Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Umberto Cesari Wine Dinner

I did some teasing in my blogs about the Umberto Cesari wine dinner planned for Bistro 41 in Fort Myers and finally the day arrived! Last night Umberto's cousin Ricardo showed up with his thick Italian accent to showcase the family wines and enjoy a spectacular food pairing created by Executive Chef Reiner Drygala and Executive Sous Chef Heath Higginbotham (featured in the photo to the left). Look at these guys! You know it's gonna be a good night!
First course was thinly sliced prosciutto with pecorino Romano tuile, cantaloupe ice cream, Saba balsamic drizzle and chives. THe dish was paired with an '08 Moma White. The wine was a blend of Trebbiano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and it was so clean and velvety! What a great balance of fruit and minerals, peach, pear and herbs! It was a perfect match to the sweet and salty dish! And who would've ever thought to substitute the fruit with ice cream on the first course. Bravo!!

Next up was a phenomenal plate of Wild Boar ravioli over wilted spinach, finished with pancetta, garlic, olive oil and crispy leeks. The wine was one I already bragged to you about the '06 Liano! It is Sangiovese with a 30% blend of Cabernet aged in Yugoslavian Oak. Cherry, balanced tannins, give me more! The ravioli had just the right amount of Wild Boar, nothing was overpowering. Every plate at my table appeared to be licked clean!

With the bar already set pretty high the third course knocked it over-the-top! Oak grilled Elk lolly pop with white bean Swiss chard eggplant ragout finished with a demi glace, beurre monte and gremolata. It was paired with a delectable 2004 Tauleto> The award winning vino is 90% Sangiovese, huge, tannic, inky and impressive!! The Elk was extremely tender, cooked perfectly!

The final surprise was a dessert made with honey thyme polenta, mandarin oranges, white balsamic vinegar, extra virgin mandarin orange olive oil, candied fennel leafs and a strawberry garnish. Talk about unique! We drank an Albano Passito dessert wine that was late harvest with the grapes dried in racks. I would love this wine with some cheese and dark chocolate also!

Congratulations to the chefs, the wine maker, Opici (the distributor) and everyone involved! Another amazing pairing. It totally put to rest my fears of eating big, gamey food in the hot summer! Bring it!!!

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