Wine Tip: Cantine Olivella/Katà Pompeiano 2010

A chilly winter night in Bari; found shelter and great hospitality at La Bul (www.labul.it, Via Villari 52, Bari), new and trendy restaurant in the  storic center (www.labul.it). Sommeliere Francesca Mosele’s wine recommendation for a dinner based on raw and cooked fish and vegetables, prepared by her partner Antonio Scalera (former chef of Grotta Palazzese, Polignano):

Cantine Olivella: Katà Pompeiano 2010

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Cocktail Course: How to Prepare Hugo Spritz

A tasty alternative to the classic Spritz: Hugo, once invented in Bolzano, North of Italy, is becoming more and more popular all around the south. At 300 Mila Lounge, Lecce (according to Gambero Rosso one of the 30 BEST aperitivo bars in ITALY; Via 140° Reg. Fanteria, Tel. 0832288383) it’s one of the top sellers, especially in the winter, since it’s a bit sweeter and not quite as strong as the Campari or Aperol Spritz. Put ice cubes in a glass, add the juice of 1/2 lime, then 2 cl of elder liquor. Pick a couple of fresh mint leves and squeeze them beside the ice cubes. Add Bellavista or any kind of dry Prosecco, according to your taste.

Cocktail Course: How to Carve Roses out of Strawberries

Here’s how you prepare one of the most beautiful and impressive cocktail decorations: Cutting a rose out of a strawberry. Seen at Palazzo Personè, Lecce, right beside the famous Basilica Santa Croce (Via Umberto I, no. 5). “All you need are strawberries of a certain size”, says Andrea, the bar chef. Insert a long wooden stick from the bottom side. Cut tiny  carvings like slices into the fresh fruit, as shown in the video, without removing the green stem part. Start from the bottom, finish on top.

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…