Sunday, May 24, 2015

Part 2: Italian Food & Wine Pairings at the Tuscan Kitchen

This is part 2 of my visit earlier this week to my favorite local Italian establishment for a behind the
scenes tour of the Tuscan Market. After a wonderful introduction to how the Tuscan Brands got started by the owner himself, Joe Faro, we were given a dynamic and informative tour by Executive Chef, Edward Payne. What's even better after the tour was the wine and food pairing luncheon that followed. What more could be better than a Tuscan food and wine luncheon? Bring your appetities for these wine and food pairings led by Wine Director Joe Comforti.
Wine Director Joe Comforti Tuscan Kitchen with Zonin Prosecco
Wine Director, Joe Comforti, with our first pairing of Zonin Prosecco
Executive Chef Edward Payne Tuscan Kitchen
Executive Chef, Edward Payne
We first started off with their classic antipasti platter with a large variety of yumminess. It includes everything from carmelized onion, olives, roasted tomatoes, artichokes, mozzarella burata, roasted peppers, portobello mushrooms, cured meats and specialty cheese along with the icing on the cake, a delicious truffle honey. This dish was paired with the Zonin prosecco, with prosecco being a great pairing as an apertif with this variety of antipasti.
Italian antipasti: artichokes, cured meats, truffle honey
Next were a variety of wonderful small slices of panini including a caprese with heirloom tomato, mozzarella and basil as well as an Italian grinder with spicy coppa, soppressata, prosciutto di parma, hot pepper and mozzarella and lastly which was my favorite a porchetta panini with sliced pork, marscapone, pear mostarda, roasted onion and rucola. These panini were paired with a 2013 Tenuta di Nozzole Le Bruniche Toscana Chardonnay that complimented the many varieties in the panini. I didn't try the spicy Italian grinder though as I'm not a fan of spice so I can't speak for that pairing.
2013 Tenute di Nozzole Le Bruniche Chardonnay
Variety of Panini at Tuscan Market
Now start the 4 courses of pasta dishes increasing in greatness. We started with an orecchiette bolognese followed by a ravioli ai quattro formaggi “4 cheese ravioli”. The ravioli was very creamy and the homemade pasta here is what makes the difference in the quality of their pasta. The third pasta dish has always been one of my favorites, a cappellacci di zucca “butternut squash cappellacci” in a sage butter sauce with crushed amaretti and parmigiano. Lastly, being the best gnocchi I ever had was a truffle marscapone gnocchi topped with shallots, oyster mushrooms in a white wine and thyme sauce. All these dishes were paired with nothing but a good ol' Tuscan chianti, Amadeo chianti.
Amadeo Chianti
Quattro Formaggi Ravioli
Quattro Formaggi Ravioli
Orecchiette Bolognese
Orecchiette Bolognese
Truffle filled marscapone gnocchi
Truffle filled marscapone gnocchi
Butternut squash cappellacci
Butternut Squash Cappellacci
As if all that wasn't enough we finished with 2 tiramisu and some homemade gelato. They served the classic tiramisu and a limoncello tiramisu followed by a large variety of their homemade gelato of all kinds. Nothing like a refreshing sorbet at the end of a meal like this with the mango being one of my favorites. These were paired with a Michele Chiarlo Nivole Moscato d'Asti. I'm always up for a good dessert wine to finish any meal.
Variety of gelato at Tuscan Market
Creamy Homemade Gelato
Tiramisu wine pairing
Limoncello tiramisu
Of course I have a special place in my heart for Italian food and wine pairings as you know and with pairings like this with fresh homemade products and delicious entrees with ingredients imported from Italy least to say I was in heaven. I hope you enjoyed my experience!

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