Soon I will be heading to balmy New Orleans to attend the Cefalutana Society’s yearly gathering to reunite with my Sicilian relatives and some friends I have never met. Yet, we all have a common bond.
Our family tree began in the year 1914 in Cefalu, Sicily with my grandparents Caterina & Gaetano Cascio’s wedding. Along with many others from this region, we will all celebrate our unique heritage and bond. My cousin Gayton (named after our grandfather) told me once that I should attend at least one of these celebrations so I can see “why we are the way were are!” This should be interesting!
I think I will enjoy eating, drinking, laughing loudly, hugging, a little crying and dancing with my Sicilan Family. If I am lucky, I will also get to hang out with my Godfather,too. Yes, I do have a Godfather. As you might imagine, I wanted to cook up a Pasta Ragu with a rich tomato gravy with savory pieces of Italian beef simmering long enough to marry the flavors and create a weeknight Sicilian dinner for a hot summer night.
And of course, a glass of one of my favorite wines, Nero d’Avola, Sicily’s most popular black grape. This black grape of Avola is the epitome of Sicilian flavor. Unpretentious and casual, it reflects the very essence of the warm sunshine on hilly terrain and rich soils that create this uniquely Sicilian wine. The dark plum color, full and velvety body is richly perfumed with a bouquet of cherry, raspberry, almonds and licorice.
Nero d’Avola pairs perfectly with hearty rich sauces, meats, sausages, pizza or just by itself. This wine is available for under $20 in most wine shops in the Nashville area including Moon Wine & Spirits and Mallory Lane Wine & Spirits. Some of my favorites are REGALEALI, ALTADONNA, TERRA di CLETRA and NAUSICA. They are luscious, full-bodied and most of all Sicilian. A “sense of place” is what you get from this bottle of wine. This particular grape would lose its identity if it were grown anywhere else but Sicily.
And just like this luscious, intense grape, I will be just where I should be this weekend with my family from Cefalu-my sense of place. CIAO FOR NOW!