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Sbrisolona and Cantina Casteggio Barbera for #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is traveling to Lombardia. Follow along the journey with my fellow #ItalianFWT bloggers.  You can also chat with us live this Saturday morning at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT.  Hope to see you there!

Plus, don't miss next month as we feature our last region of Italy, Liguria.  This will complete our first full tour of Italy.  See you June 4th!

To Lombardia
One of Italy’s largest regions, Lombardy lies in the north, sharing a border with Switzerland and stretching from the Alps to the lowlands of the Po Valley.

The region is known particularly for its sparkling wines made in the Franciacorta and Oltrepò Pavese areas. They also produce red, white and rosé wines made from a local and and other grapes including Nebbiolo wines in the Valtellina region, Trebbiano di Lugana white wines produced with the Chiaretto style rosé along the shores of Lake Garda.

When I was staying in Verona, I took a day trip to Lago Garda and the Sirmione Peninsula. I haven't scanned any of those slides to digital; yes, I shot slide film in those days! So, I can't share any of my images, but I remember loving the eerie fog on the lake. And Castello Scaligero, the Medieval castle I was visiting added to that mystique.

Researching more about Lombardy’s food specialties, I realize that we eat a lot of them regularly without realizing that they hailed from there. Think saffron risotto, bresaola, and the cheeses. You know I love the cheeses - Gorgonzola, from the town of the same name; Mascarpone (we have made our own mascarpone...forgive the spelling error on the photo, please!); parmesan-style Grana; Robiola soft cheese; and Bel Paese. 

And panettone, from Milan, is one of our favorite Christmas sweets. The Precise Kitchen Elf makes it for us every year. Here's his recipe.

The other #ItalianFWT Offerings...

In My Glass...

I located a 2012 Cantina Casteggio Barbera from the Oltrepo Pavese appellation. It had a lot of berry notes with a hint of vanilla and sweet oak, so I opted to pour it with dessert. Bright and medium bodied, I wanted a dessert that could stand on its own and not be overpowered by the wine.

On My Plate...
I was intrigued by a recipe from Lombardia for Sbrisolona, a crumbly tart. But, like most traditional Italian recipes, every nonna in the region must have her own version. I found some with coffee grounds; I read about ones with chocolate. Some recipes had fruit. I decided to craft my own version of a mostly plain Sbrisolona.

When I initially planned to make it, Jake was home, so it was going to have to be gluten-free. But, on the night I ended up baking, he and R were out of town. So, the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf was really, really enthusiastic about getting a 'gluten-full' dessert.


  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1 cup flour (can easily be gluten-free flour)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (or you can use fresh lemon zest)
  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • also needed: fluted tart pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the sugar, flour, and cornmeal in a large mixing bowl. Place the cubes of butter in the bowl. With your fingers, or a pastry cutter, blend the flour into the butter until it forms pea-sized chunks. Add in the egg yolks and extract. Add in the sliced almonds and use a wooden spoon until the dough just barely holds together.

Pour the dough into the pan and press it down gently to smooth the top. 

Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Cool cake on wire rack for five minutes then unmold. It will crumble almost immediately...but that's what it's supposed to do!

What a delicious, toothy sweet! I will definitely be making this again soon. Next time, it'll be gluten-free for Jake. And I need to pick up another bottle of the wine. Cin cin!


  1. I was intrigued by Sbrisolana as I was researching Lombardia, I'm glad it turned out so well for you!

  2. I haven't made it myself, but bought some to bring home when I was there. I'll have to try it sometime. Was it easy? Nice to see an Oltrepo Pavese wine too! First of our group.

  3. Your Sbrisolona looks and sounds delicious Cam! And so does your a good Barbera!


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