Wine Storage 101

Prior to popping the cork or twisting the cap learn the Do's & the Don'ts. Read our article in the latest edition of Chicago Woman Magazine!

Amy WrightComment
Torta di Cioccolato & Olio di Oliva di Chef Rosa Hanslits’ Dark Chocolate & Olive Oil Cake

We’re celebrating National Dessert Day with a Torta di Ciccolato & Olio Di Oliva recipe from one of our FAVORITE people, Rosa Hanslits of Nicole Taylor Pasta Shop & Back Room Eatery in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis. We swapped butter with a healthier choice using Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive for delicious dark chocolate cake! 8 to 10 slices.

Easy Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Villa Gabriella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, + more for the pan

  • 2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour, + more for dusting

  • ¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder

  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ cup sugar in the raw

  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

For the glaze

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons honey, plus more for drizzling

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest

  • Large pinch of sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Simple Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a roundpan or Bundt pan with olive oil & dust with flour.

  2. Whisk the cocoa powder and ¼ cup hot water in a small bowl, let cool slightly & set aside.

  3. Combine flour, salt, baking soda in a bowl.

  4. Combine sugar, egg & egg yolk, vanilla & lemon zest, beat on medium high speed until pale & thick, approx. 1 minute.

  5. Slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add the cocoa mixture & beat until combined.

  6. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture & beat until just incorporated.

  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a rack.

  8. Remove from pan & let cool completely on the rack.

  9. Make the glaze, put the chocolate, honey, olive oil, salt in a pan, heat over a medium flame, stirring occasionally.

  10. Drizzle over cake, sprinkle sea salt, cracked pepper & orange peel, let cake thoroughly cool before enjoying!


RecipesAmy WrightComment
Balsamic Glazed Salmon Fillets

October is National Seafood Month! Enjoy an easy dinner with fresh balsamic glazed salmon fillets. We tweaked a recipe from for a healthy & delicious dinner! Serves 5 to 6.

Easy Ingredients

  • 6 5-ounce-fresh salmon fillets

  • 1/3 cup Villa Graziella Organic 8 Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar di Modena

  • 3 tablespoons of Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 5 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 3 tablespoons of dry white wine

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 tablespoon oregano

  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to season

Simple Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with foil & brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

  3. Add garlic & cook until soft & golden, approx. 3-5 minutes, do not brown.

  4. Add white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt & pepper.

  5. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes, until liquid thickens, remove from heat & set aside.

  6. Arrange salmon on foil lined baking sheet, skin side down.

  7. Brush fillets with balsamic glaze, season with oregano.

  8. Bake 10-15 minutes. To check for doneness, insert a knife on an angle into the center of salmon & gently part the meat. If opaque & flakes into small pieces, salmon is cooked.

  9. Remove fillets from oven, brush with remaining glaze, season with salt & pepper, allow fillets to “rest” 2-3 minutes & remove skin.

  10. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella artisan crafted IGT Bianco Toscano white wine made with organic grapes.

Click here for the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Roasted Garlic & Butternut Squash Cassoulet

We’re celebrating World Vegetarian Day with a hearty butternut squash Cassoulet. A nourishing 1 pot meal from southwestern France slowly cooked in a cassole-the traditional clay pot in the hearth, we tweaked a traditional recipe for a meatless Monday. Makes 8 servings & tastes even better the next day!

Simple Ingredients:

  • 1 whole garlic head

  • 2 tablespoons. Villa Graziella Organic 8-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olio Nuovo Olive Oil.

  • 2 cups vertically sliced onion

  • 4 1/2 cups (approx. 2 lbs.) peeled butternut squash cut into 1/2 in. cubes

  • 1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (can substitute with chicken broth)

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon. freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 (15 oz.) cans cannellini or other white beans, rinsed & drained

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 2 (1 oz.) slices of bread or 1 cup fresh bread crumbs

  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Easy Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove white papery skin from garlic head (do not peel or separate cloves). Wrap garlic head in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven & cool 10 minutes.

  2. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Set pulp aside, discard skins & preheat oven to 375 degrees.

  3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat with 2 tbs. oil to pan, add sliced onions

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 25 minutes, until onion is tender & browned, stirring frequently.

  5. Stir in vinegar over low heat, add garlic pulp, squash, broth, thyme, salt, pepper & beans to onion mixture, stirring well, cover.

  6. Place bread in food processor & pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1 cup.

  7. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, & remaining olive oil; sprinkle evenly over squash mixture.

  8. Cover & bake at 375 degrees for 50 minutes or until squash is tender. Uncover & bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is browned. Discard bay leaf.

