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.

Staff Spotlight – Brandon Cole

Brandon Cole is the guy who does it all at Gigi Hudson Valley, he’s truly among our MVPs. He bounces between the Trattoria, the Market and catered events, sometimes all within a given day! He began his Gigi ‘career’ 6 years ago at the age of 15 when he started bussing tables at the Trattoria. From that position he moved up to food runner, learning the ins and outs of kitchen timing and etiquette from Chef Wilson Costa. Today, Brandon is skilled in just about every position at every one of our businesses, both front and back of house.

I travel from site to site and inevitably I see Brandon. He is kind of like “Where’s Waldo?”  First I see him at Gigi Market making 600 Skizza shells. Then I head to the Trattoria, and there he is! He is crisp, tailored, and professional,  bringing your favorite dish to the table. Rounding out his skills, as a certified “gear head” he’s one of the few that is entrusted with driving our 40 foot catering/food truck and trailer from location to location. So how does a guy that does all this relax? By biking 75-100 miles a week and hunting and fishing with boyhood friends.

Brandon was born and raised in Red Hook, NY, and his passion for Italian cooking goes deep.  His grandfather Frank Chiarella, who emigrated to NY from northern Italy as a young boy, owned a restaurant named Frank’s in Valatie, NY during the mid-70s. During our conversations Brandon told me that he, “always wanted to be chef.” It’s not really fair to interview Mom, but since I know her…(sorry Brandon 🙂 ) she offered up that baked cookies would be waiting for her at home when Brandon had a snow day from school. When I asked Brandon if he likes to cook at home now he said, “Yes, but I’m around food so much, I don’t cook that much at home anymore.”  Yet, he says when he purchases his first home, the kitchen will be a top priority. He definitely has the passion. But that passion is shared with one for law enforcement. Brandon’s father spent much of his career on the local police force and Brandon plans to follow in his footsteps – becoming a NYS Trooper.

Whatever his future plans are, those of us who have watched him grow, learn, and mature know that he will be a successful and valuable asset to any who are lucky enough to work with him.

Maple Pumpkin Polenta

Yesterday, Gigi Hudson Valley participated in a great event in support of Olana, the historic estate just outside Hudson. The fundraiser was entitled “Eat for Art’s Sake.” Each participating Hudson Valley eatery who volunteered their services, created a dish to be sampled at the gala, inspired by one of Frederick Church’s paintings (the artist who also built Olana in 1870.)

Gigi’s owner, Laura Pensiero,  chose “Clouds Over Olana”.

Inspired by the painting, Gigi Hudson Valley presented a Vegetable Hash over Maple Pumpkin Polenta. While the dish was not a literal interpretation of the painting, it served as inspiration, and it allowed Gigi HV to take advantage of great local and seasonal ingredients! As Laura noted, “It’s a very colorful plate that went with the back drop of the setting and  looked like a fall day. What we were trying to do was grab the season and bring that into the food, which this painting seemed to represent best.  We used Hudson Valley ingredients: New York State maple syrup and polenta from Wild Hive Farm and Store, in Clinton Corners,  with pumpkin from Mead Orchards, in Tivoli, as well as carrots, turnips. squash, and celery.”

We thought we would share the recipe for the Maple Pumpkin Polenta, enjoy!

Maple Pumpkin Polenta

This is among the most popular side dishes during the fall and winter months at Gigi Trattoria. The addition of pumpkin and maple syrup adds a seasonal and a festive hue to polenta. We buy ground cornmeal from Wild Hive Farm in nearby Clinton Corners. Any coarse grain cornmeal can substitute. Enjoy the slightly sweet notes balanced by a little spice from cayenne pepper.

Serves 4

1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
1½ cups pumpkin puree (boiled,drained,and pureed or 100 percent natural canned pumpkin)
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon butter

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and the olive oil, reduce the heat to simmer, and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, a small amount at a time, to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to low and cook the polenta, stirring often, until tender and it is pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and cayenne and cook another minute or two, then remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and the butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve warm.

