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Wines with no added sulphites: what they are and why drink them – Italian Cuisine

Wines with no added sulphites: what they are and why drink them

What are sulphites and why are they used in the production of wine? Can you make (good) wine without adding sulphites? Why choose to buy wines without sulphites? We asked those who produce this type of wine

We talk and read a lot about sulphites: responsible for allergies and annoying headaches, they are among the most "talked" additives of the moment. But there is also a lot of confusion on this topic.

What are sulphites?

Sulphites are chemical compounds derived from sulfur, naturally present in many foods and which are equally naturally produced during the fermentation of grapes, albeit in very small quantities. A completely sulphite-free wine, therefore, cannot exist. There can be a wine with no added sulphites. In fact, sulphites are used «as preservatives – he explains Angiolino Maule, owner of the La Biancara farm and founder of the Vinnatur association – and are found not only in wine, but also in dried fruit or frozen fish, to give examples. All the additives indicated with the codes between E 220 and E 225 are sulphites. They don't hurt in themselves unless you're allergic, but they can bring problems if they build up in our body. In the production of wine in particular we are interested in sulfur dioxide. Sulfur dioxide is an antiseptic and antioxidant, and favors the natural selection of yeasts . An explanation that is also taken up by Nadia Verrua, from Cascina Tavijn: «The sulfur dioxide selects the bacterial charges, and ensures that the wine is maintained over time. But at the same time it risks "flattening" the aromas . It is thanks to sulphites, therefore, that the wines are preserved, keeping their characteristics intact. But making wines without adding sulphites is possible, although difficult.

Why (and how) to make wines without sulphites?

"Here in Asti, many fresh, fruity and young wines are drunk. And sulphite-free wines have a fresher and broader flavor. This is why I chose to produce them. And obviously why they are healthier, contain nothing else. Of course, you have to know how to do them, to avoid bad surprises. But the result pays off . Words echoed by Maule, who tells how it took "experimentation and knowledge to create a winemaking system where sulphites are not used: traditional winemaking in fact uses them at every step. But if we want to achieve a unique, truly territorial wine, we must use only what nature gives us: typicality arises from aromas, which are the result of the fixation of molecules, of a natural process that must not be hindered. Of course, it is risky to make a wine without sulphites: it takes expertise, oxygen and low temperatures. Human intervention makes wine: if I crush a bunch of grapes, it becomes vinegar. " It is therefore not only an ecological choice, but a more complex work, which wants to limit the standardization process and recover the ancient knowledge, the knowledge that guided the producers «80 years ago, when sulphites were not used – explains Maule – aware that if a wine starts badly in the cellar it will be bad in the bottle and that the wine needs constant care. The decanting is fundamental: oxygen must not be too much or not too little. And they must be done at the right time . A radical choice, which requires passion but which attracts more and more admirers: «our customers are people tired of drinking standard wines, as well as health-conscious people, a choice that mainly involves the new generations, between 25 and 40 years old . Maule concludes, supported by Verrua, who stresses that "in Italy, sulphite-free wines are increasingly in demand. It is a movement that is gaining momentum and originating in France ". So much so that it is no longer just a “niche” production. So he explains Maria Pia Leone, director of Costadoro: «We have been producing organic and vegan wines for many years and that of making wines without added sulphites is not only a commercial choice but also an ethical choice. Today it is increasingly important to show greater attention to the consumer and one sector to be kept in the utmost regard is that relating to allergens. Having wines in the range without added sulphites also means responding to the needs of those who experience intolerances and allergies.

How to choose them (watch the labels)

But how to buy a wine without sulphites? "The labeling of wine is very particular – explains Verrua – because on the contrary that in other foods we do not find a list of ingredients. The only indication that is given is the wording "contains sulfites". European legislation in fact provides that the presence of sulphites is declared on the label when they exceed the 10 mg / liter. Those who choose not to use sulphites in production can omit this wording or write explicitly "without added sulphites". In choosing, then, as always, it is necessary to be guided not only by taste but also by knowledge: "Choosing a wine without added sulphites means choosing a wine that maintains its taste, character and properties intact, without creating allergy problems or simply without causing that annoying headache that adding sulphites could entail. " It is still Maria Pia Leone who speaks, who continues: «It is fundamental today rely on a cellar that you know and trust to avoid the risk of incurring a wine that does not meet the expectations you have: a good wine must not lose its organoleptic qualities over time due to the absence of added sulphites ".

In the gallery a selection of wines with no added sulphites.

