Grandpa’s cauldron..

Goodmorning from Mount Olympus and grandpa’s cauldron!!

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Last days of tsipouro distillation and below are some important facts about this traditional drink of the greek countryside!

-Tsipouro is the extract obtained from the distillation of pomace (the residue of the wine press), containing a portion of fermented grape juice, not drained.

-Tsipouro, depending on whether it will be flavored with anethole or not, is distinguished in a) tsipouro with aniseed and b) tsipouro without anise.

-According to tradition, the first production of tsipouro was the work of Greek Orthodox monks in the 14th century on Mount Athos in Macedonia, Greece.

-The traditional cauldron was institutionalized by Eleftherios Venizelos around 1920, when permits were given to the Cretans farmers for the traditional raki boilers, in order to have the ability to produce raki from the grapes produced.

-Distillation was always “homemade” and  launched after the grape harvest in late October and had a festive character.

-From 1918 until 1935 were given 15,000 licenses of distillation pot still ownership to wine growers. Since then, there haven’t been given permits to new winegrowers, but anyone who has a cauldron can sell it if he wants. These permits are hard to come by and their price can start from 6,000 euros and reach up to 25,000 and 30,000 euros!

-In 1883, the Greek state establishes the first law on the taxation of alcohol and in 1896 the first official licenses are provided  to produce grape pomace distillate.

-A second distillation is usually performed, in which various other components can be added, such as anise, fennel, cloves, nutmeg and masticha, resulting this specific product to be purer and more aromatic.

-Anise-flavored tsipouro and ouzo have almost identical taste but vary enormously in their method of production.

-Tsipouro, raki and tsikoudia are the same drink. The main difference of tsipouro from tsikoudia or raki, is that raki is single distillated.

-Similar drinks in other countries, are the Cyprus Zivania, the Italian Grappa, Arak of the Middle East, the French Marc and the Serbian Slivovitz.

ρακή < turkish rakı < arabic عرق (araka)

 

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Meanwhile, on the foot of Mount Olympus..

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

White 2015..

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Hi everyone! First of all happy new year! First post for this year with snow in Athens for the past 3 days..  Below some pics from a stroll around the neighborhood..

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Thanks to Nikos for the photo of me above!

Tuscany part 7: My 28th Birthday at Volpaia!

I woke up this morning intending to share with you some moments from my 28th birthday which was definitely the strangest birthday till now. Why? Well this is the last year or better the last week i’m living in Florence after 8 years of studies. I might have 2 exams left but i’m leaving my house here and I move permanently in Athens. So these last days here are so difficult and emotional for me. So many things to do and no time for doing even the half of them. So this morning I ended up looking photos from my previous birthdays in Florence, so many different people in them, dearest friends, friends of friends, some of them total strangers but all of them people i’ll never forget.

But let’s go back to yesterday. Me Nikos, Robert and Elena went for lunch at Volpaia, an amazing fortified village of medieval origin, situated between Radda in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti. So for lunch we went at Bar Ucci, owned by Paola the most welcoming hostess, she will always find a table one way or another, and her mother Gina in the kitchen, the funniest tuscan lady!

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When we got there the weather was good, then it started raining so we were not able to go for a walk outside the village, but seeing Volpaia only was more than enough! On our way back to Florence the weather changed again so we stopped to take a small walk and enjoy our last moments in magical Tuscany.

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Thanks to Nikos for the photo above! Below my improvised 4 piece birtday cake and some pics from my past birthdays in Florence.

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Tuscany part 5 : Castello Banfi..

Castello di Poggio alle Mura, also known as Castello Banfi, is located 15km from the city of Montalcino, at the confluence of the Orcia and Ombrone rivers. It houses a winery, a hotel, a restaurant, a wine bar and  the Bottle and Glass Museum “John F. Mariani”.

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Its position, and the ancient history of the surrounding territory, let us suppose that the origin can even go back to the time of the Long Beards, that probably erected here one of their watch towers. There are no proofs at documentation of this theory, even it is sure that the construction of the first fortified nucleus on this hill is antecedent to year 1000. The first great widening of the castle dates back to the second half of 13th century [just after the battle of Montaperti, 1260]. The written sources tell about Poggio alle Mura for the first time in 1377, indicating the castle between the properties of Francisco di Tommaso Colombini. After the above-mentioned reconstruction of 1438, Poggio alle Mura became one of the larger castles of the Sienese peasantry. Other works were carried on during 17th century. A wing of the castle was mined during the world war II and reconstructed within the recent magnificent restoration undertaken by the current property. (source

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About a year ago during an excursion to Tuscany, we had a stop for a glass of Brunello di Montalcino at the beautiful courtyard of Castello Banfi and then we visited the “John F. Mariani” museum.

