Those are Glera grapes in the photo above. Aren’t they beautiful?
Not only are they beautiful but they are also delicious!
Glera (pronoucned GLEH-rah) is the main grape that goes into Prosecco, the famous sparkling wine from Northeastern Italy (from the Veneto and Friuli regions).
It’s not a pretty name for a grape but it makes for some truly gorgeous wine: Bright and straw yellow in the glass, with gentle bubbles that dance on the palate, Prosecco stands apart from the crowded field of sparkling wines today thanks to its freshness, its mouth-watering citrus and white fruit flavors, and its delicate mineral character.
Virtually unknown outside of Italy until the late 1990s, today Prosecco is arguably the most popular wine in the world. It’s even taken over Champagne as the best-selling sparkling wine across the globe. And there’s good reason for that: Where Champagne can have bracing acidity that makes it hard to pair with certain foods, Prosecco is known for its wonderful approachability and food-friendliness.
The grapes in the photo above are grown in the top appellation for Prosecco, the DOCG (or “controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) area where the fruit is grown exclusively on hillsides. In other words, the vines have to be hand-tended and the berries have to be hand-picked.
If you have ever visited Florence, Italy, you’ve probably seen the sculpture above. It’s not far from the Ponte Vecchio, right in the center of the historic downtown.
Known as the Porcellino (“the Little Piggy”), this bronze wild boar was originally created in the 17th century, inspired by an ancient Greek sculpture. Today, the original is found in the Bardini museum in Florence (it’s too valuable to be displayed in public at this point). But the replica remains one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
The Florentines say that it’s good luck to rub its snout.
And if you’ve ever visited Florence or Tuscany, you also know that wild boar is one of the Tuscans’ favorite dishes. Braised wild boar served over pappardelle (long broad noodles) might even be considered the “official” dish of Tuscany!
Here at Siena, Chef Harvey makes Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghinale just like they make it in the old country. In fact, we don’t know for certain but it’s likely that Siena Ristorante Toscana serves more wild boar than any other restaurant in Texas, maybe even in America.
Image via Wikipedia Creative Commons.
When most people think of Tuscan cuisine, the first things that come to mind are pappardelle (long broad noodles) with wild boar and the bistecca fiorentina (Siena has both on its menu, by the way).
But what a lot of people don’t realize is that Tuscany is also home to some of Italy’s best seafood. After all, Tuscany lies on the Mediterranean sea.
Chef Harvey once spent an entire week traveling up and down the Tuscan coast searching for the tastiest version of Cacciucco he could find.
That’s his “Cacciucco” above, the famous Tuscan seafood stew, made with all kinds of seafood and tomato.
Pronounced kah-CHOO-koh, no one really knows where it comes from. But as Chef Harvey tells it (and many Tuscans agree), needy children used to make the rounds of the fish mongers each day and collect discarded scraps of seafood. They’d then take them home to their families who would make the dish to share with everyone who was hungry.
Whatever its origins, there’s one thing that’s for certain: Chef Harvey’s Cacciucco is DELICIOUS!
How could we resist sharing this photo (above) and video (below)? Yesterday, Siena’s blogger happened find himself in the city of Siena (Italy)!
He snapped the above photo of the famous Torre del Mangia, the “Tower of the (Tax) Eater,” in the Piazza del Campo. That’s where the famous horse race of Siena, the Palio, is run each year.
It’s one of the most famous examples of early Renaissance architecture in Italy. Note how the most elaborate part of the tower, crafted with the more precious marble, is at the top. Many art and architecture historians like to point out that it was the first of its kind in Europe (click the link above for the Wikipedia entry).
Click the image for a high-resolution version. And be sure to activate the sound when you watch the video below so you can hear the “Bells of Siena.” Enjoy!
Can you think of a better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than with a classic Italian Mother’s Day Brunch (by Chef Harvey)?
(No, we didn’t think so.)
Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Buona festa della mamma a tutti!
Please call (512) 349-7667 to reserve.
“It couldn’t be more authentic than this,” said an Italian food writer who recently visited Siena.
“Chef Harvey’s pappardelle with wild boar ragù is spot on!”
Not only does Chef Harvey use housemade long broad noodles (pappardelle) for this Tuscan classic, he makes the ragù (or sauce) using Texas wild boar.
“It’s a local touch,” said the writer, “that makes it even more genuine — just like in Tuscany.”
Chef Harvey learned to make it when he worked in one of Tuscany’s most famous kitchens. And it’s been a guest favorite ever since we opened.
There’s nothing like authentic Italian ambiance to make this Mother’s Day an unforgettable holiday!
There’s an ancient saying in Italian, one of the many that have to do with mothers and the important role that they play in Italian society and culture:
Di mamma ce n’è una sola: You only have one mother (so make sure you treat her right)!
Treat mom to a truly unforgettable Italian-style Mother’s Day Brunch this year at Siena!
Click here for menu and reservation details.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13.
Please call (512) 349-7667 to reserve.