  9. Let sit covered for 5 minutes.

  10. Sprinkle with parsley, serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Artisan Crafted Wine Made with Organic Grapes

Click here for our inspiration recipe!

Amy WrightComment
Easy Bruschetta

September 30th is International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day! Celebrate the ancient, noble, liquid elixir with delicious & easy Bruschetta. The word bruschetta originated from the Italian verb “brusciare” to burn & was considered a working man’s food using day old bread, with 4 simple ingredients; extra virgin olive oil, tomato, basil & parsley. Garlic, cheese & meat were added over the years depending on the season & ingredient availability. No set recipe, we just stayed true to the original; using our Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, fresh tomatoes, quality country style bread, backyard basil & parsley, sea salt & cracked pepper. Prepare ahead & serve at room temperature as a healthy half time snack, delicious appetizer, or side bread for soup & salad.

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or side condiment

Simple Ingredients

  • Fresh, in season, cluster of on the vine, room temperature cherry tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 baguette loaf country Italian or French bread, sliced

  • 4-5 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra to flavor

  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • Sea salt & cracked pepper (to taste)

Easy Directions

  1. Stir together tomatoes, basil, parsley & olive oil in a bowl, set aside.

  2. Add salt and pepper to taste, salting at the end, as it tends to break up the tomatoes.

  3. Brush both sides of bread with olive oil, place on the grill top or preheated in an oven at 300°F.

  4. Turn slices over when brown, heat other side.

  5. Remove from heat, spoon tomato mixture on to bread.

  6. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella artisan crafted wine made with organic grapes.

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Herb Roasted Marcona Almonds

Native to the Spanish coastal regions of Alicante, Málaga & Valencia, Marcona almonds are referred to as La Reina de las Almendras (the queen of almonds). Skinless with a delicate, fine texture & slightly sweet flavor, the prized trees bloom early in the year making them susceptible to spring frosts. Our friends Joyce & Sue shared a recipe for Marcona almonds, we tweaked by adding fresh rosemary, sage & sea salt for a delicious & healthy snack rich in oleic acid & mono-unsaturated oils. Serves 8-10 as tapas or a snack

Simple Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of roasted, salted Marcona Almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs such as rosemary, sage & thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt

Easy Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦ degrees
  2. Arrange almonds on a baking or cookie sheet
  3. Add Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Oil & toss
  4. Add herbs & toss
  5. Spread almonds evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet
  6. Roast for 8 minutes; remove from the oven & turn.
  7. Repeat process 10 – 15 minutes or until lightly toasted, careful to not overcook & burn
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt & toss
  9. Remove from cookie sheet & place on paper towel lined platter to drain any excess oil
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature, enjoy with Villa Graziella Organic wine. ¡Buen provecho!

*Helpful tip: refrigerate & store in an airtight container up to 6 weeks*

Click here for the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
FICO - Eataly World!

It’s been called an Italian food theme park, a mall with a glorified food court, a food snob’s nirvana. 

FICO-Fabbrica Italiana Contadina-Italian Farming Factory launched fall 2017 outside of Bologna, Italy to many a pundit. Under the Eataly food hall organization with national & international outlets, FICO-Eataly World, a 25-acre agri-food park is their largest installment. 

Curious, we went to FICO to see & taste, firsthand. The objective is to educate people on the history of Italian food traditions and Italy’s ever important contribution to the world’s culinary biodiversity. Like its smaller counterparts, discovery, interactive learning is a focus with extensive signage & displays. 

The space is vast; 45 restaurants, food stands & pop up markets, 6 multimedia pavilions and 30 daily classes on Italian food history & production. Including artisan ice cream & sorbet, dry & fresh pasta, breads & specialty Sicilian desserts, honey & bee keeping. Also courses on aged & fresh cheeses, olive oil, beer & wine. The outdoor periphery is an open-air museum with artifacts and educational displays, vegetable & herb gardens, a vineyard, a mini olive grove, a barn with farm animals, even a truffle patch. 

There are themed open kitchen restaurants, carefully curated pop up shops are interspersed throughout with fresh, packaged food, produce, wine & liquor, books, kitchen equipment & gadgets, stationery, personal care and home goods. As inviting, open sell environments, they are merchandised with plenty of signage to encourage “discovery” i.e. buy.

We took a few “exploration” classes, the instructors were enthusiastic about sharing history and production methods. For the novice visitor they are an interesting, interactive & fun.  

FICO Eataly is a far cry from the traditional, neighborhood bottega selling 1 category, just bread, only fruit & vegetables. It can be overwhelming; a large lay out (bikes are free for those who don’t want to walk) and a plethora of different foods to eat, drink, sample and purchase. 

