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The strange story of Scotch whiskey made in Italy – Italian Cuisine

The rebirth of Scotch whiskey passes through barrels of Marsala and Passito di Pantelleria. But it is not true that you need to be an expert to appreciate a good Scotch. Word of the start-up Dream Whiskey

"Staying at home is the new going out", the trend was rampant even before the pandemic danger, but like any trend it is nothing more than the return of an old fashion. At first restaurants and clubs were only for occasions and friends were invited to their home, for lunch or dinner, and later the coffee killer was offered. Sherry or old man, it was customary to have at least a few bottles at home to receive and end the evening with. In the 1980s, television was crowded with alcohol advertisements that promised the "full taste of life" and saw the birth of Milan to drink. Grappas, bitters, fernet were popular products, but even then the whiskey was for connoisseurs, those who knew how to recognize with their eyes closed the "light color, clean taste" of their favorite brand. The collective imagination stopped there, the yuppies, the gift bottles and a world that no longer exists. Because instead whiskey lives a new youth, especially in Italy and thanks to the Italians.

The old Italy-Scotland link

Scotland and Italy in terms of whiskey have much more in common than one might think. One example above all: the J&B whiskey brand was founded by a Bolognese, that Giusterini became Justerini, and even the mother of Guglielmo Marconi (he, the inventor of the radio) was Irish and his surname was Jameson, daughter of the founder of the Dublin distillery of the same name. Not even Italian whiskey is new: in the 1930s many Italian distilleries began to import whiskey and label it as Italian, to circumvent autarky, and in 2012 inaugurated the Puni distillery in Val Venosta, which works with barley malt , rye malt and wheat malt. But there is more, and the made in Italy in the case of whiskey is a matter of taste.

Italian talent scouts

In Scotland there were essentially two professions: the distillers, who produced whiskey, and those who made the blends, that is, bought spirits from different producers and mixed them together. He is an Italian who in 1968 invents a new professional figure, the selector, who buys, bottles and labels a product with his own name. Silvano Samaroli, from Bologna, becomes a name in the sector and opens the way to various "talent scouts" who are now a real phenomenon, even in Italy. A Milanese case is that of Dream Whiskey, start-up of Marco Maltagliati, passionate and great connoisseur, and of partner Federico Mazzieri, degree in economics, master of specialization in food and wine and previous experiences in food multinational. Their idea: to democratize Scotch Whiskey.

We Italians like Scotch, Single Malt

We Italians are not big drinkers of spirits, we prefer wine and beer. According to the IWSR 2019 report for Italy, if the whiskey category makes up 8% of the Italian spirits market, scotch whiskey represents 3/4 of all the whiskey consumed in Italy. The value in 2019 of these exports was almost 60 million pounds, up 9%, and among the Scotch the Single Malts market recorded particularly positive results and the value of exports increased by 25%, proving the presence of attentive consumers interested in higher quality products. This thanks to a historical relationship, but also to the work of Scottish Development International, a government agency with offices in over 40 countries that supports trade and investment, including Italy.

The dream of democratizing Scotch whiskey

«Scotch is perceived as difficult, elitist. It seems you have to have some preparation, be a connoisseur. But it is the Italian vision. In Scotland it is different, it is part of the local culture, it is a popular product and has a close link with nature, the territory, craftsmanship ", explains Francesco. There are many multinationals such as Diageo that have taken over the distilleries that had closed or were in crisis in the 1980s, reopening them and putting them back into production, but alongside the big names, new independent realities gradually emerge; with a phenomenon comparable to that which occurred in Italy for micro craft breweries. "The Scottish specification is tight, the method has remained the traditional one, but it is the barrel and the aging that make the real magic", Marco explains to me. "Whiskey ages in a magical land, that of castles and dragons, knights and princesses, in the midst of unspoiled nature and with perfect weather conditions", alias rain and terrible humidity. The traditional warehouses where the barrels are left are made of stone, have a floor in the ground and two windows for natural ventilation. But wood is the protagonist, and research is done by looking for Italian barrels (of Marsala, Passito, Barolo and important wines) and using them to refine Scotch whiskey. Marco and Francesco travel all over Scotland in search of special barrels, and bottle them individually. The goal is to simplify, with annual collections comparable to those of fashion. To date they have released as Dream n ° 1, aged 10 years in an ex bourbon cask, and Dream n ° 2, aged 7 years: the first 6 in an ex bourbon cask and the last in a Madeira cask (also available online ).

