Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Mulled wine - vin brulé (bisò)

I like these cold sunny days in Winter, but also the warm atmosphere inside the house, in a raining day if I can drink something hot to warm me up.
Mulled wine is one of my winter must do, the smell is nice in the house, gives relief to my cold and warms up my shoulders, hands and feet...

Mulled wine is one of the most warming preparations and it is widely drunk during a great bonfire we hold in Faenza on Jan. 5th  when the crowd gathers in the piazza to say goodbye to the old year (Nott de Biso’)

As I leave so close the the Piazza, I cannot miss it and of course, every year it is a tradition to gather for dinner with friends and go out and try all the 5 different mulled wines.
The Niballo, a great effigy of Hannibal – the Saracen warrior who symbolises adversity – is burnt on an enormous bonfire in the centre of the Piazza to which it is brought on an oxen drawn cart. 

Most importantly we drink lots of  Bisò, the typical mulled wine made with spiced Sangiovese, prepared in large cauldrons in accordance with different recipes, and served in elegant “gotto”, Faience pottery bowls.

Here is my recipe:

For each glass/bowl:

1 glass of red wine
3 cloves
1 stick 1.5 inch cinnamon
2.5 inch strips of organic orange /lemon zest  (yellow/orange part only)
1 tb spoon sugar
1 small pinch of ground nutmeg (I seldom use it…)
1/2 aniseed
1 slice of organic orange unpeeled to decorate and give flavour

1) Put the ingredients in a pan (avoid aluminium) and add the wine. Mix to melt the sugar on medium fire. When it starts boiling, with a lighter or a long stick light fire in the evaporating alcohol.

CAUTION. Stay away from fire! And mind your browns, eye browns and long hair!

2)  The fire dies when there is no more alcohol, so everybody can drink the wine. If you want to keep at least a little bit of alcohol inside the drink, put a lid on the pan.

3)  Serve very hot in a ceramic bowl or cup: glass could break!

Faenza’s “gotto” created for the Nott dè Bisò is one of the traditional elements: different every year it is embellished with the symbols (court of arms) of the five parts of the town.

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