Try before you buy

18 Hildreth Street, Balham, London, SW12 9RQ · t:020 8616 8658

18 Hildreth Street

Italian Feast!

I promised to tell you all about my Italian Feast! The important bit is that I had to wear my 'fat day jeans' the entire week after the food fest!
We started making foccacia at 10am (I say we but Bruno (sommelier at Bocca di Lupo and amazing chef to boot!) did all the hard labour) and while that was rising and resting and doing it's thing we prepped veal saltimboca, a squash & Gorgonzola risotto and roast red peppers. So yeah - we ate A LOT!
But this isn't about the food - I have priorities - it's all about the wine!
We started off gently with Mionetto Prosecco Frizzante (£11.5) to quench the tremendous thirst we worked up but once the foccacia had cooled enough we popped open a Bellenda Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene (£14.50) and chatted away happily until our tummies warned us we were filling up on bread and that we wouldn't have room for anything else! Prosecco is such a great start to an evening - fresh flavours of apple, low alcohol and really gentle fizz - molto bene!
With our primi piatti of risotto the wine pairing was easy - Castello Montauto Vernaccia di San Gimignano (£11.6)- this is a classic Tuscan wine which is a perfect match for rice based dishes. Great acidity, floral notes, citrus zing and stands up to the food flavours.
We knew we would get through two bottles over the main course so that choice took a little more thought - I wanted to impress my uber-knowledgeable guest but didn't want to spend a fortune. His favourite red wine is Barolo which can be really pricy so Julia recommended I take home the Barbaresco Cascina Morassino (£24.9). It's also made with Nebbiolo - the King of Italian grapes - but the appelation has never quite reached the same levels of fame. I made up a silly story about keeping good wine in our bedroom (cooler temperature) so that Bruno wouldn't know what I'd decanted and (drumroll please) he thought it was a Barolo!!!! Result! I told him the truth of course but I'm still beaming with pride!
We didn't really have room for dessert but we unwrapped a 'Panforte' (Tuscan Christmas-y biscuit/cake) and I brought out my big guns! I hate to get you all excited about something you can't have but I'm going to anyway! I come from a tiny wine producing region in Quebec and they make truly fantastic ice wine... I'll let you know when I'm next visiting and will take orders, but until then Julia has got an Austrian version which super yummy!
Hope to see you on Thursday for the Italy Tasting!
Meghan