I am a person who values tradition. It plays an important part in our family. As the seasons change, we look forward to special events, family visits, road trips and of course, special meals!
A few years back, my Uncle started a tradition of making his own home-made wine. Like many Italians from generations past, he takes great pride in crafting his wine and passing out the bottles for all to share. His passion and dedication inspired me to start my own tradition - making home made orangecello. The recipe I chose takes about 3 months to age, so this is the perfect time of year to prepare the liqueur in order to enjoy it during those hot summer nights. I made my first batch last year and named it Domenicello. We had the ceremonial unveiling after the birth of our second daughter, Ava Lynn. I have to say...I was very pleased with the end result, as were everyone else who shared in drinking it. There was no doubt that making orangecello would become an annual event for me.
As I was sitting in my kitchen just the other night, shaving down the orange peels for this year's batch, it occurred to me that I was not only starting my own tradition, but also carrying on the tradition of my grandfathers. My Grandpop Condo was a brick layer, responsible for helping build many of the churches, schools and some of the most famous sports facilities in the Philadelphia area. My Grandpop Ricciuti was a chemist and a professor at Drexel University, whose works and studies have been documented in chemistry books. Here I am, many years later, using my hands to carefully craft and scrape the key ingredient to my orangecello, and eventually I will be measuring and scaling the remaining ingredients, making sure to that the end result is balanced out to perfection. While a simple bottle of orangecello is not nearly as impressive as the works that both of my grandfathers helped create, it has taught me to appreciate the love and dedication that they both showed for their craft. And I'll be sure to toast them both with my first sip of my 2009 Domenicello.
NOTE - While I love posting recipes and hearing great feedback on your great dishes, Domenicello is my own special little baby. So, I've decided to keep that recipe to myself. However, I am always more than happy to share a glass with you! Salute.