Curious Appetite

food and wine pairing

3 Fine Food & Wine Pairing Fails- Lessons from Italian Sommelier Training

oysters & bubbles- you’re doing it wrong

Hey readers! I’m sorry I’ve been rather quiet on the blog. The last couple months have been intense- from launching a food & negroni club, managing my food tour hustle, writing articles for Eater and now currently traveling like a crazy woman in the USA between LA, Seattle and San Francisco. Not to mention, having just completed an Italian Sommelier certification with FISAR Firenze which I had been following for the last year. Officially I have completed all 3 levels and now am one big exam away from Italian Sommelier status. Yikes!

The last level still fresh on my mind was Level 3: Food & Wine Pairing. With the holidays among us, I’d like to offer you some useful life tips which you may apply during current festivities and the holiday gatherings to come. In short, if you’ve been pairing turkey or steak with Brunello, oysters or caviar with champagne or truffles with Barolo- you’re doing it wrong. Read on to know why! Continue Reading

Elk Ragu’ Tagliatelle and Wine Pairing

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

Aperitivo Snacks: Gourmet Crostini with Ricotta + Pistachios

I occasionally cook, it is the root of my love affair. Not to suggest I am great in the kitchen, I simply appreciate the work that goes into cooking. And to be frank, if I am paying someone else for that work- it better be worth it.

One of the things I love to make the most when I host people are aperitivo snacks. If you’ve read anything on this blog, you’ve hopefully gathered by now that I’m aperi-obsessed.  I could have a whole dinner just on finger foods and aperitivo snacks. You can be creative and arrange beautiful looking spreads, while creating a social atmosphere around eating.

I invent things mostly on what I think flavors would go together- I like to experiment. A recent experiment brought me these crusty crostini chunks of delight:

Aperi-Crostini

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