CHEM in Italy

Caffe River Visit

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Last week our class got to tour a local coffee roastery called caffe River. I had seen this coffee around arezzo and I was excited to get to see behind the scenes for the first time! When we got there one of the owners greeted us and we all got to have an espresso shot. I have begun to really like espresso. I have always been a black coffee drinker and I truly see how much better coffee is here than most of America. After our espresso shots we went to the coffee bean “lab” where we learned how they check the quality of coffee beans. I learned that coffee produces red or yellow berries and that it can be hard to get the bean out of the berry. Caffe River checks the size of the beans and make sites there are no defects. Surprisingly I learned that even just one defect can spoil your cup of coffee. 

 Next we headed further into the plant and got to see the roaster. It was quite an amazing machine. The beans usually roast for about twenty minutes and then are cooked in the rotater. What was very interesting to me is that the beans have no flavor or smell to them until they undergo oxidation and mature. Luckily though coffee beans mature very quickly.

Next the coffee is weighed and cleaned through machines. The machines also sort the beans with light to get rid of any defected beans. Next the computer makes blends for the different coffees and are roasted homogenously. After it is blended it heads to the packaging department where it is packaged to be sent out. I really liked how dedicated the owner was to his company. You could really tell how passionate he was about making caffe River the best it could be and how he truly believes in his product. The visit definitely gave me more appreciation for coffee and the process it takes to get it from bean into my daily cup.

CHEM in Italy

Caffe River Visit

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Last week our class got to tour a local coffee roastery called caffe River. I had seen this coffee around arezzo and I was excited to get to see behind the scenes for the first time! When we got there one of the owners greeted us and we all got to have an espresso shot. I have begun to really like espresso. I have always been a black coffee drinker and I truly see how much better coffee is here than most of America. After our espresso shots we went to the coffee bean “lab” where we learned how they check the quality of coffee beans. I learned that coffee produces red or yellow berries and that it can be hard to get the bean out of the berry. Caffe River checks the size of the beans and make sites there are no defects. Surprisingly I learned that even just one defect can spoil your cup of coffee. 

 Next we headed further into the plant and got to see the roaster. It was quite an amazing machine. The beans usually roast for about twenty minutes and then are cooked in the rotater. What was very interesting to me is that the beans have no flavor or smell to them until they undergo oxidation and mature. Luckily though coffee beans mature very quickly.

Next the coffee is weighed and cleaned through machines. The machines also sort the beans with light to get rid of any defected beans. Next the computer makes blends for the different coffees and are roasted homogenously. After it is blended it heads to the packaging department where it is packaged to be sent out. I really liked how dedicated the owner was to his company. You could really tell how passionate he was about making caffe River the best it could be and how he truly believes in his product. The visit definitely gave me more appreciation for coffee and the process it takes to get it from bean into my daily cup.

CHEM in Italy

Culinary Reflection – Fattoria La Vialla Winery

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Last Monday my class and I went to the Fattoria La Vialla winery right outside of Arezzo. The winery was located up on a small hill and had a quaint vibe with chickens and even a peacock running around the grounds. When we arrived we first made our way to the wine cellar. This cellar looked just like how I had imagined, filled with large old barrels with shelves of dusty wine bottles lining the walls. There we met the winemaker of the winery where he describe some of the unique process of this winery. The winery had a large focus on being all organic. Even the wine cellar used sheep wool for insulation. In the wine cellar they used toasted barrels to help give flavor to the wines.

 After learning more about the fermentation process we had our first tasting straight from the barrel! I thought it was so cool to be able to taste it that way.
The first wine we tasted was a white blended white so it had a cloudy color unlike I had ever seen before. We learned that the fermentation of the white wine is carefully temp controlled so that you don’t lose the aromas of the grape. They also use a second fermentation of malic acid to Latic acid to add softness to the wine. A speciality of this winery is that they don’t filter like most which is make it have the cloudy color. I thought this wine had a sweet aroma when I first smelled it. When I tasted it it had a strong acidic flavor with fruity after tastes. I think that the toasted barrel helped give the wine a very slight vanilla flavor.

