Monday, July 6, 2009

A Cup Of Glee - Weekly Newsletter - Invitation for Taleggio, Grappa and Grapes

Welcome to the Blog for Fancy That!
We happily call our blog “A Cup of Glee.”

Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy!

Let's say you are invited for “Taleggio, grappa and grapes.” What to do? What to wear? What time to arrive?


What on earth is Taleggio not to mention grappa?

Let's start with Grappa.....Not to be confused with cordials.

Grappa is a fragrant, distilled grape liqueur from Italy. Also called a grape-based pomace of between 37.5% and 60% (75 to 120 proof in the USA) alcohol content. It is often said to be similar to the Spanish orujo or the Portuguese aguardente. Grappa was originally made in the northern Italian town of Bassano del Grappa and some contend that this is the origin of the name, rather than from the Latin graspa ("grape-stalk").

Most grappa is clear, indicating that it is an un-aged distillate, though some may retain very faint pigments from their original fruit pomace. Lately, aged grappas have become more common, and these take on a yellow, or red-brown hue from the barrels in which they are stored.It can be found in high end liquor stores. Some examples to get you started are:

$325 a bottle for Antonella Bocchino Grappa (click on the name for a direct link)

or Grappa Piave 1 litre bottle for about $29

or a nice floral-type of grappa which can double as a desert drink like Inga Grappa di Moscatot

Oh! Almost forgot. Taleggio is a wonderful washed-rind semisoft cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy. It’s taste is a little musty, but when paired with a fruity grappa like the Grappa Di Moscato and grapes, it makes for a wonderful sandwich. Read on! (There’s a great recipe that follows!)

Table Talk
(Manners and TableTop Tips)
Don’t be vexed over not knowing how to serve your grappa :) Here’s some tips:

Grappa should be served neither too cold nor too warm. The ideal serving temperature is:
Between 48 and 55F for young and aromatic young grappas.
Between 60 and 64F for aged grappas.
When in doubt, it is best to serve grappa at a lower temperature: if too cold, it can always be warmed up by holding the glass between the palms of the hands and checking its aromas as the temperature rises.

The ideal goblet for serving grappa is a pot-bellied, tulip-shaped glass made of crystal or sonorous glass, with a neck that should not be too tight, and a capacity of between 3 and 5 oz.
Though very charming, it's best to avoid the use of cognac glassware or balloon-shaped goblets with a very narrow neck.

As with all stemware, holding the glass should be by the stem, and not by the body. Carefully holding the stem (unless warming the grappa) shows that you are ready to enjoy your drink and not ready to slug it down in one gulp (although if you wish, you may slug it down! :) )

The Butler
(Host and Hostess tips and Helpful Hints for planning your event)
Now you are itching to throw a party and use the grappa glasses you have, or the ones you just rented from Fancy That? (see the “Flying Saucer” section below). Here’s the simplest way to throw a party:

Email invites to your closest friends and tell them you are having a grappa, taleggio and grape party, and all they have to do is bring their appetite.

Get your Panini maker out, set up your rented grappa glasses, pre-make this wonderful Taleggio, grappa and grape sandwich, and as your guests start arriving, start cooking the Panini’s while you are handing them their grappa glass! Add a nice spinach and balsamic salad, and let me tell you, it won’t be an evening to be forgotten any time soon!

The Flying Saucer
(What’s new at Fancy That!)
At Fancy That!, we are all about adaptive re-use! Why not use the grappa glass for mimosas at a bridal or baby shower? You could mix the mimosas in a pitcher and pour the drink into the grappa glass, adding one maraschino cherry for color. Or, wouldn’t a lovely pink punch go great in these little crystal grappa glasses? How about a delicious dessert drink or aperitif? (here's a great article I posted last year on the aperitif: "To understand the importance of the aperitif, an American writer looks to Europe")

We've just acquired a fair amount of these wonderful titanium-crystal grappa glasses (imported from Germany), and they'll soon be ready for rent. We are so excited about this newest addition to our rental inventory! I haven't had the chance to take a good photo yet, but below is a shot taken from the warehouse:

Until our next post, please remember:
Suggestions tolerated, compliments always welcomed. Tell your friends, and visit often.

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