Grape Must Pudding (Sugoli)

September is an exciting time of the year in Italy. The season is turning, the heat is less sweltering, and everywhere you’ll find festivals celebrating all sorts of products. Among these, the festivals of the vendemmia (grape harvest) are the most famous, widespread and fun.

Veneto has a time-honoured winemaking tradition that involves pretty much the entire region. However, in the area where I grew up, which hasn’t a particular vocation for wine, lesser varieties were planted and then turned into simple wines for everyday consumption.

In the past, the grape harvest used to employ large parts of the peasant workforce. Seasonal workers would break their back for little money, but they would at least be able to take home some bunches of grapes, perhaps the damaged ones, to eat and cook. From these grapes, thrifty countryside women (including those in my family) would then pull out a sweet pudding called sugoli – a thick, sugar laden sweet treat that was perfect to boost the energy levels of the vendemmiatori. They were what one would call a poor man’s feast.

The name sùgoli comes from the word sugo (juice). It is, in its essence, nothing more than a grape juice pudding. The recipe is as easy as it sounds: just grapes, flour and, perhaps, some sugar. The only thing you’ll need is a fine masher or, better still, a food mill. The rest will come along in no time.


 1,5 kg wine grapes
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon caster sugar, or to taste

Wash grapes and place them in a large saucepan over a low heat with  60ml/ 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer until grapes have busted, about 5 minutes. Using a masher or a strainer, separate the juice from seeds and skins. Let the juice cool.

Put the juice back in the saucepan over low heat and add the flour (and, if used, the sugar), whisking energetically to avoid lumps. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about ten minutes, until the sauce becomes thick and dense. Remove from heat and pour into serving cups. Let cool, then store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve cold.



  1. Rosa's Yummy Yums September 11, 2012

    Gorgeous grape pictures and a delicious pudding!



  2. l'albero della carambola September 11, 2012

    Passare di qui è sempre piacevole e…trovare queste foto bellissime e questa ricetta "della memoria" lo è ancora di più! Complimenti, un saluto

  3. Emiko September 11, 2012

    I love this: the connection with your family, the season and the recipe itself. I've never been able to find concord grapes here in Australia, much to my disappointment as they are a favourite for making schiacciata all'uva. Will have to maybe steal some wine grapes from winemaker friends! By the way, Marco (who does not have a sweet tooth AT ALL) said, "si fa?" when I showed him this post! 😉

    • Linda September 12, 2012

      I can totally sympathize with both of you! Concord grapes are all I can find here, in New York City. I miss muscat grapes, which we used to buy in bulk every year in California.

    • Valeria September 16, 2012

      Eheh, I can see how this recipe creates some nostalgic longings in Italian expats –its simple flavors just hit the right spots, I guess. As for the grapes, it is very sad to see those engineered seedless grapes replacing the "old" ones.

  4. Reb September 11, 2012

    Solo chi ha luce dentro, può catturare questa luce fuori. Val'etta, arrivo eh, sei sempre nei miei pensieri. For now, just a hug, a big one.

  5. Mela e Cannella September 11, 2012

    Meraviglia delle meraviglie in questo posto foto divine e calde e ricetta incantevole della nostra tradizione amo e adoro

  6. Juls @ JulsKitchen September 12, 2012

    ok, I will tell this in English, so I might not be prosecuted by law! I decided to steal some grapes from a nearby field, since in the supermarket the wine grape was damn expensive, almost like buying jewels… and we're in Italy!!
    This said, I love the recipe, and I totally agree about the seasonal food and how different it could be, not to mention the food of the poor that is now the food of the rich people.. think at chestnut flour, just to mention an item!
    Lovely post, I love your blog Val, every day more and more!

    • Valeria September 16, 2012

      Or baccalà, which now costs like a kidney! Or the offal parts served at St John here in London…Thanks dear, you know how much I value your opinion. Lets keep going with this, it pushes me to do always better.

  7. Silvia September 13, 2012

    Mi sento di giocare un po' in casa anche io oggi:-) Mio papà, che è veneto, mi ha sempre parlato di questo budino di mosto che gli davano ogni autunno da mangiare, lì per lì, mi raccontava, non lo sopportava, mentre adesso farebbe di tutto per rimangiarlo.. Quasi quasi potrei fargli una sorpresa ed usare la tua ricetta??!!!
    Per i grappoli d'uva, lo so, essere a Londra ti fa capire quanto noi siamo privilegiati per quantità, qualità e prezzo della frutta/verdura a cui possiamo attingere, e adesso che vivo qui mi sento quasi in colpa di vedere tanti filari d'uva e non potertene portare neanche un po'!
    Foto superbe come sempre, bravissima

    • Valeria September 16, 2012

      Ah, la memoria edulcorata, mi piace molto questa cosa a dire il vero, perché è successa la stessa identica cosa a me scrivendo e facendo questa ricetta. Fagliela, la sorpresa, sono sicura che gli piacerebbe! Goditi quel paradiso appartato che è Bra/Pollenzo fin che puoi, tu che hai provato anche Londra e sai di cosa parlo…Avrà sempre un posto d'onore dentro di te.


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