Saturday, 7 November 2009

Vino Cotto

Our weekly grocery shopping this afternoon included a trip to one of London's Turkish food shops.

Fiordizucca recently posted a recipe for traditional Italian Christmas sweets from Apulia, calzoncelli dolci ai ceci, which uses vino cotto di fichi, vino cotto made not from grapes, but from figs.

I don't recall ever having come across vino cotto di fichi, but I have bought vino cotto (called pekmez) in Turkish food stores before, I used it to make some traditional Siciian Christmas cookies, so I thought it would be worth checking out, just in case.

No vino cotto di fichi, as it turned out, but they do sell a variety of molasses-like sweeteners. In addition to vino cotto from grapes, they sell date syrup, carob syrup, and mulberry 'molasses' (dut pekmez). I decided to buy a jar of mulberry molasses, probably in the vain hope that it might taste just a little like the mulberry jam that we used to buy from this shop, but which they no longer seem to sell. D, my other half, was of the opinion that it would just taste like molasses.

When we got home I decided that rather than putting the jar of mulberry molasses away in the pantry, to sit there for months or sometimes years before I get around to actually doing something with it, which I have a habit of doing, I would open it and taste it right away. This led to the idea of doing a 'molasses' tasting, since we currently had opened jars of Grandma's molasses (American) and Turkish vino cotto (pekmez) in the fridge.

D turned out to be right, the mulberry 'molasses' does taste like Grandma's molasses, and not at all like mulberry jam. For those of you who don't know what Grandma's molasses is like, it is dark brown in color, not black like treacle and blackstrap molasses, and not as strong-tasting or as bitter as treacle, but a lot darker than golden syrup.

The Grandma's (sugarcane) molasses was thicker and more sticky than the other two, and also the strongest tasting. Both the vino cotto and the mulberry 'molasses' were a bit runnier, and did not seem very sticky. The mulberry 'molasses' tasted remarkably similar to the Grandma's molasses, just not quite as strong, whereas the vino cotto had a rather milder taste.


  1. Did you ever use the mulberry molasses in any sort of recipe? I just bought some from my local middle eastern market (I originally intended to get pomegranate molasses but this looked too intriguing to pass up!) Right now I'm thinking of serving it with lamb kofte kebabs or drizzled on some sort of salad...

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Sorry I didn't see your post the other day.

    Your ideas sound great. I'm afraid I haven't done anything with the mulberry molasses apart from taste it, so it's just been sitting in our fridge. I will probably just use it in Italian recipes that call for vino cotto.

    What we were really after was black mulberry jam, which we had bought several years ago and really liked, but the shop doesn't seem to sell it any more.