Archive for February, 2012
Piemonte has created a lot of interest from foreign house buyers since the Winter Games of 2006 especially the Langhe region which is known for its breath taking landscapes and wine production. I am often asked about the area and as a response I have provided below some information on the region.
The Langhe (Langa)
The famous Langhe (Langa in its Italian spelling) wine growing region of Piemonte lies to the south of its capital Alba. It is characterized by rolling hills, vineyards and winding roads which deliver breath taking scenery around every corner. The Langhe area of Piemonte is becoming a popular location for holiday homes and accordingly the prices of property for sale are now increasing.
Tourists world wide come here to follow the wine trail through the typical areas of Dolcetto d’ Alba, Barbera d’ Alba and Nebbiolo d’ Alba. The Langa is also home to the truffle festival held in Alba during October. Each year for about a month and a half Alba is transformed and becomes the world market for truffles .Piazza Bianca hosts up to forty different stands all trading in this sought after commodity.
Barolo known throughout the world for its wine is 15 Km’s from Alba. Both Barolo and nearby Grinzane Cavour both host regional wine cellars.
Serralunga has a beautiful castle while Monforte and La Morra will entertain you with their panoramic landscapes and famous restaurants. The countless rows of vines are the home to bunches of black Nebbiolo grapes with are used in the production of Barolo wine.
To the east of Alba along the right bank of the River Tanaro one finds Barbaresco, home to Barbaresco wine again made from the Nebbiolo grape. This area includes the two towns of Treiso and Neive which is known as the town of four wines: Barbaresco, Dolcetto,Barbera and Moscato.
Alta Langa.(Upper Langhe).
Ascending the hills south of Alba one notices a drastic change in scenery with the vineyards being replaced by hazelnuts, woods and meadows. Here scattered are many traditional stone houses (rustico) some beautifully restored in sympathy with the area and others left to deteriorate waiting for a new owner to restore them to their former glory.
Villages in the Upper Langhe or Alta Langa worth visiting include Bergolo, Perletto, Monesiglio, Prunetto and Saliceto.
Property in the Langhe currently reflects good value for money in the current Italian market with buyers focusing on old rustic country property that may or may not require restoration and renovation. The costs of undertaking such a project require serious consideration but the results can be spectacular and pay dividends from an investment point of view.
Copyright Clive Wisbey, All Rights Reserved.
There are many reasons to go out and forage for wildflowers and other herbs. Much of my own online content is about collecting and using flowers and herbs for wine making. Though there has been much discussion about why one should gather wild herbs, there has been very little content on how one should go about doing it. When gathering wild plants, for use in wine making, food, medicinal purposes or any other reason, there are several considerations to keep in mind. These considerations will help keep you out of trouble, and, more importantly, safe.
One of the most common herbs that people will collect in large quantities is dandelions. The biggest thing to keep in mind when collect this prolific herb is where you collect it from. Not only are you gathering dandelions, you are also gathering all of the potentially harmful contaminates that may be in a particular flower’s environment. One might consider that the large park down the street is an excellent place to go pick a bunch of dandelions to make wine with, or roast the roots for coffee. However, even though the flowers are all over the park, it would be ill advised to use these in any sufficient quantity. City parks are usually well-manicured, and are treated routinely with pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers… While the amounts of these chemicals in just a handful of dandelions may not be enough to harm you, larger amounts, such as the amount needed for a batch of home made wine, can be potentially harmful.
Since dandelions can grow in almost any conditions, you might also find large quantities of them in vacant lots and along the highways. Rather than agricultural chemicals, the concern in these settings is pollutants. Any chemical spills, roadway runoff or other pollution is present in the soil long after the fact. The plants in these settings will have these poisonous substances in their leaves and roots, and are not safe to be utilized as a food source.
The best places to locate and harvest dandelions, or any other herb for that matter, are rural and wilderness settings. While you still must be aware of the condition of the land where you are harvesting, these environments offer much cleaner sources of plant life and water. Still, there are a couple of concerns when in these safer settings.
Trespassing is not looked upon kindly by most people. If you have permission and are on the land of someone who you know, you have little to worry about. However, people do not appreciate strangers wandering about on their land picking all of their wildflowers.
Another popular place to gather all kinds of herbs, flowers and other plants is the forest. A forest is naturally abundant with many kinds of plants that are both medicinally beneficial and safe for use in food. Many forests, though, are found within the borders of state and federal parks. In these areas, there is a hefty fine associated with removing any natural materials from the area. This includes dandelions and other wildflowers. Just being aware of where you are when collecting is hugely beneficial to avoiding trouble with a forest ranger.
Sooner or later most of us are going for our retirement. Do you have any exciting program?
What about a new investment?
Everybody grouping around in the meeting room. Your best friend,
John is waiting for your opinion over an investment idea.
He asked: “What do you have in mind for our retirement?
What are you going to do with your golden years?
Are you going to stay around and doing nothing?
Are you going to do the same old job, that you have been doing?
What about sharing your cooking experience with the new generation?”
