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Meat and wines of Italy: a perfect match

The imagination of butchers and chefs at the Designer Restaurant of Vinitaly (Veronafiere).

Red, but not always. Better still if from the local area but, even in this case, it is not a hard and fast rule. Veronafiere asked the chefs who will animate the Designer Restaurant during Vinitaly and a number of master butchers who have decided to combine their traditional shops with catering to match a meat dishes with the most suitable wines.

This is, of course, a subjective choice that, while not wishing to be a mere exercise in style, seeks to focus on Veronafiere's efforts in the ago-food sector, where it holds more than 45% of the Italian trade fair offering. In just over a year's time, in fact, Verona will be the international landmark for the 'Meat' field with Eurocarne, scheduled 10-13 May 2015. The triennial exhibition dedicated to the meat supply chain and processing industry will celebrate its 26th edition.


Designer Restaurant Chefs

Piero Bertinotti, chef of the Pinocchio Restaurant in Borgomanero (Novara), will serve square agnolotti with three roast white meats (veal, pork and poultry) paired with Nebbiolo from the hills around Novara. For kid goat (boned, sprinkled with herbs and spices and baked) he suggests 'a Pinot Nero Trentino for the spicy aromas or even a Sardinian Cannonau (more full-bodied) or a young, vinous Sagrantino di Montefalco.'

Herbert Hirtner, chef at the Zur Rose Restaurant in San Michele-Appiano (Bolzano), and his wife Margot Hirtner, a sommelier, propose 'a Lagrein Alto Adige with a saddle of venison in wine sauce.' Merlot is the choice to accompany other fine game such as partridge, browned in the pan and then baked. A barrique San Valentin is the pairing chosen by Margot Hirtner for breast of Guinea fowl with artichokes. And as for white meats, a saddle of veal with chives and spring vegetables blends admirably with Pinot Noir.

Stefano Cerveni, master of the kitchen at the Due Colombe Restaurant in Borgonato di Cortefranca (Brescia), at Vinitaly will serve beef in oil with soft polenta, a symbolic dish in the traditions of the Brescia area. The local area comes to the fore again in the chosen pairing: a 'Pinot Noir from Franciacorta, although a similar wine from Trentino would also be suitable, with a little barrique, a hint of tannin and herbaceous perfumes.'

A special dish is 'veal fillet cooked at low temperature, demì-glacé with black truffle and creamed celeriac, which ensures a dash of sourness to the taste of this recipe, finding a perfect pairing with a well-aged vintage Franciacorta Brut.'

Links with the local territory are also retained in the pairing with organic chicken salad, Sebino dried sardines, green sauce and chicken popcorn made from the skin of the chicken - a dish which Cerveni matches with a vintage Franciacorta Pas Dosè ensuring distinct flavour and acidity.

He moves over to Piedmont with a 'not too aged Barolo or Barbaresco, with tannins to clean the palate of the intense flavour of the dish' to accompany Parmentier Oxtail 'cooked whole for long time in red wine, vegetables and spices; it is then boned and mixed into a tart with a mashed boiled potato and topped with the thickened cooking juice and fluid mashed potato.'

Cesare Carbone, owner of the Manueline Restaurant in Recco (Genova) for Vinitaly will serve traditional Ligurian veal, typical of Spring, where the belly of the calf is stuffed with eggs, vegetables, aromatic herbs, boiled, baked and sliced) and also opts for a local grape variety with a 'Normeasco red wine from western Liguria.'

A glass of Rossese di Dolceacqua, a delicate red from western Liguria, could also match pan braised, stir-fried beef with oil, garlic and artichokes, while for sliced beef with aromatic herbs and béarnaise sauce Carbone suggests a Chianti or Rosso di Montalcino.


The butcher in the kitchen

Among the first - together with Carlo Petrini - to propose salami and wine in the Vinitaly Grand Menu in the 1990s, Stefano Bencista Falorni, owner of the renowned 'Antica Macelleria Falorni' in Greve in Chianti, has for some years also run two 'bistro-butchers', one of which in Florence. This brings the supply chain full circle from the pig production centre in San Piero d'Uzzano.

Alongside his sought-after cured meats - but also of pork 'arista' with lemon and tartar fast-food dishes served in his two outlets (which boast about 200 labels and the Enomatic machine for wines by the glass), Bencistà Falorni  first and foremost proposes 'glocal' wines. Famous throughout the world, such as Chianti Classico, but specifically from the local area known as the 'Conca d'Oro' amidst the hills of the Pesa mountain stream above Panzano. One of the few exceptions to local produce takes him to Friuli-Venezia Giulia 'for a Cormons with chicken in jelly; yet even a Tuscan Chardonnay would be fine.'

Dario Cecchini, the butcher who declaims Dante while cooking in his 'Antica Macelleria Cecchini' in Panzano in Chianti - where there are other satellite venues for more streamlined tastings - launches a rather bold pairing: 'Florentine t-bone steak with a Martini cocktail, even if the first choice is Chianti Classico, better still if from Panzano and even more so if organic as well.

His 'Chianti sushi - beef tartar with olive oil - goes very well with Gewurtztraminer, while the cheek of beef with garlic, parsley and lemon is ideal with a Meriggio di Fontodi.' A Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is the choice for the 'butcher's fry, with sage, lemon meatballs and pork loin fried in medallions.' The butcher, Cecchini says, 'is a craftsman, the only one who knows how to handle meat with respect and the secrets for proper preparation.'

For lovers of offal, Giuliano Rivera, the chef of the Circolo Novencento Restaurant in Guidizzolo (Mantova), suggests a 'risotto with fine herbs and vineyard snails with a delicate garlic sauce paired with a Quarz Sauvignon di Terlano; for the weal sweetbreads fried with crisp asparagus and balsamic vinegar sauce, on the other hand, I would suggest a Chianti Classico.' We then move over to the Marches Region, with a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi alongside 'saddle of rabbit stuffed with Taggiasca olives and boiled potatoes with a delicate basil sauce,' while 'sliced breast of duck à l'orange with sweet and sour Boretto onions calls for an Amarone della Valpolicella.'


Source: Eurocarne-Veronafiere Press Service

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