There are a few things that stuck in my head during my food & wine pairing classes. Old adages like “what grows together, goes together”, you might say. One was related to pairing chocolates and wine. My ever so flamboyant instructor, who probably drank more in class than we did, asked “who in here likes red wine and chocolate?” You can imagine that mostly of us rose our hands and to our reply he said “You probably like it, but it’s actually one of the worst pairings. It’s kind of like sex on the beach- it sounds like a good idea in theory- beach, sex…but then the reality kicks in and you got sand and all that ruining the mood.” Continue Reading →
Food & Wine
This big ol’ blob of red mush is one of my favorite things to make in the winter: ragu’. When serving ragu’, you “should” toss the sauce with all the pasta before plating. I on the other hand like mixing it all in the serving plate, I guess its that kid in me that enjoys playing with food. Instead of beef and/or pork, I used Elk sausage I found at Uli’s in Pike Place Market in Seattle (since I’m visiting for the winter). Why Elk? Out of curiosity, of course! I’ve been happy with wild boar in the past and wanted to experiment. If you are in Italy, you can try deer or cervo for a similar game-y effect.
Oh! And did you know that there is a deeper meaning to the term: ragu’? According to The Gourmet Wino, “the word ragu is a derivative of the french verb ragouter which means “to stimulate appetite.” In Italy, “Ragu” it is a staple tomato based meat sauce cooked/simmered for hours with celery, onions, carrots, wine and garlic and is traditional to the north of Italy, but also in the central region of Tuscany.”
Regions have variations on ragu’, like in Bologna they are known to add a cinnamon stick to the pot’ o meat and in Tuscany, there are historical variations such as “ragu bianco” which was common during Medieval and Renaissance times, made without tomatoes since tomatoes did not become strongly apart of the Italian food repertoire until later. Continue Reading →
Last year, I discovered a pretty chic gourmet nook in Florence smack dab in the historical center yet in a little backstreet that the massive hoards would have difficulty in finding. Everybody wants “off-the-beaten-path in Florence” in one of the most heavily stomped cities in Europe. If there was a literal representation of a quality food & wine bar off the beaten path in Florence, it was Uscio e Bottega:. Continue Reading →
Hello, all! Whether you’ve google’d me or follow me already (hopefully no trolls)- I got some news to share! I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front but I wanted to let you know that this Thursday July 9th, I’m inviting a few of my readers to come drink wines and nibble on food pairings with me at a private vertical food and wine tasting in Florence. The tasting is hosted and organized by a very well-respected wine bar by winos and industry pros world over, and I am lucky that one of the owners extends me an invite for a private table- which spots I offer to my readers. The event is in Italian and I will be translating for the guests at my table if need be.
We will be doing a vertical tasting of wines from the precious area of Montalcino at a very secluded wine bar in the heart of Florence, both Rosso di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino. There will be food pairings with each wine pouring (5 total) and will include local artisan cheeses, cured meats (like fennel wild boar salumi), gourmet crostini and truffle panini. Wine and snacks will be plenty- bring an appetite and thirst!
Apart from the Langhe, Montalcino holds a special favored place in my wino heart. The night will showcase a very unique producer Agostina Pieri, who do very traditional nearly perfect reds from Montalcino- hand-picking every bunch from the region’s nearly perfect satellite in Castelnuovo dell’Abate. Reds are still divine in summer- especially if you know how to store/serveAgostina Pieri them well!
Their wines are considered sensational across the wine journalism world- and has received considerable accolade from Wine Advocate and awards from Italy’s own Gambero Rosso food and wine guide publication.
Why come? This is a private wine tasting event that is by invite only, hence a very exclusive opportunity to experience Italian wine tasting culture in Florence with locals. The bar that hosts this event specializes in small batch wineries and producers off the mass produced map. All of the snacks they serve come from local farms and artisan cheese makers, for example.
July 9th 2015 at 9:30pm. The cost is 25eu and includes 5 wines and snacks. Contact me to RSVP and to receive info on the venue. Since notice is so short- please only e-mail if you are sincerely interested in joining. Spaces are limited! RSVP now!Photo credit: http://www.pieriagostina.it/en/gallery.php%5B/caption%5D
p.s. No trolls allowed!
In your summertime wine,
The Curious Appetite
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One hope in my gourmet work, is that I promote the revival of some food traditions that are seemingly becoming garbage, such as Aperitivo. Why is it becoming garbage- there are more and more bars boasting Aperitivo more than ever. Precisely!
To me, the concept of Aperitivo is to have a snack and a light appetite-stimulating drink (socially) before dinner. Aperitivo is not dinner and I shun the current wave of “aperi-cena” Continue Reading →
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