. I noticed a special glow in the eyes of Mark Ganguzza, our producer. His family is of Sicilian origin.

Which do I prefer, Sicily or Tuscany? I’ll take them both; you will, too. They both sing of the food culture of Italy, which changes every 10 kilometers. The message is always the same: local breads, local olive oil, local recipes, local materie prime (prime ingredients). “Zero Kilometers” is alive and well throughout Italy.

Tuscany, October 13 – 20

Saturday, October 13, Lunch with Giovanni Folonari at Mangiando, Mangiando Restaurant in Greve, Chianti.
Chianina Beef Tartar
Risotto with Porcini (Rice with Porcini Mushrooms)
Peposo (Stewed Beef with Black Pepper Sauce)
Stracotto (Beef Stew)
Pollo Cacciatore (Chicken Hunter’s Style, Tomatoes, Herbs)
Ricotta with Candied Fruit

Saturday, October 13, Supper with Antonio Moretti at Sette Ponti near Arezzo, Tuscany.
Mozzarella di Bufala (Water Buffalo Mozzarella)
Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Tuscan Prosciutto
Rosticceria di Pollo, Collo di Maiale e Pane (Roasted Chicken, Pork Necks and Bread)
Fagioli (Beans)
Ice Cream – Zuppa Inglese Flavor (Trifle Ice Cream)

Sunday, October 14, Lunch with Antonio Moretti at Sette Ponti near Arezzo, Tuscany.
Crostini al Fegato di Pollo (Toast with Pureed Chicken Livers)
Pappardelle al Sugo di Anatra (Ribbon Pasta with Duck Sauce)
* Boneless Chianina Prime Rib
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
Insalata Verde (Green Salad)
* Ice Cream – Cassatta Flavor (Cannoli Cream Ice Cream)

Sunday, October 14, Supper at a Pizzeria in Arezzo, Tuscany  with Stefano Maggini.
Calamaretti (Fried Baby Squid)
Zeppoli (Fried Dough Balls)
Calzoni e Pizze

Monday, October 15, Lunch at San Felice, Castlenuovo Berardegna, Tuscany.
* Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (Pasta with Cacio Cheese and Black Pepper)
Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Finocchiaro

Monday, October 15, Supper at San Felice, Castlenuovo Berardegna, Tuscany.
Chianina Beef Tartar
Potato Gnocchi with White Meat Ragu, Pistachios and Raspberries
Cinta Senese Suckling Pig
Orange Puff Pastry with Burrata Mousse, Chestnuts, Orange Sorbetto and Chocolate

Tuesday, October 16, Lunch at Castello di Ama, Gaiole,Tuscany.
Fusilli Pasta with Pesto and Tomatoes
Chicken in White Wine
Melanzana – Ratatouille Style

Tuesday, October 16, Supper at Castello di Ama, Gaiole, Tuscany.
Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato Soup, Olive Oil, Bread)
* Farro, Porcini and Ceci Soup (Grain, Porcini Mushrooms and Chickpeas)
Peposo (Beef Stew with Black Pepper Sauce)

Wednesday, October 17, Lunch with Lia Tolaini at her estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany.
Assorted Panini (Sandwiches)
Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Olives
Castagneta Torta (Chestnut Pie)

Wednesday, October 17, Supper with Lia Tolaini at her estate in Castelnuovo Berardenga, Tuscany.
Prosciutto Sticks
Chicken Spezzatino and Polenta (Chicken Stew)
* Ravioli di Zucca con Burro e Salvia (Pumpkin Ravioli with Butter and Sage)
* Tiramisu

Thursday, October 18, Lunch at Badia a Coltibuono with Emanuela Stucchi-Prinetti, Gaiole, Tuscany.
Zuppetta di Pesce e Spinaci (Fish Soup with Spinach)
Crostini of Zucca, Finferli, Cheese and Fegato (Toasts with Pumpkin, Chanterelles,
Cheese and Liver)
Patate Arrosto con Pesto (Roasted Potatoes with Pesto)
Terrine, Pate, Prosciutto, Finocchiaro (Finochiaro is Fennel Salami)
Insalata Mista (Mixed Salad)
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
* Pears Poached in Red Wine

Thursday, October 18, Supper at Badia a Coltibuono with Emanuela Stucchi-Prinetti, Gaiole,Tuscany.
We ordered from the menu. I had:
Cabbage Soup with Pancetta (Bacon)
* Veal Cheeks with Potatoes and Finferli (Chanterelles)

Friday, October 19, Lunch at Silvio Nardi with Emilia Nardi in Montalcino, Tuscany.
Prosciutto and other assorted Crudi
Lasagna
Cinghiale with Onions (Wild Boar)
Assorted Cakes

Friday, October 19, Supper at Casanova di Neri in Montalcino, Tuscany  with the Neri family.
Antipasti of Speck (Smoked Prosciutto) and Cheeses
Bistecca (Grilled Steak)
Fagioli (Beans in Olive Oil)
Pappardelle with Capriolo Sauce (Pasta Ribbons with Wild Roebuck Sauce)

Saturday, October 20, Lunch with Agostino Lenci at Fattoria di Magliano in the Maremma, Tuscany.
* Crostino of Radicchio, Pignoli, Grated Parmigiano and Olive Oil
Crostino of Chicken Livers
Crostino of Diced Tomato and Olive Oil
Cinghiale and Polenta (Wild Boar)

Sicily, October 20 – 23
Saturday, October 20, Supper with the Asaro family at Da Vittorio in Porto Palo, Sicily.

