Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a glass of mulled wine, like this Italian-inspired version!
Although it’s been unseasonably warm for much of December, a glass of mulled wine is still a wonderful part of Christmas.
Recently, Thomas J Fudge’s sent me some of their Florentines to try, and challenged me to create a mulled wine recipe to go with them.The Florentines themselves are absolutely delicious – full of nuts and juicy cranberries in delicious chewy caramel, and with a thick coating of luscious milk chocolate on the bottom.
Because of their name, I always assumed that Florentines originally came from Florence in Italy. But a little internet research showed that their origins are unclear. They could have been created in Britain, the United States, or possibly Italy.
And that got me thinking about whether they drink mulled wine in Italy. I know that there’s a tradition of drinking hot, spiced wine in much of northern Europe and into the Alps. So I thought it was likely that it’s also enjoyed in Northern Italy.
Sure enough, they love mulled wine in Italy as well, except they know it as Vin Brûlé. It’s interesting that it has a French name, but not the same name that they use in France!
Anyway, I used Vin Brûlé as the basis of my Italian-inspired Mulled Wine. It’s a delicious, lightly spiced wine that has a smooth flavour thanks to the honey and vanilla that I added.
When you are choosing a wine to use, I would go for something like a Cabernet Sauvignon rather than the more delicate Tarango that I like to use in my usual Mulled Wine recipe.
Make sure you pick a decent bottle, but you don’t need to buy a top-end wine.
I don’t like a lot of citrus in my mulled wine, but if you do then feel free to add the zest and juice of an unwaxed lemon as well. And feel free to increase or decrease the amount of brandy to taste, or substitute grappa if you have any to hand.