The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

A Trip Through Italy, the Food Edition

Posted on | July 23, 2015 | Written by Garrett Kowalsky | No Comments

Back in May I shared my first account of my 2015 Italian adventure with my family; focusing on a visit to the legendary Poderi Aldo Conterno. A month or so ago, I followed up with a focus on the coastal region of Cinque Terre. Today I explore the regions I visited–Piemonte, Cinque Terre in Liguria, and Toscana–through the cuisine I enjoyed along the way. Italy  is a fraction of the geographic size of the United States; however, within its borders lies an infinite number of regional differences, whether culturally, linguistically or gastronomically.

I can find the romance in almost anything, and I tend to believe that I am capable of using pen and paper to convey that romance with my friends, colleagues and, of course, you. That being said, sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words and that saying may never be more accurate than when speaking about food. So please, grab your napkins and prepare to dab the corners of your mouth; here is a little of what I tasted.

Piemonte Onion PastaPiemonte Onion Pasta – Sometimes the simplest things in life are by far the most enjoyable. Take this pasta, for instance. Handmade, of course, but topped with onions, root vegetables and peasant bread that was allowed to soak for hours and condense flavors and texture.

Piemonte Stuffed OnionPiemonte Stuffed Onion – This dish was a part of a tasting menu at the legendary Trattoria della Posta, which sits in an old farmhouse on a windy hill overlooking the some of the vineyards of Barolo. I suppose it’s no wonder that stuffing an onion with dense cheese would provide for a decadent and delicious bite.

Cinque Terre ShrimpCinque Terre Shrimp – Featured in my last blog, this dish is indicative of the region. If you live in the country, you eat beef because it’s what you raise. When you live on the coast, you make simple dishes using the bounty of the sea.

Tuscany Wild Boar PastaTuscany Wild Boar Pasta – Known locally as Cinghiale, wild boar can be found throughout Tuscany and across Tuscan cuisine, often in some kind of Ragu and Pasta combo. It’s not “haute cuisine,” but it is welcoming and satisfies the soul in a way that’s indescribable. The 2010 Cerbaiona Brunello makes a cameo here in this pic.

Florence Steak 1Florence Steak 1 – Arguably the most famous dish in the region is Florentine T-Bone. Here we see it finished table side.

Florence Steak 2Florence Steak 2 – The steak is done to perfection (in my eyes) and is accompanied by roasted potatos and grilled vegetables. The quality of the individual ingredients truly makes the dish.

Florence Steak 3Florence Steak 3 – You can see the bare bone remains behind the two bottles chosen for dinner that evening.

Florence Panna CottaFlorence Panna Cotto – When we were in France in 2013, it became a running joke that everywhere my mother went she had crème brulee. In Italy I found myself doing the same with Panna Cotta, which offers just enough sweetness to end a meal without overdoing it. Here we see it finished with a Coulis of fresh berries.

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