Rebecca Helm-Ropelato
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Saturday, October 20, 2007
A Grape Snack
Fresh Italian bread and Pizzutello grapes Fresh Italian bread and Pizzutello grapes
Pizzutello is the name of a white table grape that our neighborhood fruit and vegetable vendor, Felice, describes as un po' particolare (a little special). A basket full of the grapes was placed next to his cash register. A few days ago, as he was weighing the produce I had selected, he plucked some of the grapes off one of the clumps and handed them to me to taste.
"Fifty years ago, it was the custom of farm workers to hold a fistful of these grapes in one hand, and a piece of bread in the other, and eat them together," Felice said. He smiled at my look of disbelief. "Really, they did," he repeated, "you should try it."
As soon as I got home, I sliced off a piece of the freshly baked bread I had just bought and, after washing the grapes, tried the odd-sounding combination myself. It took a moment to get used to, but the contrasting tastes and textures did blend well.
Pizzutello also is sometimes called corna (horn) because of its elongated oval shape, according to a tourism website, also here (photos, Italian) for the city of Tivoli near Rome. Tivoli hosts an annual Pizzutello festival (photos, Italian) each fall.
The grape is especially appreciated for its sweetness, and for its resistance to damage in transport, according to the website. Pizzutello also comes in a black (purple) variety.
by Rebecca Helm-Ropelato
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