The next wine we tried was a red chianti wine from 2014. It was made like most chianti with mostly Sangiovese grapes and had a really dark rich red color. When I tasted the wine it had a very dry taste that left my tongue dry as well. It also left the “sour taste” in my jaw from the tannins.

After our wine tasting we had a lovely meal all together that was so delicious. We got try another vin santo at that meal, but I still have not had a vin santo I have really liked. This winery was definitely a pleasant mid week break and I loved getting to eat and spend time with all my classmates! 

CHEM in Italy

Culinary Reflection – Fattoria La Vialla Winery

Posted on

Last Monday my class and I went to the Fattoria La Vialla winery right outside of Arezzo. The winery was located up on a small hill and had a quaint vibe with chickens and even a peacock running around the grounds. When we arrived we first made our way to the wine cellar. This cellar looked just like how I had imagined, filled with large old barrels with shelves of dusty wine bottles lining the walls. There we met the winemaker of the winery where he describe some of the unique process of this winery. The winery had a large focus on being all organic. Even the wine cellar used sheep wool for insulation. In the wine cellar they used toasted barrels to help give flavor to the wines.

 After learning more about the fermentation process we had our first tasting straight from the barrel! I thought it was so cool to be able to taste it that way.
The first wine we tasted was a white blended white so it had a cloudy color unlike I had ever seen before. We learned that the fermentation of the white wine is carefully temp controlled so that you don’t lose the aromas of the grape. They also use a second fermentation of malic acid to Latic acid to add softness to the wine. A speciality of this winery is that they don’t filter like most which is make it have the cloudy color. I thought this wine had a sweet aroma when I first smelled it. When I tasted it it had a strong acidic flavor with fruity after tastes. I think that the toasted barrel helped give the wine a very slight vanilla flavor.

The next wine we tried was a red chianti wine from 2014. It was made like most chianti with mostly Sangiovese grapes and had a really dark rich red color. When I tasted the wine it had a very dry taste that left my tongue dry as well. It also left the “sour taste” in my jaw from the tannins.

After our wine tasting we had a lovely meal all together that was so delicious. We got try another vin santo at that meal, but I still have not had a vin santo I have really liked. This winery was definitely a pleasant mid week break and I loved getting to eat and spend time with all my classmates! 

CHEM in Italy

Florence

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Last weekend our group made our trip to Florence for a day of exploring and sightseeing. I was excited to see Florence as so many of my friends had told me I would love it, and I wanted to get a new purse at the leather market I heard so much about. One of the first things I noticed about Florence was so many tourists! I could never imagine living in a city where there are so many beautiful things but they are so crowded so you can never enjoy them. One cultural thing I first noticed was the gypsies. Even though there were gypsies in Rome they seemed much worse in Italy. I felt like after being in Italy for a while I have gotten better at ignoring them, but these gypsies were much more in my face. Most of them were girls and I was surprised at how young some of them seemed. In Italy it seems that people have just accepted that beggars are part of their lives in the city and have just learned how to ignore them. I think in Italy there is just less personal space. Another example of this was when we went to the leather market. I had been to china town in New York City so I had dealt with haggling and being slightly harassed, but in Florence it was so much worse! Every stand we went by made a comment or tried to get us to go there. Plus they were very offended if we didn’t go to their stands. I am a horrible haggler. They could take off only five dollars  and I would be satisfied. However I was shopping in group with Tabitha and I had no idea she was an amazing bargainer! We both wanted these purses priced at 75 dollars that were way out of our budget, but Tabitha was on it. She played the shop buyer so well, and got our price down to 30 dollars. I was so amazed! I learned that day that bargaining is definitely an art form that I do not yet possess. 