The challenge: a week without added sugar – Italian Cuisine

The challenge: a week without added sugar

We got in the game and tell you how it went. Try us too with our advice and our recipes: you won't come back!

You can survive one week without sugar?
Certainly yes and indeed, we can assure you that you will feel so well that you will want to continue forever.
How do we know it? We have accepted the challenge!

With no added sugar

We did a test to understand how and if you can easily exceed a week without ever consuming any food containing added sugar.
We specify "added" because sugars are practically everywhere, but not in all foods are sugars that hurt.
To be clear, the fruit contains sugar, but eliminating it from the diet is not right. A packaged product like a snack, a soup ready, a ready sauce, biscuits, pizzas and much more, instead, they contain added sugars useless for our organism, excessive and harmful. Eliminating them is very difficult, but not impossible. Reducing them would be essential.
For 7 days we have also eliminated all the sweeteners such as granulated or cane sugar, fructose, honey, malt, agave and coconut sugar because, although natural, they are always sugars. Stevia can replace them, but not everyone likes its licorice aftertaste.

7 days without sugar

As we have already said, we must not eliminate any type of sugar, but only the unnecessary one.
So fruit yes, cookies no.
Yogurt yes, but only Greek.
No alcohol, no fruit juices, no jams and spreads if not homemade.
Pasta yes, but wholemeal and the same is true for bread.
Sugar of any kind no.

The expense to do

During the sugarfree week we advise you to have at home everything you need to prepare lunches, dinners and breakfasts to avoid going to the supermarket and let yourself be tempted by "forbidden" products.
Make a good supply of vegetables, vegetables and fruit, avoiding that which is too sugary or too ripe.
Buy also of the dried fruit perfect to take with you as a mid-day snack.
Determine what you will eat more or less day by day and adjust accordingly. Meat, fish and eggs they cannot be missing, but neither can they legumes and cereals.
To get an idea of ​​how to organize the week, read our recommendations for meal prep.

Watch out for seasonings

Simply use oil, lemon juice, spices and aromatic herbs.
You may not know that even in some famous sauces like soy sauce there may be added sugars, as well as in ketchup. Absolutely avoid the ready dressing, not so much because they contain added sugars – and contain them – but also because they are generally rich in fat.

Breakfast tips

It could always be more or less the same even if by choice we advise you to vary it a little and explain how.
A Whole grain bread slice is the base to which you can add a poached egg, hard or fried or smoked salmon or ricotta.
They must not be missing good fats like avocado or dried fruit and a fruit of your choice, not too ripe and not too sugary. A Orange juice in this period it is perfect.
If you don't like salty breakfast you can prepare a porridge with oat flakes and water and then enrich it with Greek yogurt, cinnamon, fresh and dried fruit.
If you are in a hurry, opt for one instead Greek yogurt with chopped dried fruit and 80% dark chocolate.

Lunch tips

If you can't do pasta by hand, choose the whole wheat pasta or legume flour pasta and season to taste, always with homemade sauces.
Try to give space also to Whole grains such as rice, spelled, barley, millet, oats and quinoa, although in this case it is a fake cereal, which, however, does not do badly!
Accompany both pasta and cereals ad a portion of vegetables and to one small protein part which can be based on cereals, fish or meat.
Some examples: spelled with steamed zucchini and smoked salmon, brown rice with cherry tomatoes and feta, salted porridge.

Dinner tips

If you gave more space to carbohydrates for lunch, eat more at dinner proteins always varying between meat, fish, eggs and legumes. A soup of legumes and barley could be an excellent idea as well as a cuddle, but prepare it at home because in those already prepared there are often added sugars. Always with legumes you can prepare velvety and cold creams like thechickpea humumus also perfect for filling a rye sandwich.
Chicken or turkey yes, but not sliced. Prepare a simple cut, season with spices and herbs and accompany with vegetables.
The eggs they are easy and quick to prepare and are very versatile: omelette, fried egg, small pie with vegetables. You can really indulge yourself.
As for the fish, avoid canned and frozen processed and seasoned. The fresh fish it is prepared in a short time and is good for you.

One week without added sugar

We have decided to offer you in gallery some ideas for breakfast to be alternated during the week, some snacks and 7 ideas for lunch and dinner.
These are very simple recipes that you can easily replicate at home, with light cooking and few seasonings.
Attention only to not use refined flours and not whole grains and pasta.
Obviously at the table only water or even tea, herbal teas and infusions, but not sweetened!
Play a lot with spices and herbs to give more taste to your dishes and if you fancy a dessert at the end of the meal, treat yourself to a extra-dark chocolate cube.

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