Nutrition: Polenta (cornmeal) is a whole grain. The pumpkin contributes enough beta-carotene to supply about 25 percent of your daily needs of vitamin A.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chili Cantelupo

It’s August and we are finally getting to enjoy ripe, sun-soaked cantaloupe…wonderful on it’s own but known for being highly versatile (think of the classic cantaloupe and prosciutto combination.) It’s so highly versatile, that it takes well to other many herbs and spices. This week, to highlight this delicious fruit, we’ve put together a drink that is refreshing and has a nice kick of spice to liven things up.

To add a Mediterranean twist, we’ve taken the name from Cantelupo in Italy!

5 chunks cantaloupe (about 1 inch squares)
5 Basil Leaves
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz Lime Juice
2 oz Chili Vodka*

Muddle together cantaloupe, basil leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Chili Vodka. Fill with ice and shake vigorously, strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with a sprig of basil. This drink is at once lightly sweet, spicy and absolutely refreshing. “Possibly problematically too good” as one of our taste testers put it. Enjoy!

* At Gigi Trattoria we make our own house infused toasted peppercorn & chili vodka, you can experiment by making your own, or pick up the ready-made version at your local liquor store.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Summer Berry Sangria

Summer is the time of gathering with friends, relaxing and keeping things simple. This week, we focus on a weekend favorite (making it the perfect T.G.I.F. cocktail) at Gigi Trattoria, the Summer Berry Sangria. We have simplified some of the preparation so that it’s easy to make at home. While everyone may have their own favorite sangria recipe, try this one, it is  delicious! Whip up a pitcher of Summer Berry Sangria for you and your guests, relax and enjoy!

 

1 Cup Strawberry or Mixed Berry Puree*
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Simple Syrup 
2 Cups Lemon-Lime Soda 
1.4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Berry Liquor (we used Chambourd)
1 Bottle of dark, dry Rose Wine (we use Lurra Garnacha 2011, Spain)

 Add all ingredients together into a pitcher and add ice. 

 *Should take approximately a pint of strawberries, or even better a mix of strawberries and raspberries. Rinse fruit and cut the tops off the strawberries, hull them if they are tough and not at peak ripeness. Toss berries into blender with some water, adding more water until desired puree consistency is achieved. 

**Shout out to our Adrienne Chiaramonte for whipping this up for us on her day off! 🙂

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

Farm Fresh Hudson Red Creamed Corn

I had the honor and priviledge last week of participating in House Beautiful’s 2012 Kitchen of the Year event in New York City, where I was invited to do a cooking demo. Wanting to focus on local ingredients, I decided to make a farm fresh Hudson Red Creamed Corn.

At Gigi Hudson Valley, we buy as much of the local corn harvest that Chuck Mead and Ken Migliorelli will sell to make this creamy Italian take on an American favorite. At Gigi Trattoria, it’s served in individual cast-iron crocks, arriving to the table bubbly brown and deliciously fragrant.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

6 ears fresh corn (about 4 to 5 cups kernels)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium Poblano pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar (optional—taste a kernel of corn to see if it’s needed)
1 tablespoon flour blended with 2 tablespoons water
1 1/3 cups Ronnybrook Farm milk or half-and-half
4 ounces Hudson Red cheese, in small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Laura at the House Beautiful 2012 Kitchen of the Year event

Cut the kernels from the corncobs, then scrape the cobs with a sharp knife to get all the milk and pulp; reserve the kernels separately from the milk and pulp. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until the onion softens, 3 or 4 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in the kernels, parsley, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing or stirring often, until the kernels are cooked and lightly brown, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved pulp, the milk, and the white wine and sugar (if using) and cook until liquid has almost completely evaporated. Stir in the flour-water mixture, then whisk in the milk or half-and-half. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and stir in the herbs. Remove from the heat and stir in the Hudson Red cheese and chives. Serve immediately, or transfer to oven-safe crocks or ramekins, sprinkle the tops with the Parmesan, and broil under high heat until top is bubbly and browned.

