Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Purple Foot Festival" & A "Little Italian Wine Cookie" Recipe

Some of my readers maybe to young to remember an iconic TV show called “I Love Lucy”. In 1956 one of Lucille Ball’s episodes was called, “Lucy’s Italian Movie” or better known as “The Grape-Stomping” episode. On route to Italy, an Italian producer offers Lucy a role in a film called “Bitter Grapes.” So she decides to take a job in a vineyard to absorb a “little color.” This was one of the funniest story lines ever and one that will live on forever.
 Did you know that you can re-create this Grape-Stomping episode by attending the Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport, New York? The Casa Larga Vineyards is New York’s premier wine producer and has won many awards for their highly regarded production of table wines. On Sunday September 16, 2012 the Casa Larga Vineyards will be host to “The Purple Foot Festival.” This is a way to celebrate and kick off harvest time at the Casa Larga plus take into account the owners (Colarutolo) family’s Italian heritage.

Casa Larga is best known for the authentic old world grape stomping that earned it the name of the “Purple Foot”. Grape stomping is done only at certain times of the year, when the grape picking is in full swing. This event gives you the opportunity to experience and learn traditional grape stomping methods. Their process is taking grapes and put them in wine barrels that are cut in half which then are pressed by machines. “Back in the day,” in Gaeta, Italy; the grapes were pressed by women because they had gentler feet. The idea for this event was thought up 16 years ago and it is fun to watch people’s expressions when they step in the barrel.
But the “Purple Foot Festival” offers much more than foot-staining grape stomping. Guests can take their purple feet around the vineyard on hayrides or attend and Italian dance class. There are activities for those under 21, including a children’s area with a maze, a magician, crafts, live music, and many vendors with irresistible goodies. Adults will enjoy beer tasting, Casa Larga’s wine tasting, hard cider samples, winery tours, and seminars on food paring with wines which can be purchased at their vineyards. Fairport is located in Monroe County, New York and is 9 miles east of Rochester. It is also know as the “Crown Jewel of the Erie Canal” and was named in Money Magazine’s “Best Place to Live”. So, if you find yourself up in that part of New York State, have some fun, turn your feet purple, and visit Casa Larga Vineyards.

My recipe this week is called, “Little Wine Cookies” or “Biscottini al Vino.” This recipe is courtesy of Mary Ann Esposito, of Ciao Italia. When these cookies are baking you can smell the wonderful scents of the wine and I’m sure it brings back memories of long ago. These cookies are made for dunking in wine or with coffee. They are not soft but keep well in an airtight container. My great-grandmother had a recipe for wine dunking cookies but that recipe was not written down and my great-grandmother is no longer with us to ask. But this delicious, hard cookie is a keeper.

Little Wine Cookies

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of red wine such as Vin Santo or Corvo Red
4 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, mixed together for egg wash

In an electric mixer on medium speed, blend together the sugar, vegetable oil, and wine. Mix the flour and baking powder together, then add them to the sugar mixture and blend together at medium speed until a soft dough forms. The dough should not be sticky, but soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a bowl. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Once chilled, the dough is very easy to work with. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
To form the cookies, break off small pieces and roll them with the palm of your hand to form a 4-inch rope that is 1/2-inch thick. Bring the ends together and pinch them tightly, forming a circle that looks like a miniature bagel. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on un-greased baking sheet. Brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, or until the tops are firm to the touch and the bottoms are golden brown. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Yield: 6 dozen
Till Next Time………

Copyright © 2012 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. I remember the grape-stomping episode of I Love's always been one of my top favorites. I've never made cookies with wine in them, but I bet I would like them!

    Dottie, you visited my blog back in February and let me a very sweet comment on the post where I share my dad passing away. I never said thank you, but tonight I finally reread my post (the first time I've read it all the way through since he died) and read what you wrote again. I just wanted to tell you thank you. I did read your comment back in February and it touched me. I'm sorry it took so long to tell you.

  2. Hi Brandie,

    So happy to hear from you. I am thrilled that you enjoyed my blog post, and I agree I would have to say that this Lucy episode was one of my top ones as well. The cookies are fantastic, and you must try them. If you like wine, your tastebuds will be happy.

    I hope that you are healing from your dad's passing. Thank you for your comment of what I wrote. I just hope that it gave you some comfort at that time. I understand you not responding back, it must have been a really hard time for you and your family.

    I enjoy your blog as well and love the recipes. Thanks again for the comment. Be well and maybe we can catch up at another time.