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Food, Wine & Friends Page 247

A little surprise package made its way to the shop a couple of weeks before Christmas and what a package it turned out to be!



Inside was a jar containing...

...an Albese White Truffle!

(Tante grazie to Roky for finding this jewel for us and to Massimo for sending it our way!!)


Chef Vincenzo Cucco was excited to have a look at (and sniff) the truffle.
"Oh my!  This is a really great truffle!"


"We don't see tartufi of this quality very often."

He was so excited, he showed the truffle to some of the others dining at Divino...

To launch the festivities, we opened a bottle of Ca' Del Bosco Franciacorta...

Cuvee Annamaria Clementi is a top Italian bubbly, rivaling the Ferrari "Riserva del Fondatore" Spumante.
This wine is more than half Chardonnay, about 25% Pinot Bianco and the rest Pinot Noir.
The base wines are barrel fermented and these remain on the spent yeast for six months before they assemble a blend.  Full malolactic, too.
Then the wine is bottle-fermented and matured for 7+ years en tirage.
It was beautifully toasty and biscuity.  And nicely dry.
Impressive.

We ordered a few antipasti to start.
(By the way, Vincenzo makes his own breads and these are delicious...but even better with his homemade green sauce, a puree of parsley, garlic -I think- and anchovies.)

Divino's salumi plate is exceptional...flavorful olives and sweet/salty Prosciutto along with a tasty Mortadella.


Masciarelli's "Marina Cvetic" Trebbiano is a major league bottle of a minor league variety.  How they produce such a wine is a real achievement.
The spice notes on display this evening were intriguing and made the wine all the more complex.
There was a note reminiscent of cloves and all-spice showing in this bottle.

Vincenzo prepared a really good Calamari dish...tonight's featured a lot of spicy greens.

And Monica dove into the sea of Arugula.


Brian took care of opening the first red...

And Vincenzo took care in making some pastas for us...


Starting to shave the truffle...


What a perfume when the truffle hit the hot pasta!
Pappardelle..

The rest of the crowd had Vincenzo's homemade Gnocchi topped with Fontina.

And Ellen was quick to get busy!


 

The Line-Up.



1986 Bussia Soprano from Aldo Conterno... and a 1986 vintage Ugarte.

 


"Molto Buono" said John.
The Barolo was still a youthful wine in some respects.  The nose was good, showing a mildly earthy note...there was still a bit of tannin to the wine and its bouquet was very fine.  Medium bodied...very fine.  Medium length finish...I didn't find the tarry notes we find in very mature Barolo, but there may be a touch of the floral, rose petal tone of Nebbiolo wines with some age to them.


"Damn, that's good!"


Ellen ordered some seafood as her main dish.

Petrale sole.


Spezzatino...a perfect partner for the Barolo!



John said "A man has to have something to believe in.  I believe I'll have another pour of the Conterno Barolo!"

Also joining us on this evening was Ellen's Smurf, Toohey.
When he gets going, he can be quite amusing.




 


Monica got serious and was busy tasting the Barolo again.

A few desserts were ordered.
John and Brian order Vincenzo's cannoli.

And both said it was the best they've ever had.

I opted for the Affogato...


And Ellen and Monica split a Panna Cotta.
Knowing that Toohey might jump into the fray, they both dove in before he could get there.

But the little fellow is pretty fast and wasted no time getting his nose into the proceedings!

And when Toohey cleaned that plate, we knew it was time to head home!


CLICK HERE FOR DIVINO'S WEB SITE

Many thanks to Vincenzo and his crew at Divino in Belmont for taking such good care of us!


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