I have put this bottled seasoning mix in our newsletter before. It is a real throwback to what was American Mexican flavor. Surprisingly, it proved to be very popular and we received many calls from customers saying that they thought the seasoning mix had disappeared and they remember it from their childhood when their mothers would use it to make dishes like tamale pie.
Good things really never die; they just get forgotten about and then get remembered. L & D Spanish Seasoning is something to keep on hand because you never know when the idea of a tamale pie might come upon you, and you want to relive your childhood. (Don’t worry, the recipe is on the jar )
It seems like Christmas just came and now its Easter. The Italian Easter cake, Colomba, is a dove shaped yeast dough cake. It is thought that the Colomba antedates panettone, the Christmas cake. Again, this year we have the Loison Colomba in three styles which have proven to be the most popular: Classica with candied citrus including citron and almonds; Alla Pesca with candied peach pieces; and the Mandarino Di Ciaculli with the very aromatic mandarin found only in Sicily.
The Colomba is used as it is. They are simplicity itself as dessert, just open, slice and serve, preferably with an aromatic light sweet wine. This newsletter has several, but remember also our H.P.O. 2008 which fits the bill very nicely. The Colomba are all one kilo in weight. They should easily serve 10-12 for dessert.
When ripe fresh peaches are available, a wonderful use of Colomba is to cut it in half horizontally, spread with sweetened whipped cream, mascarpone or a combination of both, cover with sliced ripe peaches, top with the other half of the Colomba, let sit in the refrigerator for several hours, remove, slice, and devour.
(We have managed to keep the prices for Loison’s Colomba at the same prices we had in 2008 when the euro/dollar were in a better position.)
A Passito wine is produced from withered grapes of any kind, but usually white and aromatic. The name comes from “appassire,” in Italian, to wither or soften. It is the ancient method of making a sweet wine that will have high alcohol and still some residual sweetness.
Vignalta, an estate in the Colli Euganei, outside of Venice, produces Alpiane, a very special passito, from moscato fior d’arancio–Orange Muscat to us. The 2006 vintage produced a stupendous example of this wine. Why stupendous? Because the fermentation got stuck at 12% alcohol–rather than the usual 16%–leaving more residual sugar than normal, enhancing the luscious flavor of this highly scented variety. It wasn’t planned this way. It just happened. A fortuitous mistake, but lucky us.
Corti Brothers has the last stock of Alpiane 2006; if you want to see what a real marvel this style of sweet wine can be, you should try this vintage. We still have some 2005 vintage which is also very good, has higher alcohol and consequently a slightly drier finish. It is an interesting comparison to taste them together.