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  Corti Brothers Newsletter for Spring 2003    Page 3 

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Every year in January, when the Seville oranges in Sacramento start to ripen, Corti Brothers produces its own Seville (bitter) orange marmalade. Produced according to Mrs. Beeton's 1866 recipe using only fruit, sugar and water, its name is a pun, CAPITAL, since Sacramento is California's capital and in British English, TOP QUALITY or FIRST RATE. VINTAGE, since it is aged for a minimum of a year before sale.

Corti Brothers Capital Vintage Marmalade was first produced in 1980, and sold in 1981. The production for sale now is that of 2005. We also have a small quantity of a "reserve" production, that of 1997, which we are selling for the first time. This is a lot that "got lost" and was just discovered. So much for inventory control!

Marmalade improves with age, especially Seville orange marmalade. Some of our customers are so enamored of it, they have written limericks to us about it. In ordering more, one customer wrote: "I don't know how I would get through breakfast without it."

Corti Brothers Capital Vintage Marmalade 2005 Vintage 10 oz. Sold out.

 VOV A Unique Italian Drink 

VOV is an egg based wine drink very popular in Italy and which has a long history there. We normally do not think of eggs, especially egg yolks, when considering wine or wine based products, but the nutritive value of eggs, long known, was enhanced by blending them with wine, mainly, sweet Marsala. It was also a method for preserving perishable egg yolks. VOV is such a product.

VOV was so well thought of in the late19th and most of the 20th century in Italy, that it became synonymous of a comforting pick-me-up. G.B.Pezziol created VOV in Padova in1840 as a way of using up the egg yolks remaining from his spice shop's production of torrone, made from only the egg whites. In works on Padovan cooking, VOV is reputedly a drink from the Jewish quarter. From its ingredients--eggs, sugar, and Marsala--it would be kosher.

The brand name VOV comes from the word in Venetian dialect for eggs. Instead of the Italian "uove," in Venetian its plural is "vovi" An entire class of liqueurs, made with alcohol, not wine, from many different countries, is produced with eggs. Although more alcoholic than VOV, they are known by such different names: Eierlikor in Germany and Switzerland, Advockaat in Holland, Rompope in Mexico. Eggnog (also the British flip) is about as close as we get in traditional American drinks. The whole egg in a gin fizz doesn't count!

We know of the dessert zabaione or zabaglione, if you prefer, made from egg yolks, sugar, and Marsala wine beaten until frothy and then cooked. Historically, Bartolomeo Scappi, in his cookbook, L'arte del cusinare, Venice, 1571, in a section on convalescent cooking, at the work's end, has a "zambaglione" recipe, prepared as a "brodetto" or soup for pregnant women. VOV is the ready to drink, liquid form of this dish.

VOV is delicious drunk as it is, heated in coffee, or poured over ice cream. Once opened, store the bottle in the refrigerator and be sure to shake the bottle before serving. If you like the rich, unctuous character of cream liqueurs, try VOV. If you want a new flavor experience, even in dessert making, do not miss it.

  and Artichoke Hearts and OLIVIA 

Every year Italian housholds put up vegetables in oil for eating during the winter. They are called "sott'olio," plural, "sott'oli." They are meant to be eaten when the fresh product is out of season. From Ardoino, our Ligurian oil supplier, we have received the new crop of our well received stuffed peppers, PEPERONCINI STUZZICOSI FARCITI and the ALBENGA ARTICHOKE HEARTS, all preserved in olive oil. Albenga is the Riviera city where these purple tipped artichokes are grown. The stuffed peppers are small, round ones, stuffed with a puree of either tuna or anchovy blended with lots of capers. They are mildly hot, "stuzzicosi," and very savory. They make a terrific antipasto before a meal, or with bread, a wonderful quick snack.

OLIVIA is the name of the Taggiasca olive paste which we first offered in the early 1980s and called " Riviera caviar." It is delicious mixed with chopped garlic, parsley, and anchovies to make the Riviera "machet•" or tapenade. OLIVIA is delicious when used for dressing just cooked green beans and new potatoes, smeared on chicken thighs for grilling or broiling, or dressing cooked pasta.

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