Friday, May 5, 2017

Pink Bubbles, Paté, and Pecorino #ItalianFWT

April through June is always a crazy time of the year for us. Well, it's probably a crazy time of the year for everyone, I suppose. But between Jake's birthday at the end of April, my birthday a week later, Mothers' Day a week after that, our older son's birthday two weeks after that, plus all the end-of-the-school-year mayhem, I just about toss my cookies and want to stop blogging till I can catch my breath just as summer starts. 

But, there's so much to celebrate that I almost always have some wine pairing going I tell myself that I just need to buckle down and get the posts published. Fine.

This month for our Italian Food, Wine, & Travel group, Gwendolyn, of Wine Predator, asked us to share something about Italian sparkling wines beyond Prosecco. You can read her invitation: here. And, if you're reading this early enough, please join us for the twitter chat about Italian Sparkling wine on Saturday May 6th from 8-9am PST and check out our blogs!

Posts to Spark Your Interest...

On My Plate...
So, I didn't manage to actually cook anything for this pairing, the first course of my birthday feast. But I did enjoy some Mangalitsa paté, pecorino, and castelvetrano olives with my Italian bubbles. Here's why I chose what I did...

Mangalitsa paté came from Wayne's Fine Swine, a local pig purveyor from whom I bought a nano share of a Mangalitsa pig which is a little known Hungarian breed. They have strikingly long hair and fatty, marbled meat with an unbeatable flavor. I've heard it referred to as "the Kobe beef of pork." Okay. Most pigs in the last half-century have been bred to have virtually no fat, but it's the fat that lends the flavor. This paté was creamy and rustic with large chunks of hazelnuts and pistachios. Che squisito!

To go along with the rich paté, I wanted a piquant cheese. So, I opted for an aged Pecorino from Sardinia. If you know nothing else about Pecorino, know that as they age, they become more dense, more firm, with increasingly assertive flavors that develop over time. I actually love when they get a little bit crystalline and toothy. The Sardinian cheese I chose was also a little bit gamey.

Castelvetrano olives hail from Valle del Belice, a region of Southwestern Sicily. You may also find them sold as Nocellara de Belice. They are round and green. But what I love most is their crisp, tender bite with a mild, buttery flavor.

In My Glass...
I'll be honest: whenever we celebrate, we are usually lifting a glass of Italian bubbles; they are so much more affordable than their French counterparts. So, when I realized that Gwendolyn wanted us to think beyond Prosecco, I was stumped for a bit.

Then, I realized, it was my birthday feast, I wanted something pink! I had pink flowers in a vase; pink petals on my salad; I was going to pour pink bubbles in my glass. Eccolà! Spumante Rosé!

I found a ridiculously affordable bottle of Cecilia Beretta Vino Spumante Rosé at Trader Joe's and went for it. I'm a fairly new fan of anything Rosé - say in the last three years or so - but pink wines, especially pink sparkling wines have a nice depth of flavor and a fair amount of acidity. To make them pink, winemakers either blend red into the white or leave the skins on the red grapes for a brief time so that the color bleeds. This tends to give them more body and more flavor. I'm a fan!

I will share one thing I did cook that evening - fiddlehead ferns. You can see that recipe here.

One last thing I love about pink bubbles: their versatility. I could see opening this with everything from grilled lobster to Thai takeout. And with our crazy schedule till the end of the school year, I might be getting takeout more frequently than usual. This bottle will definitely be on my to-buy list. Cin cin!


  1. I love pate and look forward to making it soon! In the meantime, I will have to see how I can get some of THIS divine pate! What a great start to a birthday celebration! And I'll be checking out this rose from Trader Joe's too! Thanks for the tips and participating with us this month!

  2. Totally intrigued by the Hungarian pork and that paté! Hope you enjoyed your birthday weekend. Cheers!

  3. looks like a great birthday spread, hope you had a great day!

  4. I love pecorino! I hope you had a great birthday and Mother's Dady!