30-Day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge

Hit the Reset Button for Health

30-Day Lifestyle ChallengeMy friends all know that I’m especially interested in the link between great health and great food. It’s my nutritionist training coming to the fore. This month I’m spearheading two great programs to trim down and tighten up. The first is called “The 30 Day Healthy Lifestyle Challenge” and I’m teaming up here with Chelsea Streifeneder at Body Be Well Pilates in Red Hook.

 

Gigi SalmonTogether we’ve created a personal workout and month long balanced meal plan just for you! Already four happy participants have completed the plan and lost a total of 38 inches and 32 pounds!  I’m excited about creating ‘sustainable’ shifts in people’s lives and this plan is about great food, regular exercise, balance and fun. Once you’ve mastered the plan, you can keep doing it long after the 30 days are over. If you would like to learn more, contact either me (laura@gigihudsonvalley.com) or Chelsea  (Chelsea@bodybewellpilates.com).

Just Salad CateringFor Just Salad fans, I’m also launching a “Two Week Get Fit Challenge”. This program is great way to jumpstart weight loss, interrupting poor eating habits and help transition to a more ‘well’ lifestyle. Think of it as the on-ramp to a healthier life.  Every day you eat two large salads loaded with vegetables, lean protein and some of the high fiber ‘super foods’, such as wheat berries, quinoa, lentils, and edamame available at Just Salad. In fact, I just completed the challenge myself and lost 8 pounds and 7 inches in total! To take a look at my before and after progress, click on to http://justsalad.com/blog/ and see the change. It wasn’t always easy, but the variety at Just Salad kept things interesting and gave me the mental boost I needed.

Both of these programs preserve the seasonal and local flavors you have come to expect from Gigi, but now you also get a customized approach which controls portions and meets your dietary needs for healthy and safe weight loss. So hit the reset button on your own health and take on a new “Challenge”. Don’t forget to let me know how it worked for you.

Otto’s Market and Gigi Hudson Valley = A Tasty ‘Partnership’

Laura and OttoWe are thrilled to announce that you can now find Gigi Hudson Valley prepared foods in the deli case and along the shelves of Otto’s Market in Germantown. Otto and Laura have long discussed a collaboration that would extend Gigi brand delicacies to Otto shoppers and are thrilled to announce that the time has arrived.

With closing the Gigi retail space in Red Hook we have been able to shift the focus towards continuing the success of the flagship restaurant and expanding the flourishing farm to table catering business. This transition and re-focus has extended great advancements, while leaving many customers longing for the scrumptious Gigi offerings available in our former depot.  No longer  — Gigi dishes will be showcased in Otto’s deli and select grocery products will be a staple at Otto’s Market!

Gigi Hudson Valley at Otto's MarketAlong with all the delicious food that Sybille and Ken of Otto’s are already providing, the Gigi offerings will add a decidedly Mediterranean accent to a great menu, and include side dishes, fresh salads, and entrees like Gigi’s terrific lasagna and signature Skizzas™.

Gigi Balsamic Vinegar

 

In addition, Gigi has some amazing products that will be available in the grocery selections: olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salad dressings, plus delicious sauces ready to pour over pasta.  Laura’s cookbook, “Hudson Valley Mediterranean”, a resource to create perfect healthy and seasonal meals will now be found on Otto’s shelves.

Gigi offers catering big and small; from coordinating celebrations for 200 or more, to providing the dishes to compose small household gatherings, the Gigi team is eager to help with any size event. Otto’s market will carry Gigi’s catering menu and be help refer clients to the Gigi catering service that is right for them.

Everyone at Gigi Hudson Valley is excited and privileged to participate in this exciting collaboration with Otto’s Market.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Staff Spotlight – Mike Rosario

Michael ‘Mike’ Rosario – Head Bartender, Gigi Trattoria

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Michael moved to New York’s Hudson Valley in 2011. He began his career as a food professional more than 20 years ago and has since held just about every ‘front of house’ position. Michael worked with noted restaurateurs like Drew Nieporent and Charles Palmer, proudly assisting with the opening of Palmer’s American bistro Alva’s. His transition to Upstate New York was driven by the farm-to-table movement he saw going on in the City and strong desire to get closer to it.

