Sister Eve, Sister Moon: The story behind the name Evaluna

Nadia Zenato and her mother Carla Prospero, owners of the Sansonina estate, are both iconic women winemakers in their own right.

Each of them have lived and worked in an Italian wine world that was once dominated almost exclusively by men. But today, things are different: There are more prominent women winemakers in Italy than every before. And the current generation of Italian winemakers — Nadia’s generation — is driven in great part by women like her who have stepped up to lead their families’ wineries.

As two of the most famous women in Italian wine, they love to celebrate their family by drawing from historical references to women in literature and culture (including viticulture).

Just recently, here on the blog, we wrote about how the name Sansonina might have been inspired by the legend of a resilient woman who lived on their farm many decades before they acquired it in the 1990s.

And so it was only natural that the Sansonina estate’s second wine would also allude to a historic woman and a symbol of women and femininity: Evaluna, a portmanteau of Eva (meaning Eve, as in Eve and Adam) and luna (meaning moon in Italian).

When Nadia and Carla decided to revive an old Merlot vineyard and plant Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc on this historic estate, their neighbors didn’t exactly think they were crazy. But they wondered why the two women wanted to produce red wines in a land known primarily for its whites (the Lugana appellation to the south of Lake Garda).

And so Evaluna also represented a new “beginning” for the mother-and-daughter team, just as Eve was the first woman in western literature.

The moon, on the other hand, also represents the seasons and the cycles of life, key elements in the development and evolution of the great wines of the world.

Click here to read more about Evaluna, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, a red from the land of whites.

Evaluna at Lidia’s Kansas City where Lidia Bastianich shares her classic Italian cooking

Above: Classic eggplant alla parmigiana, layered with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and tomato at Lidia’s in Kansas City, one of Lidia Bastianich’s beloved restaurants across the U.S.

Our blog master once had the opportunity to sit down with Lidia Bastianich, one of the greatest Italian chefs of our times, and ask her what inspired her to become one of the architects of the current renaissance of Italian gastronomy in the U.S. and across the world.

“When you look at the great beauty of Italy,” she said. “It’s easy to understand why the Italians are such creative people. From the [historic] Renaissance to this day, Italians have made so many contributions to the arts and culture. It was only natural that Italian cooking would do the same.”

“I don’t know if I’ve been an architect of the Italian culinary renaissance as you put it,” she added graciously. “But when I am surrounded by this beauty and the goodness of the ingredients I find here, I know that I am inspired by them.”

It’s hard to overestimate Lidia’s contribution to the world of Italian cuisine. Between her books, her television show, and her wonderful cooking, she’s become a model and a guiding light for a generation of home and professional chefs, cooks, and food lovers.

We couldn’t be more proud that Sansonina Evaluva is being poured by the glass at her namesake restaurant in Kansas City.

Lidia’s Kansas City
101 W 22nd St.
Kansas City MO 64108
(816) 221-3722
Google map

Image via the Lidia’s Kansas City Facebook.

Sansonina Evaluna at Il Palio where one of Italian cuisine’s first ladies reigns

Above: Butternut squash cappellacci tossed in butter and sautéed sage and served over a generous slice of prosciutto, a classic dish from Parma at Margherita Aloi’s Il Palio in Shelton, Connecticut.

Anyone who lived and worked in the New York City food scene in the late 1990s remembers her groundbreaking work at the Manhattan restaurant Le Madri.

Margherita Aloi, born to a family of Piedmontese winemakers, was part of the new wave of Italian cuisine that took shape in the second half of the decade and the next 10 years that followed.

Her food was fantastic (we speak from personal experience) and it represented the then newfound celebration of truly authentic regional Italian gastronomy. It was a time when most Italian restaurants in New York and America were either “northern” or “southern,” even though those designations were essentially meaningless. For those who knew her cooking then, Margherita was widely considered one of the pioneers of the “new” Italian cooking.

But Margherita was also one of the first women in America to emerge as a celebrity chef in an industry where men had dominated the field. Today, the most popular Italian chef in New York is a woman. Back then, women chefs — let along executive chefs like Margherita — were few and far between. Margherita was among the first to break that glass ceiling. And it made her cooking all the more refreshing and compelling.

We couldn’t be more proud that Sansonina Evaluna is currently being served at her Shelton, Connecticut restaurant Il Palio, a dining destination known as much for its ambiance (it’s located in an impressive stone house on a beautiful property) as for its celebration of authentic Italian foodways.

Chef Margherita, chapeau bas!

Il Palio
5 Corporate Dr.
Shelton CT 06484
(203) 944-0770
Google map

Image via the Il Palio Facebook.