Saturday, June 9, 2007

Prosecco with Basil


The cicadas are out in Chicago. A great, biblical plague of them - clinging to trees, crunching underfoot, and finding their way into our clothes with alarming stealth. (I've had an Indiana Jones moment or two myself since I've been out here).

The cicadas' life cycle is a peculiarly timed affair. The insects wriggle about in the earth for 17 years and then, curiosity piqued by the first hot day of their 17th year, stream out into the fresh air to moult, mate, and die. It’s all a bit like a senior spring gone horribly wrong. Apparently this isn’t even a bad season. 17 summers ago, there were so many cicadas that the ground itself seemed to be moving.

Fortunately, and despite the occasional discovery of a large, plump insect on the back of my neck, it’s too hot in Chicago right now to panic. The only thing to be done is to slouch with cold drink in hand, try to ignore the deafening screech of the cicadas, and watch Teva the retriever gulp down as many of them as she can hold. They are, after all, considered a gourmet feast in some parts of the world.

I’ll stick to my prosecco though. It’s truly one of my favorite summer drinks – mildly mineral, straightforward, and simple, prosecco is the perfect hot weather celebration wine. The prosecco grape, thought to be a native of Friuli where there is actually a town named Prosecco, is now grown in the Veneto.

But for me, the wine is probably more woven into the fabric of my life in Florence than anywhere else. There, once I'm safely ensconced at a café or enoteca table in the shady corner of an old stone piazza, prosecco makes the most restorative and relaxing break from a day in the heat.

Lately, and in anticipation of my upcoming trip back to Florence, I’ve been drinking my prosecco with a sprig of basil. Some Italians like an olive and some orange rind in their prosecco, and I’m hoping to try that soon. But, served in a bulbous glass usually reserved for bigger reds, the fragrant combination of the chilled, gently peachy wine and the blunt, earthy, floral basil washes over the senses like summer itself. Pinch a few small leaves into your next glass and revive.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an awesome idea!!! So simple, but I'd never have thought of it!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Thanks anonymous! I must say, I was pretty excited when I thought of it -- it just works!

Anonymous said...

how fabulous. a new twist on my beloved prosecco!

Joanne Rendell said...

okay. i'm coming home immediately. do you think this goes with chips and ketchup?!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Anonymous - I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I'm a true prosecco fan too!

Jo - This goes with chips, ketchup, guacamole, burritos, and anything else I can think of that you like! Try a basil leaf in your rosé. I want to hear if it works too!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

I adore prosecco, Amanda! Roberto and I drink it as much as we can! It is hard to find where we are currently living though...:(

Anyway, we love it with a bit of peach in it! I do love your basil idea though and I am going to have it that way the next time we get our hands on some! YUM!

Thanks for all the great ideas!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hi Jenn! What a nice idea the peach is - a bit like a deconstructed sangria. I'm anxious to find it with the olive and orange while I'm in Florence. Salty and sweet - what's not to love?

Cynthia said...

Amanda, I gotta to have a glass of this. It sounds so refreshing.

Hope you have a great time in Florence.

Figs Olives Wine said...

Thank you Cynthia! I really hope you enjoy it!

And I should say for everyone, if there's no prosecco where you shop, any other sparkling wine (champagne, cava, spumante, etc) will do nicely too!

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

Great idea. And refreshing. I will be having this drink on the weekend.
Thanks

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hi great big veg challenge! I hope you enjoy it! Let me know.

Hannah said...

Basil prosecco! I will be trying this! Hope you enjoy the violet prosecco - have you tried it with gingerbread syrup for a christmas prosecco - heavenly!

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hannah, I am dying to try your violet prosecco!! Gingerbread prosecco is utter brilliance! How do you do it? I make a version for New Year's with star anise, cinnamon, clove, orange, and lemon syrup. No ginger though. Will post this on your blog too because I'm dying to hear!

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