Classic Italian Food And Wine Pairings – Lombardy Dishes And Red Wine

Poor old Lombardy in northern Italy has no seacoast. So she has to make do with some of the finest lakes in all of Europe. The region also includes mountainous territory, hardly a surprise since its northern neighbor is Switzerland. Lombardy’s capital is Milan, the financial, fashion, and media center of Italy. Did we mention the region’s voluminous agricultural output? Expect to find fine wine and food in this lovely region.

You might start with one of Italy’s best loved soups, Zuppa Pavese (Egg and Bread Soup). The recipe is simple but does require some manipulation. Enjoy it with Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC from the neighboring region of Emilia-Romagna. It’s almost surprising to find a suggested wine pairing for Zuppa Pavese as bread, eggs, and soup are all difficult to pair.

One of Lombardy’s signature dishes is Risotto alla Milanese (Risotto with Saffron). It’s made with dry white wine, onion, Parmesan cheese, a few other ingredients, and optionally (recommended) beef marrow. While it may be served with white wine, red wine choices include the local Botticino DOC or San Colombano al Lambro DOC if you can find them outside of Italy and the local Valtellina Rosso, also known as Rosso di Valtellina DOC. You might want to pay more and get a Superiore designation on the bottle. The Valtellinas are based on Italy’s finest red grape, Nebbiolo, which is called Chiavennasca in Lombardy.

Cassoeula (Pork Rib and Sausage Stew) is a hearty winter time meal, which is made with the title ingredients, a few vegetables, pork rind, an optional pig’s foot, and lots and lots of Savoy cabbage. Enjoy it with Dolcetto d’Asti DOC or Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC (you can also try the Superiore DOCG) all coming from the neighboring region of Piedmont or the local Valtellina Rosso DOC mentioned above.

Make sure that you try Milan’s signature dish, Costoletta alla Milanese (Veal Chop Milanese Style) whose preparation is simple once you’ve dipped the chops in milk for half an hour and breaded them. They fry up very quickly. Recommended wine pairings include Bardolino Superiore DOCG from the neighboring Veneto region and the Ligurian Rossese di Dolceacqua DOC, also known as Dolceacqua DOC. Be warned; this last wine may have a quite distinctive herbal, resiny taste. It’s easier to find a Sangiovese-based wine such as the Tuscan Chianti DOCG or Chianti Classico DOCG. If you are ambitious try preparing a Lepre in Salmi’ (Hare in Salmi’ Lombard Style) in which the meat is first roasted and then stewed. The ingredients are too many to list here and include the red Piedmont Barbera wine and Grappa, an Italian brandy. You will enjoy this magnificent dish with a series of Piedmont reds including Barbaresco DOCG, Barolo DOCG, Gattinara DOCG, Ghemme DOCG, the Tuscan Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, a Taurasi DOCG if you want a southern wine (Campania), or a local Valtellina Superiore DOCG. I think I’d choose the Barolo or the Brunello.

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