Tag Archives: cosimo commisso

Altamura winery & Ciccio Napa Valley

Many of you know that Altamura winery is one the only winery in Wooden Valley located within the Napa Valley appellation. The winery was established back in 1985, by Frank and Karen Altamura, making a conscious decision of taking a hand approach to how they produced wines, where a natural production limit is established. My favorite is their Cabernet Sauvignon. Their exacting, no compromise policy in the vineyard, where they believe is where 90% of the wine is made is the secret to what you get in their bottles.



The owner Frank, knew winemaking was his calling, ever since he graduated from High School and began working with his cousin. But his formative years of becoming a great winemaker were further developed at Caymus, where he worked for five years. His passion for developing great grape varieties from Burger to Zinfardel, as well as refining concepts of soil and climatic effects, and every bottle of Altamura, is a reflection of Frank’s winemaking approach of quality over quantity. After 20 years, The Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese are raved about for their rich texture and intensity of the elements unique to each vineyard site.

If you are ever in this neighbourhood, a stop at their new restaurant aptly named “Ciccio,” which is term of endearment in Italian. For this is the terms you use to call a friend, your nephews,…because of the cuteness of their cuteness and the affection you feel towards them… Hey Ciccio. Much of that sentiment is reflected in this former Old Grocery store, where Frank Altamura would shop as a child. Now at Ciccio, you can pair Altamura wines with locally grown foods and veggies. The delicious menu and easy on the wallet pricing has kept this place packed from day one. The only downside of this place, is that they do not take reservations. But, then to further note of this family hospitality in nature, heaters were placed outside the porch to keep the crowd warm as they wait up to an hour for a table.



A must is their oven-fired pizzas with locally sourced ingredients some on the Altamura ranch. Chef Polly Lappetto will make you feel right at home. The details like the orange handles cutlery and touches of this colour throughout, shows that no detail is to small or left to chance in this cozy restaurant. A must from the bar is the Frank’s Negroni.

Coincidentally, while I was writing this blog…my doorbell rang, and what you know it was a courier delivering a package addressed to Cosimo Commisso from: Altamura Winery. Must be the Altamura Cabernet 2012, striking, elegant and refined, I had ordered a few weeks earlier. Cosimo Commisso signing off…as I have to go pair some really, special special wine… think ripe dense blackberry that is opulent, elegant and refined with some holestyle porchetta.


Cosimo Commisso and the Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 12

In an era when everyone is blessed with too many possessions, the only thing they will truly cherish is a life experience. So, follow me on a journey that you or a loved one will want to experience as you make your way to Christmas day.


The Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

Christmas time at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze in Florence, Italy, is a magical and fascinating experience. Imagine a dream-like setting where attention to detail is everywhere and the luxury elements will spoil even the most hard-to-please patrons. So here it is: Cosimo Commisso’s not-to-be missed Christmas events in Florence and other travel destinations.

Here you are going to experience the magic of Christmas, Renaissance art, the many unique shops that make it that much easier to go on a shopping spree, the view of the bridges with the festive street lights, a sight you will not soon forget. After the shopping and sightseeing, you will rejoice at the thought of returning to the Four Seasons for a spa treatment, but not before the tea and delicious culinary recipes.

Cosimo Commisso Christmas

Cosimo Commisso Christmas in Italy Food

Michelin-star chef Vito Mollica’s creative dishes will make you sing Christmas carols as you dine or lunch at Il Palagio, with an indoor and outdoor setting in one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. If you are here on Christmas Eve, you will be treated to a delicious fish-based dinner featuring artichoke risotto with red mullet, brodetto and John Dory filled with brown rice and pumpkin cream.

The menu for Christmas Day is usually a good balance of traditional and creative flair, with tortellini beef consommé and veal fillet with fruit pickles and pumpkin cream. But save room for dessert. The creations of chef Domenico Di Clemente are pleasing to both the eye and the palate. You will be glad you did. I have never tasted a more delicious homemade panettone like the one here. (For my version of the panettone recipe, a quick Google search for “Cosimo Commisso Delicious Panettone Recipe” will bring you to the appropriate page.)


Cosimo Commisso Italy

Since this is the time of year when we have to share our blessings with loved ones, why not treat them to a Four Seasons gift voucher? Whether it’s for a spa treatment, a dinner in an intimate setting or traditional homemade Christmas cake made by the man himself, Domenico Di Clemente (which comes in a beautiful gift box with the name of the recipient) a gift certificate to the Four Seasons makes for an unforgettable gift idea.

Well, what do you know. I just got handed such a package with a handwritten note — “Per il Signor Cosimo Commisso” — just as I was leaving the hotel and heading to the airport.


