Local Pittsburgh Winery, La Vigneta

La Vigneta Winery is a Pittsburgh homemade wine business owned in part by a friend of mine, Francesca. She makes moscato so she’s my friend. Just kidding shes a fabulous lady, I admire for going after her dreams! You can now find this La Vigneta wine all over farmer’s markets in the Pittsburgh area, but the business was grown from a first batch made in a Pittsburgh basement.

Francesca’s Dad taught her about homemade wine making. Owning a catering business he experimented with making wine in his Greensburg home in glass car boys. He’s originally from Alia, Sicily. This is where he learned to make wine in an authentic, old-fashioned way!

In 2013 Francesca was inspired by how good the homemade wine was and ordered a batch of pressed juice from California. With her Dad’s help Francesca started making wine in her Brookline home’s basement in. May 10th 2013 was their first day selling together at a Mt. Lebanon farmers market.

Creating their first batch of Petite Sirah, a dry red wine and now their most popular red wine a Sangiovese. The later was actually not what they intended to create they accidentally ordered it! They created 30 cases this first season. The first commercial batch sold featured the same wine base 3 different ways, sold as dry, semi dry and sweet, starting their wine experimentation.

An Italian family member helped name the wine business. La vigneta means the little vineyard in Italian. There’s a small town in Tuscany called Vigneta with hotel called Hotel Il Grotto. This is someplace Francesca hopes to visit one day to celebrate the success of their homegrown wines.

Now they create anywhere from 8-12 wines based on the season. Their moscato is their number one selling white wine! They use it in an apple pie cocktail, using other local proprietor Paul Family Farms maple syrup!

Francesca and her family have also added to the excitement, moving to a 17 acre farm in Sarver PA. They plan to continue expansion, with a tasting room open to the public. On the property they grow grapes and blueberries and are renovating a beautiful old farmhouse. They have plenty to celebrate being slated to sell over 7,000 bottles of wine this year!

Next time you’re at a local farmer’s market make sure to look out for the La Vigneta Winery booth to try their delicous wine. You can La Vignetta at local wine festivals all around the Pittsburgh area, like we the Ligonier Country Market every Saturday. La Vignetta is giving me another reason to look forward to the upcoming Fort Ligonier Days festival!

I know what I'm doing this weekend @lavignetawinery

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Paul Family Farms Maple Syrup

paul family farms maple syrup

Paul Family Farms is a producer of small batch maple syrup on a family farm located in Potter County. The family is continuing their predecessors tradition of creating small batch, wood-fired PA maple syrup.

Its some seriously delicious maple syrup. Perfect for Sunday morning pancakes. You can find this sweet nectar at local Pittsburgh Farmer’s markets and in local specialty foods like the Maple Bourbon Ice Cream from Millie’s Pittsburgh, breakfast pizza from Iron Born of Smallman Galley or the Sticky Peach wine from KingView Mead. Definitely a delicious foodie find 🙂

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Pittsburgh Italian, DiAnoia’s Eatery

Pittsburgh Italian dianoia's eatery strip district

After months of salivating over the foodie community’s Instagrams I finally made it to Pittsburgh Italian restaurant DiAnoia’s Eatery. Located in the culinary hub of the Strip District, I was pleasantly surprised at how charming this spot is!

I walked and immediately gushed over the chandeliers that are made of  WINE BOTTLES and WINE GLASSES!? I immediately felt at home.

Pittsburgh Italian dianoia's eatery strip district

It’s a beautiful space feeling open, clean and fresh with white walls, highlighted with unique kitschy decor.

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I meet my two girlfriends on a Tuesday for a 6pm reservation. After a long day at the office we were ready for wine & carbs! DiAnoias does have a lovely light white moscato (from the dessert menu hahaha). I was thrilled.

We had a very sweet & charming waiter who was subjected to our gushing girl talk. He was great and added to our amazing experience.

For my meal I ordered Cacio E Pepe of spaghetti, grana padano, pecorino romano, black pepper. With handmade pasta and delicious cheese it was a very fulfilling, deliciously rish dish.

My friend ordered the mussels with bucatini, fennel, red pepper flake, parmigiano reggiano, white wine, garlic and butter.

My camera-shy girlfriend ordered potato gnocchi, with meatballs, red sauce, and pecorino romano.

For dessert I treated myself to more indulgence with a Nutella brownie and hazelnut gelato from local Shadyside Millie’s Homemade Ice Cream. My brownie was certainly a treat, with warm gooey nutella and fudgey bits.

I’m really glad we got to experience this charming Pittsburgh Italian restaurant. I can’t wait for an opportunity to return to  DiAnoia’s Eatery for dinner again,  and hopefully for Sunday brunch as well!

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Pittsburgh’s Foodie Spot, Smallman Galley

The highlight of my weekend was a burger. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of my weekend was definitely amazing with unusually beautiful weather for November in Pittsburgh, but this burger was even better.

My journey to this burger started with what else other than the gold mine that is Instagram. Every Pittsburgher I follow has been abuzz with the Smallman Galley, a chef incubator, for a while now. I decided it was my turn to experience the hype.

Smallman Galley is a, “launch pad for the best new restaurant concepts in Pittsburgh”. A unique space housing 4 restaurant concepts, a full bar, and a coffee bar. The creators of Smallman Galley, “cultivate and accelerate undiscovered Chefs by providing a forum to showcase their capabilities, hone their craft, develop business acumen, and build a cult following behind their concepts.” With four fully outfitted kitchens and seats for 200 guests, the infrastructure is there for chefs to bring their concepts to market with low-risk and low-cost.
Smallman Galley Pittsburgh
I had a hard time deciding what to order with 4 unique chefs and plenty of creative menu offerings. The Burger of the Moment special by Provisions caught my eye. I did have a bit of FOMO after placing my order. I was in a food & chef incubator with all these fun dishes and I went with a burger…? I’m meant to be an experimental foodie. But I am so glad I did choose the burger. I am serious when I say it was amazing. Through my life travels (haha minuscule) I’ve tipped my toes into the world of unique “artisan” burgers. Gordon Ramsey’s lamb & goats cheese burger is at the top of my list. This burger of the moment by Provisions joined that top 5 list, conquering my FOMO.
I wish I would have taken a picture of the description of the burger. What I do remember is that is was involved smoked blue cheese, onion jam, and maybe a whole grain mustard of sorts? All I remember is that it was tasty, juicy and I barely shared a bite with my boyfriend. Even the fries were unique! If you’re not into salty you might not like these fries, but I am. So I loved them. They were crisp, not greasy, very salty (celery salt maybe?), but also seasoned well (parsley maybe?) for an added dimension of flavor. I am so over plain boring fries.
UPDATE here is the full description from Provisions : Beef Pattie | Smoked Blue Cheese | Bacon | Whole Grain Mustard Aioli | Organic Greens | Onion Jam | Cheddar | Sesame Challah Bun
My BF had middle neck calms in a light saffron broth by Aubergine Bistro. Not really my thing, but he thoroughly enjoyed the dish.
Smallman Galley Pittsburgh
I can’t wait to return for another meal at the Smallman Gallery, especially if I’m in the mood for a burger.
Smallman Galley Pittsburgh

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