Variations:

  • Substitute your favorite cheese (goat, grated manchego, taleggio or even cheddar) for the Hudson Red.
  • Spice it up with some diced jalapeno instead of smoky Poblano pepper. Add them when you sauté the corn kernels.
  • Cream it up: by pureeing 1/3 of the corn mixture in a food processor or blender and adding it back to the mix.

Leftovers: Before adding the breadcrumb topping, this dish reheats well.

Nutrition: Use milk instead of half-and-half to lower the fat. You can replace the Hudson Red cheese with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan to lend big flavor with fewer calories. Corn is rich in vitamins A and C and lutein, a potent antioxidant.

Enjoy!

-Laura

*This dish has been adapted from Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blueberry Cosmo

Ahhh, another day, another dollar. At least the day is Friday, and for many, payday is around the corner. Cause for celebration, we say! As we are wont to do, we try to take advantage of what is wonderful and local…blueberries. The season has just kicked in. For your enjoyable consumption, the blueberry cosmopolitan. It is too beautiful and delicious to be denied. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1/3 cup seasonal blueberries (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or refined sugar)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 1/2 ounces vodka (we use Tito’s)
1/2 ounce triple sec 

In  cocktail shaker, muddle blueberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lime juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full blueberry flavor. Add vodka and triple sec, and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Enjoy!

Hellloooooo Friday!

Lookiing for more blueberry cocktail recipes? Here’s another we provided to Lindsay Pietroluongo for her great blog,  “Lindsay on the Rocks”  for a blueberry margarita. There are no losers in this equation! Enjoy!

The Launch of Wine Weekly – Rosé

As you may know, our team is very involved in what we do. We are passionate about the whole dining experience. I believe that being passionate about food means being open; open to new experiences, new flavors, new pairings, and new ideas.

When Gigi Trattoria first opened, we were very much an Italian Trattoria, and our wines reflected that. For the first five years or so, our wine list was all Italian wines. Firstly, they reflected our menu at the time, and paired perfectly with our food. But, secondly, if I’m being honest, Italian wines were dead center in my comfort zone. They were what I knew, had experienced, and liked.

Well, Gigi Trattoria has evolved over time. We now incorporate many Mediterranean elements and ideologies in our menu, which has resulted in our evolution to “Gigi-Hudson Valley Mediterranean.” As our food progressed, I came to realize we needed to re-think our wine menu to better reflect and accompany the flavors and food choices on our menu. Part of that journey was my own experience in learning about Mediterranean wines, especially Spanish wines. I was pleasantly pleased to discover there are now a lot of amazing Spanish wines out there that offer great price performance!

We are really proud of our wine list now. It is a really thoughtful list that represents the best quality and value of Italian and Spanish wines. These wines are built for the food we serve. Wine shouldn’t overwhelm, it should partner with food. There is intrinsically something very complimentary about wines from the Mediterranean. We are also proud of the fact that we are able to pass on good value and quality to our customers. My hope in starting this weekly feature on our blog is to take our loyal clientele on a journey. A journey like the one I took, which will perhaps take them beyond their comfort zone, and give them the opportunity to explore new wines, new flavors, and new pairings.

Image Courtesy of italiaatavola.net

We’ll be talking about a different one from our menu every week, trying to expand horizons while helping you better understand our thought process and how we try to integrate our wines into the dining experience.

And to be clear, this won’t just be me, all of our staff will be participating; our managers, our servers, our bartenders, our chefs…Everyone is very much looking forward to bringing their insight “to the table.”

We hope you enjoy the feature. And, keep in mind, every Wednesday, we offer 30% of bottles in the Trattoria, the perfect opportunity to try something from our list that might have piqued your interest!

We thought we would kick off with a look at two rosé wines that we feature and provide you with some information about both.