Mike RosarioMichael’s migration from Brooklyn to the area first took him to a 7-acre property in Saugerties, NY where he enjoyed his first foray in gardening beyond the patio. More recently, Michael transitioned to a 22-acre property where he hopes to continue fruit and vegetable cultivation but also hopes to raise poultry and perhaps even try his hand at beekeeping. When asked if he misses the metro New York restaurant and food scene, he emphatically says “No way! What’s going on up here is so real and so close to the farms. I had been hearing about Gigi Trattoria and what they’re all about since 2003. I knew I wanted to work for this company because they really live it – I see the farmers and producers come in and out of the doors all day long.”

After a year of leading the Gigi Trattoria service team, Michael recently stepped into the role of head bartender. Not only does he continue a tradition of innovative seasonal cocktails that use the purees and infusions from local harvest as well as locally distilled spirits, but he also oversees the ever-vital ‘perch’ from the bar greeting incoming guests and assisting and mentoring our treasured service team. Whether dining at ‘the counter’ is your preferred experience or simply enjoying a drink (with or without alcohol) made with great care, come in and enjoy Mike’s full service approach. We look forward to sharing his imprints and style in the selections of our Mediterranean-inspired wine list and hand-crafted cocktails throughout the seasons.

Gigi Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipes

 

Whiskey Seduction

Whiskey Seduction

Whiskey Seduction: This sensuous cocktail brings a little extra warmth to the Valentine’s Day spirit. It is just slightly sweetened by the Chambord, but is truly a cocktail that can be enjoyed by all.

  • 2 oz Bulleit Rye
  • ¾ oz Cotes Du Rhone
  • ½ oz Black Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord)
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Lemon Twist for Garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 with ice. Add the Bulleit, Cotes du Rhone, Chambord, and lemon juice. Vigorously shake, then strain into an ice filled glass (or serve in chilled martini glass ‘up’). Garnish with the lemon twist and enjoy immediately.

 

Amore Cocktail

Gigi’s Amore Cocktail

Amore: Bubbles and roses, what says “Amore” better?

    • 4 ounces Prosecco
    • 1 ounce blood orange juice
    • 2 to 3 drops rosewater*
    • Garnish with dried rose petals*

*Available in most gourmet and health food stores.

In a Champagne flute, combine the Prosecco and blood orange juice. Add a couple of drops of rosewater and garnish with dried rose petals.

 

We’ll be featuring them throughout the holiday weekend at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck. As of this posting, reservations are still available. To see our full menu specials, click here: http://goo.gl/srHXGm.

 

The Next Chapter for Gigi Hudson Valley

Gigi Hudson ValleyAs you probably know, I have long been committed and passionate about Gigi Hudson Valley and our mission to convince everyone that seasonal + local = healthy eating. To get that message out to the greatest number of people, I’ve been hard at work expanding our catering operation over the past several years.

We are now entering the next phase of that ‘push’, and that means our physical space must change to meet our needs. As of this weekend, we are shifting Gigi Market and Café away from café and retail services to a catering kitchen and offices only. This does not end my desire for retail branded products (quite the opposite), but streamlines and focuses our efforts in a way that gives us greater reach into the community.

Our catering offices and production will remain at our location at Pitcher Lane in Red Hook until we find our new home base. If you would like to plan an event or organize pick up or delivery from our Easy Entertaining Order Form or E-Holiday Order Form, our catering team led by Cassandra Ruff, can be reached at 845.758.8060 or catering@gigihudsonvalley.com.

My heart, soul and spirit are filled with gratitude for all the people who worked at and supported Gigi Market & Café.

Sincerely,
Laura Pensiero

Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck, NY – 845.876.1007
Gigi Catering & Event Planning, throughout the Hudson Valley – 845.758.8060
http://www.gigihudsonvalley.com/

A Cocktail for the Season… Gigi Trattoria’s Autumnal Moon

Autumnal MoonExcited by the flavors of fall, Gigi Trattoria Bartender Extrodinaire Lisa Butenhoff put together the Autumnal Moon. She first prepares a ginger-Crown Maple simple syrup that has a sweet and spice harmony. Dutch Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine provides that ‘kick’ that balances all.