Whiskey is young

To break the mold, however, in addition to the bottles, a different relationship with the product is needed. You can read the blog in Italian Angel's Share, active since 2009 and very up to date, to participate in tastings or trade fairs. Dream Whiskey organizes guided tastings, very different from those "for connoisseurs only", and trips to Scotland in which to discover the field of distilleries, bars, territories and whiskey culture. «Whiskey is rejuvenated, explains Giuseppe Gervasio Dolci, creator and organizer of the Milan Whiskey Festival (the most important dedicated Italian event). «Over 50% of the visitors are children under 35, also thanks to the social networks that have brought young people closer. Single Malt is made to be tasted in purity, it is a complex distillate, but with the revival of cocktail bars and the culture of drinking, an excellent product like this is also being mixed; even if at the counter it is bourbon and blend that dominate it . What about women? «Many women.

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Whiskey, whiskey or bourbon? Mini-guide

Whiskey is generally a cereal distillate. Malt whiskey those based only on barley, but there are also rye whiskeys produced with a prevalence of rye or bourbon whiskeys, with at least 51% of corn. Scotch whiskey is only the one produced in Scotland aged in cask for at least three years (in Scotland it cannot be produced in a different way, as required by Parliament's Scotch Whiskey Act). Whiskey, however, being a distillate of cereals, can be produced all over the world, in fact there are whiskeys produced in Ireland and the USA, and Japanese, Indian, French, Scandinavian (and even Italian) whiskeys. The most widespread category in the world is that of Blended scotch whiskey, that is a product obtained from different cereals and by mixing whiskey from different distilleries. The Single Malt instead come from a single distillery that distills only barley, while the Sigk Cask come from a single barrel, the finest. Scotland distinguishes five regions of whiskey production, each one different in climate and landscape, and therefore in its final taste. The smell of peat? Obtained from the smoking of barley, a typical process of areas such as the Isle of Skye and Islay rich in peat.

Valentine's Day: 8 wines born from a love story – Italian Cuisine

Valentine's Day: 8 wines born from a love story

What could be nicer than celebrating with a candlelit dinner and some irresistible recipes? We recommend eight labels (which are also good for singles)

The February 14 is the feast of lovers. Whether you are among those who do not give up celebrating or among those who do not like the anniversary, you will happen to raise the glass towards those who make your heart beat. What are the wines to uncork for the occasion? It depends on how your toast will be. If a classic method bubble, such as a Franciacorta or a Trento, are always an excellent option, especially between meals or at the time of the aperitif, we had fun finding some less obvious proposals, with the relative instructions for use and some curiosity about it. To tell to conquer your love definitively.

From Umbria, to the land of the saint

Valentine's day, the patron saint of lovers, was born in Terni in 176 AD. and, only 21 years old, he had become bishop of the city. He died beheaded on February 14, 273, for having united a pagan Roman legionary and a young Christian in marriage.

Some of the best wines of Umbria are produced in the province of Terni. L'Orvieto Classico Superiore Campo del Guardiano di Palazzone it is an elegant and savory white that gives its best after a few years of aging in the bottle. Try it with a fish fry, a chicken breast with mushroom cream or perhaps directly on the farm: Palazzone has a historic home with rooms that cannot be more romantic.

The right wine to be uncorked at the end of dinner, in front of a burning fireplace, is the Muffato of the Hall, produced at the Castello della Sala of the historic Antinori family; from sauvignon, grechetto, traminer, semillon and riesling grapes, harvested late, when the morning mists cover the rolling hills of the area and favor the arrival of noble rot, it has an extraordinary complexity. Its scents of apricot, saffron and candied ginger are capable of conquering even the less experienced. If you want to pair it with something, try it with dry buttery biscuits or large aged cheeses.

Wine and Valentine's Day

Wine producers love Valentine's Day, which often becomes the testimonial of their products. We like the Valentine's Day by Togni Rebaioli, produced in Valle Camonica with the Erbanno grape, a local biotype of Lambrusco, which gives a fruity and flowing red, ideal at the table with pasta with meat sauce. You could always replicate the scene of Lilli and the Vagabondo: two hearts and a plate of spaghetti with meatballs. Is called Valentine's day also the marzemino produced by La Cadalora. It smells of violet and is a round wine, to be drunk rather young, perhaps with a steaming plate of polenta and mushrooms in a mountain chalet.

