Saturday, February 14, 2015

Italian Valentine sweets: Sbrisolana & Recioto della Valpolicella

This past week I spent a week in the Valpolicella wine region of the Veneto in northeastern Italy where I experienced the L'Anteprima Amarone event, which was the release of the 2011 Amarone vintage of 64 producers. Thanks to the Consorzio della Valpolicella our foreign press group traveled to over 10 wineries tasting through many of their wines including a number of meetings with winemakers and wine dinners as well as the big Anteprima Amarone event culminating my week.

Arena in Piazza Bra Verona
The Arena in Verona
Four 9th Wine Pairing Weekend #WinePW I thought this trip to Verona was a perfect way to celebrate our Valentines theme with a perfect pairing from the region with Recioto della Valpolicella and Sbrisolana. Verona, according to its well-known home of Romeo and Juliet, is a city of love. Although the story of Romeo and Juliet is a fable, traces of love are found in the city, especially at Juliet's balcony in the city center, where folks right letters to pin on the wall. In light of Valentine's Day I was in that same boat back in 2009 when I first started dating my husband and left my own note on the wall as corny as it sounds and I guess all dreams do come true!  Awwwww!

Juliet's balcony Verona
My note at Juliet's balcony Oct 11, 2009
While in Verona I was introduced to a special dessert of the Veneto region called sbrisolana. It originates from the verb sbricolare, which means to crumble. According to Accademia Barilla sbrisolana was “created around the 16th century in the Northern Italian countryside, outside of Mantua.....a popular dessert among poor families. In order to save money, they would prepare the tart by mixing cornmeal, hazelnuts and lard, instead of butter.” It was also enjoyed by the nobile families made with finer ingredients including almonds and sugar. Sbrisolana is a hard, crunchy, yet crumbly type of large cookie. The top resembles a crumb cake top and the texture itself is reminiscent of a sugar/shortbread cookie with almonds. It's easily enjoyed by breaking it up into pieces and enjoying with some wine.

Sbrisolana of Veneto region
My experience of sbrisolana was paired with the dessert wine of the region, Recioto della Valpolciella. If you aren't familiar with Recioto della Valpolicella it is a red dessert wine that derives from the same region of Amarone in the Valpolicella and consists of the same grapes: corvina, corvinone and rondinella, but only comes from the ear of the grape cluster known as the recie. This part of the cluster receives the most sunshine and is therefore the ripest with a higher sugar content.

Recioto della Valpolicella
Flight of Recioto della Valpolicella
I was such a fan I made sure to bring some home myself and look forward to making it myself as well in the future. There is nothing like enjoying typical products of the region especially when they pair so well together. Hopefully you will top off your Valentines Day with this sweet finish and enjoy it as much as I did.

You can follow me on Vino Travels as I take you day by day of my recent return from the Valpolicella wine region meeting winemakers and sharing with you the true meaning of what represents producing wine in the Valpolicella.  I started this week with my first day at Bolla so join me!
Sunset in Verona from Scaligero bridge
My last night in Verona

Wine Pairing Weekend # 9 Bloggers: Be sure to check out what my fellow bloggers have come up with for the February Wine Pairing Weekend!

If you're reading this early enough, you can join us for  a live Twitter chat on our theme "It's All About Romance" on Saturday, February 14, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time.
You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the March Wine Pairing Weekend, which will be on Saturday, March 14, 2015

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