Piedmont Specialties - chocolate and wine
Ciao a tutti!
We’re really into winter now with snow and freezing temps everywhere and with the approach of Valentine's Day we thought we’d share one of our favorite recipes from Piedmont, a warm chocolate cake with a molten middle!

Piedmont is famous for their chocolate, in fact the royal court of the Savoy family was one of the first in Europe to fall in love with cocoa from the New World and develop recipes. They shared their discoveries with the Swiss, Belgians and French, who went on to develop their own delicious chocolates. When we are in Piedmont, we are sure sample lots of chocolate! We even visit a chocolate factory on our tour and it is a yummy experience.

This recipe, bonet (also called a bunet), is simple but very luxurious. Because it’s served warm, it is more commonly eaten in the winter at the end of the meal. Use the best dark cocoa you can find!

For a special Valentine's Day treat, consider serving the Piedmontese Bracchetto d'Aqui dessert wine along with the bonet. It is perfection with chocolate. Scroll down to read more about this lovely wine from one of our favorite regions.

We are planning to begin our tours in September in Puglia and then onto Tuscany in October. We have availability for both Tuscany weeks. If you're thinking about going with us to Tuscany this fall, please contact Mary. We've determined our 2022 dates. They're on our website and also listed them below.

We wish everyone a peaceful and loving Valentines Day!

Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary
Bonet (Bunet)
Beautiful Piedmont with its rolling hills covered in vineyards. Barbaresco in the distance!
BONET ALLA PIEMONTESE (chocolate amaretti pudding)
Quintessential dessert fare from the Piedmont region, this delicious little molten chocolate and almond cake is served hot from the oven. The classic recipe calls for crushed amaretti cookies, but since these are hard to find in America, I’ve modified the recipe to use almond flour instead.
 
First step is to make a caramel sauce. Pour it while hot into the individual molds, and allow to cool. Before baking, the cake batter will be poured on top of the caramel. When you tip the warm cake out to serve, the caramel cooked in the bottom runs over the top. Serve it with a dollop of whipped cream and some red berries!
 
Bonet
4 eggs
1 ¾ milk
4 tbsp almond flour
3 tbsp dark cocoa
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp powdered sugar
 
Whisk the eggs and milk together in one bowl and the dry ingredients together in another bowl. Add together, stirring well to mix. Pour the batter into individual cake molds or aluminum cups to which you’ve already poured the caramel sauce. Bake at 375 for 15 min. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, turn onto plate and decorate with cream and berries. Serve immediately.
 
Caramel sauce: stir together in a heavy bottomed sauce pan 1 cup of sugar and 1 tbsp water. Put over low heat until melted, washing down the sides of pan with a brush and water to remove any sugar crystals. Allow to simmer until sugar is a deep brown color, don’t stir.
 
Coat pudding mould with caramel sauce. Ensure the caramel is spread all over the inside of the mold. Leave aside to cool. 
Brachetto d' Acqui
Brachetto d’Acqui wine is a sparkling dessert wine from Piedmont that pairs nicely with chocolate and fruit. A deep rose color, this wine is both produced as either a frizzante (lightly sparkling) or spumante (sparkling). The nose is floral with red fruit tones like strawberry and raspberry. Its sweetness is crisp, not cloying, and its light body and low-alcohol make it a perfect wine to end a meal.

Made with 100% brachetto grapes grown in the area around the ancient Roman bath town of Acqui in southern Piedmont, its designation as DOCG reflects its quality status and long history.

The easiest brachetto d’Acqui to find in the US market is by Banfi. Called Rosa Regale, it’s the same DOCG wine but with a prettier name that is easier to pronounce. Find some today to enjoy with the chocolate bonet!
 This Month's Italian saying... 
"Ti amo" o "Ti voglia bene "...it depends!

Watching the movie Moonstruck recently, I was struck (!!) with the misuse of the Italian phrase “Ti Amo”, which is said by daughter to father. In America, we throw around the words “I love you” with abandon, but in Italy saying “I love you” is more judiciously used. I love you is said to your lover or husband/wife. The phrase used in all other instances is “Ti voglio bene”, which literally translates as “I want you to be well”. So, use this phrase when talking to a friend, a sibling, or your mom or dad. It may sound hollow to the American ear, but it really means quite a lot when it is used in Italy.

And if you want to say “I love this pair of shoes!” you say “Adoro questo paio di scarpe!” “I love it!” is just “Lo adoro!” 

And to all our readers and clients we say to you on Valentines Day
Vi vogliamo bene!!

Carnevale - Mardi Gras
This year's festivities are limited to small groups at home and socially distanced dining. The big "feste" or parties are pretty much canceled!
Travel to Tuscany this fall - Announcing our 2022 Dates!
We are going back to Italy this fall and have Puglia and Tuscany tours planned! There are a few open spots for the Tuscany tours. We'll be doing all our favorite things in Tuscany - hunting truffles with Paolo, foraging for mushrooms, visiting an olive oil press and wineries! Please contact Mary to reserve your spot!

  • Tuscany 2021 Dates: October 16-23 and October 24-30

2022 Tour Dates
  • Piedmont: May 24-31, 2022 and May 31- June 7, 2022
  • Tuscany: June 11-18, 2022. October 1-8, 2022, October 8-15, 2022
  • Puglia: September 12-19, 2022 and September 20-27, 2022
  • Veneto tour - dates to be determined!
Gina Stipo and Mary Stipo Potter | Ecco La Cucina | 1-972-342-8308| Email | Website