One of my favorite parts of the Florence trip was getting to go to the Uffizi museum. My mother was an art history major in college and both my parents love art, so my childhood was filled with going to art museums. So I have always loved getting to go to museums and appreciating different types of art. I know my parents would be freaking out if they go to go to the Uffizi. One of my favorite pieces there was the painting of the Birth of Venus. I had seen pictures of this painting before, but I had no idea it was at the Uffizi. I was so surprised when I walked into one of the rooms and saw it! It was definitely much more beautiful and person, and it felt so special to be able to see a painting I had grown up learning about but never thought I would get to see in person. I love the little details in the architecture all over Italy, especially the ceilings. In America I feel like most of our ceilings are pretty plain, but it feels like in Italy most ceilings I see are so intricate and beautiful. The one in the Uffizi was definitely amazing. It went throughout the hallways of the whole museum and each section looked similar from far away, but each were actually different. Over the course of my trip I have taken so many pictures of ceilings because I love how each one is so different but all so beautiful. I look forward to getting to take even more pictures of ceilings in Italy and I know I will be sad when I go back home and there are no more pretty ceilings to take pictures of. 

CHEM in Italy

Florence

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Last weekend our group made our trip to Florence for a day of exploring and sightseeing. I was excited to see Florence as so many of my friends had told me I would love it, and I wanted to get a new purse at the leather market I heard so much about. One of the first things I noticed about Florence was so many tourists! I could never imagine living in a city where there are so many beautiful things but they are so crowded so you can never enjoy them. One cultural thing I first noticed was the gypsies. Even though there were gypsies in Rome they seemed much worse in Florence. I felt like after being in Italy for a while I have gotten better at ignoring them, but these gypsies were much more in my face. Most of them were girls and I was surprised at how young some of them seemed. In Italy it seems that people have just accepted that beggars are part of their lives in the city and have just learned how to ignore them. I think in Italy there is just less personal space. Another example of this was when we went to the leather market. I had been to china town in New York City so I had dealt with haggling and being slightly harassed, but in Florence it was so much worse! Every stand we went by made a comment or tried to get us to go there. Plus they were very offended if we didn’t go to their stands. I am a horrible haggler. They could take off only five dollars  and I would be satisfied. However I was shopping in group with Tabitha and I had no idea she was an amazing bargainer! We both wanted these purses priced at 75 dollars that were way out of our budget, but Tabitha was on it. She played the shop buyer so well, and got our price down to 30 dollars. I was so amazed! I learned that day that bargaining is definitely an art form that I do not yet possess. 

One of my favorite parts of the Florence trip was getting to go to the Uffizi museum. My mother was an art history major in college and both my parents love art, so my childhood was filled with going to art museums. So I have always loved getting to go to museums and appreciating different types of art. I know my parents would be freaking out if they go to go to the Uffizi. One of my favorite pieces there was the painting of the Birth of Venus. I had seen pictures of this painting before, but I had no idea it was at the Uffizi. I was so surprised when I walked into one of the rooms and saw it! It was definitely much more beautiful and person, and it felt so special to be able to see a painting I had grown up learning about but never thought I would get to see in person. I love the little details in the architecture all over Italy, especially the ceilings. In America I feel like most of our ceilings are pretty plain, but it feels like in Italy most ceilings I see are so intricate and beautiful. The one in the Uffizi was definitely amazing. It went throughout the hallways of the whole museum and each section looked similar from far away, but each were actually different. Over the course of my trip I have taken so many pictures of ceilings because I love how each one is so different but all so beautiful. I look forward to getting to take even more pictures of ceilings in Italy and I know I will be sad when I go back home and there are no more pretty ceilings to take pictures of. 