2 oz Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine
1 oz House made Crown Maple Ginger Syrup*
1 tablespoon rum soaked cranberries

*To prepare Crown Maple Ginger Syrup, combine equal parts of brown sugar (1/2 cup), water (1/2 cup) and Crown Maple Syrup (1/4 cup) with 2 ounces of sliced ginger root. Bring to a low boil, then turn off heat and let steep for 1 hour. Strain and cool. Makes about 1 cup (16 oz).

Combine cranberries and syrup in a shaker and muddle. Add the ice and Dutch Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine. Shake vigorously. Layer bottom of rocks glass with cranberries topped with ice and strain. Enjoy immediately.

Gigi’s Autumnal Moon was recently highlighted in the Dutch Spirits newsletter! Read about it, here!

Gigi’s “Enlightened Eggplant Parmesan” Recipe

Gigi Eggplant Parmesan

July’s hot and humid weather has tapered off into gorgeous August days, warm, sunny and just hot enough for Hudson Valley summer gardens to thrive. There are buckets of ripening tomatoes, zucchini, beans, melons and a Gigi favorite – eggplant. Eggplants are gorgeous plants with lovely leaves, delicate flowers and elegant vegetables ranging from a nearly black purple to a glowing white streaked with rose. This ‘food of the sun’ flourishes here, a living link to the great number of Italian immigrants who farmed this land throughout the last century making this ‘foreign’ food beloved and common. The last thirty years has seen the growth of Asian eggplant varieties, long and lighter in color with fewer seeds and perfectly amenable to stir fries and braises.

EggplantAt Gigi, we are loyal to the Italian varieties since we are all fanatics about eggplant Parmesan. In fact, there are few dishes the staff and I enjoy as much as a “plate of parm”.  This wasn’t always the case. It took a trip to Sicily to convince me to reconsider Eggplant Parmesan, a typically heavy dish relying overly on breading and cheese. But the Sicilian treatment uses a lighter hand and results in a deeply satisfying eggplant flavor. A perfect dish for the season. Salute! – Laura

Enlightened Eggplant Parmesan – Makes 8 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¼ Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ Cup Finely-Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Medium Eggplants – About 3 Pounds – cut Lengthwise into ¼- to ½-Inch-Thick Slices
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Plus Additional for Brushing the Dish
  • Salt and Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Gigi Pomodoro Sauce, or Your Homemade Recipe or Favorite Brand
  • 1¼ Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1¼ Cups Shaved Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Set aside.

Brush the eggplant on both sides with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange them in a single layer on 2 liberally greased baking sheets (non-stick is best). Broil in batches, until the slices are tender, lightly browned, and softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Spoon ½ cup of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a lightly oiled 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Layer one third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Spoon ½ cup of sauce over the eggplant, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle with ½ cup each of the mozzarella and the shaved Parmesan. Top the cheese with another one third of the eggplant slices, another ½ cup of sauce, and ½ cup of each cheese. Top the cheese with the remaining one third of eggplant slices, ½ cup of sauce, and ¼ cup of each cheese.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in middle of the oven until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over top, and continue to bake until the crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy as an appetizer, side dish, or entrée.

Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce Recipe

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce.

Chef’s note: This blueberry maple version of Gigi Market’s barbecue sauce has a smoky, spicy kick to contrast the sweetness. We’re serving it on our specials with grilled chicken, pork and lamb at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and providing it retail at Gigi Market and Café in Red Hook throughout blueberry season.

Blueberry-Maple BBQ sauce – Makes 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Large Shallots, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Pints Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 Cup Rice Wine or Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, cook the shallots over medium heat, stirring, until softened, two to three minutes. Add the spices and cook another 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in the blueberries. Partially cover to prevent splattering when the berries burst and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until they soften. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is velvety and slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in butter and remove from heat.

 

Grilled Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) Broiler Fryer Chicken, Cut Into Quarters or Eighths
  • Olive Oil to Drizzle
  • Salt and Freshly-Ground Pepper
  • Note: If using a charcoal grill, evenly distribute the hot charcoal to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, turn one side to medium-high setting.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down on the grill grate. Turn the chicken pieces a quarter turn every two to three minutes. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to prevent charring. Once the chicken is nicely grill-marked, move it to the cool side of the grill. The chicken, at this point, should roast in the high heat and not have direct contact with flame or hottest portion of grill. After about 20 minutes total cook time, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of each piece. The pieces should reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now slather the chicken with the Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce and return to the heated portion of the grill to crisp. Do not leave over flame for too long, the sugar from the blueberries and syrup will caramelize quickly and could burn. Serve immediately with a side of extra sauce for slathering.

