The Lemon Dilemma, part 1

Some very good friends have the luck that they have a house in Malta. We have the luck that they chose to celebrate New Years Eve with us, in Belgium, and they brought us a culinary gift that allways makes me a very happy man: some lemons from their garden, untreated, sun-soaked and of course unwaxed.


Three lemons are just enough to prepare two favourite dishes, and this was the first: penne with lemon skin and mozzarella.


1 lemon, bio and unwaxed (bio lemon might be waxed but the wax does not contain petroleum derivates, so it's ok, straight from a mediterranean garden you know is of course better)

250 gr mozzarella

500 gr penne

basil (a good handful)

olive oil

black pepper and salt

Wash and skin the lemon and divide the skin in small parts. Wash the basil and do the same. Mix the two ingredients in a bowl and add pepper and salt.

Cut the mozarella in 1 cm slices and roll them though the lemon-basil mixture (both sides).

Cook the penne.

Heat 4 spoons of olive oil in a pan. Put in the mozarella slices when the pan is heated, very short, just a sizzle to each side.

Mix the drained penne with two spoons of good olive oil.

Serve the penne with a few slices of mozza on top and sprinkle the rest of the mixture on top. Parmesan cheese is not necessary (I like it though, Mrs Rick doesn't).

We had a great Radici, Fiano di Avellino 2010 from Mastroberardino with it, a very good combination. Mastroberardino's vineyards are located close to Naples and i love to combine the south with the south. A Sicilian white would have been perfect too. Mastroberardino has some fantastic wines and its whites are gorgeous.



Le Blanc qui Tente

I like Stephanie Roussel, and I like her wines. Two weeks ago I tasted her newest reds at Laurent Mélotte and talked to her in person, and she seemed somebody as vivid and interesting as her wines. She did not bring her "Blanc qui Tente", the "white that teases", sold out unfortunately, but i remembered then that somewhere in the depths of my cave there was still a bottle hanging around.

A 100% semillon of very old vines in the Côtes de Marmandais, a small appellation in the Sud-Ouest, close to the vineyards of the Entre-Deux-Mers, this bottle was a surprise from the first to the last. You don't get 100% semillon's very often, and Stephanie belongs to the Vins Naturels movement, those non-interventionist winemakers that are currenty the hype of the moment. So no filtration, no artificial yeast and no sulphur. The nose was very herbal, with liquorice, but also with apricot and wax. Long and fresh finish, excellent, even lush, and a very special wine. A bit like Stéphanie, I guess.

I bought a lot of the red Lassolle's and will keep you informed about them. By the way, the price of this white was 8,84 euro, and the wine was made with grapes from the 2007 harvest. www.truegreatwines.be for Belgium.




Pinot Grigio, Bressan, 2006: a Friuli surprise

Despite all criticism, despite the obvious errors that sometimes happen, and despite the "I am better than thou" image that they often cultivate, the so-called natural wines will never cease to surprise me. A few weeks ago a friend called me from a tasting of biological wines at "De Wassende Maan" in Ghent, and enthousiastically yelled that he had just tasted a fantastic wine and did i want some ? Of course I did, and this evening i opened one and looked on the internet for more information, and i read about a surprising history and a touch of eccentricity that i really like.

The Bressan Pinot Grigio 2006 is definitely one of the more extravagant wines in my memory, but i enjoyed every drop of it. The colour is quite surprising, like a walnut liquor, and the aroma is so special i can not really place it. In the mouth I tasted walnut, almonds and things I did not recognize but liked, and it is dry like a Jura wine can be dry, or a sherry. I love this wine, but i'm keeping it for visitors who really appreciate this kind of things. There will be long talks about this one, I guess...


Fulvio Bressan


Fulvio Bressan

And, yes, the character of the winemaker shows in the wine !



All picture were downloaded from the bressan website: www.bressanwines.com