We have offered the rounded shape, flattish Marcona almonds for some time. Just recently we were able to purchase LARGUETA ALMONDS, a long, lance shaped, hard shell variety sold with its dark skin attached. Since our LARGUETAS are lightly toasted, this thin skin can be left on or rubbed off as one wishes. LARGUETA flavor is slightly more marked than that of Marcona.
Of unknown origins, this Spanish cultivar was selected about 1820 in the area of La Bispal de Falset and is now grown throughout the Ebro valley, from Reus to Alicante, where it accounts for between 8 to 20% of the total Spanish almond production. In a major almond producing country like Spain, with a multitude of cultivars (the island of Mallorca alone has more than 100), LARGUETA almonds are ubiquitous in tapas bars and are served either alone or with the blanched, oil fried and salted Marconas. This is a special combination since the Marcona is the pollinator for the Largueta.Now you can try LARGUETA, the other delicious, relatively little known, Spanish almond variety.
Reno Dinelli, the grower of these beans produces the wonderful Pescadero cranberry beans which I wrote about in our last newsletter. Now available are the 2003 crop of the Pescadero Cranberry beans and another bean, a largish white bean, brought into California by Reno Dinelli’s father in 1912 when he arrived from Tuscany. The bean is called by the family “CAPONI DI SARTOCCHIO,” from his father’s town in the province of Lucca. The town is not to be found on a map. However, I did some research in Repetti, Dizionario Geografico Fisico Storico della Toscana,1843, and the actual name of the locality is “SALTOCCHIO.”
The pronunciation in Lucchesia tends to make “l” sounds sound like “r,” hence the dissonance in the name. There are two Saltocchios: Sant’Andrea di Saltocchio and Moriano a Saltocchio, localities not even large enough to be called villages, but “contrade.” Merely “parishes,” both are found close to Ponte a Moriano, on the Serchio River just outside Lucca.
In the province of Genova, there is a similar bean called Cappone, reflecting the bean’s meaty character, much like that of a capon. Both are Phaseolus coccineus beans which change slightly in character due to soil conditions, irrigation, the particular species, and how they are used in the kitchen. We have the total 700 pound production of the “CAPONI DI SARTOCCHIO” for this year. They do merit your attention. The “CAPONI” are heritage beans older than 1912; the Pescadero Cranberry is a mere 25 years old.
Both the “CAPONI DI SARTOCCHIO” and the Pescadero Cranberry beans have been recently harvested. Freshly dried beans cook very rapidly and you must be careful not to overcook them until they fall apart, unless you want bean soup. “CAPONI DI SARTOCCHIO,” about 3/4 inch in length dry, will cook up to be one inch or more in length, with a slightly yellowish pink color, thin skin, and a delicious creamy texture and flavor.An hour’s soaking in cold water after rinsing-- the addition of two unpeeled garlic cloves, a bay leaf and a few peppercorns, with enough cold water to cover by two inches, a moderate fire until the beans boil and then a time lowered to a gentle simmer-- should give you beans ready to enjoy in about 40 minutes. Taste for tenderness, add salt only if tender. Remove them from heat and let cool down in their broth. A bowl of cooked beans in the refrigerator is always welcome in cold weather.
The Fulton winery built in St. Helena, California in1864 was demolished in 1973. In 1999, from the fruit of over fifty year old, head pruned vines, Fulton Mather, great, great grandson of David Fulton, the founder, produced a 50 case quantity of excellent Petite Sirah. The vineyard, right in St. Helena, is on Fulton Lane. Now Corti Brothers can offer some of the 99 case production of the 2000 vintage.
This is a black colored, intense, highly extracted wine; tannic yet not aggressive. It is massive, but quite delicious. Probably one of the smallest productions in the Napa Valley, it is produced from vines planted in the 1940s-50s. This wine will shortly have a new home in the rebuilt Fulton wine cellar on the footprint of the original.The label pictures a plow. An odd design for a wine label one might think. But David Fulton was also the inventor of the Fulton plow, which he patented in 1870. It was a great agricultural innovation since it could be pulled with one horse instead of two.
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