Pair Up with La Sommelierre - December 2013
The holidays are laden with feasts for families and gatherings for groups. Sometimes an intimate dinner for two is a welcome respite from the holiday cacophony. Here is a menu that celebrates the best that Northern Italy has to offer, with delicious wines from the region and recipes that are quick and easy to make on a smaller scale.
I found this great recipe for Crispy Prosciutto Cups with Pear and thought it would be a fun twist on the classic prosciutto and melon starter. Although the recipe makes 24 cups, it could easily be divided into thirds to make a better portion for two people. The perfect partner for these salty-sweet bites is Italian Prosecco, an off-dry sparkler from the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions. The bubbles are a romantic way to start the evening and will cut through the fat of the meat and complement the sweetness of the pears. Even the lemon drizzled on the pears will resonate with the citrus flavors in the wine.
While the appetizer for this meal is light and delicate, Rosemary Lamb Chops with Red Wine Reduction is hearty. Serve it with Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara or Ghemme. All these wines are made from the Nebbiolo grape and come from the Piedmont region. Nebbiolo based wines offer earthy aromas of herbs and tar along with sweet fruit notes of cherry and fig. Any one of these wines would be harmonious with the slightly gamey flavor of the lamb. Alongside, serve some creamy polenta and your favorite roasted vegetable.
Conclude your Italian tête-à-tête with the wine and dessert pairing of Recioto and Sbrisolona, a Lombardian cake with a crumbly texture. Another blended wine, Recioto, is made primarily from Rondinella, Corvina, and Molinara. It comes from the Veneto region, where only the best grapes are selected. They harvest only the highest, ripest grapes on the bunch, the part that gets the most sun. In Veronese, they call these grapes the “recia” (“ears”) of the grapes. Once the grapes are dried, the small amount of juice liberated results in tiny quantities of Recioto produced each year. The wine has a beautiful, crushed velvet texture, a spicy bouquet, and hints of dried plums and chocolate on the palate.
So, go on. Pair Up!
Find recipes online at www.lasommelierre.com