Tag Archives: Chianti Candleholder

Chianti and the Fiasco

20 Apr

In the May/June issue of La Cucina Italiana,  www.lacucinaitalianamag.com, there is an interesting article on the last page entitled what a fiasco. The fiasco the article refers to is not a disaster or a problem. Instead, it tells the history of the straw clad Chianti basket, the fiasco.

Vin Chianti

Chianti Bottles

Of course, we all remember the bottle…a not too long neck that flowed into a rounded bottle nestled in a straw basket. When empty, the bottle served as a wonderful candleholder. Back in the day, I would vary the candle color to add a rainbow effect to the mountain of drippings that hugged the bottle’s curves. While I have none left, I did find this on a site called The Cottage and it looks just like mine did after burning a few candles.

As the La Cucina article correctly reminds us, “No first date was complete with out a Chianti bottle candleholder on the table, and no image of the bottle was as iconic as the spaghetti scene in The Lady and The Tramp.”

Disney Lady and the Tramp

Disney Lady and the Tramp

But back to the history…Long before commercial trucking was available, bottles of wine were carried on horse drawn carts, up and down hills and through winding roads. Not surprisingly, the bottles could rub against each other and break, especially when a single cart could carry more than 3000 kilos of wine. In order to protect them, the Chianti bottles were wrapped in straw.


Wine delivery, Florence, Italy, Circa 1920 (La Cucina Italiana article)

This great photo shows Chianti fiaschi arriving in Florence  via horse drawn carriage,  a few workers, and no broken bottles. So  next time you pour Chianti from regular wine bottles, and some very good ones at that, raise a glass to the simple ingenuity of times gone by, and remember, a fiasco can be a good thing!



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