Overall it was a positive experience, friendly, helpful staff, tasty food in an attractive environment. Students young & mature, new to Italy’s abundant agriculture, rich food traditions and culture will benefit from a full food immersion with an educational twist.    

Amy WrightComment
Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms

We tinkered a paleo recipe replacing bacon fat or lard with paper thin slices of prosciutto di Parma. Tangy, rich caramelized flavors of Villa Graziella Organic 8-Year Aged Balsamic Vinegar di Modena make it an easy to prepare, week night side dish. Pair perfectly with protein rich grilled chicken, fish or steak. Makes 4 servings.

Easy Ingredients

  • 1 lb. white button mushrooms

  • 3 slices of prosciutto di Parma or San Daniele

  • 2 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic Balsamic Vinegar

  • ½ tablespoon Villa Graziella Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely minced

  • 1 Small onion, finely minced (approx. 1/3 cup)

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper to taste

Simple Directions

  1. Wash & dry mushrooms, slice in half, set aside

  2. Place prosciutto slices in a large skillet, cook over medium heat

  3. Turn periodically as slices begin to brown

  4. Add garlic to prosciutto, cook 3 minutes

  5. Add onion, cook 3-4 minutes until translucent & prosciutto is browned

  6. Add mushrooms cook 10 minutes, allowing water to evaporate & mushrooms to become tender

  7. Add vinegar & oil to the pan, stir & cook for 2-3 minutes

  8. Add salt & pepper, stir to coat evenly

  9. Sprinkle with parsley

  10. Serve & enjoy

      Click here for the inspiration recipe!



RecipesAmy WrightComment
Marinated Chicken Kabobs

Fire up the grill for marinated chicken kabobs! We modified a spruce recipe for an easy, flavorful main dish. Using fresh, seasonal orange & yellow bell peppers with red onion, you can also use fresh mushrooms, zucchini or squash. Serves 2 to 4.  

  Easy Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh, boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1-1/2" chunks
  • 1/4 cup Villa Graziella Organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Villa Graziella Organic 8 year aged balsamic vinegar di Modena
  • 2 large bell peppers-1 each green, red, orange or yellow 
  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, crushed & chopped
  • 1 small shallot clove sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Fresh herbs-your choice of basil, marjoram, sage, rosemary, oregano or thyme  

Simple Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, sea salt & pepper-mix well 
  2. Add chicken chunks to bowl, turn to coat, cover & refrigerate for 3 hours
  3. Cut peppers into 1-1/2" chunks, cut onions into 2" chunks set aside
  4. Soak bamboo skewers in cold water
  5. Preheat grill to 160°F
  6. Drain the chicken, reserving marinade 
  7. Thread chicken & vegetable chunks onto skewers, do not over load skewers, leave 2 inches bare on end to turn skewers
  8. Lightly brush marinade on skewers, discard remaining marinade
  9. Place skewers on hot grill, cook 10-12 minutes, turn occasionally until vegetables are tender, & chicken is thoroughly cooked-test the temperature with a food thermometer
  10. Remove from grill, let rest for 5 minutes. Serve & enjoy with Villa Graziella Artisan Crafted IGT Rosato Toscano wine made with organic grapes 
  11. Kitchen tip: We marinated the chicken for 3 hours, long enough to absorb flavors without becoming too soft. Lemon & vinegar acids break down meat causing it to become mushy if marinated too long.    

Click here for the inspiration recipe!

RecipesAmy WrightComment
Grilled Balsamic Burger

Did You know August 27th is National Burger Day? We celebrated with a foodbabbles recipe swapping out beef for turkey. Serve with seasonal grilled veggies & quinoa for a delicious weeknight dinner & healthy next day lunch. Makes 4-6 burgers

Easy Ingredients

  • 6 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or turkey
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 5 slices of preferred cheese; Swiss, cheddar or Fontina optional 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Simple Directions

  1. Combine ground beef or turkey, 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, egg, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper in a bowl
  2. Mix well, form into 4-6 patties depending on desired size of burgers, set aside
  3. In another bowl, whisk together ketchup with 3 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, set aside
  4. Preheat grill to 160°F
  5. Place meat patties on grill, cook thoroughly, test the temperature with a food thermometer
  6. Top patty with cheese slices, allow to melt
  7. Remove from grill, plate & let rest for 3 minutes
  8. Place burgers on a roll, balsamic ketchup, & if desired, lettuce & tomatoes
  9. Serve & enjoy!

Click here to view the inspiration recipe!


RecipesAmy WrightComment