Saturday, 9 July 2011

Passionfruit Bellini

During the Summer, we all feel a little cheerier and are up for having some fun. As a result, you find yourself drinking more cocktails, with their fun, flashy glamour and light deceptive power. Sometimes you hardly notice that you are consuming alcohol, such are the highly enjoyable fruity flavours, an occupational hazard to be anticipated by anyone who has work the following morning!

Legend has it that the Bellini cocktail was invented in 1934 in Harry's Bar in Venice. It was named after 15th Century artist Giovanni Bellini, whose fame as an artist has now been eclipsed by the drink. The cocktail is made up of pureed peaches and Prosecco. The official recognised recipe calls for 2 parts Prosecco to 1 part peach puree, and ought to be served in a 'Collins' type glass.

In Venice, you can buy ready-mixed bottles of girly-pink Bellini which are light, fruity and easy to drink. Exactly what Him Indoors and I needed way back in July 2010 when we were trying to see as much as we could of that magical city in 33°C heat! Of course, Prosecco has grown steadily in popularity as our love for the fizzy stuff continues unabated.

Prosecco is produced in the 2 regions of Italy closest to Venice and its hot, sunny climate gives rise to a fruity, dry, gently sparking wine that I think is perfect for making cocktails with. Cava is often too aggressively fizzy, and champagne is both too dear and too strong tasting.

So I decided to experiment with fruity flavours suitable for making Bellinis. Raspberries were too tart to compliment the wine, which is just as well; my raspberry shrub is producing wonderful fruits right now which are perfect eaten as they are, rather than being juiced and used in drinks.

Kiwifruits produced a drinkable result, in a light alien green. It was something of a mission trying to get the juice out of them, and it took 2 whole kiwifruits to make 4 glasses of Bellini. Not an endeavour we shall repeat.

However, the runaway winner in our experiments was the passionfruit. Almost too tiddly to be eaten as a fruit, most of us only come across passionfruit via ready-made juice products.

We juiced them by scooping out the pulp from the passionfruit halves into the bowl of a clean tea strainer and pushing the juice through the mesh. 

Labour intensive, but worth it for the intense and pure flavour it gave to the Bellini.

We needed 3 passionfruits to make 4 standard champagne flute sized Bellinis. However, I will own up that Him Indoors and I did not share them with anyone else, choosing to sink the whole lot!

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