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Torta Barozzi + Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile #ItalianFWT

This month, Jennifer of Vino Travels is hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers as we explore Lambrusco. If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in on the live Twitter chat - Saturday, June 1st, at 8am Pacific time. Just use the hashtag #ItalianFWT so we can see your comment. This is actually not my official post because I decided to give Lambrusco a more serious look after this. So...this just a precursor to my actual post. It's a great cake with a mediocre wine. Or, at least, it's a wine that didn't appeal to me.

In My Glass

I'll be frank: When I thought of Lambrusco, I pictured a frothy pour somewhere between deep magenta and red. And sweet. Always sweet. So, I was excited dig deeper and take a serious look at this wine. I learned...

That 'Lambrusco' actually refers to an entire family of grapes from, mostly, the Emilia-Romagna region. And, under the Lambrusco umbrella, there are four main varieties that comprise the wines currently made: Lambrusco di Sorbara, Lambrusco Grasparossa, Lambruso Maestri, and Lambrusco Salamino. The descriptions of the grapes and resulting wines was intriguing.

Initially, I got my hands on this bottle - Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile. I researched a bit about the producer. In 1960, inspired by the success of his homemade Lambrusco being served in his restaurant in Modena, Cleto Chiarli founded the first wine-making company in the Emilia-Romagna region.

In 2001 Cleto's great-grandsons Mauro and Anselmo Chiarli, built a new winery and named it after their great-grandfather. I love businesses that continue to be family run, generation after generation. But, unfortunately, I was underwhelmed by this bottle.

It had an intense ruby color with vibrant fruit aromas. I did like the lively froth, but it was still too sweet for my liking. So, I tracked down two other bottles from them: Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Castelvetro Vigneto Cialdini 2017 and Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena 2018. I'll report back soon.

But, for now, my opinion about Lambrusco didn't really change with this tasting. It was a sweet, drinkable wine that lacked the sophistication or depth that I prefer in my wines.

On My Plate

Since the wine made me think of dessert, I decided to pair it with a cake from the town of Vignola, located just outside Modena in the region of Emilia-Romagna. Research told me it is named for one of the Vignola’s most famous sons, Jacopo Barozzi, a renowned Renaissance architect. The recipe for Torta Barozzi was first created by Eugenio Gollini in 1907 in his pasticceria, Pasticceria Gollini. Though I've never tried it before, I was intrigued by the depth of flavor in this flourless chocolate cake. I started with this recipe.
  • 150 g + 50 g organic caster sugar (this is a superfine granulated sugar, but not powdered)
  • 160 g peanut flour
  • 40 g almond flour
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 200 g softened butter (room temperature)
  • 150 g dark chocolate chunks or chips, at least 61% cacao solids
  • 15 g instant espresso or coffee, dissolved in 2 t hot water
  • 20 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt (I used a large flake salt from Sicily that was similar to Maldon)
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract

For Serving
  • organic whipping cream, whipped to stiff peaks
  • sliced almonds for garnish
  • Optional: decorator tip and bag

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Prepare a baking pan by buttering it and lining it with parchment paper. Set aside.

Mix the flours with the cocoa and the pinch of salt. Set aside. 

Melt the chocolate chunks in a double boiler until smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes, then add the egg yolks. Mix well with a spatula.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter with 150g of sugar until lightened and fluffy. Add the mixture of egg yolk-chocolate mixture and combine with a spatula. Pour in the coffee, then fold in the flour-cocoa mixture.

In another mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Then add the remaining 50 g of sugar. Continue to beat until you get a glossy meringue with stiff peaks.

Slowly incorporate the meringue to the chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared baking dish. Bake for approximately 25 minutes. The cake should be slightly raised and matte. Let the cake cool on a wire rack - in the pan - for at least 10 minutes before unmolding. 

Invert. Remove the parchment paper and invert again onto a serving plate. Let cool completely.

To serve, add dollops of unsweetened whipped cream. I put mine through a decorator bag, but just scooped with a spoon works as well.

The boys thoroughly enjoyed the cake. Jake and I found the wine passable. You will see my thoughts on the Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena 2018 for my actual #ItalianFWT post. And next month I will be hosting the #ItalianFWT crew as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Prosecco Superiore DOCG. Stay tuned for more about that. Cin cin.


  1. I"m glad I didn't order up this bottle but I will have a slice of that cake please.


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