Marsala wine

 

Marsala wine is available as a dry or sweet wine and is used extensively in Italian cooking.

The wine is a fortified and contains between 17-18% alcohol. Unfortified wines contain around 12% alcohol.

marsala wine

Marsala wine originated in the city of Marsala in Sicily, Italy. The English trader John Woodhouse after arriving at the port of Marsala and tasting the local wines soon realised its economic potential. He set up an export business in the 1770’s in Marsala where the wine was exported abroad.

Marsala wine was originally fortified by adding brandy, a spirit distilled from wine. This was done to help preserve the wine on long sea voyages to England and to America where fluctuating temperatures would encourage the growth of spoilage organisms. The fortified wines became very popular at their destinations because of the increased alcoholic content.

Today, marsala wine is used in Italian cooking. Marsala is the key ingredient of any veal marsala or chicken marsala recipe.

sweet marsala wine

Marsala wine is available in many different brands as a sweet or a dry wine. The brand ‘Florio sweet’ comes direct from Sicily and is a favourite wine used by many chiefs in the cooking a variety of marsala dishes. Some cooks however, prefer dry marsala wine or to dilute the sweet marsala with a dry white wine..

In chicken marsala, chicken breasts halves are pounded and then lightly coated with flour and braised in a mixture of Marsala wine, olive oil, garlic, butter and mushrooms. This sauce is reduced amongst a mixture of shallots, onions, mushrooms, spices and herbs to produce a rich complex overpowering sauce. This forms the basis for a wide variety of recipes from veal marsala to chicken marsala.