From Verona, the city of love

There is no doubt, the most famous loving couple in history is that of Romeo and Juliet. It might be a good idea to spend a romantic weekend in Verona, where you visit the house with the balcony from which Juliet sighed: "Oh Romeo, Romeo, why are you Romeo?". Precisely Easter dedicated three wines to them, which bear on the label the inscriptions found in the courtyard of Juliet's house: the Passion White Feeling it is based on Garganega grapes which, after drying, gives an intense wine, which smells of apricot, peach and citrus fruits, to try with fish dishes but also with oysters; the Passion Red feeling it is based on merlot, corvina and croatina which, after drying, give a soft, warm and round wine, for steak and conversation; low, the Passion Feeling Prosecco Brut it is a fresh and casual sparkling wine, the ideal companion for a carefree love.

Even the most famous wine of Valpolicella, the wine region adjacent to Verona, lends itself well to being uncorked to celebrate Valentine's Day: choose theAmarone della Valpolicella Classico Proemio di Santi, bewitching in its aromas of cherry, plum, vanilla and cinnamon.

In Tuscany, between films and hearts

Comes from a little known area of ​​Tuscany on Cuor Rosé by Tenute Riccardi Toscanelli a rosé based on the autochthonous canaiolo grape, which smells of ripe apples and wild strawberries. With the heart, in the name and on the label, it is perfect to give as a gift before a declaration of love. The last bottle we recommend for Valentine's Day is the Oaks of Petra, a Merlot of the Tuscan coast that smells of Mediterranean scrub and that was also uncorked during a scene from the film Love Manual 3 by Giovanni Veronesi. More Valentine's Day than this …

The true story of chewing gum and its fruit taste – Italian Cuisine

Discovering the mysterious and iconic fruity taste of chewing gum (bubble gum), invented at the end of the 19th century by Thomas Adams

Chewing gum is a unique confectionery product with an unmistakable taste, loved and recognizable all over the world, albeit in continuous evolution. Yet few know that theiconic fruity taste of chewing gum, or bubble gum, was patented later than their birth and production, and was conceived in the late nineteenth century by the American scientist Thomas Adams.
But what does this taste really know, so loved by generations and generations of consumers?

Birth and evolution of chewing gum

Anyone who has come across at least once in the fascinating birth and history of chewing gum will certainly know that the first records date back to the Maya, which in fact used to chew a natural rubber obtained from a tropical plant (Manilkara chicle) typical of Central America. The invention of chewing gum dates back to 1869, when the dentist William Semple patented one first version rather tasteless than the known chewable candy, then thought more for hygienic use than for food.

From tasteless rubber balls to fruity bubble gums

The merit of the first real American chewing gum with added flavor goes instead to the scientist and inventor Thomas Adams; the first two tastes he launched were the strong and enduring one licorice and, above all, a pleasant fruity blend called "Tutti Frutti". Just this last recipe represented a turning point in the bubble gum history, and consists of one synthetic replica of the taste of fruit, or a mixture of chemical substances and various syrups that are reminiscent of banana, strawberry and cherry.

These sweet colorful balls were officially marketed in the late 1800s, through the American Chicle Company, the first of many chewing gum companies that saw the light at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. If the figure of Adams was decisive for the first experimentation of rubber in terms of flavors and for the opening of the first bubble gum company in history, the decisive step forward was the work of Fleer Corporation, founded in 1885. After the launch of the first chewing gum called Blibber-Blubber, the company worked hard to create a unique product, with a new formula and a perfect consistency. The bubble gum they invented, the Dubble Bubble, had a tremendous success, merit not only of taste and aroma, but also of the elastic consistency that allowed consumers to make the famous "bubbles".
Not only that, color was also changing. One of the ingredients of Dubble Bubble, in fact, appeared for the first time a pink food coloring, far more appetizing than the previous gray, still today recognized as the standard color of the beloved chewing gum.

Since then the fruity formula of the tires would have undergone countless modifications and variations, just think of the launch in the 1950s of the sugar-free chewing gum (often sweetened with aspartame or xylitol) or that, starting from the 60s to the present day, of the addition of new additives and increasingly original colorants.

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