Author Archive

May
01

Piping (as in bagpiping) for the soldiers

Author // Christopher Bosca
Posted in // Bosca Family, Travel

Travel is an experience that the Bosca family values highly.  To be able to see and experience other cultures and understand how that often ties back to things in our own daily lives is a privilege and a luxury.
On a recent Spring break adventure to Normandy, France, we had the pleasure of getting a 5 day history lesson from our 12 year old son Nicholas. WWII is his passion and his grandfather, Mario Bosca second generation Bosca Accessories owner, served in the Pacific in the United States Navy.  This was a dream trip for Nicholas and he was in charge of the agenda while there.

Everywhere we went, each and every battle zone or memorial or beach, was accompanied by facts of the area as well as a perspective from our 12 year old’s eyes. We were able to learn about history and weapons and dates of certain battles.  At one display of weapons at the Atlantic Wall museum, Nicholas named perfectly all 25 guns in under 1 minute….really, we have it on video! There are pages and pages of things to tell about this trip, but I will stick to one very special day.

We arrived at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach and were awestruck by the hundreds and hundreds of exquisite white crosses and the gigantic American flag waving in the crisp air.  We were blessed with an extraordinary day with sunshine and blue sky.  Seeing those white crosses against the azure sky gave me a feeling of being very small in a large world.  A strange, well not strange, but a new feeling came over me.  It was one of immense pride.  I have always admired our US service men and women, but being in that cemetery was the closest I have ever felt to what national pride really is for me.

We arrived at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach and were awestruck by the hundreds and hundreds of exquisite white crosses and the gigantic American flag waving in the crisp air.  We were blessed with an extraordinary day with sunshine and blue sky.  Seeing those white crosses against the azure sky gave me a feeling of being very small in a large world.  A strange, well not strange, but a new feeling came over me.  It was one of immense pride.  I have always admired our US service men and women, but being in that cemetery was the closest I have ever felt to what national pride really is for me.
Nicholas had dreamed of honoring our soldiers in that Cemetery for a long time so he had packed up his bagpipes, kilt, and the rest of his stuff and brought it on our trip.  After receiving permission, Nicholas chose a spot in the cemetery and dressed in full regalia, played the most beautiful version of Amazing Grace bringing tears to the eyes of more people than just his mom and dad. Playing his bagpipes in that cemetery was the best way that he could show his admiration and gratitude.  For Chris and me, it was a moment in time that we will treasure and keep in our pockets forever.

Note from Christopher:
My father Mario spoke very little about his experience in the US Navy, and for some reason I did not ask about it.  I am proud to see that Nicholas comprehends the importance of these historical events, and the contributions that so many veterans have made to preserve our freedoms.

Jan
12

Vin Santo with Biscotti Di Prato

Author // Christopher Bosca
Posted in // Food & Drink

Vin Santo is a desert wine served with Biscotti Di Prato.  Biscotti are very hard – dip the biscotti into the wine to soften as well as to add flavor- and what a sweet/aromatic flavor it is!

Vin Santo is aged at least 3 years in barrels (traditionally chestnut, but now mostly oak).  This type of wine will keep for several years but it does not really improve with age the way some wines can.  I have kept this unopened bottle (pictured above) for a long time- probably too long, but I can’t bring myself to open it yet.  It is from my very good friend Valerio.  I have known Valerio for more that 25 years now.  He is a leather accessories maker who does work for Bosca as well as for the big European luxury brands- making the most beautiful wallets on earth.  Valerio’s father was a wine maker for the Antinori Vineyard.  On his own land in Tuscany he grew Sangiovese grapes for Chianti and Trebbiano grapes for Vin Santo, and there he made his own wine in his spare time.

This dedication to one’s work – where vocation and avocation intermingle with the mid-day meal , slow winter afternoons when the vines have been pruned and the fall’s pressing are fermenting is so classically Italian.  I want to put it in a bottle and save it for all future generations.  Saving this bottle, gifted to be many years ago by Valerio, is my way of doing that.

Like his father with wine, Valerio is an artisan who puts his heart and soul into his work.

Now I indulge by dipping my biscotti into a glass of Vin Santo from I Veroni or Colle Bereto.  I am fortunate to have two great friends from both these vineyards.  Luca and Bernardo are masters of their craft;  both put themselves into their work just as Valerio’s father did.

Bosca is about “Italian Design, American Functionality.”  With our daily work we are tapping into this life of the artisan and bringing it home to America.  Whether it is through food, wine, leather, or travel, we hope that you will enjoy life in a creative, original way in 2012.

Dec
23

BISCOTTI DI PRATO

Author // Christopher Bosca
Posted in // Food & Drink

I began making biscotti about 14 years ago. I can’t quite remember what prompted me to start what quickly became a favorite holiday tradition but what I do vividly recall is my then 18 month old son intently watching me prepare the biscotti with his big, round eyes.

He would ride around the kitchen on my back in a little baby-backpack while I cooked… the making of the biscotti always seemed extra special for him. This very same son, who is now 6′ 2″, still asks me when we are going to make the Christmas biscotti. I love that. Even though there is no association with biscotti and the holidays in Italy, for me there always will be.

Making them is easy. You don’t have to be a real baker for success. This recipe is for the genuine and historically correct article and are very different from the Americanized version that are widely available now in many coffee shops. These biscotti are hard- really hard. They are always served with a sweet desert wine like Vin Santo or Aleatico so that they can be moistened before enjoying.

Biscotti

BISCOTTI DI PRATO
(adapted from a recipe of Giuliano Bugialli*)

  • 2 oz  blanched almonds
  • 6 oz  unblanched almonds
  • 4 cups unbleached flour (just get rid of all the bleached flour in your house)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of saffron (but don’t be too stingy here)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg white beaten (for glazing the cookies)

Toast all the almonds in a 375 oven for 15 minutes. Combine 1 oz of each of the blanched and unblanched almonds and grind these finely. Chop the balance of the almonds into coarse pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients, adding the flour slowly. Knead for 10-15 minutes. Add all of the almonds and knead for another 2-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Roll the parts into logs that are about ¾ inch in diameter. Brush the dough with egg white. Bake for 20 minutes at 375. Remove and slice at 45 degree angles into pieces that are about 1-2” long. Bake for an additional 35-40 minutes at 275. The biscotti will be very dry and hard, and this is correct.

STORAGE; Wait until they are fully cooled before you store them. Keep them in a air-tight container.

TO ENJOY; I recommend the tradition Italian pairing of biscotti with some Vin Santo. Dip to moisten and then consume.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

*FOOTNOTE; For those of you who are not familiar with Giuliano Bugialli, he was a ‘Celebrity Chef’ before the term was coined…(at least in my family). He is widely known for his knowledge about the histories of the Italian traditions. Bugialli not only provides direction for some amazingly delicious traditional Italian fare but the background of the regional specialties being prepared.