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A Venetian Style Valentine's Day

Venice "La Serenissima" is perhaps the most evocative and romantic of all Italian cities, the perfect setting for an Italian inspired Valentine's Day. I recommend watching the movie CASANOVA with Heath Ledger while having Venice's most fashionable cocktail - il Bellini di Venezia.

A true Bellini is made with the nectar of white peaches and Prosecco,an Italian sparkling wine. Do not use champagne; it will overpower the delicate peach flavor of this iconic Venetian cocktail.

The perfect peach puree to make a Bellini like they serve at Harry's Bar in Venice is difficult to find. The fragrant rose-colored cocktail with a frothy head is traditionally made with a puree of white peaches. Should you go searching for the white peach, the unicorn of peaches, know that it can be elusive. The white peach is a delicate fruit with a floral scent and a white pulp with red veins running out from the stone-pit that give the Bellini its rosy blush. The pre-made puree is just as hard to find as the peach itself.

Giuseppe Cipriani, the founder of Harry's Bar created the Bellini cocktail in1948, inspired by the pink glow of the paintings of 15th century Venetian artist Giovanni Bellini. At first, the drink could only be served during the summer peach season during which the fruit was squeezed and pitted by hand to make the puree. An entrepreneurial Frenchman solved this problem by creating a method to fresh-freeze the white peach puree so that the cocktail could be served year round.

Due in part to the scarcity of both white peaches and the puree several variations of the Bellini exist. There are syrups, nectars and mixes but for an authentic Venetian Bellini white peach puree is a must.

The recommended Bellini is made with

  • 1 ounce white peach puree

  • 5 ounces chilled Prosecco

Pour peach puree into a champagne flute or tall glass, then add Prosecco. Stir gently to combine. Serve at once.

There is a line of French frozen fruit purees by Ravifruit made from an all-natural recipe made with 90% fruit pulp and 10% sugar. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and does not have artificial coloring, flavor or preservatives. They are available on Amazon.

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