I tried the Labriole Saint Mont 2006 wine in Paris. It was recommended to me by a waiter from the “Cremerie Restaurant Polidor” restaurant. I heard about this wine for the first time and I wasn’t sure if it is from southwestern France.
After I came back home, I found this wine area in the Internet. Mont Saint is the area to the east of the town of Auch. This wine area is a part of the Gascony region in France. There are wonderful landscapes with plenty of streams, lush valleys, forests, vineyards and small towns with timbered houses that look like the ones from medieval times. I know Gascony from Aleksandra Dumas' books about d'Artagnan. I heard about the local brandy called Armagnac but I had never drunk wine from there.
I was impressed with the taste of the Labriole Saint Mont 2006 read wine. The glass reveals nice purple glow. Flavours are clean and vinous. In the first sip I found the blackcurrant flavour. Sweet fruit and pleasant acidity makes the wine ideal for food. I don't have the slightest doubt that it is the grape of the highest quality.
This wine contains about 70% of Tannat grape. Tannat is a kind of red wine grape, which has sharp taste and is rich in tannins. In the past wine made only from these grapes wasn’t popular. The name of main grape may be one reason. The word resembles tannin, ie tannins. But modern winemakers know how to select grapes and to make good wine, so now wine rich in tannins is soft to drink. It is important to do this by master of discipline, because the law requires that he/she has to add at least 70% of Tannat grapes. This rule has been introduced to preserve local characteristics of wines.
In modern Gascony it is statutory for wine to consist of 70% of Tannat. The rest is cabernet. There is a small label that shows that the grapes are handpicked . Fermentation and storage occur in steel tanks to preserve the best fruit flavors. So, the wine coming from Saint Mont contains a lot of nice secrets for me. They are worth being discovered .
Another Lithuanian dish and the first bean dish I liked! No starchy bean taste, smooth texture and this gorgeous sauce!
Kidney bean fritters (Pupu kukuliai)
1 cup dry white beans
½ cup flour
100 g fresh bacon
2 Tspns cream
1 small onion
1. Soak beans overnight. Drain, cover with fresh water and cook.
2. Grind beans well in food processor. Add egg, salt and some water. Form small fritters with floured hands. Thickness of about half centimeter is the best. Toss to the boiling salted water and cook for about 7-10 minutes. Drain and keep warm.
3. Now is the best part: Cut bacon into small cubes, melt and brown in the frying pan over low heat, then brown the onion in this fat. Add few spoons of cream, season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over bean fritters.
4. Serve in a clay bowl with a wooden spoon!
The Italian influence on the Polish cuisine dates back to the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries when there were significant trade links with the Polish merchants of Genoa, Florence and Venice.
In the fourteenth century the court bills mentioned that royal cooks used fruit such as figs, raisins, almonds and lemons. In the fourteenth century Italian cuisine reached only the aristocratic mansions.
Bronisław Abramowicz "Wierzynek banquet"
The opinion that the Italian Queen Bona brought vegetables to Poland is untrue, since lettuce, beets, cabbage, turnips, carrots, peas and cauliflowers had been eaten as early as at the court of King Jagiello. The undeniable thing is that Queen Bona employed only Italians as cooks. They were also hired for the preparation of receptions for magnates. At the court of Queen Bona very large quantities of fruit were used. They included oranges, lemons, pomegranates, olives, figs, chestnuts, raisins, almonds and Italian vegetables, rice and various kinds of roots: black pepper, fennel, saffron, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, sugar, marzipan and olive oil.
Jan Matejko "Poisoning of Queen Bona"
Most Polish names of vegetables are derived from the Italian language (cauliflower, artichokes, leeks, onion, asparagus, beans, zucchini, lettuce). In the nineteenth century tomatoes, scorzonera, endive, spinach and chicory joined the list.
The Polish confectionery was created by Italians. The domain of Italian confectioners was ice cream, doughnuts, sugary drinks such as lemonade and orange soda and a chocolate cake with fruit and jelly, fruit syrups and fried chestnuts.
Doughnuts, which probably originate from the Roman Empire, currently are the symbol of Polish carnival.
On the last Thursday of the carnival in Poland Fat Thursday is celebrated . This day nobody counts calories and everybody eats doughnuts or other fried sweets. This tradition was born in Krakow in the sixteenth century where Queen Bona organized carnival balls. That's why Fat Thursday on my table is dominated by doughnuts and Faworki.
Pieter Bruegel "The Fight Between Carnival and Lent"
Last year I published a recipe for doughnuts. Today I publish a recipe for Faworki. This recipe came from my Grandmother's kitchen notebook. She didn’t like Italian cuisine and doughnuts. She didn’t understand my fascination with Italian cuisine but she made the best Faworki in the whole country. The taste of these sweets reminds me of her and our discussions about cuisine. She died a few weeks ago and she left me the notebook full of old recipes. Thanks Grandma.
5 egg yolks
100 ml fresh crème
2 tbsp rum
½ tsp salt
fat for deep frying
Flour, yolks, fresh crème, rum and salt mix together. Mix with your hands well, slowly and obviously with pleasure. Knead until the dough reaches a flexible consistency. When dough doesn’t stick to your hands it is ready.
Divide dough into four parts, and roll each one out very thin. Cut on strips 5 cm long and 2 cm wide. Make an incision 2 cm long in the middle part of each strip. Each strap take in his hand and horn of strap to scroll through an incision in the middle until you get a cookie similar to the one in the picture.
heat up a fat in wide pot. When it is hot put few Faworki and fry for gold colour one side and turn on and fry second side. Ready Faworki put on plate and sprinkle they with icing sugar and fry next part of cookies.
Serve cold down.
From doughnuts to herrings - Polish Shrovetide
The fat Thursday with no doughnut(s) is awful as doughnut with anything else but roship jam is awful. Polish doughnuts are the best in the world! They have nothing in common with plastic doughnuts sold in the western countries. The perfect doughnut is light and fluffy, the dough itself is not fat nor very sweet. The rim of the doughnut should be as fair as possible which indicates the freshness of the fat used for frying. Roship jam is essential of course but also frying on the real pork lard. That gives a special smell. And don't be afraid - adding vodka or vinegar to the leavened dough will prevent doughnut from soaking up the fat! My favourite finishing touch is icing and candied orange peel but icing sugar is more simple and also delicious way. Today's news were full of senseless comments on fat-free and sugar-free light dougnuts. There is nothing better than the real doughnut. It was proved that the yummy food don't make us fat! Try Gosia's best ever doughnut recipe or come to Poland!