Buon Ferragosto!

My first summer living in Milan, the entire city was shut down for August but I worked at a financial newswire which never closed its doors. Those were the days when Italy’s Central Bank still mattered and as always, most financial crises began in August. At times, being in the office was almost a relief from the hot, empty streets of the city. When I did have to venture out, I looked forward to the one light on the street, a bar called Le Trottoir. I lived in the Corso Garibaldi area and Le Trottoir was the only game in town. It was the closest thing to a hippy bar that I could find in my chic Milan neighborhood and it was refreshing. They served popcorn, bad wine and had loud music every night until dawn. When everyone’s tapparelle or sun blinds were down, it was a pleasure to slip into that bar and order whatever they had on the menu, 

What do people drink on Ferragosto you might wonder? In my experience, a bit of everything but it is slightly more celebratory than your average holiday so some sparkling wine might be involved or a good mixed drink like a Negroni Sbagliato. I can’t drink gin it makes me mean like an angry cat so an ex-boyfriend introduced me to a Negroni Sbagliato years ago in Milan which uses sparkling wine rather than gin and I was hooked. I see I am not alone and that it has definitely made its’ way in the United States.

Today we are also celebrating another holiday, Julia Child’s birthday. She is and was such a part of our lives. Her cookbook stares out at me from my shelf every day calling out for love as I slink past it to make simple fare. Sometimes though, I read it and imagine making what she would be making on any given night. As all readers of my blog know, like Julia, despite my love for Italy, I was and always will remain a devoted francophile as well.

In her honor, I opened a bottle cider from Normandy this weekend. The cider was from Cidererie Daufresne. The sample was provided by Wine Sellers Ltd.

Located in the Pays d’Auge, this Domaine is called the Domaine des 5D and was started by Philippe Daufresne who planted his apples here in the 1960s thanks to the southern exposition of the land. Since 2012,  it is in the hands of Ghislaine Davy who continues in the traditions of its founder.

The soils are loamy with marl and calcareous elements which provide the right nutrients for the orchards. 

They use a number of varieties  including Bisquet, Noëldes Champs, Domaine and Rambault. Each brings something different to the blend with the right balance between tart and sweet apples. 

In terms of its taste profile, it was greenish golden in color with fine bubbles. Refined and elegant it had both spice and sweetness on the nose and palate. It also had good acidity and texture from the lees aging. Refreshing and delicate, it was hard not to finish the whole bottle in one sitting.

The alcohol on the cider was 5% ABV and the residual sugar 28 g/l. I paired it with a salad with pecorino and walnuts which was a good fit. I can see it with cheeses and charcuterie but also with a sweet/savory quiche or tart.

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