CHEM in Italy

La Buccia Nera Winery

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After our first test on Friday our class headed out to Buccia Nera winery for our very first wine tasting. I was looking forward to the visit since I have never seen a wine vineyard before, and I have never been to a wine tasting. I knew the vineyard would be beautiful, but it was so much more breathtaking then one could imagine! When we arrived we first got to meet the winemaker who showed us around the inside of the winery. There he told us more about the winemaking process and what Buccia Nera does differently. For example, instead of using spontaneous yeast the winery uses inoculated yeast which allows them better control over the fermenting process. I liked getting to see what we had been talking about in class in real life. I had no idea that wine could be so high tech, so it was much to my surprise when we walked into the building and I saw where the wines were fermented (pictured below). I had always had the misconception that wine was always fermented in a old cellar with barrels that were just left until deemed “ready”.

Seeing the process behind winemaking first hand really helped me better visualize what we had been learning in class. Next, we went to the vineyard. The view was absolutely amazing. What was so crazy to me was how big the vineyard was. Here we learned how Buccia Nera is an organic winery and how they are pesticide-free. I liked how dedicated Buccia Nera was to making their wine process unique to them and truly trying to do what they deem will make their wine the “best”. After seeing the vineyard we headed to the wine tasting. 

The first wine we tasted was a white wine. I liked this wine it was quite dry to me and gave me the “sour” feeling in my jaw. I quite liked the aftertaste as I tasted a little bit of fruity flavors and it seemed a little refreshing. I also enjoyed that the alcohol taste was not too overpowering. It was also quite soft and “filled” your mouth. Since this was a white wine we learned that it is pressed first and then fermented unlike how red wine is made. 

 Donna Patrizia I.G.T – Buccia Nera – Toscana Blanco –> Grapes: Trebbiano     40%, Malvasia 40%, Grechetto 20% 

The next wine was a red wine. I have never been a huge red wine fan, but this wine was my favorite out of the four! Dr.Halterman who sat next to me showed me how to view the “legs” of the wine by swirling my cup and then watching how slow the drops fall. This red wine had prominent legs. When I first sniffed the glass I did not like the wine at all since it smelled strongly of alcohol. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the wine as I throughly enjoyed the taste, especially the after taste. I thought the wine had a little bit of spice to it which I really liked. 

Syrah I.G.T – Buccia Nera – Tuscany Syrah –> Grapes: Syrah 100%, made with grapes from Cortona, aged for 12 months, 12.5% alcohol  

The third wine was another red wine. At first when I tasted this wine I did not enjoy it much as I thought it tasted too much like alcohol (since it had a higher alcohol content than the first red wine). However I then tried it with the tomato bruschetta, and I thought this help change the flavor entirely. With the bread and tomato the wine tasted less like alcohol and seemed more smooth. I liked the warm sensation from this wine. 

Sassocupo – Chianti Superiore Dogg –> Grapes: Sangiovese 90%, Canaiolo 10%; it ferments in temperature controlled tanks, 13.5% alcohol 

The last wine we tasted was a dessert wine. When I heard we were tasting a dessert wine I got excited because I thought it would be very sweet, but I was most definitely wrong. This wine had a beautiful yellow color, but smelled very strong of alcohol. When I first tasted it I did not like it at all because I felt like the alcohol taste overpowered the other flavors. However it left a pleasant aftertaste with hints of honey that I enjoyed. I found that I could really only drink this wine if I took a bite of the biscotti before and then took a sip of the wine. I think if I was to buy wine on my own I would probably not choose this wine because of how high the alcohol content was. 

Vin Santo – Central Etruria Hills – Registered Designation of Origin –> Grapes: Malvasia Toscana and Trebbiano, 16% alcohol, harvested in the second half of September 

After this first wine tasting I am looking forward to our next one at the end of this week. I can already tell that I am getting better at noticing flavors and at finding more complex ways of describing what I am tasting. At the end of this class I hope to be even better at tasting the different flavors in wine, and that I can start to appreciate the art form of wine even more! 