 

Gigi Marinated Rib Eye Steak Recipe

Gigi Marinated Rib Eye Steak

Gigi Marinated Rib Eye Steak

Gigi Marinated Rib Eye Steak – Makes 2 to 4 servings

Flavorful aged rib eyes (and our marinade) can be purchased at Gigi Market. The steaks are almost 2-inches, so it’s a little tricky to cook them on the grill — avoid charring outside and leaving raw on the inside. See my suggestions below for a crispy exterior and the inside cooked to juicy perfection.

If you feel decadent, enjoy with one of Gigi Market‘s parsley-Parmesan compound butter melting over top…

INGREDIENTS:

  • Marinade:
  • 4 to 5 fresh sage leaves (tough stems removed)
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary
  • 1 handful fresh Italian parsley (leaves only)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Rib Eye Steak
  • 1 28—32 ounce rib eye
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS: 

To prepare marinade at home:

Marinated Rib Eye UncookedPlace the herbs and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse a couple of times to combine. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube and puree until just incorporated but still. Transfer to a large zip-lock bag and add the rib eye. Seal, and massage marinade into the meat. Steaks can be marinated  for 20 minutes up to 2 days in advance.

Gigi Marinated Rib Eye Steak CookedTo cook rib eye: Season steaks with salt and pepper and place on the hottest portion of the grill. Cook until fully seared and nicely colored, 2 to 3 minutes, then turn and repeat on the other side. If you can turn off one side of the grill, move the steaks over to this side, turn the other side on high and close the cover, allowing the meat to ‘roast’ to doneness without charring. Otherwise, prepare your grill with all of the charcoal or wood on one side allowing you to move the meat to the other once grill seared. Cook, turning once or twice, to desired doneness, about 10-12 minutes longer for medium rare.

Gluten-Free at Gigi Hudson Valley

Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck.

Providing delicious options is what we do at Gigi Hudson Valley! While we’ve always offered flexibility and numerous vegetarian and vegan options in our menus, in 2007 we developed a gluten-free version of our popular Skizzas™.  Our guests have responded resoundingly! Just recently, Chef Wilson Costa ‘tweaked’ our gluten-free gnochetti, enjoyed by President Bill Clinton during his visit to Gigi Trattoria, so that they are as light and fluffy as any gnocchi anywhere!  Both are available with any of our toppings and/or sauces.

How do we do it? We take great care in training our culinary and service staff so that they not only understand how to present our farm-fresh fare, but also food intolerances and allergies. Part of our training program instructs our staff exactly how to communicate information to our guests and to each other (dining room to kitchen). With every seasonal menu change, our menu manuals, too, are updated – these revisions include phonetics of our menu items, ingredient lists of every offering, and especially important, designations that indicate whether the item is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

National Celiac Awareness MonthNational support: We are now into our 3rd week of participation in “Chef to Plate”, a gluten-free restaurant awareness campaign (part of National Celiac Awareness Month). Our staff at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and Gigi Market in Red Hook have been trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group and our management team to provide safe options for our gluten free community.

Gluten-Free Skizza at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Skizza™, available at Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market. Designated by green checkered underliner. Peroni not GF!

Some offerings on our gluten-free menus:  In addition to our crispy Skizzas™ (available at Gigi Trattoria, Gigi Market and kits for home), and sumptuous gnochetti; other items are available throughout our menus. Sautéed items that are typically flour dusted can be made without, and most of our sauces are natural reductions rather than flour-thickened. Our management team and your server are trained to guide you.

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

If sweets are on your mind, Gigi Pastry Chef Danielle Gill prepares an incredible flourless chocolate cake and cheesecakes without gluten-containing crusts. At Gigi Market some of our gluten-free products include moist and flavorful brownies from Rhinebeck’s own Sweet Girl, biscotti and rugelach from The Gluten-Free Bakery: Chatham, and Food for All kaiser rolls and loaves for our burgers and sandwiches.

