Petraia


  It was just ten days before I was born, on September 19, 1958 that the last family to farm La Petraia, the D’Ambrosio’s, left to emigrate to the US. When Michael and I arrived in 2001 we found a property long abandoned. Since then we have had the good fortune to oversee the restoration project…

Finally, after a cool wet summer our white grapes were harvested this week in the 2 fruit days we had to work with in the biodynamic calendar. Now they’ve been pressed and the juice transferred to steel fermentation tanks. Here’s a look at the process…..      

Reductiveness (reducing things to their elements) is a fundamental concept in good design and it’s also something understood by artists and writers. Coco Chanel remains one of fashion’s most iconic figures because she knew simple and timeless elegance could be achieved only through reductive thinking. “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and…

Between what we get from the property and our hunter friends who supply us with more we have a lot of game at Petraia. That’s why it wasn’t until recently I finally made the pilgrimage to this legendary place to eat it. I’d been hearing about Il Baracchino for years. The trattoria is just outside the small mountain…

Petraia is famous for its game and a good percentage of the meat we consume is wild boar from the property. Hunters often arrive at my kitchen bearing generous gifts of a whole boar or deer. If we’re really lucky we might even get a hare. At first I used to dread hunting season. I’d been a…

Since we bought Petraia we’ve planted lots of other plum trees. In our frutteto there are biricoccolo, suregio, susincocco, Paviot, Claudina, Sorriso di Primavera, Mascina, Santa Rosa and Mirabella plum trees. Every other year they fruit abundantly, producing sweet, succulent plums. But we only get to enjoy this fruit if we can manage to pick it…

As promised here is the second installment of my Askinosie post, all about how we use this excellent chocolate in our pastry kitchen. At the end of each Petraia tasting we send out a parting gift, an assortment of house-made chocolates we call “ Petraia Rocks”. The name is a play on words of course. La Petraia…

  Here it’s called levistico or sedano di montagna.  This alpine herb loves Petraia and I love it. We throw the leaves into salads to add some mystery and we make lovage sorbet and gelato. I whiz the tender leaves into grape seed oil and strain it to use as a condiment for our fresh lovage…

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