Recently I was invited to Abbottega for an evening celebrating the food and wines of Rome. Put together by Sara De Bellis (a native of the eternal city) and her staff, it was a night of great conversation, lots of photographers snapping pictures (and making me feel like I'd "arrived,") and terrific food.
Giovanni Caveggia, wine representative from Principe Pallavicini, gave a thorough explanation of Roman wines, as we enjoyed them between courses of Sara's home town picks, including in-house baked breads, and focaccia and... well, an abundance of delicious food. In between eating, I got to hang out with with the hilarious Gennaro Pecchia, who kept me laughing in between keeping me in shots. Thank you, Gennaro. But most of all, grazie, Sara. Well done!
Presents "ABBOTTEGA WINE & DINE" A Cycle of Dinner Tasting Created to Divulge the Italian Regional Traditional Culture about "Wine&Dine"
Tuesday October 28th 8pm-10pm "Back to The Roman Roots"
The Traditional and Creative Roman Cuisine meets the Prestigious Principe Pallavicini Wines
Main Courses Gnocchi alla Romana Roman Gnocchi Mezze Maniche all’Amatriciana Half Rigatoni in tomato sauce, Pork Jowl and Pecorino Cheese Paired with Cesanese “Amarasco” 2012 Principe Pallavicini ∞ Costoletta d’Abbacchio con Panatura Rustica alla Mentuccia, Pannacotta al Pecorino Romano e Puntarelle in Salsa d’Alici Lamb Chop with Rustic breading and Mint With Pecorino flavored Pannacotta and Puntarellein Anchovies Sauce Paired with “Casa Romana” 2011 Principe Pallavicini
Dessert Crostata di Ricotta e Visciole Italian Tart with Cherry Sauce Ciambelline al Vino Dried Mini Wine Donuts Paired with“Stillato” 2012 Principe Pallavicini
Quite often I get a taste of some interesting wines, looking to my friend Gretchen on Instagram for help with her terrific descriptive details. Here are some wines I drank and asked her opinion on, along with an observance. Watch for oxidization, as sometimes it could be mixed up for mineral coming from limestone found often in vineyards.
This was a Austrian wine that has a mix of varieties, and went fairly well with seafood, with fruit and acidity nicely balanced.
Another wine with mixed varietals and price point. It's not a deep wine, but could go well with simple cheeses, chicken.
Considering this wine's reputation, my bottle was actually a dissapointment. Definitively has an oxidative quality. Gretchen seeing a negative comment about the bottle wrote back, "I knew immediately what it was!"
Such oxidative qualities clashed with my dinner of rigatoni grano arso and clams.
Gretchen wrote: "I say something with strong aromatics, and a touch sweet, Clash of Titans!"
Here is one I've missed since my first trying it in while in Rhode Island. Fabulous for seafood, this New Zealand wine has a big foot print, but is worth it.
And below is this jewel from Languedoc, a I.G.P. Wine, Cinsault grapes, which was delicious.
While doing a long walk around London's huge roads and parks, I got hungry. My wife's friend suggested Granger & Co., a Notting Hill neighborhood favorite. Chef Bill Granger, who also writes cookbooks, creates a distinctively Australian flavor to his casual food. We tried some fantastic hard apple cider, was so good I got another bottle. The beet dip and crudite were particularly good, with notes of cumin and a dollop of yogurt. I'd come back for dinner as the menu looks just as good, and chatting with the cooks in the back was a treat.
Anthony Bourdain first made me aware of Le Comptoir and its chef owner Yve's Camborde on his Paris "No Reservations" episode. Visiting France, I decided to get into this extremely popular twenty seater, having failed to make it for dinner one earlier evening, getting seats the next day with a friend.
Great simple, classic French fare similar to the terroir cooking I had been helping produce with my former boss Jean Michel Bergounoux back in the 90's, only with a lighter touch and without foam or meat glue. This is the kind of comfort French food I like and recognized.
For starters, we enjoyed a salad of foie gras with haricot vert, artichoke hearts and vinaigrette. Sublime, and just deliciously tickling the tongue and senses. Next a beouf braise aux carrotte (beef braised with carrots and macaroni!), and a wonderful Hachis parmentier of lamb,(shepards pie). Dessert, well it was hot, and I didn't fancy coffee after a nice demi-carafe of Bandol rosé, so a granité of coffee with a layer of coffee custard to guild the lilly.
Just right with the Paris sun blaring overhead and easily digested after a filling lunch.
Sometimes labels can catch your eye, especially when they're labeling drinkable substances. I have tasted a large number of beers labeled as local; Brooklyn Beer, Shmaltz brewing company and others. Shopping for supplies at Wholefoods this weekend, I spied lots of familiar labels of different style beers. There were the hugely popular Belgian krieks, IPAs and lagers, but this particular bottle had a look that reminded me of Alice-in-Wonderland, albeit with a David Bowie reference. It's called Pretty Thing, Jack'Dor-American Saison. Of course I snatched it up, and will taste it with some pizza. Who wants soda when you can have beer!
With some closer research, this is not only an Artisanal beer, it's a gypsy company based in Cambridge, with no home brewery, and working on a shoe string budget according to there homemade website! Just goes to show you how small business are the heart of this country!
Postscript: I Couldn't wait till tomorrow for the pizza! In any case it tasted great,no...Superb with a perfect foamy head, fabulous fruit tones, full bodied...get this stuff, it's addictive, and with my tuna crunchy sprout salad and walnut cranberry bread, mmmmm to die for!