Taste of Milan: Puglia Memories at the Park Hyatt

This is what happens when a barman from Lecce goes travelling… Giacomo Maroccia who used to work for our friend Davide de Matteis at 300 Mila, Lecce, left his home town quite a while ago to see the world and make new experiences. He travelled the US at first, remained in Texas for a while, then came back to Italy to go studying. We popped into him working part time at the Park Hyatt (Via Tommaso Grossi 1, Milan, Tel: +39 02 8821 1234), Milan, the other day, where he prepared us a couple of Spicy Spritzs, his own variation of the classic, as a welcome drink. Since it’s the perfect thing to have on hot summer days like these (and since he used to be one of our favorite barmen in the area and we’re missing him a lot), we want to share the recipe with you. Here we go: ENJOY!!

Spicy Spritz

4 cl Tequila Blanco
5-6 Leaves of Mint
1 Fresh squeezed Lime
1 Teaspoon brown sugar
Ginger root
Red currant
Soda water
Ginger ale

Place mint leaves, ginger and red currant into a large red wine
glass. Squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. Add the brown sugar, a splash of club soda and gently smash the the ingredients with a muddler. Add ice (preferably cubes),then Tequila and top-up with ginger ale. Stir gently and garnish with a mint sprig.

Coccaro Welcomes 3 Baby Goats: Give them Names!

One is grey & brown, the other two creamy white with dark spots all over… Super cute!! All 3 of them were all born last night. The mother, exhausted and tired, is having a rest at the stable while pony Katharina is giving her company. In the meantime the goat babies are flying from arm to arm… A real baby shower! We took pictures in the back of the kitchen where the “kids” were trying their first cautious steps on their long, slightly trembling legs. After the foto session Peppino took them back to mummy to be fed and have a nap.

The newlyborns don’t have names yet: Do you want to give us a hand? How would YOU call the goat kids at Coccaro stable? Tick, Trick & Track? The 3 musketeers? We’ll be happy to collect all your ideas and keep you posted on the final choice! Thanks for joining in!!

PS: Do you know that goats milk is perfect (baby) nutrition – not only for little baby goats but also for human beings? According to the Journal of American Medicine, “Goat’s milk is the most complete food known”. It contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein, and fatty acids that are utilized by your body with ease. In fact, your body can digest goat’s milk in just 20 minutes. It takes 2-3 hours to digest cow’s milk. So when you come down to Masseria Torre Coccaro next time, ask for goat milk at breakfast: You’ll find it’s a real treat!

Cultural Tip: Writer about Puglia’s Raw Fish Tradition

Every now and then we’re inviting “artists in residence” to stay with us for a few days or weeks, exchance cultural experiences and watch them working on special pieces. Or, in this case, inspire them go new ways, try new things, even beyond their personal comfort zone. Stefan Maiwald, german writer, who lives between Munich, Grado and Braunschweig, wrote a few chapters of his new novel, “Meine Suche nach der besten Pasta der Welt” (engl: My research for the best pasta in the world) at Masseria Torre Coccaro. It wasn’t too hard of a job, he actually seemed to quite like the idea of his new work & life balance between golf course (Maizza) and computer, swimming pool and notebook.

One evening he got to his personal extremes though: We took him to eat raw seafood at Bella Bari (Via Roberto da Bari 141, Bari). We knew he liked sushi. But he didn’t know how raw raw fish could actually be… What he experienced among friends of ours and a whole restaurant full of Bari people, most of them “crudo” lovers, he describes in his chapter “Puglia – Can you please bury me there?”

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Cocktail Course: “Chocolate for Happiness” – Natale’s Valentine Tip

“Life is like chocolate”, says our barman Natale Marasciulo:  ”The bitterness makes you appreciate the sweetness more…” For this year’s Valentine Dinner at Masseria Torre Coccaro he made up this beautiful bittersweet chocolate apertivo called “Chocolate for Happiness“.

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Cooking School: Bean Soup with Grilled Scamorza Cheese, Dried Tomatoes and Crispy Wild Onions

Ever tried Smashed Bean Soup with a twist of aromatic Scamorza cheese, wild onions, dried tomatoes and crispy bread? Here’s how Antonio Scalera, former “Grotta Palazzese” chef (Polignano), now the owner of La Bul Restaurant in Via Villari 52, Bari (www.labul.it), approaches the traditional recipe.
On the smashed bean cream he would first add a a couple of cooked whole beans,  ”to make you realize you’re undoubtedly eating beans”, he says, while baking the Scamorza cheeze until it melts slightly.

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Cooking School: Making Mandarin Jam out of Freshly Picked Fruits

While our gardeners are picking the oranges and mandarins all around the estate – and there’s still heaps to harvest! –  Donato Vanella, the Coccaro chef, shows how to prepare Mandarin Jam, a Puglia variation of the ancient recipe that’s “basically used all over the world”, Vanella says, “an easy way to conserve fruit without using additives”.
Squeeze the juice out of the mandarins, then cut the skins into small pieces, put them with 400 grams of sugar each kilo of fruit in a high pot with medium fire for 30 minutes. At last fill the jam in small  jars.
Go for a classic preservation method called “bagno Maria” (Bain Marie) putting the closed jars in boiling water for 5 minutes in order to sanitize them. Makes the jam durable for at least one winter! As simple as it is to prepare – the marmelade tastes delicious…