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Monday, April 15, 2013

04/16 - Food and Wine Cultures - Croatia and Italy

Slow Living Radio is delighted to welcome guests who have brought a taste of their background to the American audience.  Ivo Jeramaz, nephew of renowned winemaker Mike Grgich, who was born in Croatia, didn't realize when he first moved here the impact he would have bringing the essence of his country's winemaking to our shores.

Chef Domenico Cardano, born in Puglia, Italy continues in his passion of showcasing the roots of his region's cuisine to the world, and fellow Italian Steve Albini delights audiences around the world with his native style accordion playing.

Sit back, be inspired, entertained and spellbound by the Italian harmony of Steve's accordion and the singing Chef Domenico.

Ivo Jeramaz
Vice President of Vineyards and Production
Grgich Hills Estate

Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers, and as boy, he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. However, he didn’t plan on becoming a winemaker. Ivo earned a master’s of science degree in engineering from the University of Zagreb and dreamed of coming to California to work as an engineer.

In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley. He quickly fell in love with the scenic beauty of the area and became fascinated with wine making. Ivo decided on a career change and Mike immediately put him to work washing barrels. During his almost-three decades at Grgich Hills, Ivo has worked his way up in responsibility, learning the classic style and art of winemaking from his uncle, supported by the tools of science and technology. “There’s nothing in the winery or vineyard that I haven’t done, not just for one day, but really worked at it,” he explains.

While he has taken enology and viticulture courses at University of California, Davis, Ivo says, “I’ve learned more working in the vineyards and in the winery with Mike.” Under the guidance of his uncle, Ivo is now responsible for the day-to-day operations in the cellar and the vineyard, including naturally farming Grgich Hills' 366 acres without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.

“At Grgich Hills, we grow grapes like my grandfather did, farming without chemicals and pesticides,” Ivo says. “Mike taught me early in my career that you need great grapes to make great wine. Over the years, I’ve focused on working with the land. Through our natural farming, it’s been very rewarding to seeing the soil alive with healthier plants than under conventional farming. It allows the wines to be more authentic—more distinctive.”


Mike's daughter,Violet with Mike and Ivo

Chef Domenico Cardano
GranaEt Vina

Grana Et Vina comes from the Latin worlds “wheat and Wine”.  These words have the same origin as Chef Domenico’s hometown, Gravina, in the Southern Italian region of  Puglia, where the Mediterranean cuisine originated.
The culinary philosophy that Grana Et Vina proposes is based on a traditional cuisine, rich with folklore, and based on the cuisine of Domenico’s homeland - the land which gave him the love for seasonal, organic and natural ingredients passed on from  traditional methods of conservation.

Since he was young, Domenico travelled all over the Europe with a folkloristic dancing group, and wherever he was, between a polka and a tarantella, he promoted and shared his local cuisine and traditions.

The Puglia region is known for good bread, focaccia, burrata, orecchiette, cavtelli and produce from the garden, which all form the backbone of the Mediterranean cuisine.

His passion brought Domenico to many different restaurants in Northern and Southern Italy.  When he moved to the U.S.A., he first worked for Scopa Restaurant in Healdsburg with the talented chef, Ari Piretti Rosean, preparing pizza and helping with the food preparation, before branching out with his own business, bringing the fruits of his passion, with music, to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Grana Et Vina caters to private groups and restaurants, offering catering, private chef services, culinary training, including teaching how to make homemade mozzarella, ricotta and provolone cheese.

The Italian phrase "passione e fuoco," "passion and fire," truly describes the music of singer/musician Steve Albini.  His performances of Italian music fused with jazz and world rhythms have brought him international acclaim. He has enchanted audiences throughout the United States, Italy and the world with a blend of musical virtuosity and artistic passion. His live performances span Italian, world, jazz and Latin American genres.

Steve Albini is a multi-instrumentalist and singer. He has performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. His southern Italian roots are strongly reflected through his music. As a studio musician Steve is often called by producers and artists to add his touch to their projects.  He is also an Artist and Clinician for Roland Corporation.  Steve is currently working together with Cirque Du Soliel accordionist Tatiana Semicahstnaya.  Their current project is the World music group Il Sole.

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