Friday, April 6, 2018

Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica with a Panzanella di Primavera #ItalianFWT

This month the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers are focusing on Springtime and Verdicchio. I'm hosting and you can read my invitation here and the sneak peak here! When I first decided to host the April event, I had grand plans to get lots of Italian Easter recipes and collect wine pairing suggestions for those dishes. But someone reminded me that our event was after Easter, so...less relevant.

And with a three-day run at the Silicon Valley Regional competition for FIRST Robotics with my older son's team, I didn't even have a chance to cook Easter brunch. Usually I create an Easter feast for my parents and their friends. This year, my mom and dad took us - and their friends - to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, La Balena.

So, a focus on Springtime it was...and the Verdicchio grape. Verdicchio is one of the most widely planted white grape varieties in the Marche region. It's the grape behind two of the Marche's most important DOCs – Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi and Verdicchio di Matelica. I was able to track down a bottle of each. Castelli di Jesi was softer and rounder. It paired nicely with some grilled seafood. But for this event and this dish, I preferred the slightly more crisp and minerally di Matelica.

But first, here's what the rest of the #ItalianFWT group posted...

Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica

Halfway between Ancona and Macerata, Bisci's vineyards were completely replanted in the 1970s and lie at an altitude of almost 1000 feet above sea level with a generous southern exposure. That combination of warm, sunny days and crisp, cool evenings lend the grapes a unique character with depth and fragrance. While not certified organic, Bisci does follow organic agriculture practices with integrated pest and disease control and managed cover crops between the vines.

In the glass, the Verdicchio was true to its name which derives from 'verde', meaning 'green,' and refers to the slight greenish, yellowish hue that wines made from the grape can have. It looked like Spring in the glass! Doesn't it?

With an intense nose, I imagined bergamot as I stuck my nose in the glass. On the palate, this wine is intensely crisp with a mineral edge. It's a lovely, balanced wine and paired wonderfully with my chosen dish. I can also see it as a great flavor foil to cheeses or seafood dishes.

Panzanella di Primavera

I love Spring, especially the produce. It's so fresh and hopeful. I wanted to feature some of the beautiful Spring produce that we can get at this time on California's central coast in a Spring-y version of panzanella, a traditional Italian bread salad. I couldn't find any baby artichokes, yet, so those are from a can. But the asparagus is crisp, fresh, and wonderfully in-season.

  • 2 C cubed bread (I usually use day-old ciabatta or baguette)
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 t olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and cubed
  • 2 C organic asparagus, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, shaved on a mandolin (approximately 1 C)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained
  • half an organic Meyer lemon, thinly sliced and cut into strips
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a large flat-bottom skillet, melt butter in a splash of olive oil. Add in your onions and saute until fragrant and beginning to soften. Toss in the bread cubes and cook until toasted and crisp. Stir in the asparagus and cook for a minute or two until the color brightens. Fold in the shaved fennel and artichokes. Cook quickly till the fennel is just wilted and the artichokes are warmed through. Stir in the lemon strips. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Plate your panzanella. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Next month the #ItalianFWT bloggers are looking at Vermentino, a versatile grape varietal that grows in Liguria, Tuscany, and Sardinia. Susannah of Avvinare will be hosting. I can't wait to see her invitation!


  1. Love that salad chock full of veggies. Hope that the Robotics team places well.

  2. Lucky you found a wine from the Matelica DOC. Reading about it, I like the bright, crisp and mineral aspect of wine from this DOC versus Jesi. And sounds like it worked well with your spring meal, which sounds delicious!

  3. I love Verdicchio with roasted veggies, but was thinking about the perfect spring vegetable dish to pair with it. You've just given it to me! Thanks for hosting this month, Cam!

  4. Spring and a light wine...perfect.

  5. Our spring veggies aren't local yet (mid-May!!), but we are already using them in all our meals. Your dish looks great.

  6. Your vegetable and bread combo has a really delightful selection of flavors! It must have been a delicious accompaniment to the wine.

    best... mae at

  7. I love to see both asparagus and artichoke hearts, plus panzanella is always a winner in my book. Nice!

  8. This wine sounds wonderful! (And glad to read about a Verdicchio di Matelica, since I think most everyone else had one from Jesi.) I'll be on the lookout for this one. I also love this take on a panzanella. YUM

  9. Your Panzanella di Primavera looks delicious and sounds like a perfect pairing with the Verdicchio. I am with you, spring produce is fresh and hopeful after a winter that just keeps on coming back. Thank you for hosting!

  10. This was a great selection this time of year. It definitely is like spring in a glass ; )

  11. Oh can't wait for eating Panzanella soon, even though here in Florence it is more of a summer dish. Verdicchio seems perfect with panzanella. :-)


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