 Rosé Bieler Pereet Fils, Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, 2011: $30; Glass: $9

  • Classic pleasing warm weather Provencal rosé. Great for sipping and dining. Enjoy with our crispy calamari, seafood risotto or pasta, Gigi Skizzas™ or our antipasti platter with selections of vegetables, cheeses and cured meats.
  • Aroma: raspberry, bing cherries, wild strawberries, spicy minerality
  • Palate: medium body and notes of red berries, bing cherries, spice and no oak
  • Finish: long and refreshing
  • Varietals: 50% syrah, 30% Grenach, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Abruzzo, Italy 2010 $10 gls/$32 btl

Cerasuolo – “Cherry Red”

  • Made mostly of Montepulcino grape
  • Cerasuolo can be a sticky term in Italian wine as it has a few different uses.  In general it means “cherry red” in color and can be used to describe the overall color of any rosato (rosé) wine. However, it has some more specific applications as well. First, there is a DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo where the term is applied as part of the DOC to mean rosato that comes from Abruzzo. The Denomination of Origin “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo” is reserved for wines from vineyards in the region composed of at least 85% Montepulciano. Blending grapes/other non-aromatic red grapes suitable for cultivation in the region of Abruzzo alone or together are permitted up to a maximum of 15%.(2)  Marramiero “Dama” Cerasuolo Montepulciano d’Abruzzo There are standards for color and for character in the DOC Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo as well:
  • Color – cherry/pink
  • Nose – fruity and intense with hints of spice
  • Taste –  bright, fruit driven but still dry

Which would you like to try?

Cin Cin!

-Laura

 

Staff Spotlight – Lisa Butenhoff

We love all of the wonderful staff that help to make Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market a success!  From CIA students to Brazilian natives, the Gigi family is fascinatingly diverse. We thought it would be fun to spotlight a member of our team every week to help you get to know them and what makes them so special, and so unique! We’re kicking things off by spotlighting our talented and personable bartender, Lisa Butenhoff.

Lisa has been with Gigi for over 7 years!  Thanks to her long stay with the Trattoria, she provides a familiar face to the customers.  She takes pride in the fact that she knows unique things about many of the customers, like their favorite tables (and of course, favorite cocktails.)

Not only is Lisa a soldier behind the bar, she has served in the US Marine Corps for nearly ten years,  and participates in drill once a month.  After a long day of early morning drills followed by a shift behind the bar, Lisa loves to have sushi take-out for dinner.  If she is dining at the Trattoria, her favorite menu item is the Rigatoni Buttera (without the peas.)

Next time you are visiting the Gigi Trattoria, be sure to order up a margarita from Lisa.  She loves the challenge of making the perfect margarita since so many people are picky about this particular cocktail.  But that is just Lisa, always looking to please the customers and give them a great experience.

One of Lisa’s fondest memories of being behind the bar at Gigi Trattoria was the night some bar guests challenged each other to a blind tasting of our Tawny Flagate Ports to see who could guess the vintage of the port.  “When customers are obviously here to have a good time, it makes it fun to serve them.”

When you are looking for the best margarita in Rhinebeck served by the best bartender, come into Gigi Trattoria.  Lisa would love to see you!

Grilling with Black Currant BBQ Sauce

Ahhh, the start of summer; long glorious days at the beach, the pool, the kids driving you nuts…Joking…We all love summer. One of my favorite parts of the season is all the great grilling you can do and all the interesting ingredients you can use! I’ll be sharing some new ideas, delicious recipes and helpful tips throughout the summer that will help you maximize that grilling goodness!

Take black currants for example. Probably not something you would have thought of for the grill! But, they make a great BBQ sauce. Not only are they delicious, but they are one of nature’s most potent anti-oxidants! These little berries contain two times the antioxidant power of blueberries, four times the vitamin C of oranges, and twice the potassium of bananas.