CHEM in Italy

La Buccia Nera Winery

Posted on

After our first test on Friday our class headed out to Buccia Nera winery for our very first wine tasting. I was looking forward to the visit since I have never seen a wine vineyard before, and I have never been to a wine tasting. I knew the vineyard would be beautiful, but it was so much more breathtaking then one could imagine! When we arrived we first got to meet the winemaker who showed us around the inside of the winery. There he told us more about the winemaking process and what Buccia Nera does differently. For example, instead of using spontaneous yeast the winery uses inoculated yeast which allows them better control over the fermenting process. I liked getting to see what we had been talking about in class in real life. I had no idea that wine could be so high tech, so it was much to my surprise when we walked into the building and I saw where the wines were fermented (pictured below). I had always had the misconception that wine was always fermented in a old cellar with barrels that were just left until deemed “ready”.

Seeing the process behind winemaking first hand really helped me better visualize what we had been learning in class. Next, we went to the vineyard. The view was absolutely amazing. What was so crazy to me was how big the vineyard was. Here we learned how Buccia Nera is an organic winery and how they are pesticide-free. I liked how dedicated Buccia Nera was to making their wine process unique to them and truly trying to do what they deem will make their wine the “best”. After seeing the vineyard we headed to the wine tasting. 

The first wine we tasted was a white wine. I liked this wine it was quite dry to me and gave me the “sour” feeling in my jaw. I quite liked the aftertaste as I tasted a little bit of fruity flavors and it seemed a little refreshing. I also enjoyed that the alcohol taste was not too overpowering. It was also quite soft and “filled” your mouth. Since this was a white wine we learned that it is pressed first and then fermented unlike how red wine is made. 

 Donna Patrizia I.G.T – Buccia Nera – Toscana Blanco –> Grapes: Trebbiano     40%, Malvasia 40%, Grechetto 20% 

The next wine was a red wine. I have never been a huge red wine fan, but this wine was my favorite out of the four! Dr.Halterman who sat next to me showed me how to view the “legs” of the wine by swirling my cup and then watching how slow the drops fall. This red wine had prominent legs. When I first sniffed the glass I did not like the wine at all since it smelled strongly of alcohol. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the wine as I throughly enjoyed the taste, especially the after taste. I thought the wine had a little bit of spice to it which I really liked. 

Syrah I.G.T – Buccia Nera – Tuscany Syrah –> Grapes: Syrah 100%, made with grapes from Cortona, aged for 12 months, 12.5% alcohol  

The third wine was another red wine. At first when I tasted this wine I did not enjoy it much as I thought it tasted too much like alcohol (since it had a higher alcohol content than the first red wine). However I then tried it with the tomato bruschetta, and I thought this help change the flavor entirely. With the bread and tomato the wine tasted less like alcohol and seemed more smooth. I liked the warm sensation from this wine. 

Sassocupo – Chianti Superiore Dogg –> Grapes: Sangiovese 90%, Canaiolo 10%; it ferments in temperature controlled tanks, 13.5% alcohol 

The last wine we tasted was a dessert wine. When I heard we were tasting a dessert wine I got excited because I thought it would be very sweet, but I was most definitely wrong. This wine had a beautiful yellow color, but smelled very strong of alcohol. When I first tasted it I did not like it at all because I felt like the alcohol taste overpowered the other flavors. However it left a pleasant aftertaste with hints of honey that I enjoyed. I found that I could really only drink this wine if I took a bite of the biscotti before and then took a sip of the wine. I think if I was to buy wine on my own I would probably not choose this wine because of how high the alcohol content was. 

Vin Santo – Central Etruria Hills – Registered Designation of Origin –> Grapes: Malvasia Toscana and Trebbiano, 16% alcohol, harvested in the second half of September 

After this first wine tasting I am looking forward to our next one at the end of this week. I can already tell that I am getting better at noticing flavors and at finding more complex ways of describing what I am tasting. At the end of this class I hope to be even better at tasting the different flavors in wine, and that I can start to appreciate the art form of wine even more!