Tommasi’s ‘Graticcio’, Appassimento Parziale, Veneto, Italy

This wine is somehow special and that’s why it’s worth of trying. Yet, just on the very beginning, I need to admit that – as much as I find it interesting – it doesn’t bring me to my knees. I got a bottle of 2010 Graticcio, which means among others a fruit-drying rack. This might be a hint at the production process: appassimento, that is, drying grapes in order to concentrate the sugar in them. This process takes around 120 days or more and is characteristic for Amarone. Here we have a partial appassimento, as the label says. I would say that also the success is partial. The distinctive character of Tommasi’s Amarone is definitely lacking.

It’s balanced, full-bodied and fruity, but also a bit too acid and there is little to remember about its character. Graticcio seems to be a wine of a great form, but with less content than we could expect from this beautiful body.

I’m open to be taught how to really enjoy this halfway Amarone. As for now, it is for me a cheaper but also less aromatic surrogate for the latter one.

Berlin’s ‘Little Istanbul’ – Baklava

During my dancing class today, our Turkish teacher told us that Muslims celebrate these days the end of Ramadan and most families organize true sugar orgies. These beautiful celebrations inspired me to go to my favorite baklava store and buy some caloric bombs, which I consumed later with black unsweetened tea.

The store, I would like to recommend you, is in the heart of Kreuzberg, one of the most popular and vivid quarters of Berlin. It is a small place, where sweets are always fresh and better than in other stores I know here around. The only thing they don’t have is a nice smiling staff. But, come on guys, who could expect capitalist values in Berlin?!

Here the address: Kılıçoğlu Baklavaci, Adalbertstraße 9, 10999 Berlin (metro station: Kottbusser Tor).

The best wild strawberry ice cream

There are two places producing an extraordinary ice cream. What they have in common is wild strawberry ice cream (only seasonally), which I truly admire! Maybe somehow to your astonishment, none of those places is in Italy, which enjoys a worldwide fame because of its gelato.

In fact, there are very few countries in the world where you can try products that contain wild strawberries. This fruit’s aroma is in no way comparable to the taste of ordinary cultivated strawberries we all know.

So, the two places are: Kavarna Cacao in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Pracownia Cukiernicza Stanisław Sarga in Kraków, Poland. Well, apart from good stuff, there are few things these places have in common.

Cacao, a coffee shop in the very center of Ljubljana (they have a branch store also in Portorož, at the Adriatic coast), is beautifully situated at the Ljubljanica riverbank, right behind the France Prešeren monument. There is incredible ice cream, but also great cakes and coffee. From one of the tables at the river, you can see the cathedral, the market and the famous Triple Bridge (Tromostovje). If you don’t feel like wild strawberry or won’t be in Ljubljana in July, I fell in love also with Sachertorte and raspberry flavors. The best proof that’s not a touristic place with low quality and high prices: it’s always full of locals! The exact address: Petkovškovo nabrežje 3, 1000 Ljubljana.

The other place is a true old-fashioned ice cream shop. There are no tables, no coffee, and no beautiful armchairs. It is just a small spot with two ladies selling ice cream in not more than 6-8 flavors, all completely natural with color and smell which you know from your grandma’s sweets and which will disappoint all those who prefer image to reality. Almost every day, you can see a long queue outside of the store – better recommendation than any commercial TV spot. How to find it? It’s just 200m from the oldest synagogue in Cracow: ul. Starowiślna 83, 31-000 Kraków.

Żubrówka palona – Polish creativity in vodka production

Some days ago, my neighbors brought a bottle of żubrówka palona, a new creation of the ‘żubrówka guys’ from Białystok… near to where the wisent, the European bison lives. This kind of vodka has little to do with the traditional ‘bison grass vodka’ and vodka in general. For me, it is rather strong liquor, sweet, aromatic and delicious. The producers themselves refer to the whiskey traditions and indeed the color resembles the Scottish or Irish spirits. The name ‘palona’ means as much as ‘roasted’, that’s why we could also talk about a reference to brandy. But the process of maturation in oak casks, used before for cherry liquors, makes it full of those sweetish cherry notes enriched with bitter oak aroma. This combination gives actually kind of bitter almonds taste and the first association for me was amaretto. But cherry and bitter almonds together had to make me think of another flavor: the Marasca cherry! The żubrówka palona goes pretty in the direction of maraschino. Enjoy this not too strong (34%) mix of flavors, so sweet and beautifully gold!