Since the currant bush likes hot, humid summers, and cold winters, it’s perfectly at home in the Hudson Valley. Black and red currants have a tart flavor, but are great in jellies, sauces, and pies. They’re also the main flavor in cassis, the French liqueur.  But I digress…

Black Currant BBQ Sauce

1 pint fresh black currants
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely diced shallots
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon butter
Salt

To prepare the BBQ sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine the currants, raisins, ½ cup water, brown sugar, ketchup, rice vinegar, shallots, raisins, mustard, and cayenne and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Puree the sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, using a rubber spatula to push as much sauce as possible through the mesh. Season the sauce to taste with salt.

What I especially like about currants is how their slight bitterness and astringency marries perfectly with richer, more flavorful meats like lamb. While we’ve prepared it with lamb for this post, this sauce is also wonderful on grilled, seared, or roasted salmon; the acidity of the currants works well with the fattiness of the fish. It is also good on beef kebobs, prawns, and venison medallions.

If you are too busy to make the BBQ sauce, you can always pop into Gigi Market and pick yourself up a container. Enjoy!

-Laura

To learn more about currants, visit the website of Hudson Valley expert on all things currant, Greg Quinn.

 

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chamomile Sour

We figured we needed a particularly soothing cocktail for you this week. It has seemed to be a very long and arduous week.
While you might thing a drink with bourbon is too heavy for the season, our bartender, Josh Santonja, will tell you this is perfect for those rainy days or cool nights on the patio. It is one of our drink specials at Gigi’s Trattoria right now and people love it!

Chamomile Sour

2 ounces chamomile bourbon*
1 ounce yellow chartreuse
1 ounce honey simple syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 orange slice for garnish
1 maraschino cherry for garnish

 

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, cover with ice and shake vigorously. Scoop ice into rocks glass and strain cocktail over. Garnish
with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

Variations:

Serve ‘up’ in a martini glass.

Go ‘old school’ and add an egg white to the mix before shaking vigorously.

**To infuse the bourbon:
In a large glass jar with a lid, add 5 to 6 chamomile tea bags to a quart of your favorite whiskey/bourbon. Put the lid on and set aside for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. Strain and store at room temperature or chilled.
covered.

The Beauty of Tradition

We launched our new “Agriturismo” dinner series last weekend at Gigi Market at Greig Farm in Red Hook.

Now, I want to be up front here. This concept isn’t our idea, in fact, it is an Italian tradition that has been around for a long time, about sixty years.

“Agriturismo” (pronounced ah-gree-tour-eez-mo) combines the Italian words for “agriculture” and tourism”. A style of vacationing in Italian farmhouses and resorts, it began in the 1950’s and was codified into Italian law in 1985. It gives visitors the opportunity to experience traditional Italian county living first hand, including eating and sometimes even helping to prepare food grown right on the premises.

Image courtesy of Agriturismo.net

While we can’t put you up, we will strive to provide you with simple yet sublime rustic fare based upon local ingredients harvested at their prime.

Having spent a lot of time in Italy, I have enjoyed this pure, simple, and delicious concept first hand. I realized that we actually had some great elements that reflected the “Agriturismo” ideal right here.  We have a beautiful, rustic location at Gigi Market; an old-refurbished barn on 500 acres of beautiful farmland.

Plus we have a great relationship with all of the local farms, giving us access to the freshest of ingredients.

I’m almost looking at these dinners as a variation on the standard dining experience you find when you go out to eat. Let’s call it an “unrestaurant”. We’re not giving you a five page menu to choose from. Instead, we’re going to decide that morning what  the freshest ingredients are from all the farms within five miles of Gigi Market.  That and that alone, will dictate that night’s menu. We’ll serve it to you in three courses, family style, in an old rustic barn. It’s more like going to a friend’s house for dinner who cooks really well. Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

Here was the menu for our first “Agriturismo” dinner last Saturday:

 

We’ll have to wait and see what the menu will be this Saturday…

BTW, what a great way to celebrate Father’s Day with a family style meal!

Mangia Bene!

