Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Wine and Food of the Giro 2018: Stage 11: Assisi to Osimo

Where are we?
AssisiMichelin tells me that: St Francis's message had a profound influence on the development of Assisi. Nowadays, the saint's ideals of poverty and simplicity are more evident in his rural hermitage retreat than in the San Francesco basilica. However, as a result of his spiritual ideas, a new style of painting was born in this magnificent building, as demonstrated by the frescoes by Cimabue and Giotto. Largely as a result of these works, the town was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000.
Giro regional specialties:
Umbricelli (fresh pasta resembling fettuccine), Strangozzi al sugo d’oca (pasta with goose meat sauce); roasted or char-grilled meat.

Osimo: Now onto the Marche. The local tourist website suggests we visit their caves: For those who want to experience an exciting adventure,Osimo offers a suggestive alternative in the underground city. About 2,500 years ago ancient people began to dig the hill in depth to make defensive ways and secret passages, to provide water and to survive. Enjoy the mystery and discover the fascinating figures and symbols that populate the underworld.
It will be an unforgettable experience!

Giro regional specialties: Boccolotti del Batte, Frescarelli all’osimana (a specialty made of cornmeal and meat sauce), Coniglio in potacchio (braised rabbit), Crescia (a kind of pizza), Sciughetti (sweet polenta), Cecetti (fritters).

The stage:

After the stress of yesterday, a calmer start on Scarponi day. Fifty kilometers to go and the gap was hovering around 2:45. Sean Kelly on Eurosport felt that the break was likely doomed. Not just that but he was predicting gaps between some of the gc riders.

Thirty five kilometers to go and the gap was just over two minutes. Just under thirty kilometers to go and the five would become three with Turrin and Maestri dropped from the front. Twenty kilometers to go and their gap was 1:30. Fifteen left and it was one minute. Soon enough, Yates, Pinot and some of the other big names appeared at the front of the peloton. Ten kilometers to go, the gap was around 45 seconds and the peloton had gotten quite small. Five kilometers to go and there was the catch. At the front, Stybar and Wellens. Three kilometers to go and they had ten seconds. And there came Yates followed by Dumoulin. Wow. Stage win plus bonus seconds for Yates, as he added to his lead. 

Wine: Bea Montefalco Rosso Riserva Pipparello 2010
It wouldn't be a trip through Umbria without a Bea wine.  
From the importerReferences in the archives of Montefalco, the beautiful hill town in Umbria, document the presence of the Bea family in this locality as early as 1500. This tiny estate is the classic Italian fattoria, producing wine, raising farm animals for trade and home consumption and working the land to produce olives, fruits and vegetables. To this day, the Bea family raises and produces much of what they consume on a daily basis. Paolo Bea, the senior member of the family, is the guiding force behind the production of this series of intense and idiosyncratic wines. He is assisted by his two sons, Giuseppe, who farms the vineyards, and Giampiero, who assists in the vinification and is responsible for all commercial aspects of the winery.
The entire property encompasses 15 hectares: 5 of which are dedicated to the vineyards, 2 to olives, and the remainder to the fruits, vegetables and grains that are grown. Sagrantino is the predominant grape, covering 60% of the vineyard surface. The remaining 40% is planted to Sangiovese and Montepulciano, with a small parcel planted to several white varieties.  The Pipparello vineyard is a hilltop site in Montefalco at 1300 feet above sea level. The soil is clay and gravel. The vines in the Pipparello vineyard are a minimum of 20 years old. Harvest takes place normally during the middle of October. The ultimate wine is a blend of roughly 60% Sangiovese, 25% Montepulciano and 15% Sagrantino.

Food: Crescia, from CiaoItalia:
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (110º - 115ºF) water
1/4 cup warm (110º - 115ºF) milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
7 large eggs, at room temperature, well beaten
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (5 ounces)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 1/2 to 7 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and stir to dissolve. Cover and let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes, or until foamy.

Add the milk to the yeast mixture, and whisk in the butter. Whisk in the eggs, then add the cheese and pepper. Add 6½ cups flour, about a cup at a time, and mix with your hands until a soft ball of dough is formed, adding additional flour if necessary until the dough is no longer sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Generously grease a large bowl with olive oil, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down the dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead it into a smooth ball. Place the bread on a greased cookie sheet or in a greased tube pan and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Bake the crescia for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is nicely browned. If using a tube pan, let the crescia cool slightly, then carefully remove it to a cooling rack. Serve the crescia warm, cut into slices.

This recipe appears in both Nella Cucina and Celebrations Italian Style by Mary Ann Esposito.

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