Regional Italian Food And Wine Pairings – White Wine And Molise Dishes

Molise is a small region of central eastern Italy sitting on the Adriatic Sea. It is one of the most unspoiled regions of Italy, about 90% hills and mountains. As you might well guess, many white wine pairings involve fish and seafood. However, there are also some surprises.

You will not get hurt from eating Zuppa di Ortiche (Nettle Soup) often made from early spring nettle sprouts with tomato and bacon. However, if you’re not careful gathering the nettles, you’ll know why they are called stinging nettles. Enjoy this unusual soup with an Italian Sauvignon Blanc.

Insalata all’Abruzzese (Vegetable and Tuna Salad) is Abruzzi’s answer to France’s famous Salade Nicoise. The Abruzzi version is made from zucchini, green beans, red pepper, red onions, tomatoes, anchovy fillets, canned tuna, and some other goodies. You might wish to enjoy this summer dish with a Vermentino di Sardegna DOC or a more expensive Vermentino di Gallura DOCG that comes from the island of Sardinia.

Trota ai Ferri (Grilled Trout) is rather easy to make.You simply season a trout with olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. Grill, ideally over charcoal. Serve with lemon and an Italian Gewurztraminer, Riesling, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Another fine fish dish is Triglie Fritte (Fried Red Mullets), which are also known as porgies. This dish calls for little mullets. If the fish are small enough you won’t have to gut them. Of course the fresher the better. Coat them in flour and deep fry in olive oil. Serve with an Italian Trebbiano wine. Or if you want to up the ante (as much as I like Italian wine, I am no fan of Trebbiano) serve with a Chianti DOCG or a Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, both red wines from Tuscany.

You will really enjoy Calciuni (Molise Christmas Cookies) that are made from boiled chestnuts, candied citron peel, almonds, honey, rum, eggs, and several other ingredients. This is not a simple recipe to make, but you’ll enjoy this dessert especially with a Vino Santo del Chianti DOC or a Vino Santo del Chianti Classico DOC. These golden, sweet Tuscany wines are made from white grapes.

Molise claims to be the home of Jordan almonds locally known as Nocci Attortati. The ingredients are just as simple as can be, almonds and sugar. The preparation is rather tricky, as you don’t want to brown the almonds or burn the sugar. Enjoy them with a Vino Santo.

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