It was during my last trip to Italy while walking through Rome in the Piazza della Rotonda with its fountain and the Pantheon both in view, that I and a couple of very dear friends decide to take a break from our sight seeing and stop for lunch.
A little café with tables sitting on the Piazza would allow us to keep our spectacular view while dining. Two men were sitting on the steps to the fountain singing in Italian, one clutching his guitar as it rested on his leg, the other slapping on his knees to keep the beat. It was one of those moments in time that you want to last forever.
We ordered an antipasto tray of local favorites, a traditional Roman pizza and some cured olives. To drink we ordered a carafe of the house white wine. It was not an overly complex wine yet it had good aromatic qualities of fresh pear and wild flowers with crisp minerality on the pallet. A Pinot Grigio I thought, but that was not important.
As the wine geek (that’s me), the Chef and the Fashionista all sat enjoying this simple lunch with the house wine, we were amazed at how all the flavors came together. While ordering we had decided that we would be drinking white so our menu choices were skewed in that direction. We had a hunch, however, that any dish we ordered would have paired quite nicely with the white vino della casa.
This would be a common thread in our dinning experiences throughout the rest of the trip. The local cuisine with the wines of the region would continually blow us away with how perfectly the flavors complemented each other.
Were the winemakers crafting a style of wine to complement the local cuisine or were the chefs creating dishes to complement the style of the regional wine?
I think it’s a little bit of both, but this was not done specifically for me on this trip. Nor was the Chef and Sommelier conspiring to supply these three random tourists with a perfect food and wine pairing at the cafe. It's quite clear that wine has a rich history in serving as an accompaniment to food. When wine first entered the scene, it was often safer to drink than the local water supply with little thought given to it as a "sensory enhancing" beverage. Over time though, as regional cuisine and local wine-making traditions developed, gastronomy emerged as link between culture, food and drink. This is true wherever you travel or whatever style of cuisine you are enjoying: bratwurst and sauerkraut with a dry German Riesling, thinly sliced Serrano ham with a glass of bone dry fino sherry or boeuf bourguignon with a red Burgundy.
Next time you visit your favorite restaurant or travel abroad, select a wine that comes from the same region as your dish and you will be pleasantly surprised how well they conspire to pair beautifully together.
Unearthed during excavation for building a house in a vineyard near the town of Speyer, Germany, it was inside one of two Roman stone sarcophaguses that were dug up. The bottle dates from approximately 325 A.D. and was found in 1867.
The greenish-yellow glass amphora has handles formed in the shape of dolphins. One of several bottles discovered, it is the only one with the contents still preserved.
The ancient liquid has much silty sediment. About two-thirds of the contents are a thicker, hazy mixture. This is most probably olive oil, which the Romans commonly used to "float" atop wine to preserve it from oxidation. Cork closures, although known to exist at the time, were quite uncommon. Their oil method of preservation was apparently effective enough to keep the wine from evaporation up to modern day.
The bottle is on permanent display, along with other wine antiquities, at the Historisches Museum der Pfalz (History Museum of the Pfalz), worth a visit if traveling near the area of Speyer, Germany.
Reprinted from www.winepros.org
A family crest, also known as a coat of arms, is the expression of a family's pride and aspirations; it is a graphical display of a family name history. While perusing the internet and doing research on the Ceja name, I found the Ceja family Crest in three styles as well as information on the origin of the Ceja name.
Purportedly, the Ceja name comes from Galicia in Northern Spain. This area has strong Celtic roots and in fact shares many Celtic traditions with Ireland and Scotland. The first reference to the Cejas was in 1387 in the small village of Friol, in the province of Lugo in Galicia. More references to the name were made in Brates near the Northern coast. There were several spellings of the name, and it was pronounced in the Galego language (Galician). Don Vasco Gomez das Seixas (Cejas) was a communal leader in those times, an important leader who oversaw several communities during his reign. Other spellings of Ceja are: Aceijas, Azexas, Aseixas, Acejas, Acexas, Azeixas, Sejas, Seixas and Xexas. The surname also spread to Portugal and to the Canary Islands where they were known as "Cejas,” "Seijas" or "Sejas."
Spain was a great sea power and one of their major ports was Vigo, on the western edge of Galicia. Most likely the first Cejas probably left from this port to the New World. Although it is not certain of the date that the name Ceja appeared in the New World, the earliest reference to a Ceja was in the mid 17th century in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico. Guanajuato borders the state of Michoacan where the Ceja family of Ceja Vineyards originated from before immigrating to the United States in the 1960s.