-Laura

P.S. – In case you’re finding the “Agriturismo” concept appealing, here is a website of all different places throughout Italy where you can experience simple country living first hand!

http://www.agriturismo.net/

 

“Agriturismo”

Beginning  June 9, Gigi Hudson Valley will introduce “Agriturismo Dinners” to the Hudson Valley. The dinners will be held at Gigi Market in Red Hook. We thought we would share the history of Agriturismo to help you understand the appeal for us, and why we thought it would be a great fit.

The Agriturismo concept arose in Italy beginning in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and was finally codified into Italian law in 1985. Combining the words “agriculture” and “tourism”, it is a style of vacationing in Italian farm houses and resorts.

Fattoria Voltrona in Tuscany

This allows farmers to reacquaint visitors with traditional Italian country living, including food grown and prepared right on the premises. Here is a travel piece to give you some more background.

While we’re not going to put you up, 🙂 we thought it would be great  to provide a similar enjoyable eating experience.  Our food typically uses lots of locally grown products, and we also wanted to challenge ourselves and make good use of our rustic-elegant space at Greig Farm. So, we decided to source ingredients grown right in our back yard; in Upper Red Hook, and nearby Columbia County. We’ll find the best ingredients within five miles of our café, Gigi Market, on Greig Farm.

We’ll source our ingredients from nearly Migliorelli Farms, Mead Orchards, Northwind Farms, Montgomery Place Orchards, Hearty Roots Farm, Paisley Farm and of course, right outside its back door on Grieg Farm.

Keeping the Agriturismo ‘spirit’ alive, all meals will be family style and rustic. There will be homemade crusty breads to enjoy, an antipasti course with farm fresh vegetables, and the option for local cured meats and cheeses. This will be followed by a main course of either a delicious pasta/risotto or local beef, pork or chicken along with salads and side dishes. For dessert, you can bite into ripe local fruit or rustic tarts, pies, cobblers, even homemade gelato. Menus are posted the day of the dinner and will rely solely on what local farmers have ready to harvest.

Beginning June 9, we’re going to run the Agriturismo dinners every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until early October. No two will every be the same! We hope you’ll join us! We would suggest reserving your seat at the table! Oh, by the way, kids under 10 eat for only $10.

For reservations you can call 845.758.1999 or email anne@gigihudsonvalley.com.

Mangia!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Berry Rosado

Ahhh,  the coming of the weekend!  Two whole days away from the stress of flourescent lights, cubicles, and deadlines. This is certainly cause for the celebratory Friday cocktail (or two.) We asked the head bartender at Gigi HV, Lisa Butenhoff, for a festive and delicious drink we could make using fresh strawberries (that are so great right now), to help kick off the weekend. She suggested the Berry Rosado.  To say that people like this one is an understatement. When Gigi HV participated in the ‘Taste of Rhinebeck’, an annual fundraiser for Northern Dutchess Hospital,  she gave away about ten pitchers of this deliciousness. That’s a lot, when you consider each drink was only a few ounces! Luckily for you, you won’t be limited to just a few ounces, although some restraint will be in order!

 

   1 Serving  Berry Rosado

   1  1/2 oz Tito’s vodka
   1/2 oz  crisp, dry  rose wine
   Approx 3 to 5 strawberries (depending on size)
   1 tsp agave nectar (or refined sugar)
   Splash club soda
   1/2 oz lemon juice

 

 

 In  cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lemon juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full strawberry flavor. Add rose wine and vodka. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and top with club soda. 

You can intensify the strawberry flavor by infusing the vodka with strawberries (as we do at the Trattoria). Combine one liter of vodka with ½ pint of hulled, halved strawberries. Cap and let stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Lisa’s “virgin” version? Muddle the strawberries with a smidge of simple syrup or plain sugar and add to iced club soda or ginger ale.

BTW, if you’re too lazy or tired after your long week to ‘muddle’ through the recipe, you can always come in to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and we’ll do the work for you! Or, if you’re in need of the strawberries, you can always pick up a pint or two at Gigi Market  in Red Hook. Happy Weekend!