Italians are generous people and if you’re lucky enough to live here and have neighbours with veggie patches or fruit trees, you’ll know what I mean when I say that that generosity can sometimes be a challenge.
From our friends sometimes we get home-milled flour (lots of it), or a kilo of apples in various stages of edibility. Once even a very generous helping of every type of garlic grown at their farm (about five types and we are not bagna cauda aficionados).
But this time it was something special. We got freshly picked Nebbiolo grapes. The grape is tiny and is tightly packed in the bunch. One of the explanations of the Nebbiolo name is that it comes from the Italian word “nebbiolo”, meaning fog. In fact the colour is an opaque purple, as if the Langhe fog around these parts permanently swirls through these bunches, wrapping them in mystery.
So what do you do with your fresh Nebbiolo grapes when you’re not thrilled about the suggestion you hang them up in your garage and dry them? Well, we decided to make grape juice with our own centrifugal juicer acting a bit like a wine press to get rid of stalks, seeds and skins. A nice result, not to mention a healthy one, it’s like getting all the health benefits of red wine, but without the alcohol.