It was February and that meant love was in the air. It also meant Gulp hosted another lovely event.
It was cold and blustery but the tiki tent at BX Beer Depot was down right cozy as LeBeau and Coreen led us through a delicious pairing of Italian wines and food.
1st Course: Coreen presented us with the perfect starter for a chilly day, Italian Wedding Soup. The chicken broth was rich and deep. It warmed me from the inside out. Then the meatballs, orzo and spinach on the spoon made for a delicious bite. Lebeau paired it with a Teruzzi White Super Tuscan wine. On the nose it was very green like fresh cut grass and citrus zest. The flavor was crisp and bright. Andy thought it tasted like greens. The pairing was really good. The crispness of the wine cut the richness of the broth while the broth mellowed the wine and brought out the toasty oak and a nutty flavor. Our new friend Tony said, “This was easy on the Palate, laid back.” We likey.
2nd Course: The next course was one of the prettiest in Gulp history, in my humble opinion. The Italian torta was layer upon layer of texture and color. Smoky provolone, tangy white cream cheese, green pesto, sundried tomatoes, and prosciutto stacked layer on layer of just darn pretty. I was reminded of a ruffled skirt, (I wasn’t drinking that much). The flavor was strong and wonderful. Tangy, creamy and salty met with nutty and garlicky for a dance of flavor in my mouth. The wine was no slouch either. Lebeau took us through the steps of tasting. We looked at the color, smelled the aromas and finally tasted. I really love this part of the event because it makes me pay attention and learn about what I am drinking. The Briccontondo Barbera Piemonte Doc was smoky, jammy and smelled like leather. Gary said of the garnet colored wine, “It smells kind of like dirt.” The taste matched the nose with rich dark fruit, smoke with just a touch of spice. This was a confusing course because everyone enjoyed each component but together it didn’t quite work. It might have been because of the chilly weather the torta didn’t soften or mellow and the strong flavors fought with those in the wine. Several people commented they would have loved it if torta was more typically Florida room temperature and spread on bread. Andy thought it would have been amazing as a sauce over pasta. They also said they really loved the wine by itself. Bryan was his own man and said, “I love this pairing. There is a good balance with the wine.”
3rd Course: Ok, my friend Gary has said he is going to get my husband to come to one of these events and I have always laughed and said never. After this lasagna roll I might have to change my attitude. This was a hearty slice of hamburger, cheese and pasta heaven, just the way my guy likes it. There was a beautiful golden cheesy crust and then when my forked opened up the parcel steam billowed from the meat, more cheese and just a touch of spinach and tomato sauce. Nothing was more than anything else. It was delicious and perfect for our chilly day. The Sella & Mosca Terre Carignano Del Sulcis was rusty in color and smelled like, in Barry’s words, “A horse barn.” There were definitely notes of leather and hay in this wine, very little fruit with hints of chocolate and smoke. From Sella Mosca’s website came this quote, “A wilder, more gamey set of aromas and flavors that dominate the sweet red fruit.” Obviously they thought it smelled like a barn too. This course was totally the opposite of the previous one. While everyone loved the lasagna they weren’t all that keen on the wine until they paired them and then it was perfect. The wine amped up the meat and cheese in the food while the food smoothed out the wine and the smoke and chocolate took over in the barn. This was Andy’s favorite wine of the day. He even bought and extra bottle and I loved that he shared.
4th Course: Coreen has been kicking dessert butt lately! Everyone is still talking about bacon brownies from last month. I had dinner with her last week and she made a grilled pineapple with homemade coconut ice cream and macadamia brittle. Oh yeah, be jealous!She did it again this month creating the quintessential Italian dessert, cannoli filled with hazelnut ricotta crème. It was crispy, creamy with just a hint of chocolate and it was freaking yummy! Oh wait, she didn’t stop there, noooo….she then made the quintessential Valentine treat, chocolate covered strawberries! Did she stop there? Hell no! She had chocolate left over and saw maraschino cherries and said herself, “Why Not?” She covered those cherries with that chocolate and took Valentine’s sweets to a whole new level. Lebeau, being her honey, matched her sweet for sweet with a lovely moscato wine. The Umberto Fiore Mostato d’ Asti, as the name implies is a lightly sparkling sweet wine. It was very floral on the nose with a sweet syrupy effervescence on the tongue. The flavor was all honey and vanilla for days. By itself, I almost found it too sweet then I took a bite of the cannoli and then a drink of the wine. Holy Schnikey’s Wine Drinkers! I was in dessert Heaven! Andy was really happy with the cherries and the wine. We both went back for seconds. I might have seen a few others going for dessert seconds too but I won’t mention any names.
This event really did highlight the happy coupling of wine and food. Some of the wines were a little bitter without the food and the food was made more vibrant with the wine. Wow, I really am in the hearts and flowers mood. Bottom line, my friends, in the words of the inimitable Alton Brown, “This was Good Eats!”
See you next month on March 18th! Don’t forget to represent and wear the green!