The museum illustrates the various eras of glass production through history, from the 5th century BC to our current day. Within the historic walls, in the old stable and olive pressing room, which still holds equipment dating back to 1857, the display rooms have been attentively assembled to explain the history of glass and the evolution of the wine bottle. In these rooms you will find collections of antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice, including the stupendous “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso.

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“The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso

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Museum interior, at the right you can see an old Winepress..

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The “Enoteca”

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Pumpkin farfalle..

 

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Lunch time! Today we had an amazing pasta with pumpkin sauce, recipe by Gennaro Contaldo!

An amazing dish which is perfest for a quick lunch as it is really simple to prepare. That’s the thing I like about his recipes, they are very simple with few ingredients and always delicious! More recipes from Gennaro coming soon!

 

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Below you can see the recipe!

photos © chrysoula papagianni

 

 

Urban Jungle..

Good morning everyone! At least for the ones who slept!

Tomorrow morning my friend Niccolò gets his degree, and the last few days I’ve practically moved in! The most important kind of assistance i think is the moral support, then you can always make a silly joke, cook something or even walk the dog (poor Nio)!

So here are some photos of this unique experience! Food, chocolate, wine, 5 minutes of sun and a lot of work! Good luck Niccoooo!!!!

Buongiorno a tutti! Almeno per chi ha dormito!

Domani mattina Niccolò si laurea, e negli ultimi giorni mi sono praticamente trasferita a casa sua! L’assistenza più importante credo sia il sostegno morale, pero si può sempre fare una battuta stupida, cucinare qualcosa o portare fuori il cane (povero Nio)!

Ecco alcune foto di questa esperienza unica! Cibo, cioccolato, vino, 5 minuti di sole e un sacco di lavoro! In bocca al lupo Niccoooo!!!!

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Mushroom spaghetti..

Hi everyone!

Today urbanzip is one month old…! I had in mind a sweet recipe for today, but i couldn’t find an ingredient.. 😦

So i’m posting a simple spaghetti recipe with mushrooms! Simple and delicious!!

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You will need (for 2):

1/2 package of spaghetti
250 g fresh mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of parsley
a glass of white wine
olive oil
salt

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Cut the mushrooms into thin slices. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Put in casserole mushrooms and garlic with olive oil and stir over high heat for a few minutes. Then add the wine.

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Finely chop the parsley and add it along with the cooked spaghetti to the mixture.

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Stir in the Parmesan cheese and serve.. Βuon appetito!!

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Homemade chinese food & comedie

“Κι ύστερα πάλι χειμώνας και χρήμα που μονολογεί/κι ύστερα παλι βραδιές με κινέζικο και κομεντί”

Σε μια προσπάθεια ανάκτησης της μαγειρικής μου αυτοεκτίμησης (μετά από μια μικρή, ασήμαντη αποτυχία!), αποφάσισα να το ρίξω έξω και να μαγειρέψω στον εαυτό μου κινέζικο! Το αποτέλεσμα -ευτυχώς- δεν ήταν απογοητευτικό! Κάθε άλλο! Η…δημιουργική κουζίνα απέδωσε.

Έφτιαξα μια συνταγή βασισμένη σε αυτήν, με ορισμένες παραλλαγές: η δική μου εκδοχή είχε κοτόπουλο με ρύζι και πρόσθεσα καρότο και κρεμμύδι.

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Κοτόπουλο με ρύζι και σόγια σως

Όλα είναι θέμα φαντασίας τελικά. Για να ολοκληρωθεί η ιεροτελεστεία του “κινέζικου” δείπνου μου, το συνόδευσα με ένα ποτήρι κρασί και “Το Ημερολόγιο της Bridget Jones” που ξαναβλέπεται τόσο ευχάριστα (και ξυπνάει το δίλημμα Hugh Grant ή Colin Firth;)! Να διαβάσετε και το βιβλίο, είναι εκπληκτικό και ξεκαρδιστικό!

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In order to improve my “cooking” self-esteem (after a tiny, unimportant failure!) I decided to cook for myself tonight chinese food! The result was not dissappointing at all. Actually, my “creative cooking” proved to be delicious.

I cooked fried rice with chicken and soy sauce, based on this recipe . I also added carrots and a small onion.

It is all about imagination after all. I accompanied my dinner with a glass of wine and the great comedie-romance movie “Bridget Jones Diary”. The book, which I read recently, is excellent and hilarious, as well.

radicchio and taleggio pie…

My friend Nadia came over to study.. For dinner we prepared a pie with radicchio and taleggio cheese.. Combined with my daddy’s wine it was perfect!

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Goodnight everyone!

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