Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Istanbul to Rome: Images of Macedonia

These pictures were taken during a whirlwind ten days traversing through Macedonia from Istanbul to Durres Albania, then by ferry across to Bari Italy, and train to Roma.

We will have MUCH more to say about our experiences, but I must first say that we continue to be impressed and gratified at the hospitality and generosity of people we meet around the world.  Macedonians have a rich cultural history and have done well at preserving it.

Click on the image to enlarge it OR click on the text to reveal an additional photo gallery:

Istanbul

 

 

Istanbul: Ancient Churches & Mosques

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Greece

 

 

 

 

 

Bitola: Southern Macedonia

 

 

 

P9100185

 

 

 

Brajcino

 

 

 

 

 

Ohrid

 

 

 

 

 

Struga

 

 

 

 

 

Elbasan, Albania

 

 

 

 

 

Durres, Albania

 

 

 

 

 

Roma, Italy

 

 

 

Making Mascarpone at Home

Mascarpone originated around 1600 in Lombardy of North Italy Southwest of Milan. Some say the name came from “mas que bueno” (Spanish for “more than good”) when the Spanish ruled Italy. It is made from light cream (~25% butterfat) which has been heated and thickened by the addition of tartaric acid to product a rich creamy product which is spreadable. By the way, as we heard it pronounced in Italy, a friend of Italian descent urged me to point out that the correct Italian pronunciation is “mahs-car-PO-nay.”

I have learned with the assistance of readers of these pages, that tartaric acid is found in the sediment of fermented wine along with settled yeast. The word tartar may come from the Arabic word durd meaning dregs. It was also possibly harvested off the sides of wine kegs, formed as an encrustation.

Mascarpone can be used alone or with sugar added. Perhaps it is most famous as an ingredient in tiramisu, the Italian “rocket fuel” coffee-flavored cake. It is often used in place of butter to thicken and enrich rissoti.

Ingredients

  • One quart of “light cream,” 25% butterfat (900 mL)
    Light cream can range between 18 and 30% butterfat. For mascarpone, it should contain 25% butterfat. I mix 16 oz heavy cream with 16 oz half and half.
  • 1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid
    Or 1/2 tsp Acid Blend from L.D. Carlson, available at wine making supply houses or 2 Tbl lemon juice.

Equipment

  • Stainless steel double boiler with lid
  • Thermometer, reading in the 185 F or 85 C range
  • Sterile handkerchief sterilized by boiling and hanging to dry thoroughly
  • 1 quart bowl to catch the whey

Procedure

Note:

I have received an email from Fil and Pat in Quebec which reports that mascarpone was originally made with lemon juice. I now doubt the authenticity of this, but have wondered where ancient Italians would have gotten tartaric acid… (See intro above.) I have calculated that 1/4 teaspoonful of tartaric acid should be equivalent to approximately 2 tablespoonfuls (30 mL) of lemon juice. Fil and Pat (and others) report back that 2 Tbl in a quart of 18% butterfat cream made perfect mascarpone! Yea.