Wines from Portugal

How do you turn a boring, sleepy Monday into a more enjoyable day? Nothing a little wine and some delicious food can’t fix. My salvation came in the form of an invite with my name, Cosimo Commisso, on it. It was from a friend of mine inviting me to a wine tasting of Ramos Pinto at the Four Seasons Toronto.
Ramos Pinto is a Portuguese winery founded in 1880, and is known among peers for being the pioneers of the Terroir and launching of New Douro wines in Portugal and all over the world. In their quest for producing high-quality wines, Ramos Pinto is able to pursue research in technical and technological fields that has gained popularity at home and on the global markets.
I am intrigued to learn about their bond with nature and their level of dedication when it comes to implementing organic farming methods and increasing biodiversity. Not just for the well being of the brand, but as a legacy for new generations to follow.
I like their Duas Quinta White wine served with fresh cheese and drizzled with honey and vinegar or with a salmon tartare, avocado and fresh apple. With lamb or other meats I would serve their Duas Quintas Reserva. Risotto and pastas would also be a favorable combination.
If you are ever in Portugal a visit to the Ramos Pinto Museum is a must, due to the fact that Ramos Pinto is one of the leading houses producing high-quality Port and Douro wine. This, of course, did not go unnoticed, as in 1990 it became part of the Champagne Group, Louis Roederer. Here in the museum you will find a unique collection of objets d’art that have been acquired over the years and mark history in the making.


Truffles Season Q&A – Part 2

If you love truffles, then you have to add truffle hunting to your bucket list. Imagine learning how to find truffles from a truffle hunter as you walk through the woods, your senses heightened at the thought of tasting a decadent meal after being rewarded with finding the prize. In this series of blogs, Cosimo Commisso will share his passion for truffles and how to cook them, what wine to pair them with, and what restaurant to visit to taste truffle-based dishes.

8. The black truffle (tartufo nero) can instead be used in cooking. Can you share some recipes using black truffles?
  • Tagliatelle and Tartufo with seafood and egg noodles
  • Truffle mushroom pizza with fresh arugula (light summer dish).
9. Have you ever tried black tartufo gelato? Rome has some restaurants experimenting with this flavour.

Yes — Black Truffle Sabayon is a great summer dessert.

10. Describe a poignant memory of people cooking with truffles or being part of a truffle hunt.
In Vancouver at Gippino Restaurant, in the company of Chef Pino and all his truffle creations — this was truly a night to remember.
11.What are some of your favourite restaurants that you recommend for tartufi-based dishes?
  • Vancouver – Gippino Restaurant
  • Rome – La Buvette
  • Rome – Tartufi & Friends
  • Montreal – Da Emma
  • Alba – La Locanda del Sant’Uffizio
  • Torino – Tartufi Bistrot
12. What wine would you pair with tartufo-based dishes?
  • Fiano d’Avellino — great with meat and white truffle
  • Barolo Baudana 2008 — great with a seafood dish
13. Would you suggest a different wine for the white and the black tartufo?

Yes, because they both have distinctive tastes and the acidity of the wines should complement each dish.

14. Describe the feeling of tasting a recipe that has the white truffle and the black truffle.

It was like nothing I have ever tasted. It added such a great flavour to a dish that I had made so many times before.

15. When was the first time you tasted truffles?

Growing up in Italy we were fortunate enough to have truffles at young age. I remember as a child my grandmother (who was the best chef in the world) would put tartufo on our eggs for breakfast.

Truffles Season Q&A – Part 1

If you love truffles, then you have to add truffle hunting to your bucket list. Imagine learning how to find truffles from a truffle hunter as you walk through the woods, your senses heightened at the thought of tasting a decadent meal after being rewarded with finding the prize. In this series of blogs, Cosimo Commisso will share his passion for truffles and how to cook them, what wine to pair them with, and what restaurant to visit to taste truffle-based dishes.

1.What is the best season for truffles?

The Italian black summer truffle season is from May through early September (Campoli near Sora in the Apennines has a summer truffle festival in June), although they can be obtained all year round. In early July, therefore, you should find Italian summer truffles in markets, or even go on a truffle hunt. White truffles can only be sold from the end of September, and white truffle fairs are held in October and November.

2. How many species of truffles grow in Italy?

Depending upon the variety of truffle (at least eight species grow in Italy), these delicious fungi are harvested from late summer to early spring by experienced gatherers known as trifolau.

3. Which one is your favourite and why?

White Truffle aroma — the taste is very refined.

4. White truffles are generally served raw and shaved over steaming buttered pasta, salads or fried eggs. Do you have any other suggestions on how to use this rare delicacy?
  • White truffle over gnocchi
  • Grilled asparagus on eggs and white truffle
  • White truffle over linguini
  • White truffle on veal paillard.
5. What recipe can you share with us that makes use of this type of truffle?

Potato Gnocchi in a cream butter emollition — which is one of my favorites

6. Is it true that the white truffle (tartufo bianco) is mostly found in Piedmont, Italy, and often referred to as the “king?”


7. White truffles are usually only reserved fresh and never cooked. How do you like to use them in your recipes?

Shaved, preferably, and no later than four days after picking to enjoy the full aroma.