I know Milan really isn't on the way back from Boston as the crow flies, but at least it's almost half way there. Stephy was asked a month ago to speak on a panel in Milan and since we were close (or at least closer than usual) we decided to fly over for a couple days.
The organization behind the event with the cryptic and interesting name of BE.COME covered some airfare, hotel and meals. We were able to taste more than our fair share of amazing Italian wine, and even snuck in some white truffles (recipe below). We’ve been fortunate to present our wines (Giornata) on a few occasions in Italy and the response is somewhere between surprise, shock and admiration. Italians believe that each grape variety in Italy is suited to a very specific place and really will not show true expression beyond these little areas. We’ve always been of the notion that while certain grapes do better than others in California, the grapes don’t know that they are planted in California vs. Italy and should do just fine, since Paso shares so many of the same soil and climate attributes that are found in Italy.
Stephy has spent the last 20 years working to prove this and I was so proud that she was selected to attend, to tell our story and present our wines to an array of journalists and winemakers at this event. Her presentation was from the heart and we made some new friends and also were shown a great deal of respect for our efforts with Italian grape varieties in Paso Robles.
Late November and December isn't the worst time to be in Italy, the days are shorter, but there are very few tourists and crowds. It's easy to get into any restaurant and attraction. Since our trip was only 3 days, and much of the time was in the conference at the hotel we could only see so much, but hey a few days in Italy is nothing to complain about. As you read this we will likely be on a plane headed back home. We look forward to seeing all of you for a fun and busy December in Tin City and Etto. This isn’t the first Etto newsletter written on a plane and in airports, but because of the travel times and short layovers it seems a little chaotic so I apologize for the typos in advance.
I was finally able to visit the venerable retailer Peck located in the center of Milan. This store is a little like Etto’s marketplace if we’d begun 150 years ago or is like Etto might be 150 years in the future. I’ve only been to Milan on a couple occasions for a short period of time and both times Peck was closed so I was happy to finally have a chance to visit. This retailer was one of the first specialty retail markets in Italy and it’s safe to say is one of the world’s finest retailers of gourmet food items. The quality and breadth of items here is difficult to quantify, as it’s almost like a museum of Italian gastronomy. While Eataly is an emporium for all to experience the joys of Italian food with locations springing up all over the world, Peck is only in Milan, a place where you could imagine mostly the well heeled Milanese buying items for a holiday party attended by fashion designers, models and formula one drivers from Ferrari.
The enticing offerings at PECK in Milan
We carefully examined the entire store and while prices were a bit on the higher side they were not too prohibitive. Since it was our last night before we flew out and we promised our daughter pizza we were dressed comfortably for the night, and felt completely under dressed to be inside Peck. Milan is like that though, it’s the kind of place where guys riding a bike look like they are ready for a photo shoot, there are designer stores around every corner and high fashion just seems to be a way of life. We didn’t buy anything at Peck, but next time we end up in Milan I might try to rent a little place with a kitchen close by and dress up a bit and shop at Peck for a few meals. Everything in the store looked as it was prepared for a Michelin starred restaurant, a glimpse into the back of the market revealed a prep area that was highly polished. While Etto has a long way to go to become Peck, and we love that our customers and employees come dressed as they are, there was still some major inspiration from our visit to this legendary purveyor. If you happen to be in Milan and enjoy Etto it’s definitely worth a visit.
Carne Crudo or Beef Carpaccio with Truffle
I know this recipe isn't fair and not many of you including me will actually make this, but you never know. We are hoping the truffle pricing comes down a bit over the next couple weeks as we plan to handle some pre sale orders again for the holidays.
Use the best quality beef you can find like Niman Ranch beef we carry at Etto.
Chop the beef as fine as you can, or slice it thin and cover with a layer of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet until its as thin as possible.
Add a touch of salt, pepper and high quality extra virgin olive oil.
Use a truffle shaver to shave black or white truffles over the beef.