15 Apr 2011

Vincotto the elixir of the gods in the ancient Greek and Roman empire

 Dear Vincotto.....:)  , I remember when I was 18 and I use to to enjoy my autumn retreat a Celie Messapico in Brindisi with my Compare  Mario…
At the time we will hunt all day in the olive tree surrounding country to get back for lunch and see the fabulous  orechiette with cime di rapa , home made bread , in the trulli>>> the particular house of  Puglia   
I always had this particular memory of his father cooking the  wine grape juice to prepare the wine  ( it was Autumn ) and explain to me that the additional of this, particular cook wine, to the rest of it ,  is a old tradition from the Greek to give more alcohol and to promulgate the live of it , and I should explain to my father................ as I felt in love with this particular elixir of the gods …….
Today , after a while , in I meet  Giovanni , the owner of Vincotto , from Lecce and this is what I finally have receive today and ..............what a happy day to start to cooking new thing..

The vincotto :
YOU know what they say about necessity. Centuries ago, when refined cane sugar was a luxury for aristocrats only, the common folk made sweeteners by concentrating the juices of grapes and other fruit into dark, viscous syrups with a touch of acidity.
Now, these age-old, often homemade sugar substitutes have acquired culinary cachet. Chefs across the country are using them to enrich marinades and sauces, drizzling them around braised cabbage and pork, over sharp pecorino cheese or on creamy panna cotta or berries.
In Italy, these sweeteners are made from wine grapes and go by regional names like saba, sapa, vin cotto or mosto cotto. Vin cotto means ''cooked wine'' though made from unfermented grape juice, or must, and contains no alcohol. In southern Italy, vin cotto is sometimes made from figs. They are imported mainly from the Emilia-Romagna region and, in the south, Apulia.
Vincotto (literally "cooked wine") is a dark, sweet dense grape is produced artisanally in the Apulia  region of southeastern Italy. It is made by the slow cooking and reduction over many hours of grape must that can be made from a variety of types of local red wine grapes.
Vincotto has a sweet flavor, and is not a form of vinegar, though a sweet vinegar version can be produced using a vincotto as a base. This additional product is called a Vinegar of Vincotto, or Vincotto Vinegar, and can be used in exactly the same way as a good mellow Balsamic vinegar.
Vincotto appears to be related to defrutumnd other forms of grape juice boiled down to varying strengths (caren , sapa) that were produced in rome During the ancieend time .Defrutum was used to preserve, sweeten, and/or flavor many foods (including wine), by itself or with honey .Was also consumed as a drink when diluted with water, or fermented into a heady Roman "wine." Over many centuries, the vincotto produced in the Salanto area of Apulia (the "heel" of Italy), was further developed into several different varieties of higher quality and culinary sophistication.
The Calogiuri "Originale" Vincotto version from Lizzanello is produced using Negromaro and Black malvasia grape varietals, and is cooked for some fifteen hours. The liquid is then put into oak barrels with the vinegar "mother" (starter) and aged for four years to allow it to develop a particular flavor profile and syrupy consistency. The process has overtones of a type of production method that was once used for balsamic vinegars. The term "Originale" refers to an original Calogiuri family recipe that originally dates back to 1825.

Vincotto can be used as a sweet condiment, as well as being sparingly drizzled over strongly flavored foods such as game, roast meats and poultry, aged cheeses, and risotto
Due to the nature of the Apulian red grapes wines are produced with very high polypheon counts. These work as antioxidant and are good for health, and act as strong natural flavour eLike a dense sweet balsamic "vinegar," the balsamic bincotto Agrodolce version can also used to dress salads and season cooked vegetables, and can even be used in desserts such as fruits or ice cream.
These are produced by blending a sweet matured vincotto with vinegar produced from the same red grape varieties. The result is allowed to rest for a further number of months until it becomes "legato," which means "mellow." The result is an Apulian balsamic vinegar that can be used in exactly the same way as a very good quality balsamic vinegar of Modena, though it does have some additional properties. Red Apulian grapes and wines exhibit very high polyphenol counts, and these act as healthy antioxidants, as a very marked natural flavour enhancer when associated with other foods. They have the ability to push out other flavours when used in a recipe, instead of overpowering them, and as is usually the experience with other balsamic vinegars, they can still be further reduced over heat without any bitter caramelization.

The word "vincotto" is a generic name that cannot be registered as a trademark by any producer

figs vin cotto

8 year old Vincotto Vinagrette to me a heaven to work with it

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