Good Friends, Good Food, Good Wine!
A. Litteri, Inc.
517-519 Morse Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Terry's family is Italian, and they own and operate an Italian grocery store named A. Litteri, Inc. in North East Washington, D.C. An Italian wine distributor several years ago put together a tour of wineries in the Tuscany region of Italy. We went on the tour and it was amazing. It was everything you ever wanted to know about wine making, Chianti Classico and Sangiovesee grapes.
What amazed us most about the trip was how fanatical the Italians are about food and wine. Fast food is an oxymoron to an Italian. Not only did we never see a fast food restaurant in Italy, you can go into even large cities at 6:00pm and not find a single restaurant open. The restaurant employees are all at home having dinner with their families. Only later on in the evening will the restaurants open for dinner. No one in Italy will probably ever die of over-work. They have a very laid-back work-ethic compared to Americans. But they are fanatical about food and sharing a good meal with friends and family. Over and over we kept hearing a phrase that translates as, "Good friends, good food, good wine."
Good food should be a part of any celebration with family and friends. And, of course, we believe that the best food uses the freshest local ingredients. Celebrate today. Salut!
"Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life's most civilized pleasures."--- Michael Broadbent
Bryant in the Chianti barrel aging room in Castellina
As we were driving through the Tuscan countryside, we happened to spot a sign for Luiano winery. A. Litteri sells Luiano wines, but somehow it wasn't on our itinerary. But we decided to stop in anyway just to say hello. What would you do if nine people dropped in on you unannounced? The Luianos could not have been more hospitable. They dropped what they were doing and set out a table of meat and cheese and bread and serveral bottles of their wine for us. Then they took us on a tour. Mr. Luiano didn't speak much English, but his son attended college in the U.S. By the way, his son was wearing a UCLA sweatshirt when we arrived. It turns out UCLA has highly-regarded viticulture (growing grapes) and enology (wine-making) departments. "Good friends, good food, good wine" applies even to strangers who unexpectedly drop by.
The whole tour group @ Luiano winery with Mr. Luiano on the far right
Some of the Tuscan wireries are tiny. The smallest one we saw was in Montefioralle. The winery is in the basement of the building on the left. The vineyard is outside of town. A worker is unloading tubs of grape bunches from the back of a pickup truck into a turn-screw that crushes the grapes. The crushed grapes are then pumped through the pipe at the bottom-left into a fermenting tank in the basement of the building. Take away the grape crusher, and you would never know the winery was there.
The largest winery we saw was Carpineto. Terry and Erica sample Sangiovese grapes from one of the vineyards at Carpineto Winery
Carpineto Winery Chianti oak barrel aging room
Speaking of good food, wild boar is a common dish in Tuscany. This one is stuffed and was outside a butcher shop in Greve. Authentic Tuscan prosciutto is actually from the thigh of a wild boar. This butcher shop had authenic prosciutto - with the hair still on it - hanging up inside.
Making ravioli is an intergenerational activity!
Good friends, good food, good wine!