Pellegrino Amaro Liqueur
Pellegrino Amaro is an ideal match with seasoned and herbal cheeses, or enjoyed together with dried fruits and sweet, ricotta-based pastries.
"Marsala" production didn't begin until 1773, but grapes have been grown and wines have been made in this little corner of Sicily for thousands of years. In the mid 1700s, when the popularity of fortified wines from Oporto and Jerez grew immensely, British wine merchants explored possibilities of producing a similar product in other regions. The heady wines of dry, windswept Sicily fit the bill perfectly. As in Port production, brandy was added to the barrels and the resulting liqueur, with varying degrees of sweetness, was an immediate sensation.
About 100 years later, Paolo Pellegrino began his Marsala business. Now, Pellegrino---still completely family owned---is the largest producer in the region. They have nearly 1000 acres of vineyards and produce a full range of DOC Marsala.
Because of the natural climate of western Sicily---low levels of rainfall, hot temperatures and dry winds---treatments in the vineyards are rarely needed. All the grapes vines grown in the area can truly be called "eco-friendly." And these grapes are not seen in many other regions---Catarratto, Grillo and Inzolia for the whites; Pignatello and Nero'Avola for the reds.
In Italy, Dry Marsala is enjoyed as the aperitivo and Sweet Marsala after dessert.
First prepared by 13th century Italian monks as herbal medicines and elixirs, Liqueurs are distilled spirits that have been combined with flavoring agents. A range of herbs, spices, nuts, fruits and flowers can be used, and a sweetener such as sugar or corn syrup is often added. While typically rather sweet, some examples are herbaceous or tart and pair exceptionally well with desserts or act as a delightful addition to cocktails.