Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sunny Italy in a Glass

Ah, bellinis! This light-hearted concoction, named for a 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini, was created in 1948 by Giuseppe Cipriani at the world famous Harry’s Bar in Venice (Hemingway hung out there and it still attracts a celebrity clientele).
The recipe is dead easy: Prosecco, a sparkling Italian white wine, and peach puree.
I indulged in a bottomless flute of bellinis recently at Arte CafĂ©, a sprawling Italian restaurant on the upper west side. The standard brunch entrees of French toast, omelettes, and eggs benedict were very good, but it was the drink special that got our attention. For $12, you could enjoy all the mimosas, bellinis, champagne (I’m sure they mean sparkling wine) or bloody marys you cared to drink! Our attentive waiter never let our glasses empty.
In bellinis the voluptuous sweetness of peaches is cut by the tang of wine, and the fizz just adds to the fun. My blushing orange cocktail glowed in its simple flute. Gazing at the warm hue, I imagined myself lounging around a loggia on Lake Como as George Clooney sailed by. My bellini seemed filled with Italian sunshine, making it the perfect antidote to a gray February day.

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