A Taste of Rome

“A Night of Roman Inspired Foods”  Sunday, June 9th

VINO Chef Keith just came back from a food trip to Italy and one of his highlights was a three day stopover in Rome. He was quite taken when eating at small “hole in the wall”, family owned eateries and their take on regional food. For me, this is a better way to understand the intent of the dish and the adaptations of what a family would do at home according to what’s in season and mostly done to their taste.   On this night, Keith wanted to create and share his interpretations of foods which inspired him. Our Master Sommelier, Chuck Furuya, has also added some wine pairings (optional), just to complete the Italian dining experience.


trio of antipasti

House Made Fior di Latte Cheese with marinated sun-dried tomatoes & prosciutto

Stromboli–with fennel sausage, brie & roasted tomatoes

Fried Artichoke–with lemon aioli

WINE: Sella & Mosca Vermentino de Sardegna–for this course, we just needed a dry wine to keep the palate fresh & alert between bites.  This one is a café styled white wine–Vermentino from the island of Sardegna–nothing fancy or trophy-esque, just instead completely refreshing, full of liveliness & vigor & wonderfully gulpable.


second course

Cacio e Pepe–with fresh pappardelle, cracked black pepper and pecorino-romano cheese

WINE: Zenato Lugana “San Benedetto”–this iconic, classical dish was actually the hardest course to pair wines with.  Somehow the saltiness of the cheese clashed with the innate bitterness “discreetly found” in many white wines.  We really needed something light, minerally & VERY pliable.  This was the wine.



Slow Roasted Smoked Pork Belly “Amatriciana”–with San Marzano tomatoes and bucatini pasta

WINE: La Pergola “Il Goccetto”–our first thought was to do an off dry to dry, medium bodied pink wine, which would act like how cranberry  does with the very savory foods of the Thanksgiving feast.  While that certainly would have been an refreshing & uplifting pairing & wonderfully gulpable in helping to wash down the food, we ended up going in a completely direction.  The wine we chose, & most guests wunderkind pairing, was the La Pergola “Il Goccetto”.  This small, artisan, family owned winery has been growing & making their “country” styled wines in Piemonte of northwest Italy since 1903.  The grape mix of their “Il Goccetto” (the little nip) bottling unpredictably changes every year, but typically features native grape varieties of the area–Barbera, Croatina, Bonarda, Freisa & Brachetto to name a few.  In the 2016 vintage (though not indicated on the label for legal reasons), interestingly, “Il Goccetto” was produced from 100% Brachetto.  The resulting red wine therefore is light in color & hue, in fact quite transparent, with a very profuse, exotic perfume–a unique & dynamic collision of rose petals/ wild strawberries–with the earthy, musky pungency Piemontese wines & truffles are world renown.  We are quite fascinated & taken how this perfume lifts foods in a very unique way, similar to what gremolata (a mix of herb & lemon zest) can do.  Yes, magic!  What pairing this turned out to be!  This is that kind of magic one dreams about experiencing.



Spumoni Gelato “Cake”–with graham cracker crust, lemoncello crème & cherry sauce

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