Grape Bread is a traditional festive food both in France and in Italy which is made to celebrate the grape harvest. In the late 1800s people started to use bread dough instead of the more liquid cake dough. The baker would place a layer of bread, fill the form with grapes, add sugar, and then close with another layer of bread. A few grapes placed strategically on top and more sugar the dough is then cooked as normal bread.
For the Dough
25g dried yeast
350g plain white flour
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the Filling
1kg black grapes
Extra virgin olive oil
Dissolve the yeast in a little warm water and add to the flour, oil, two tablespoons sugar and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Mix together rapidly, form into a round ball, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for two hours. Using small, black wine grapes carefully remove the stalks, put in a colander, wash and leave to dry.
Divide the dough in two and roll out into rectangles the same size as the baking tray you are using. Put one piece in the greased tray and top with half of the grapes. Sprinkle with a little sugar and put the second rectangle of dough on top. Cover with the remaining grapes and a little sugar. Warm some oil with rosemary leaves in it and drizzle over the top of the bread. Put in the oven at 180°C. and cook for about 40 minutes.
The grape bread smells delicious and the perfect wine to wash it down with is Clos Bernasse (£4.75). It's a wine from Bergerac which lies either side of the River Dordogne, east of St. Emilion and Cotes de Castillon. Cotes de Bergerac Reds are well structured with aromas of preserved fruit such as prunes. Clos Bernasse is a lovely red wine to drink in the summer with its superb concentration of ripe black fruits and vanilla. It has a perfumed plum and eucalyptus smell with a hint of figs and is soft and fully mature. Enjoy!
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