Last night, On the Square hosted Valperto Azzoni of Degli Azzoni in the Marche and Francois Dufour, owner of Maretima Wines, also in Italy. In honor of their visit to our restaurant, we prepared a special menu to pair with their wines.
The evening started out with fried olives stuffed with pimento cheese and grissini slathered in truffled butter, parmesan and wrapped in prosciutto. These were passed to guests upon arrival and paired with the 2008 Pinot Grigio from Maretima.
The first course of the evening was a crudo of Wild Striped Bass drizzled with Federici Olive Oil from Umbria, grapefruit beads and a dab of dressed arugula. Simple yet delicious because the purity of the fish spoke for itself. We ate this dish with the Maretima Verdicchio from the Marche that was like drinking lemon-flavored sea with its friendly companion, Mr. Bass.
Second course was the Degli Azzoni Grechetto paired with our version of Brodetto. On the plate was a single piece of grilled garlic bread, topped with sauteed spinach and one single scallop. Around the bread were clams, mussels, poached lobster and a reduced shellfish stew. Very flavorful and rich. It really shined when shared with the Grechetto.
The fun begins with the Wild Mushroom Ravioli bathed in Jus de Poulet. It was at this time we brought out the micro plane and shaved black truffles from Umbria all over the dish. Paired with the Maretima Primitivo from Puglia, this was a decadent dish with lots of truffle flavor. The spiciness of the wine was a nice touch.
Our main event was Carolina Quail on a Bass Farms Sausage Bread pudding and garnished with Rosemary-Roquefort sauce. We drank this with the Rosso di Cantalupo from Marche, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sangiovese. From the 2005 vintage, this wine & food pairing was my favorite of the reds.
We ended simply with Burrata drizzled with honey made in Macclesfield and small accompaniments of walnuts and golden raisins. The wine served with this dish was the Passatempo from Conti Degli Azzoni. Not necessarily the greatest pairing, we were able to enjoy both the creaminess of the dish with the delicacy of the Montepulciano grape.
Sometimes you work a dinner that just feels good. This was one of those dinners. The food was delicious and pretty without being controversial, and the wines were beautiful. Mr. Azzoni & Mr. Dufour could not have been any friendlier or any more gracious, and the entire group just felt like a big family. What more do I need in life?