BVC - Raisin wines
Chuck_CTR_Graves at mmacmail.jccbi.gov
Fri Nov 19 12:18:17 PST 1999
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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