Choose A WIne To Go With Pizza, Part I

It can be quite worthwhile to spend a little extra time, and perhaps a little extra money to match your wine and food. Artichokes are thistles. If you have never tried an artichoke pizza you really should. They are not really all that wierd tasting. Most people make them with canned artichoke hearts. For a real treat don’t drain off all the oil and spices. Once you get to know artichokes you may want to boil up a few and enjoy plucking the leaves, dipping them in a butter (go garlicky) sauce. And when you get to the heart? Put it on a pizza. The classic wine pairing for artichoke pizza is the Austrian Gruener Veltliner. Another good choice is a Portuguese Vinho Verde.

The most popular pizza cheese is Mozzarella, originally made with milk from water buffalos. I prefer whole milk (I’ve only tried cow milk) Mozzarella but many people go with the low fat cheese. Among the popular substitute cheeses are Munster, Jack, and Provolone. The classic four-cheese “quattro formaggi” Italian pizza is made with Mozzarella, Stracchino, Fontina, and gorgonzola. Sometimes you will find a Ricotta in the mix. The classic wine pairings for cheese pizza are Italian Barbera or Sangiovese wines and Zinfandel. Youmight also consider a Chardonnay or a Chianti.

The most popular Italian pizza tomato is the San Marzano, which comes from the Campania region of Southern Italy, the home of pizza for centuries. This tart, relatively seedless tomato is also prized for pasta dishes. These tomatoes are hand harvested so you will pay somewhat more for them. Look for the DOP (Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta) designation on the label. Simply open a can and mash them and you have the base for a great pizza sauce. The classical wine pairing for a fresh tomato pizza is a Cabernet Franc wine. You might also go with a Chianti or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Pepperoni is an Italian or Italian-style salami made from pork, beef, and just the right spices. It is most common pizza topping, garnishing over one third of all pizzas sold. Would you believe over 250 million pounds of pepperoni decorate American pizzas annually? There’s a fast-food joint not far from me that sells relatively inexpensive slices. I don’t like their pepperoni (bologna style) and I never went back. The classic wine pairings for pepperoni pizza is an Italian Barbera or Chianti wine. You might also consider a Zinfandel or a red wine from Southern Italy, not surprising since it’s the home of both pizza and pepperoni.

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