Waiting for grapes in the Fall
Fall is fast approaching. The mornings are cooling off and, at least where I live, the olives are swelling on the trees and the tomato plants are starting to go brown. I love this time of year as all sorts of fruits and vegetables are coming into season. One of the fruits I wait for each year are the luscious grapes of different types that turn up at the local village market. The stalls were brimming with concorde grapes last week, so I decided to make some grape sorbet (sorbetto all’Uva).
Why you should visit Italy and France in the Fall
And, it’s not only me that’s happily making grape sorbet with the seasonal fruit. All over Europe, in the wine-making areas, the grape harvest is well underway. In Italy, this period of harvesting grapes for making wine is called la Vendemmia. This must be a stressful time for the viniculturists. The grapes need to be picked when they are just the perfect colour, have the right sugar and acid content for the wine-making process, and the right initial taste so that the resulting wine doesn’t taste awful. In the wine-making parts of Italy, there are festivals to celebrate the harvest, and of course, many recipes that use grapes as one of the ingredients. In fact, it’s a wonderful time to visit Italy as you can go to the festivals and taste the wines, or even work in a vineyard, and help with the harvest. I saw many tempting possibilities when I did a search. It’d be a great way to experience “real” life in Italy if you are young and travelling around Europe for a while (in fact, I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t do that when I was travelling years ago!).
The grape sorbet is very easy to make and the colour is incredible! The most labour-intensive part is separating the grapes from the stems. that’s not so bad though: I found it quite meditative to sort the juicy grapes from those that weren’t quite ready (or were over-ready). If you don’t have an ice-cream maker to churn the grape sorbet, never fear! Just put it in a dish in the freezer and scrape through it with a fork every hour for a few hours until it is frozen. The resulting grape sorbet will be more granita-like, but will still taste delicious!
Travel Photo Of The Week
This week’s travel photo has to be of a vineyard, of course! This was taken in a beautiful wine region, just below Turin, called The Langhe. This area is where they make excellent wines like Barolo, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. If you’re ever in the area, make sure you go to the tiny village of Barolo and see the Wine Museum there. The exhibition is amazing! The other thing that the Langhe is known for is its incredible food. If you go to a restaurant, make sure you go with a very empty stomach, as you’ll want to eat everything!
By Lisa Watson
Concorde Grape Sorbet
- 1 kg Concorde grapes 2.2 lbs
- 2 tbsp Water
- 80 ml White dessert wine (I used Gewürztraminer) 1/3 cup
- 150 g sugar
- Wash the grapes, then pick them all off the stems and place them in a medium-sized pot with the water.
- Cook the grapes on medium heat for 10 -15 minutes, stirring frequently, until they become soft and start to break up.
- Add the sugar and cook gently for 2 more minutes.
- Add the wine and leave the grapes to cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until you cannot smell alcohol boiling off anymore.
- Take off the heat and leave to cool.
- When cool, pass the grapes through a mill, or squash them through a colander to remove the skins and seeds.
- Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Use an ice-cream maker to churn the mixture into sorbet.