French champagnes are the frequent drink of choice when it comes to toasting, no matter what the celebration. But over in Italy, they’ll be toasting with prosecco, their own version of the bubbly drink, when the ball drops and the bell tolls at midnight this New Year’s Eve.
Like champagne, Italian prosecco has a long and storied history. Production of the sparkling wine is believed to have begun in Roman times, making it one of the oldest wines in all of Italy. Originally produced with white grapes near the northern Italian town of Trieste, prosecco was eventually named as such to differentiate itself from other wines of the region. But the name changing hasn’t stopped there. As of 2009, prosecco, whether its spumante or frizzante, gained a DOC and DOCG designation. If the wine is produced outside the designated zones, which are near Treviso and Venice, the wine is called Glera.
While its flavor profile has changed over the years — it used to be much sweeter and similar to Piedmont’s Asti wine — it’s still a wonderful toasting wine with its citrus flavors. It can also pair quite well with food, such as creamy sauces, fried foods, almonds, and prosciutto, and pairs well with desserts too!. The sparkling drink also works well with cheeses, and it’s the perfect aperitif before kicking off a meal. If you’re in Venice for a cooking vacation, don’t be surprised to see prosecco as a key ingredient in their popular Bellini cocktail.
Of course, it also works quite well on its own, and it’s the perfect way to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. From everyone at The International Kitchen, we wish you health and happiness in 2014, and we’ll see you in the new year!
By Liz Hall
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