We are thrilled to share the news that Al Fico has FINALLY obtained its building permit from the City of Austin. Demolition and construction has officially begun!
The building at the corner of East 2nd and Chalmers was originally built as a chapel and later became a soup kitchen after World War II.
Until recently, it’s been an office complex.
We’ll be documenting our build-out here on the Al Fico blog as we transform this historic Austin building into the authentic Italian trattoria of our dreams!
We hope to be open by June 2013…
Currently by the glass at Vino Vino…
We’ve been digging the Ca’ Montanari Lambrusco di Modena “Opera 2″ so much that we’ve been thinking it should be made the official wine of Texas.
It’s so fresh, bright, and refreshing, a perfect food wine with very low alcohol, high acidity, and that classic gentle Lambrusco fizziness that makes everything go down better.
Few people know that breadsticks — commonly served today in restaurants across the world — originated in Turin (Piedmont), Italy in the seventeenth century.
In Italian, they are called grissini: the term grissino (singular) probably comes from ghr’ssa, a Piedmontese dialectal term meaning grill. Linguists believe that the breadsticks were so named because they resembled the bars of a grill.
In Italy, they are almost always presented on the table of restaurants when guests sit down.
Sometimes they are also served wrapped in prosciutto as an appetizer.
Even in Italy’s finest restaurants, they are almost always present.
The breadstick, just another one of Italy’s great gifts to the world!
The most common type of radicchio worldwide is the variety called Chioggia, but in the Veneto, Radicchio Trevigiano proudly rules the table.
With its storied past, radicchio has been part of the Italian diet since the times of Pliny the Elder. Prized for its nutritional properties and pleasantly bitter bite, it adds a kick, not to mention a pop of color to any menu.
There are two types of the variety particular to Treviso: precoce, and tardivo. Precoce, or early radicchio, is long and slender with leaves of even width. The tardivo, or late-ripening radicchio, boasts the famous finger-like leaves and has a more pronounced flavor. Resembling a wine-stained flower, this head of
lettuce chicory is anything but ordinary.
Radicchio Trevigiano is available starting in the late fall and produces throughout winter.
The bitter flavor is attributed to a chemical called intybin, which is known to stimulate the appetite and help purify the liver.
There are so many ways to prepare this versatile vegetable. In addition to its obvious use in salad, radicchio is delicious simply grilled with olive oil, sautéed and added to risotto, or braised until tender. The opportunity for creativity endless and any effort made to locate this culinary star is handsomely rewarded at any table.
Everybody’s talking about pizza and wine, wine and pizza, pizza and pizza today…
In part because Eric Asimov wrote about pairing wine with pizza in his column in today’s New York Times.
In part because nearly the entire Dining Section of the Times is devoted to pizza today: toppings for pizza, recipes for pizza dough, and of course pairings for pizza.
Eric notes in his article that “Italians themselves prefer to drink beer with pizza.”
And indeed, despite what anyone tells you, Italians generally pair either beer or Coca Cola with their pizza. In fact, many would find it strange to pair wine with pizza.
There are many reasons for this but the main and historic reason is that authentic pizza must be served piping hot. And as a result, you need something chilled with pizza. The intense temperature overwhelms the flavors and aromas of wines — or so the conventional wisdom goes.
Italians still prefer beer or Coke with their pizza. But that’s changing as well.
A new breed of pizzaioli has emerged and they are straying from the traditional toppings.
And while artisanal beer seems to be the pairing of choice these days in Rome, for example, more and more pizzerias are offering a sophisticated wine list to their patrons.
Soppressa from Treviso.
Depending on where you are in Italy, spring came 10-20 days early this year. Wine growers were concerned about the anticipated growing cycle and 6 months of drought. But some healthy rain fall last week helped to allay those fears…
This week, our webmaster will be sharing some images and insights from his recent trip to Italy…
In Chianti Classico, grape growers still use handmade terraces, a technique that has been employed there for centuries to prevent erosion while optimizing exposure and drainage of the vineyards.