Offering delicious Hudson Valley Mediterranean flavors is a joy to me and the whole Gigi Team. Doing it responsibly and safely is sacred. As a registered dietitian, I have long been involved with working with people, so that eating healthfully and safely is a delight, not a chore. Buon Appetito!

Laura

For more information on gluten intolerance, please visit http://gluten.net.

After a recent visit to Rhinebeck earlier this month, Maria wrote us this wonderful “Thank photo-mg2You” letter:

Dear Trattoria Gigi Team,

I was at your restaurant last Saturday. I was traveling with a person with celiac disease. We arrived from New York City to spend the weekend in your beautiful area.

Traveling with my friend is not easy. She has a very high intolerance to gluten. We did lots of research and saw that your restaurant was trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group (https://www.gluten.net/resturants/find-a-restaurant). This reassured her. It is always nerve wracking to trust some strangers when you know that can get badly sick after eating.

Your staff was very welcoming and knowledgeable. They made her feel at ease. It was my birthday, but we did not mentioned it. We had very nice food and great time. We had a salad and a skizza for dinner. The next day we wanted to visit your marketplace in Red Hook, but the hotel messed up with the wake up call. It means that we definitely need to go back to Rhineback.

Thank you so much for the lovely experience. You cannot imagine how something so simple and easy such as eating out can turn into a nightmare for somebody with celiac disease. You helped to make my day even more special. Keep up the good work!

Best,

Maria

 

Summer’s Rosé

Spring is here and so is the newest addition to the Gigi Wine List: La Grand Piece Rosé!  We are delighted to have this delicious rosé from Provence to offer to our valued customers by the glass and by the bottle.  It is the perfect wine for the warm weather that is finally touching the Hudson Valley.

La Grand Piece Rosé produced by Chateau La Coste a picturesque winery just north of Aix-en-Provence.  This 250 acre vineyard adheres to biodynamic principles, striving to preserve terroir, protect fertility and safeguard the essence of the soil.  At Chateau La Coste, they believe that this newest technology brings life to the old wine making traditions while ensuring the quality of the wine.  The result is a truly exceptional rosé. chateau la coste 2

No hard work goes without recognition and just sipping a glass of the La Grand Piece Rosé will show the effort and detail put into this wine making process.  This 2012 rosé is a blend of 75% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 5% Cinsault.  The nose is full of red berries and with a bit of floral notes.  La Grand Piece has an unquestionable crispness that makes it wonderfully refreshing.  Hints of strawberries and citrus leave your palate rejuvenated.  Drink this rosé with grilled vegetables, cheeses and light fish dishes.  We recommend enjoying a glass of this rosé with our Salmone with hearts of palm and fennel. rose photo 2

Not only are we excited to be basking in the warmth of spring at Gigi Trattoria but we thrilled it is rosé season again!  And what better way to celebrate spring then with Wine Wednesday at Gigi Trattoria.  La Grand Piece Rosé and all bottled wines are 30% off!  But at only $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, this rosé is a steal any day.  Come join us on the Gigi Patio and sip a little bit of Provence.

To learn more about this Rose click here or here.

Our New Year’s Toast to Sparkling Wine

We are ringing in 2013 at Gigi Trattoria the right way which means popping open some bottles of bubbles!  And we have some great sparkling wines to celebrate.  From toasty and luscious French Champagne to refreshing crisp and very affordable Spanish Cava, we have some sparkle for everyone.

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva is an all-around crowd pleaser as far as cavas go.  Cava, like champagne, is produced using the traditional method where the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle. Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine for fizz and a 1-1.5% increase in alcohol. The sediment of the dry yeast gives this wine a bit of a savory flavor.  Many regulars and staff find that the Segura Viduas Brut Reserva is not only affordable at $26 a bottle and $8 a glass but also crisp, delicious and dry.  It drinks like an expensive sparkling wine would.  Pair this cava with fried foods, such as our Patatine (aka Tuscan Fries) – or really any salty nibble – a Gigi Skizza™ or simply by itself.

If you are not an avid cava consumer, chances are you are pro-prosecco.  And if so you must know that the Prosecco di Treviso from Azienda Casalini is not only rare and unique, it is simply superb.  Prosecco is named for the grape variety, Glera that is generally used to make dry or extra dry sparkling wine.  This particular Valdobbiadene prosecco we sell for $32 a bottle and $10 a glass has the perfect balance of dryness, acidity and sweetness.  Try Azienda Casalini Prosecco with our special New Year’s Skizza made with lobster, chive ricotta and shaved black tartufo.  It is also enjoyable as an after dinner drink.

