Traditional Italian Food And Wine Pairings – Red Wne And Piedmont Dishes

The Piedmont region of northern Italy boasts some of Italy’s finest red wines including Barolo, which is known as “The king of wines and the wine of kings.” Piedmont was an integral part of the French Kingdom of Savoy whose capital was Turin, the present capital of Piedmont. Subsequently Turin became the capital of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia whose official name was Kingdom of Sardinia, Cyprus, and Jerusalem, Duchy of Savoy and Montferrat, Principality of Piedmont. With all these disparate influences Piedmont it’s no surprise that Piedmont is home to some mighty fine food.

Bagna Cauda (Anchovy and Garlic Dip) is a classic Piedmont dish, best enjoyed with Grissini, Turin breadsticks. Bagna Cauda is easy to make, but if you want to do it right, you have to keep it simmering. You migh enjoy this dish with a Barbera del Monferrato DOC or a Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC, both Piedmont wines.

If your budget is unlimited why not try Brasato al Barolo (Braised Beef with Barolo) that calls for a bottle of this fine, fine wine for two pounds of top round beef? Marinate the mixture for 12 to 24 hours. For a special treat, lard the meat with pancetta, Italian bacon, before marinating. Obviously Barolo DOCG is the first choice for the wine pairing. Other good choices are the Taurasi DOCG from Campania at the southern end of Italy or the Valtellina Superiore DOCG from neighboring Lombardy. I would be tempted to cook the beef in one of these other wines and drink the Barolo.

Can you guess what is the special ingredient in Risotto al Barolo? Make sure to use high-quality Italian rice, extra-virgin olive oil, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. The good news is that for each cup and a half of rice you use only half a cup of Barolo. So there will be plenty of wine left to accompany this king of risottos.

A less expensive pasta dish is Tajarin in Bianco con Tartufi (Tagliatelle in Butter with Truffles), unless you get carried away with the truffles. Purists make the pasta from scratch. Enjoy it with a Piedmont Barbera d’Alba DOC or a Tuscan Rosso di Montepulciano DOC.

My mouth just waters at the thought of a Lepre al Vino Rosso (Hare in Civet). The unskinned hare is supposed to hang by its back legs in a dark place for three days. I would be willing to take my chances on substituting rabbit for the hare. Among the many suggested wine pairings include Aglianico del Vulture DOC from the southern region of Basilicata (try to get one made from grapes grown in volcanic soil), Tuscany’s Chianti Classico DOCG or Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG, or Abruzzo’s Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Colline Termane DOCG. By the way, the latter two wines aren’t even based on the same grape. Aren’t Italian wines fun? Have you ever tasted a sparkling red wine? You should. An excellent choice is the Piedmont Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG also known as the Acqui DOCG. Enjoy it with Panetonne, a classic Italian Christmas cake, preferably one from The Piedmont.

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