Did You Know? (Isinglass)
LoGrasso’s Café & Bistro at Isinglass Place, 13 Railroad Ave. in Rockport is located upstairs in the building that once was home to the Rockport Twine & Rope Factory where my father worked in the 60’s and early 70’s. Prior to that it was the Cape Ann Isinglass and Glue Company, formed in 1868 by the firm of J.J. Manning & Brother (William).
Isinglass is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish, originally sturgeon, but now primarily cod and hake. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized gluing purposes, such as repairing parchment. The swim bladders or sounds of certain fish are largely composed of that variety of gelatin called isinglass. The sounds are manufactured into isinglass by a mechanical operation which consists of passing the macerated sounds successively between several sets of rollers, the first set kneading the sounds into a homogeneous sheet, and the subsequent sets squeezing and elongating the sheets into the ribbons of isinglass known to commerce.
Isinglass is a protein-based clarifier that has been traditionally used by commercial wineries and is preferred by some winemakers because of the softer, gentler effect it has on the color and body of the wine. It is very effective in adding a high polish to white and blush wines.
Wouldn’t it be cool if LoGrasso’s served isinglass clarified wines. Unfortunately it is a BYOB establishment, so you would have to find and bring your own.