BVC - Raisin wines Chuck_CTR_Graves at
Fri Nov 19 12:18:17 PST 1999

     Hi, all.
     Magdalena, here's what I found. 
     Apicius uses raisin wines in his recipes but no recipe for raisin 
     wine. The recipes I have are from The Queen's Closet Opend (1655) and 
     Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery (dated to c. 1550-1625).
     However, I find these editorial notes (from John Edwards) regarding 
     Apicius in the Introduction:
     Roman Cooking Wines
        Apicius was concerned with the kitchen, not the wine cellar, and 
        his are principally cooking wines, with the exception of certain 
        spiced and honeyed varieties served at the beginning of the Roman 
        Passum (raisin wine) was made from the musk-flavored psythian or 
        muscatel grapes.  These were left of the vine and not picked until 
        they had shriveled to half their weight.  Alternatively, the grapes 
        were aged more rapidly through being picked when ripe, then spread 
        out on trays under the sun, or else they were immersed in boiling 
        olive oil.  The raisins were then soaked in a superior wine until 
        they became swollen.  At this stage they were crushed underfoot and 
        pressed.  Passum of the second rank was obtained by adding water to 
        the grapes for another pressing.  The Romans of Apicius' day valued 
        Cretan passum most highly, followed by varieties from Cilicia (a 
        Roman province in Asia Minor facing Cyprus), Africa (Libya), and 
        lastly Italy.  Apicius used raisin wine to color, sweeten, and 
        flavor meats, vegetables, and fish.  Passum invariably appears in 
        the ingredients for sweet sauces.  The modern descendants of passum 
        are Italian passito wines, and the  vins de paille of France.
     That's all I can dig up at present.

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