Caponata with Swordfish (Eggplant Salad)
Polpettine di Pesce (Fish Balls)
* Spatola al Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Gambero Rosso Crudo di Mazara del Vallo (Raw Shrimp, similar to Ceviche)
* Neonati Fritti (Fried Small Fish)
Insalata di Cozze e Polpo (Mussel and Octopus Salad)
Spaghetti con Gambaretti e Pistachio (Small Shrimps and Ground Pistachios)
* Spaghetti al Ricci (Sea Urchins)
Desserts, including Cassata Siciliana and Cannoli

Sunday, October 21, Picnic Lunch with the Asaro team in an olive grove near Partanna, Sicily.
Caponata (Eggplant Salad)
* Fresh Ricotta
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Olive Tapanade
Olive Salad
DOP Black Bread
DOP Vastedda di Belice Cheese
Bottarga (Tuna Roe)
* Busiate Pasta Trapanese (Small Fusilli Pasta with Almonds, Tomatoes, Basil)
Salsiccia al Forno (Grilled Sausages)
Pomegranates
Fichi d’India (Prickly Pears)
* Fragoli Fruit (Looks like a Lime, tastes like a Strawberry)
Pepper Biscotti
Cucidati Cookies (Holiday Cookies)

Sunday, October 21, Supper at London Ristorante in Menfi with the Asaro team.
Couscous Trapanese (Sea Food and Couscous)
Carpaccio di Pesce Spada (Raw Swordfish)
Pesce Spada Affumicata (Smoked Swordfish)
Insalata di Polpo (Octopus Salad)
Arancino di Riso e Pesce (Rice and Fish Balls)
Gamberi Crudi (Raw Shrimp)
Triglie Fritte (Fried Fish)
* Smoked Tuna and Yellow Melon
Spinach and Cheese in Filo Pastry
Spatola Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Ricciola al Olio (Fish in Olive Oil)
Cozze al Vino Bianco (Mussels in White Wine)
* Occhiata e Calamari (Assorted Sea Food)
Sorbetto Limone (Lemon Sherbet)

Monday, October 22, Lunch in Sciacca, Sicily with Vincenzo Recca at Ristorante del Faro.
Alici al Olio (Sardines in Olive Oil)
Spatola Agrodolce (Fried Fish with Sweet and Sour Sauce)
Cozze Marinara (Mussels in Tomato Sauce)
Polpette di Gamberi (Shrimp Balls)
Polpo in Umido (Steamed Octopus)
* Spaghetti con Le Sarde (Sardine Sauce)
Spaghetti con Ricci (Sea Urchins)
Pesce Spada con Pommodoro e Cipolle (Swordfish, Tomatoes, and Onions)
Sarago Grigliato (Grilled Fish)
Giri (Beet Greens)

Monday, October 22, Supper in Castelveltrano, Sicily  at the home of Nino Asaro, with his family.
Panella (Chickpea Squares)
Arancini al Sugo di Carne (Meat Sauce Balls)
Arancini al Formaggio e Prosciutto Cotto (Cheese and Ham Balls)
Salsiccia Pasqualora (Easter Salami)
Caponata (Eggplant Salad)
Almonds
Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Vastedda di Belice DOP Cheese
Scamorza Affumicata (Smoked Cheese)
Ricotta Salata al Forno (Baked Cheese)
* Spaghetti Macco di Fava (Fava and Pea Sauce)
Salsicce al Forno (Grilled Sausage)
Tortino di Patate (Potato Tart)
Braciola con Carote e Cipolle (Stuffed Beef Rolls with Carrots and Onions)
Fichi d’India (Prickly Pears)
Melone Giallo (Yellow Melons)
Ricotta
Marzipan
Cannoli
Casadelle (Sfogliatelle Fritte – Fried Stuffed Pastries)
Pignolata (Struffoli, Fried Dough Balls with Honey)
Mostaccioli (Pastry)

Tuesday, October 23, Lunch at Antica Focacceria di San Francesco in Palermo, Sicily with Tommaso Asaro.
Arancini al Ragu con Piselli (Meat Sauce and Peas)
Arancini al Ricotta e Prosciutto Cotto (Cheese and Ham)
Pianini di Panella (Ceci – Chickpeas)
* Pianini di Milza (Spleen)
Sfincione (Local Flatbread/Pizza)
Involtini di Melanzane (Stuffed Eggplant)

Tuesday, October 24, Supper at Pisicchio Ristorante in Fiumicino, Rome.
Cozze e Vongole in Vino Bianco (Mussels and Clams in White Wine)
Fried Fish Balls
* Moscardini Fritti (Fried Baby Calamari)
Shrimps with Lettuce and Mayonnaise
Salmone Affumicato con Ricotta (Smoked Salmon with Ricotta)
Alici al Olio (Fresh Sardines in Olive Oil)
Salmone Affumicato con Radicchio (Smoked Salmon with Radicchio)
* Spaghetti con Vongole Veraci (Spaghetti with Clam Sauce)
* Tagliolini con Frutti di Mare (Thin Homemade Pasta Strips with Mixed Seafood and
Shellfish)
* Sorbetto di Limone (Lemon Sherbet)

Everything we tasted was fresh, local and excellent. I have inserted an asterisk (*) in front of dishes that I thought were extraordinary.