A few features from the folks at Food & Wine this week will have your customers thinking about spring herbs, cured meats and arancini – rice balls, as well as high-value Italian wines. [level-members]
The Cooking with Herbs feature shows as a slideshow on the F&W website and runs the gamut from Grilled Halibut with Herb Pistou and Walnut Butter to Roasted Mushrooms and Shallots with Fresh Herbs. Included are directions for making a spicy herb salt which looks particularly versatile. If they didn’t get their lamb fix for Easter, they may want to try the Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus.
The cured meats article calls out for a cocktail-hour spread.
And the arancini recipe looks delicisious and relatively simple.
On the wine front, Ray Isle’s “Taste Test Winners: Italian Value Wines” pits the author against restauranteur Joe Bastianich for bragging rights to the best $15 bottle. Judging the proceedings is Joe’s mother, celebrity restauranteur Lidia Bastianich.
They each picked 6 wines – sparklers, northern whites, southern whites, northern reds, central reds and southern reds. Lidia picked a favorite in each category. No surprise, the contest ended in a dead heat. Here are the contestants your customers may be asking about. The first wine in each pairing is the one Lidia preferred.
2009 Lini Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso ($15) A brisk sparkling red from one of the best traditional Lambrusco houses.
NV Cleto Chiarli Pruno Nero Lambrusco Spumante ($15) Bright, fruity, and in the end, “more of an aperitivo,” Lidia felt.
Northern White Wines
2011 Scarbolo Pinot Grigio ($14) One of the best wines of the tasting, with far more depth and complexity than most Pinot Grigios.
2011 Maculan Pino & Toi ($12) Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio and Tai (hence the name) are blended to make this aromatic Veneto white.
Central & Southern White Wines
2010 Terredora Di Paolo Falanghina ($15) For Lidia, this Campanian white’s aroma recalled citrus blossoms: “Right off the bat, I liked it.”
2011 Feudi Di San Gregorio Falanghina ($15) Feudi’s Falanghina is a bit more lean and tart than the Terradora bottling.
Northern Red Wines
2010 Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera ($15) A berry-rich red from a storied Piedmont estate, it’s an extraordinary deal.
2009 Clavesana Dolcetto Di Dogliani ($15) “Very elegant,” Joe admitted about this graceful, light-bodied Piedmontese red.
Central Red Wines
2010 Di Majo Norante Ramitello ($15) An intense Montepulciano-based wine from the Molise region—and, Lidia felt, a great match for some “nice lamb with olives.”
2011 Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ($13) Lidia would pair this Abruzzese red with pasta in a spicy tomato sauce.
Southern Red Wines
2010 Tormaresca Neprica ($12) Braised meat sauces would go perfectly with this ripe red blend from Puglia, Lidia suggested.
2009 Cantina Di Santadi Grotta Rossa ($14) This peppery Carignane “beautifully expresses where it was made,” Lidia said.