Thursday, July 5, 2007


It rained on our fourth of July. All afternoon and evening, the rain fell steadily, making for an unexpected kind of summer holiday. Our friends Sean and Kelly and their daughter Isabel came to visit for the day. Sean and Kelly own the lovely Restaurant Alba in Malvern, PA outside of Philadelphia. They offer a cuisine inspired by fresh ingredients almost exclusively from local farms and artisans. The five of us drove the winding route up to Warren, Vermont where we watched the matinee of Circus Smirkus, an old-fashioned circus presented by performers all under the age of eighteen. Tumbling, dancing, high wire, juggling, trampoline, trapeze, and clowning were all woven together in a detailed and engaging pie-in-the-face kind of narrative. We ate hotdogs and popcorn, then came home to light a fire in the fireplace and slowly wend our way through our holiday menu.

We began with white sangria perfumed with fresh white peaches, fresh orange and grapefruit juice served alongside salametti, cornichons, and a favorite dish made with fresh goat cheese, mint, olive oil, and dried figs served with bread and crackers. Dinner featured grilled vegetables, mixed cured meats, and spelt pasta glistening with a basil pesto that Sean had made from a neighbor's basil patch. He and Kelly brought two wines they had procured from the Piemonte in northern Italy this past fall when they were invited to attend Slow Food's Terra Madre, a fresh and lively Dolcetto d'Alba, and an elegant Barbaresco. We finished with plump apricots and a fragrant and silky local cheese that they had also brought up from the restaurant, Birch Run Hills Farm raw milk Blue. Isabel flitted from table to coloring book to chair. The evening ended not with fireworks in the sky, but in stead with espresso, schiaccetra, a honeyed Ligurian dessert wine, and our own nocino made from a concoction of green walnuts, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and citrus peel.

White Sangria

1 bottle white wine (Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, or Trebbiano work well)

juice of 1 orange

juice of 2 grapefruit

2 white peaches, diced

2 limes

sparkling water to taste

We make our white sangria, a very refreshing contemporary version of traditional sangria, with a pitcher full of very cold white wine. Add the fresh juices of one orange, and two grapefruit. Dice two white peaches and toss in the pitcher. Prepare wedges from two limes and squeeze the lime juice into the pitcher then add the wedges. Stir with a long wooden spoon. Add plenty of ice and enough sparkling water to add fizz to the concoction.

1 comment:

oregon said...

I love it! I can't wait to make the White Sangria. I'm sending the recipe to my daughter. And, it will be great not just for my next gathering but for NOW! It's summer @ 103 degrees. What kind of white wine would do you use? There are several Oregon and Washington (Walla Walla)varieties that are great.