Yes, it is a wonderful suggestion! It should be exciting!
Great! We start first with soup?
200g fresh mushrooms
700 ml broth or stock
a. Rinse and dry the mushrooms.
b. Place them in the butter.
c. Add the broth and cook the mushrooms for about 10 minutes.
50 ml broth
a. Melt the butter and stir in the flour.
b. Add broth and mix well.
c. Pour this mixture into the above soup.
1/2 egg yolk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons cream
a. Put the egg yolk in the hot soup.
b. Add in the lemon juice, wine, and cream.
c. Mix thoroughly and serve hot.
Is this an exciting retirement program? It is a super investment, right?
Sharing your hobby with the new generation. What an amazing idea!
See you next week, in our second lesson!
The 2011 year is quickly coming to an end and millions of Christians will soon be in the holiday spirit, shopping for Christmas gifts to exchange. There will be lots of holiday cheer this year as more people have made it back to work after the recent economic downturn. With any luck, consumer holiday spending will increase this year, giving a much-needed boost to the overall economy. Let’s break out that Christmas wrapping paper and begin shopping for Christmas gifts for all those on our list. Here are five must-have Christmas gifts for the 2011 holiday season:
Obol Never Soggy Cereal Bowl
There is a clever new way to eat your breakfast cereal every morning without having to take another bite of soggy mush. If you are like most people who eat slowly, the cereal on the bottom of your bowl becomes soggy while the top remains crunchy. A solution to this is the Obol Never Soggy cereal bowl. This simple device holds your cereal and milk in separate compartments and has an easy scoop port in which you can rake your cereal into the milk reservoir as you eat. Each bite will always be as crunchy as the last, not matter how long it takes you to eat you breakfast. This gift is available from Brookstone.com for $19.99.
Auto Wine Bottle Opener
Another great product from Brookstone.com is the Automatic wine bottle opener. Let’s face it, opening a bottle of wine is not the easiest task, especially if you have arthritis or are not very strong. Also, those around are in danger of receiving an elbow to the face when the cork finally slides out. The electric wine bottle opener allows effortless removal of both synthetic and natural corks from a bottle. A single charge can open 30 bottles of wine and it may be recharged using the ac adaptor. This device takes the difficult work out of opening a bottle and only cost $39.95.
iPhone Horn Stand Sound Amplifier
Do you remember the old days when record players used a horn to amplify sound? Vat19.com sells this cool device that allows you to amplify the sound coming from your iPhone without the use of bulky speakers that are difficult to carry around and drain your phone battery. This device uses old school technology to amplify the music coming from your phone 13 decibels higher. It also doubles as a phone stand. Set it up on your office desk and enjoy hours of music, all from your compact smart phone. $24.95.
The Switch Salt and Pepper Shaker
A must have in any household is a salt and pepper shaker. How many times have you had a difficult time finding either the salt or pepper shaker? Wowcoolstuff.com offers a simple and cool device that gives you the best of both worlds, all in one. The Switch salt and pepper shaker holds both salt and pepper and is able to be switched much like a light switch to select which seasoning you would like. This device does not need batteries and will be a great conversation piece for your gift recipient’s household. Best of all, it only costs $10.99!
Hedgehog USB Massaging Mouse
Surfing the web just became much more ergonomic with the Hedgehog Massaging Optical mouse. This device operates by replacing your existing mouse by plugging this into your computers USB port. It has an ergonomic shape and comes with soothing massage raised beads. It is great for both left and right-handed people and comes in both blue and pink. The cover is removable and also washable. This mouse works with just about any windows system. As for price, it will set you back $18. Check it out at brando.com.
With a busy schedule and an active life it can be difficult to find any time to spend in the kitchen. You may get stuck in a rut and cook the same thing every night, or immediately head for the fast food drive through. Having only a couple recipes in your repertoire can get boring, and eating fast food or takeout is not a healthy option. Being able to create and delicious and healthy dish that doesn’t take a serious effort may seem impossible, but do not fear. With the right ingredients and techniques, you can prepare an impressive dish that looks far more complicated than it is.
Seafood in general is a great option because it is healthy and quick cooking, but it is time that you think outside the box. Many people are comfortable cooking fish, but this is not your only option. For instance, king crab is a tasty and low-fat ingredient that takes little time to prepare. Many people are intimidated by king crab because it is not commonly used in households. However, it is a fantastic ingredient to utilize and tastes great prepared a variety of ways. This recipe for king crab cooked in white wine is quick, simple and oh so good. Prepare it for your next dinner party and your guests will be begging for more.
4 pounds of cooked king crab legs, cut into pieces
12 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup of chopped scallions
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups of dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the extra virgin olive oil. Add the crab, parsley, scallions, red pepper flakes, and wine and cook for about 8 minutes. Add the lemon and lime juice and cook for a couple minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with a side of rice and vegetables. This dish can also work as a started, in which case, no additions are necessary. Cut up some extra lemon wedges for guests who like their crab particularly citrusy.