Another wonderful prosecco we offer is the Prosecco di Valdobbiadene ‘Primo Franco.’  Slightly sweeter and creamier than Azienda Casalini Prosecco, Primo Franco is medium bodied.  Made with 100% prosecco grapes, this DOCG is only $45 a bottle.  It pairs beautifully with risotto.  The creaminess compliments it while the crispness helps to cut the richness.

Like a little pink in your bubbles?  Try the Rose Cantine Ferrari produced using traditional metodo classic.  The grapes for this sparkling wine are hand harvested and then the wine undergoes a gentle press and maceration process in order to achieve the lovely salmon color.  Ferrari Rose is dry and clean with a slight hint of sweet almonds.  This bubbly at $50 a bottle is especially perfect with seafood, such as the Seafood Salad on our NYE menu.

And finally our selection of sparkling wines would not be complete without the Excellence Brut Gosset Champagne.  From the oldest wine house in France, this balanced champagne has notes of apple, pear, almond and a creamy finish.  This 45% Pinot Noir, 13% Pinot Meunier and 42% Chardonnay still goes through first fermentation in oak barrels, as many champagnes no longer do.  The result is champagne you truly cannot pass up.  The CRUDO, Meiller’s Farm beef tartar with black truffles and sunny side up quail egg, on our New Year’s Eve menu is the perfect complement to a glass of Gosset.

Don’t think we forgot about dessert!  The Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato di Asti is a sweet finale to brilliant meal.  Produced mainly in the province of Asti, north-west Italy, this dessert wine is slightly sweet and low in alcohol. The Moscato Bianco grape offers a lovely “frizzante” and elegant floral aromas, as well as delicate flavors of peaches and apricots. The Blood Orange Panna Cotta with Citrus Supremes would be a perfect pairing for this festive sparkler!  For only $10 a glass or $32 a bottle, it is just sweetness you are looking for.

Whether you prefer cava, prosecco, champagne, or a dry martini, there is something at Gigi Trattoria for everyone to toast with!  Come ring in 2013 with Chef Wilson’s 4-course menu for $55, 5-course menu for $75 or our regular a la carte menu.  With bubbles in hand, we wish you all a safe and happy new year!  Cin cin!

To learn more about Gosset click here.  If you are interested in Ferrari Rose read more here.  And if Primo Franco is your favorite you can find more information here.

Wine Wednesday – Zizzolo

What can be more festive than a ruby red wine?  From a 10 year old vineyard near the foothills of Castagneto Carducci in the region of Tuscany comes one of our new favorite reds on the Gigi Wine List.  Zizzolo from Bolgheri Wine Road is a beautiful blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Acquiring this outstanding Tuscan red has added some cheer to our holiday season and we are truly excited to present it to you.

What is so surprising about Zizzolo is that despite its DOC regulation, like many Bolgheri reds, it is considered nothing more than a table wine.  Bolgheri was barely on the wine map until 1974 when a six year old Sassiacia defeated an assortment of Bordeaux wines in a competition.  In 1983 the DOC was established here for whites and rosés.  Not until 1994 did Bolheri reds get recognized as DOCs.  And boy did they deserve the recognition!

Zizzolo falls under the DOC Bolgheri Rosso because it is made of 60% Merlot and 30% Cabernet.  The grapes macerate for 12 days using only natural yeast.  It is aged in barriques, or barrels and then again in the bottle for 12 months.  The result is an exquisite ruby-red color.  Zizzolo has round tannins and notes of fresh fruit especially darker berries.  And what may be the best feature of Zizzolo is that it pairs well with just about anything.  From our Pork Scalloppine to the Bigoli Col’Anitra with braised Hudson Valley duck & Wiltbank Farm oyster and shitake mushrooms, this wine can be enjoyed with many of our Trattoria specialties.  It is even wonderful on its own.

What makes Zizzolo so special is that there are only about 1,800 cases produced a year!  Here at Gigi Trattoria, we are grateful to have such an amazing wine at such an affordable price.  For only $45 Zizzolo is our holiday gift to you.  And if you come on Wine Wednesday, all of our wines are 30% off!  Happy Holidays from our bottle to your glass!

