A Few Days in Puglia with Radici Del Sud.

Pardon the punctuation…Had the honor of being flown out to Puglia, Italy to experience the best food and wine from the region. Here’s the best of those 4 days and 3 nights.

Day 1.

Started my visit with a trip to the Castle in Sannicandro di Bari. A gorgeous Norman-Swabian Castle. I was completely jet-lagged but was able to stay away long enough to truly enjoy it. Before passing out we had dinner at Aromi Bistro and had some amazing local wine! It’s not hard to find a great restaurant in Italy but Aromi Bistro has exceptional.

Day 2.

First thing on the agenda was a trip to the De Carlo olive mill. Tasting fresh olive oil blew my mind. Had no idea how naturally spicy olive oil is when it’s freshly pressed. Touring we were treated to some of the De Carlo products and now I’m addicted to their Black Olive spread! What is the best thing to do after some olive oil? More food and wine of course.

Next a visit to Angiuli Donato wines for a taste of his portfolio. Primitivo is definitely my new wine friend. If any distributers read this please get your ass to Puglia and bring over more of these amazing wines.

We ended the day with some awesome food and wine at Archetipo di Gioia del Colle cellars. Most of the biodynamic wines I’ve had state side have been pretty terrible. It was a pleasant surprise to finally have well produced biodynamic wines!

Day 3.

A day trip to Putignano for a visit to the La Querceta cheese factory. It was so cool to see it freshly made…the tasting of it wasn’t bad either. After eating enough burrata to drown a small village we walked through their farm and met the cows that bring this cheese to life. A little side note, burrata is from the Puglia region. Just above the heel of the Italy boot.

One of the really unique things in Putignano is the San Michele Arcangelo church which was built in a cave. It’s a scenic spot.

Nothing makes me hungrier than going to a church…so of course it was time for lunch right after. Antica Locanda in Noci was out lunch host. OMG this place is worth the drive to this little village just for the food. Not only was the food amazing but I also discovered what would become the most delicious Primitivo I’ve ever had… by Giovanni Aiello. What an elegant wine. Here’s the food porn. Please wear a bib while looking at these pics.

After stuffing my face I got to check out the coolest cave I’ve ever been to. The Caves in Castellana. The pictures speak for themselves. Breathtaking…

We finished the night with more food and wine at the Coppi Winery. I was starting to feel under the weather but pulled myself together for my audience…not because I wanted more wine.

Day 4.

First it was a visit to Borgo San Marco. A former 12th century fortress now turned into a hotel retreat. Could have stayed there all day…and for another 3 or 4 more nights.

The scenery got more and more throughout the day. Next was a trip to Ostuni…everything you picture in your mind when you think “Italian town on a hill.”

Next was the most EPIC 4-5 hour lunch at Cibus in Ceglie Messapica. Add Cibus to your list of places you have to eat. Worth the price of the flight form the states.

Day 5

On the last day of my trip Radici Del Sud I was able to explore old town Bari. Seeing the ladies make hand rolled pasta while I munched on the local snack of choice Taralini. I’m hooked on the stuff. Like mini crunchy bagels. Perfect snack to have with wine. The day ended with getting to judge some of the local white wines with mozzarella tasting. Perfect end to my experience.

By far the greatest thing about this trip to Puglia was all of the lifelong friends that I made along the way. That’s one of the most beautiful things about food, wine, and travel. It brings people together to have a good time. Thank you for the memories Radici del Sud. Check out their site for tips and where to travel in the region.

Sriracha Glazed Pork Chops

For #NationalGrillingMonth my partners Pork Es Sabor asked me to share my Sriracha Glazed Pork Chops recipe with my friends for a BBQ cookout. Below find my recipe for both the marinade AND the glaze, with some fun grilling tips! #PorkEsSabor  #fourthofjuly

Marinade: 
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 3 green onions, sliced
• 1 tbsp. of red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp. of salt
• 1 tsp. of black pepper
• 3 tbsps. of olive oil
• 2 lbs. of pork chops

Glaze:
• 3 tbsps. of honey
• 1 tbsp. of sriracha
• Juice of 1 small lime (about 1 tbsp.)
• 1 in. piece of ginger, minced

Grilling Tips: 1. Clean and oil grill! 2. Glaze pork chops generously! 3. Let pork chops rest for 8 minutes after removing from grill!

Far Niente Chardonnay with Tostones and Chicken Vaca Frita

Ever wanted to pair a Chardonnay with Cuban food? A little Far Niente Chardonnay does the trick!

Ingredients:

2 large green plantains

Cooking spray

Kosher salt

1 cooked  rotisserie chicken

1 whole white onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon garlic

lime wedges to squeeze on top

Directions: Chicken Vaca Frita

1. In a bowl, add the shredded chicken with lime juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let marinate about 20-30 minutes. This will also work with fresh garlic if you prefer.

2. In a large pan, add olive oil and sauté onions until translucent.

3. Add shredded chicken to the pan and fry for about 10 minutes, until brown and crispy. Set aside.

 

Directions: Tostones

1. Dip Preheat the oven to 425°F. Spray a large baking sheet with oil.

2. Trim the ends off the plantains. Score each plantain along two sides deep enough to cut through the skins.

3. Microwave the plantains until they become soft in the center. For 2 plantains this will take about 6 to 6 1/2 minutes. For 1 plantain, about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, depending on your microwave. The skins will become black.

4. Peel the plantains and cut them into 3/4 inch thick slices while hot. You should get about 12 per plantain.Smash the hot plantains (this needs to be done while hot) with the bottom of a jar, can or something flat. I used a tostonera commonly found in Latin Markets, but anything flat will work.

5. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and generously spray with oil, season with salt and bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn and bake on the other side until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes. Season with more salt and cover with the chicken vaca frita.
 

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Cuban Pork Stew Paired with En Route Pinot Noir

Who doesn't love a little Cuban pork stew?  The winter months are coming and I just got a hold of a great little wine bundle from Far Niente Winery. It includes a Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and of course their world famous chardonnay.  I decided I'm gonna share some of my favorite Cuban recipes and pair then with these delicious wines.  For this post I paired the 2015 En Route Pinot Noir with a Pork stew that's perfect for those chilly winter nights. If you want to follow along here's a link so you can order the Epicure three pack of Napa wine.

Ingredients:

8 cups chicken stock

One 2 lb pork tenderloin cut into cubes.

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon of Cuban Adobo mix

1 medium onion and 1 green onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1 tsp lime juice

salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In large pot, add pork and onion.  Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to brown.
  2. Add chicken stock and carrots. Cook another 30 minutes.
  3. Add the lemon juice, green onions,  and add salt and pepper to taste.