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Cheesy Bites, a Colorful Board, and a Barbera...from California #ItalianFWT


Linda of My Full Wine Glass is hosting the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers as we explore Italian grape varieties that are cultivated and made into wines outside of Italy. You can read her invitation here. What a fun topic! 

If you are reading this early enough, feel to  join the group for a live Twitter chat. We'll be live on Saturday, March 6th at 8am Pacific time. Just follow the hashtag - #ItalianFWT - and be sure to add it to anything you tweet so we can see it. In the meantime, all of these posts will go live before Saturday. Cin cin!


Cheesy Bites and a Colorful Board

I love making and serving cheese boards. It's sort of like a painting where food is my palate. There is no  recipe for  this, but here's a video, from my Culinary Cam YouTube channel, showing you the four simple steps that I use in making my boards. And the boards I paired with the wine were from a virtual cooking class I led recently.


After  the class, my tech support got to eat. Not bad for a couple hour's worth of work, right? 


Jake helped run the camera and D manned the Zoom meeting for us. And I was super appreciative to just get to assemble the boards, demonstrate the savory goat cheese truffles, and interact with the class participants without having to figure out how to spotlight the presenters, etc. I mean, we've all been doing virtual meetings for a year now, but there are intricacies to the platforms with which I am completely unfamiliar. Thank goodness for tech-savvy teens and husbands, right?


These colorful boards included everything from comte, coffee-infused cheddar, goat milk brie, fontina,aged manchego, hard boiled eggs, fresh radishes, Moroccan olives, carrots, cucumber, dried apricots, marcona almonds, cornichon, onion chutney, anchovies, brioche, crackers, and fresh herbs. 

A Barbera from California

Initially I was going to share the Stolpman Vineyards 2019 Love You Bunches Carbonic Sangiovese from California, but I am saving that for another day. Instead I decided to share a wine from California that's made with one of my favorite Italian grape varieties: Barbera. 

I have always loved Barbera, but until I found this bottle, I have only ever had Barbera from Italy! Two  years ago - back in March 2019 for #ItalianFWT - I posted Braised Short Ribs + 2016 Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato. And I've even poured and paired a Barbera blend from Israel in Peppered Brisket, Honeyed Onions, and the 2016 Galil Mountain 'Ela'.


Barbera is a red Italian grape variety that is the third most planted grape in the country. And I've read that it's probably a millennium older than Cabernet Sauvignon. Even still, until very recently, Barbera was virtually unknown in the American markets.

In Italy, Barbera is cultivated in the Piedmont area - the same region renowned for the Nebbiolo grape variety and the Barolo and Barbaresco wines that come from the Nebbiolo grape. But the wines from the Barbera grape are much more affordable.  I haven't come up with a reason for that yet. However, it means that Barbera can easily be an everyday sipper. And though usually very intensely colored, Barbera is surprisingly light in taste. Because it's also usually low in tannins and high in acidity, it's a perfect match for the richness of cheeses and meat dishes.

This Barbera from Boeger Winery which is a historical estate that was homesteaded during the 1849 California Gold Rush. Like many who headed to California in the middle of the 19th century the Fossati-Lombardo family arrived to try their luck in the gold mines. But they quickly realized that the real money was to be made in selling foods and supplies to the miners versus doing the actual mining themselves. Later all of the wineries in the county were shuttered during Prohibition. But in 1972, Greg and Sue Boeger discovered the property and decided to become the first post-Prohibition  winery in the El Dorado AVA.

Boeger began to experiment by pioneering lesser-known varieties such as Barbera, Carignane, Refosco, Charbono, and Aglianico though there are now nearly three dozen varieties that they grow. This wine is made from grapes grown at vineyards that sit over half a mile above sea level. On the nose, you get a  berry patch of aromas from strawberry to blackberry. But on the palate, the wine is much more balanced and soft with generous acidity that makes it a beautiful partner with a variety of flavors.

I can't wait to track down more of the Boeger wines. And when the world opens back up - Vafanculo, COVID! - I might just head up the El Dorado county for a wine-tasting adventure. It's only a few hours from where I live and on the way to Lake Tahoe. I miss traveling, don't you?

Well, that's a wrap on our Italian wines grown outside of Italy event for the #ItalianFWT group. We'll be back next month as Katarina of Grapevine Adventures leads the discussion of wines from Lazio. And, in May, I'm excited to see what the group shares when the focus will be Barbera. Stay tuned....

Comments

  1. Excellent video Cam. Great job....very professional....When you are a huge star I will be saying I knew you when....

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    1. Haha. Thanks, Wendy. It's a journey, that's for sure. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I'd be making a foray into video. But, then, COVID. That changed so many things. In any case, thanks for stopping by.

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  2. Fun video!! You are a natural at this video thing. I love your boards. You had some unique ideas. I make one for the first night of our camping trip. I can't wait to try the Barbera wine. Sounds right up our alley!

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    1. Thanks, Terri. Well, I'm glad to know that my terror at being on camera isn't apparent!

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  3. I’ve been eyeing your cheese and charcuterie boards and agree with you about Barbera pairing nicely with them. So great to see Boeger this month. I highly recommend you head up the hill (that’s what we said when I lived in Sac) to visit them. Great choice and please tell your tech crew great job!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lynn. I love Barbera and will definitely visit Boeger when we're allowed. Cheers!

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  4. I'm definitely going to go check out your cheese board class on YouTube and it's definitely nice to have an in-house production team. I've enjoyed the Boeger Barbera and the Love You Bunches is so fun!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicole. Yes, it's definitely a family affair in this household.

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  5. That cheese board - wow! Congrats to you and to the in-house production team for putting together the video. Barbera is one of my favorite wines, too. So food friendly with all that acidity.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. We are having fun making the videos.

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  6. I made my first cheeseboard for OTBN last year. It turned out well, but I'm definitely going to check out your video for tips. I'm loving the look and sound of yours. If you love Barbera, there's plenty to be had in CA. In fact there's quire a bit in the Sierra (of which El Dorada is a part of) Foothills in Amador where some of the best in state is grown and made.

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  7. Oh, and Amador even has an annual Barbera Festival!

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I had NO idea. I'm putting that on my list of things to do once the world opens back up. Eventually.

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  8. Oh you'll love Boeger when you go visit! Sue is a big Barbera fan also -- affordable but also so food friendly. I bet you're looking forward to May when we host Barbera!

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    Replies
    1. I can't wait! Yes, I am looking forward to Barbera.

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  9. I loved your video and your cheeseboard is beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeff. I noticed you are starting a YouTube channel. I'm subscribed. Can't wait to see what you post. Cheers.

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