Want to learn more about Zizzolo, click here. To learn more about Bolgheri click here or here.

Wine Wednesday – Müller Thurgau

With the holidays right around the corner, Gigi Trattoria has a real gift for you. One of our best white wines is now on our glass list! The Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is really a stellar wine. From Trentino Alto-Adige right near the Austrian border, this light to medium bodied wine is cultivated 500 meters above sea level. The vines are planted on calcareous till facing east-south and some are up to 30 years old. But the grape itself is much older.

Müller Thurgau is a variety of white grape created by Herman Müller in 1882. It is a cross between a Riesling with Madeleine Royale and is used to produce wines in many countries including Germany, Austria, the United States and of course, Northern Italy. It is considered one of the most widely planted grapes of the “new breed” variety.

The Muri Gries Müller Thurgau definitely makes the top of the list of wines produced with the Müller Thurgau grape. It has a delightful minerality with hints of flowers and citrus fruit. It has a young freshness that makes it beautiful as an aperitif or paired well with appetizers, fish and even lighter meat dishes. We recommend it with our mussels. Our mussels are from Prince Edward Island and most often served steamed in a broth of wine, garlic, red onions and tomato with just a hint of spice. The crispness and earthiness of the Müller Thurgau compliment the mussels while also refreshing the palate.

No matter what it is paired with, the Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is a wine you cannot miss. It will only be on our glass list for a short period of time so hurry in to sample it. We will bet that you will be buying it by the bottle by your next visit.  If you come on a Wednesday, the Müller Thurgau and all of our bottle wines are 30% off.  And since it is the holidays and we are in a giving mood, a bottle is just $37 and a glass is $12.  Cheers!

Learn more about Müller Thurgau here and here.

Kohlrabi Remoulade

About Kohlrabi…
Mentioning Kohlrabi typically doesn’t often light up people’s faces, but this highly underated vegetable is enjoyed in dishes around globe. It also grows exceptionally well here in the Hudson Valley.  The literal translation means “cabbage turnip” in Germany and “ugly root” in Africa. It’s flavor is anything but “ugly” offering a blend of all the wonderful flavor profiles of its cruciferous vegetable family ( broccoli, turnip, cabbage, brussels sprouts, rutagaba), and it has all of the protective phytochemicals and antioxidants they share.

So what to do with this “alien” root?

Immediately get to the tender and delicous flesh under that tough protective exterior. There is a chewy fiberours layer under the hard outer skin, so be sure to peel thoroughly down to the crisp and moist flesh. Use a paring knife to trim ends, and then work down the hard outer body to delious edible portion using a vegetable peeler.

1) Raw: Using a madoline, sharp knife, or cheese grater, slice it very thinly or shred it and eat it raw. Enjoy it on a crudite plate with a dip or use it as you would cabbage by preparing a slaw.

2) Puree: Chop, boil and and puree it then enjoy with some olive oil or butter and seasoning. Pureed kohlrabi also blends with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetables (kohlrabi and carrots is a personal favorite).

3) Roast: Chop or slice into “fries”, toss with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and peper, and then oven roast until caramelized and tender.

4) Add to soups, stews and braises:  Kohlrabi adds flavor and nutrients to any/all cold weather cooking. Chop it and add it to your favorite bubbling winter meal. Its flavor holds up well to intense seasoning, and it’s particulary good in curries or other full flavored dishes.

5) Gratins and “pies”and quiches: Slice thinly and layer into gratins or grate then saute (with or without other vegetables) to fill pies and quiches.

Here’s one of my favorite preparations, a rift on the classic celeriac remoulade, which is a perfect winter salad:

Kohlrabi Remoulade

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 medium, kohlrabi (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to season
3 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt preserved capers, rinsed
Pinch cayenne pepper
Finely shredded parsley to garnish

Directions

Working quickly, trim the ends from the kohlrabi and peel. Cut into halves and finely grate using a cheese grater or a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and garlic; season with salt and cayenne. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the kohlrabi. Serve immediately or allow to sit, refrigerated, in a nonreactive airtight container, for 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Variations:

Add: shredded apples and/or cornichons