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An Italian Dinner At Home

The week has been stressful, with loads of things to do, both at home and at work. By evening today, every single muscle in the body will refuse to budge. What do you need to shed the stress piled up over the week/month? A combination of flavorful, aromatic and healthy Italian dinner cooked lazily at home and some wine should do the trick.

Insalata and Antipasti

Start with a simple bruschetta made of fresh tomatoes and mozzarella. Pair it with aromatic and fruity white wines like Chenin Blanc or Viognier.

Throw in a Caprese salad made from fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil. Pair it with a Chenin Blanc. Highly acidic Sauvignon Blanc surprisingly pairs well with tomatoes. Try our Nine Hills Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc with this famous insalata.

 

Pasta and Risotto

If you are preparing hearty red meat sauce pasta, go for a Tuscan wine (Chianti) made from Sangiovese grapes as it has enough tannin to dance well with the tangy tomato sauce and the richness to complement the red meat. Closer home you can try full bodied dry or semi dry red wines like Nine Hills Cabernet or Shiraz with soft tannins.

And if you are in the mood for Pasta in Alfredo sauce, a Sauvignon Blanc will do wonders for the silky cream sauce. The wine cuts through the Alfredo sauce, while the herbal notes of the wine add a spring of freshness to the dish.

Try your hand at creamy risotto with mushrooms. This deceptively simple to prepare, Mushroom Risotto, is a great example of a dish that lends itself to either a red or white wine. With the strong earthiness of the mushrooms, a Shiraz that has similar strong flavors and a hint of earth would be perfect, but a pungent style of Sauvignon Blanc could be a delicious alternative if you are in the mood for a white wine.

Dessert

No Italian meal can be complete with its signature desert, Tiramisu, with its layers of coffee-soaked savoiardi biscuits and sweet mascarpone cheese.

 

So spread your favorite table cloth, fill a crystal vase with fresh perfumed flowers, light some aromatic candles and put on some Italian music to bring the sunny spirit of the Italian countryside into your home. Now savor your home cooked Italian food with wine, of course!

Three cheers to “la Dolce Vita”!

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Categories: Tips Tags: , , , ,

Say Cheese. Say Cheers.

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A recent post on our Facebook page, “Cheese and Grapes – Divine Combination” with a matching photograph, garnered quite a few ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. This prompted us to do a complete blog-post on how superbly cheese compliments wine, their specific pairing.

The globe-trotting Indians need not depend on foreign tours or duty-free stores in airports for their regular stock of good cheese. Several high-end super-marts across our cities now stock a wide range of cheese from the best brands around the world. Be it the softer varieties like Feta, Mozarella, goat cheese or the hard ones like cheddar, Edam, Provolone from the choicest of hamlets in Europe, you get them all in our country.

But just as wine-drinking is new in India, so is the appreciation for cheese. We therefore bring to you a feature which does not delve into an exotic and uber discussion on cheese and wine. For ‘starters’ let’s take the cheese that are easily available in the market and see how well we can pair them with our Nine Hills wines.

  • Cheddar:   Hails from England, is semi-hard and can be mild or sharp. The mild cheddar goes well with Sauvignon Blanc while you will love the sharp one with our Shiraz Reserve.
  •  Edam: Belongs to the Dutch country and is a hard cheese. Once again, you will simply love it with Nine Hills Shiraz Reserve.
  • Feta: This soft cheese comes from the currently financially-troubled country in Europe, Greece. Drink it with Nine Hills Sauvignon Blanc and see how it opens up the taste buds in your tongue.
  • Goat Cheese: Primarily a product from France, a number of other European countries excel in it too. It belongs to the soft cheese category and blends most beautifully with Nine Hills Chenin Blanc.
  • Mozarella: The country which gave the world Michaelangelo, gave Mozarella cheese too. A widely used cheese in pizza, pasta dishes and lasagna, mozzarella can be Mozzarella di Bufala (buffalo mozzarella) or mozzarella fior di latte (made from cow’s milk). Both are the soft variety and blend well with light red wines and the white wines. Nine Hills’ Sauvignon Blanc is the best match.
  • Parmesan: Named after an area in Italy, Parmesan is one of the world’s most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. It is usually grated and is used to make spaghetti and pasta dishes. Pairs exceedingly well with Nine Hills’ Shiraz Reserve.
  • Provolone: Once again from Italy, this cheese belongs to the semi-hard category. Provolone can be both piquant in taste (Provolone Piccante) as well as mild and sweet, Provolone Dolce. Both the types go well with Nine Hills Cabernet Sauvigyon.

Finally, there is no final word on ‘which cheese for which wine’. But remember, at the outset, the cheese you choose is dependent upon the type of wine you choose. Stronger cheeses should be paired with stronger wines, such as Cabernet. Lighter cheeses are best paired with delicate wines such as a Sauvignon Blanc.

Lastly, experiment with your own pairings and see if you can come up with a new ‘divine’ combination.

Cheese. And Cheers!!