I Due Fratellini – Best Tuscan sandwiches and wine

October 27, 2010

The roofs of Florence

Another “must see” on our map of Florence was “I Due Fratellini” where the best Tuscan sandwiches and wines are on offer. Indeed the sandwiches were awesome, fresh and tasty with ample choice for meat and cheese lovers as well as for vegetarians.

We had a couple of glasses of very decent Pinot Griggio with the food.

I Due Fratellini – long queues

The crowds are manageable at lunchtime but be prepared to queue for a while. It is advisable to get there early, let’s say 11:30 h or so. We sat on the pavement on the other side of the small lane in which I Due Fratellini is located.

I Due Fratellini

The prices are very reasonable. The service is great, fast and friendly. What I liked that we could drink the wine from real wine glasses and not some kind of plastic etc. cup. You just return the wine glasses when you have finished you drink. Very nice indeed.

The place is easy to find. Check it our when in Florence next time.

Address:
I Due Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori 38/r
50122 Firenze, Italy
+39-552396096
Opening hours:Mon.-Sat. 09-20h
www.iduefratellini.com


San Gimignano, Tuscany – Poderi del Paradiso

August 29, 2010

On our way from Rome to Florence we visited the small town of San Gimignano in Tuscany. It was a beautiful day with blue sky and lots of sunshine. We were not the only people to visit this picturesque jewel of Tuscany.

The view from San Gimignano into the surrounding hills

Grapes for the new vintage

The gate to enter San Gimignano

The town if famous for its medieval architecture and especially its towers. There are also many shops in San Gimignano catering to the many tourists. I could not resits the wine shops, but there is also plenty of prosciutto and beautiful local crockery on offer.

Wine shop

Prosciutto

Vernaccia di San Gimignano

I had also to taste some of the wines. The Caffetteria dell’Olmo was just the right place to enjoy a cold drink located on the main square of the town. I ordered a glass of ‘Vernaccia di San Gimignano’ considered one of the finest Italian whites. This was a crisp wine with a fine acidity.

My spoil

On our way back to the car, I had to buy at least some wine. I bought a white and a red wine, both not very expensive. I asked for products of a typical local producer. The lady in the shop suggested Poderi del Paradiso which sounded just fine. You will learn more about the wines of Poderi del Paradiso in another blog entry.

I very much regretted that we did not have more time, but even these 2-3 hours were absolutely worth it. San Gimignano is a place I have to come back to.


Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

June 24, 2010

Our fish

I just love to eat fish, all kinds of fish. And there is good fish on offer in the markets of Bangkok. Often we do not have carbohydrates with it. But veggies are a must. They are a great complement for the protein.

What you need in addition is, if possible: a superb wine, preferably white.

A plate of fish and veg

Very delicious veggies

I admit that sometimes I drink red wine with fish but most of the time I select a white. Since I love to drink Riesling wines, that’s often my preferred choice. Another option I like is Sauvignon Blanc. But it needs to be a really good one. I like Sancerre style wines and the ‘2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc’, from the Marlborough wine region of New Zealand seemed to be the right stuff.

But I did not buy the bottle because SB wines from New Zealand are in fashion right now. I bought it because the Mount Nelson brand is a project of a famous Italian wine dynasty, the Antinori’s from Tuscany.

Piero and Lodovico Antinori are the 26th generation of Italy’s most famous wine family. I wanted to know how their interpretation of New Zealand SB fruit would turn out. I should not be disappointed as it turned out later.

2007 Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc

In 2004 the Antinori brothers bought for US$ 1.8 million a 32 acres vineyard on the banks of the Taylor River near the mouth of Cloudy Bay not far from the Wither Hill Vineyard. To make the Mount Nelson SB additional fruit (about 40%) is purchased from the adjoining Meadowbank vineyard.

The 2007 vintage is just the best ever. This is the unanimous verdict of the wine critics (91 Parker points). I can only confirm this. My recommendation: buy buy buy.

The wine has zest, is fragrant with lime and lemon flavours and some mineral notes. The colour is beautiful straw-like. The finish is lasting. I forgot the alcohol content and the price. But rest assured if I see it in my local market again, I will buy all the bottles on the shelve.

Beautiful colour in the glass

In early July, we will be in Italy. There I will taste some more of the Antinori wines. This time Italian wines.


La Domenica – A Tuscan feast with Tuscan wine

June 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver’s Italy

It was high time for some beautiful Italian food after my culinary peregrinations in Taiwan, especially since I am in the process of packing my suitcase again. I will be in Vietnam for the next two weeks and explore some of the foods in Hanoi and Saigon.

I am a lover of pasta, any pasta. Based on a recipe from the Jamie Oliver Italy book, we set out on a “fusilli con rague”. Imagine a sauce thick with the flavours of beef rosemary and tomatoes simmering on the kitchen stove for hours.

Our favorite Prosecco so that the waiting was bearable

The table waiting for the pasta

Voila: the pasta

It was delicious, just what I needed, earthy and robust, rooted in the peasant traditions of Italy.

What about the wine? I bought a bottle of Italian wine from my favourite wine shop in Taoyuan just across from the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST). Nothing special, but decent. It was a bottle of ‘2007 Chianti D.O.C.G.’ by Melini, one of the best wine makers of Tuscany.

In wine reviews it gets three, sometimes four, out of five stars. It has about 13.5 % alcohol and costs between US$ 8 to 12. This young Chianti is a solid wine for every day, with good fruit flavours, medium bodied with a long finish. It went very well with the pasta.

PS: The good news is that in July we will be in Rome and Florence with ample opportunity to taste many Tuscan wines.


Brunello di Montalcino and pasta

November 27, 2009

2004 Pietroso Brunello di Montalcino

Just a simple dinner with a pasta and a salad. I grabbed a bottle of red from the wine fridge and woh, where did I buy this wine? It was a ripper of a red, ‘2004 Brunello di Montalcino’ by Pietroso (about 100 km south of Florence in Tuscany).

Aged for 36 months in oak barrels, this 100% Sangiovese wine is just a wonderful drop. Intense forest fruit flavours, great structure, good mid-palate weight and a long finish, round and silky. It took us by surprise.

A delicious pasta

We had just a simple pasta for an ordinary dinner during the week. When I went back to the supermarket the next day to look for this wine, I could not find it any more. I know why: it’s marvelous. Look out for this Brunello di Montalcino. It’s worth it. Azienda Agricola Pietroso produced 2004 about 13,000 bottles of this Brunello. I think it was one of the best wines we had had recently.