Italy Terroir Tour at Brick Farm Tavern

April 2019

Terroir Tour Wine Dinner Series at Brick Farm Tavern

Brick Farm Tavern is one of those restaurants you visit and wish you were close enough to frequent more, a sentiment we often have when we travel. For one, we are fortunate to have Brick Farm Tavern within a half hour drive. With their own farm and other locally sources ingredients, the menu is constantly evolving and challenging creative limits of food. Not to mention they have a kill wine and beer list, featuring Troon Brewing.

When we got an email advertising a terroir series exploring France, Spain, South America, Italy, and California we immediately signed up for all sessions very excited at the wine pairings and interpretations of traditional cuisine with local ingredients.

April: Italy

(As opposed to last month) Out of the five regions highlighted by these dinners, we have had the most experience with Italy. Spending a large portion of our vacation days thus far in Italy, we had very high expectations for this evening both for the food and the wine selections. We were guessing a handmade pasta dish, Chianti Classico wine and perhaps even Barolo is we were lucky, and I was also holding onto the chance of a chocolate dessert (finally) hoping Tiramisu would be too “easy” (I dislike tiramisu!).

 

Course 1: Grilled Octopus Carpaccio – meyer lemon, olive oil, garlic chip, pear

Pairing: Verdicchio, Cantine Belisario, “Cabraccio”, Verdicchio di Metalica, 2017

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Starting off the evening with octopus! These pieces were sliced incredibly thin and given the texture, I have no idea how this was accomplished – very impressive! Interesting that it was both grilled and raw/carpaccio but this combination gave a smoky flavor. This was complimented by the tart lemon, salty garlic, and sweet pear. Overall, creative dish showcasing diverse flavors together. We expected a Pinot Gris or even an Arneis but the white wine paired was a Verdicchio, which we have not had before. Stone fruit, lemony, clean, and refreshing – a fun wine to be exposed to and one we would seek out.

 

Course 2: Sausage Campanelle – mussels, clams, hot Italian sausage, tomato sofrito, grilled focaccia

Pairing: Primitivo, Poggio Anima, “Lilth”, Puglia, 2017

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The dish I was both hoping and not hoping for – fresh pasta and hot Italian sausage. Oh how I wanted a pasta without hot sausage! I was able to eat around it as the spicy was mostly contained to the meat pieces. The pasta itself was well made with a good bite to it and the shellfish was a nice addition. Don’t worry, everyone else at the table enjoyed the hot Italian sausage. The portion of focaccia was enormous, a bit too much for the dish but it was a good addition to “scarpetta” all of the sauce. The wine was fantastic! Primitivo is the Italian grape equivalent of Zinfandel, holding similar fruity characteristics and was very drinkable on it’s own without food. We would definitely seek this bottle out!

 

Course 3: Braised Beef Bomboloni – thristle creek devon beef, seared foie gras, onion, carrot, fennel, salsa al Barolo

Pairing: Sangiovese/Canaiolo/Mammolo Blend, Pagliarese, Chianti Classico, Tuscany, 2016

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I think everyone at our table was a bit perplexed by this dish. The first thing I tried was the foie gras and it was super flavorful, juicy fat topped off this a dark sear. I definitely could have had the entire dish focused on this piece of foie gras! Moving onto the “Bomboloni”- a thick dough with beef filling. It tasted like it was baked over fried and unfortunately was bland and dry. There was nothing special about the beef filling and it really needed moisture- I think more of the sauce or a red sauce pairing would have helped. It was not bad but the dish just seemed plain. The Chianti Classico was wonderful- perfectly tannic and everything you would want from this wine region. Thus, the pair felt a bit off without having a complimentary dish to support the tannins of the wine.

 

Course 4: “Tiramisu” – marscapone mousse, chocolate, lady fingers, amaretto and espresso ice cream

Pairing: Old vine Nebbiolo, Roagna, Barolo Chinato, Barolo, Piedmont, 2001

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Much to my disappointment, tiramisu was the dessert- I would have lost money since my only comment before this meal was that tiramisu was too boring, traditional, and obvious for Brick Farm Tavern. The saving grace was the quotes of “tiramisu” as it was a deconstructed interpretation of the iconic Italian dessert which allowed me to eat around the espresso flavors. It was a safe option I think, flavors were muted, even for the espresso. And I could kick myself for not guessing this wine- we tried Barolo Chinato when we visited Barolo! What a fun call back to one of our favorite places. This bottle felt less harsh than those we had in Barolo so it was pleasant to enjoy.

 

And that wraps up Brick Farm Tavern’s transport to Italy! While we loved all the wine, the food missed the mark for us. I think we are hyper critical of Italian food in general- having the rich culture on both sides of our families and visited numerous time. But taking a step back at the other regions covered- France, Spain, South America (two of which we have visited), this dishes were creatively crafted as an expression of the region and set the bar extremely high. Surprisingly, the Italy dinner falls into last place when compared to the other three regions in months prior. One awesome change at this dinner was the offer for refills on the wine! The wine selections at every dinner has been excellent in showcasing traditional grapes in a unique or escalated way.

The last and final dinner will take us to California- another region we have had the pleasure of visiting both in the north and the south. Fingers crossed the weather is nice as an outdoor setting was teased!

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