Saturday, September 13, 2014

Piedmont Pleasures: Carlo Giacosa's Barbaresco & Porcini Risotto

Welcome to our 4th Wine Pairing Weekend event. I was very excited when this month's theme was focused on regional food and wine pairings. Being a lover of Italian wine and having traveled throughout Italy, many regions came to mind, but a region I love for both their food and wine combined is Piedmont. Piedmont is located in northwestern Italy bordering Switzerland and France. I have written some articles of this region that you can enjoy this weekend. You must explore this regions wine and food and today we'll get you started!

I partnered with Elisa from Milk, Honey & Rum, which is a website dedicated to the culinary delights of the Piedmont region. Her website is great as you can search for recipes depending on seasons, types of food, different courses or even dietary restrictions. Elisa, being from Turin and having lived in Piedmont throughout her life, loves to share her fond memories of food and how it contributes to the lives of the Piedmont residents and those that enjoy the savory goodness from this region. Today I'll feature one of the recipes from Elisa's site. Another site whom I've enjoyed from the Piedmont region is Turin Epicurean. They share the local culture, food and wine of the region.

The fall is a wonderful time to be in Italy, especially Piedmont. Majority of the time I have traveled over to Italy has been in the fall. When I visited Piedmont last in 2009 it was also in October. Food festivals are in abundance in Piedmont with some of their prized cuisine including truffles and mushrooms.

Being a fan of mushrooms I couldn't bypass the recipe that Elisa shares on her site: a porcini mushroom risotto. Being in Italy this is a perfect time of year for tracking down porcinis. I remember visiting local folks that had husbands out hunting down truffles or maybe got lucky enough to find some porcinis to bring home for dinner. I wish I could walk out into my back yard or the local woods and find these specialities! You can view Elisa's full recipe and details to try on your own.

I followed Elisa's recipe, minus having the fresh porcini mushrooms, so I substituted them for the dried porcini mushrooms that I soaked in wine, trebbiano di montepulciano to be exact, while I was preparing the risotto. My addition to the end of the recipe was a 24 month aged parmesan cheese that I shaved on the top that I must say was quite delicious. I topped it off and opened my special 25 year aged DOP traditional balsamic vinegar that I purchased from Acetaia di Giorgio in Modena last October. Opening the bottle and smelling the balsamic again brought back my visit there and to my wonderful tasting. All I added were a few drops on the top of the risotto as the richness and density of the balsamic will make your taste buds go wild. 
Acetaia di Giorgio Traditional Balsamic Vinegarporcini mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms have a very distinct taste and earthiness along with a pungent smell. While I was cooking my meal I kept smelling the wonderful aromas of the porcinis soaking in the glass. For this food and wine pairing I chose a red wine that itself lends its earthiness and with porcini mushrooms being a meatier type of mushroom I felt this was a good option. One of my most memorable winery visits in Italy was to Carlo Giacosa's winery in Barbaresco so I chose to open his 2005 Montefico Barbaresco to pair with this meal. It's very hard for me to part with my treasures I bring back from Italy, but this being a special occasion and meal it was worth it! That just means I have to get back to Italy to replace any items I used of course. 
piedmont food: porcini risotto with balsamic and parmesan

Even after not finishing the bottle that night the wine was still in tact the next day with just as good structure. The color of the wine had an elegant tinge of orange around the edges. On the palate was full body, high acidity and well-integrated tannins. I picked up some candied strawberries with a hint of cherry and a little bit of spice. The lengthy finish was enjoyable to savor every taste and bite.
2005 Carlo Giacosa Montefico Barbaresco

Wine Spectator's review

“Aromas of crushed strawberry, with a hint of cherry, follow through to a full body, with a sudden flash of very ripe fruit and a long, caressing finish. Balanced and fruity. Best after 2011. 650 cases made. -JS
Score: 92. —James Suckling, September 30, 2008.”
Piedmont Food & Wine
Cin Cin!

Make this meal and enjoy a beautiful bottle of wine from this region and you'll feel that you have a piece of Italy, specifically Piedmont, at home!

Be sure to check out these great pairing from my fellow #winePW 4 bloggers!

Culinary Adventures with Camilla is posting "Chuletas de Cordero + Tempranillo"
Grape Experiences is pairing "Avantis Estate Malagousia 2013 and Greek Shrimp"
Curious Cuisiniere will share "Wisconsin Cheddar Grilled Cheese with Door County Winery's Peninsula Red"
foodwineclick is sharing "Minnesota Wine at the Midwestern Table"
Pull That Cork will be sharing "winePW 4: Sicily"
Confessions of a Culinary Diva will blog about "New Mexico: Burgers, Bubbles and Beer"
Rockin Red Blog will share about "A Rustic Meal in Valpolicella"
Cooking Chat is blogging about "A Paso Pairing: Grilled Tuna with Halter Ranch Syrah"

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you're reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme "Regional Food & Wine Pairings" on Saturday, September 13, from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. Questions for the chat are posted here on the #winePW site. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later! Stay tuned for the October Wine Pairing Weekend, which will focus on "Fall Fruits and Wine Pairings" on Saturday, October 11. ᐧ

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