Since the time of the Maritime Republic of Venice fresh fruit was harvested and turned into delicious fruit flavoured grappa. Ever tried spirits flavoured with fresh fruit?
Recently I visited the distillery ” House of the Captains “ in the Julian Alps. It is a small and well regarded family business which since the end of 1600 from generation to generation has produced grappa and various fruit brandies flavoured with fresh fruit. It is situated between houses and sunny meadows, in the small town of Cabia, a region of Arta Terme (Udine) in the mountains of Friuli Venezia Giulia.
It was lovely walking through the green meadows covered in spring flowers and slowly making my way up to the village of Cabia. The fine and refreshing mountain air was reinvigorating. The small village of Cabia is very pretty and so silent I felt like whispering to avoid spoiling the quiet bliss of the place.
Fruit flavoured spirits are very popular particularly in the mountainous regions and as the fruit is freshly picked and in season these spirits taste of real fruit (and not of some sort of synthetic powder!) and will give you an aromatic, refreshing and pleasant sensation in your mouth.
For this family the process of making spirits has stayed the same over the centuries. They also make “elixirs” made from distilled grape and with many types of fruit: strawberry, blueberry, blackberries, raspberries and even cumin! (that’s a delicious one!). Also pear and apple liquors have a sweeter and lower alcohol content for people like me who don’t like very strong alcohol 🙂
Needless to say that with alcohol we always need to be careful. These spirits have higher gradations than wine or beer and if you have a very small glass that’s more than enough! The rule is always the same: never drink on an empty stomach, if you don’t want an unpleasant burning sensation in your stomach and the alcohol to go straight to your head! They are perfect as after-meal digestives to clear your palate after a heavy meal.
It was interesting to learn how the whole process works.
The fruit is picked, crushed and the stalks are removed. It is then stored in large tanks where natural fermentation occurs.
The fermented fruit is then transferred into boilers to be distilled.
The distillery is a very interesting piece of technology: made entirely in copper, the distillation is carried out in part by distillation in small boilers in a water bath at a discontinuous cycle and partly in a continuous loop device; it can distillate up to 50 tons of raw material to make approximately 10,000 bottles of various types of spirits.
The end product is bottled.. all by hand of course.. into these lovely and pretty bottles. I bought some as gifts for friends and relatives!
I enjoyed learning how distillation works! We never stop learning 🙂
I am thanking the distillery Casato dei Capitani for their courtesy and their time.
Distilleria Casato Dei Capitani
via Cabia 169 -Arta Terme – Udine- Italy