Monday, September 29, 2008

Ancient Quince Wine

Image from

I have a new cookbook which delights both my love of healthy foods and history. It's Roman Cookery: Ancient Recipes for Modern Kitchens by Mark Grant. I see Amazon has a new revised version listed with a different cover than mine, but I'm assuming the recipes will be the same.

I love fermented beverages, both for their health and their nutrition. This one is from Bassus in the tenth century AD, in Geoponica (Country Matters), which refers to sources from more ancient writers. This fruit wine is quite easy to prepare even today.

Oinos Dia Melon

"Put the sweetest smelling quinces into an earthenware jar and pour over some wine. Then, having poured over the wine, leave for three days, and use on the fourth."
-- from Bassus in Country Matters

Quinces have a most attractive scent when ripening on the tree. For this drink you really need freshly picked quinces, as those bought in shops have already lost that heady aroma. This capturing of the perfume of a fruit recalls an Italian dessert described by Elizabeth David which consists merely of placing a peeled and sliced peach in a glass of wine. Quinces, however, have too much tannin in them for this, and I think they impart a finer flavour if left whole in the wine.


1 bottle sweet white wine
3 fresh quinces


Wash the quinces in cold water. Decant the wine into a glass jar with a lid. Place the quinces in the wine, seal the jar and leave for three days. The wine will have a strong bouquet of quinces for serving with a dessert.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...