Italy, Vino, and Rice: Oakville Sommelier

(Left)Master Chef Gabriele Ferron, Cynthia Silversides, F. Alonzi

(Left)Master Chef Gabriele Ferron, Cynthia Silversides, F. Alonzi

What a treat to attend the Oakville Wine Enthusiasts Club (OWEC) “Wine and More Event” this week with food prepared by Master Chef Gabriele Ferron complete with wine pairings by F. Alonzi Wines and Spirits!

The evening began with a Prosecco aperitif followed by five courses including two types of risotto (Carnaroli and Vialone rice), Bretelline di Riso (pasta made with rice flour that looks like fettuccine), polenta, and a bignet accompanied by biscotti served with a delicious chocolate flavoured liqueur: Capriccio di Cioccolato.
My favourite pairings were the Risotto with Speck & Leeks paired with a Montepulciano and Sangiovese blend from the Marche, and Polenta with Mushroom Medley paired with a Barbera d’Alba from Piemonte. Both wines had great acidity and soft tannins which worked well with the dishes. The juicy fruit of the blend complemented the smoked meat in the risotto, and the Barbera was a great match for the rich flavours of the polenta.
What I have not mentioned yet is that all of the dishes were made using gluten-free organic rice products with the exception of dessert which included gluten-free biscotti. F. Alonzi imports these products, also oils and marmalades from Italy, which you can find at several specialty stores in the GTA.
The Ferron family has been producing rice products for five generations, since 1650. Chef Gabriele is recognized as the “World Ambassador of Rice” and he showed us his passion for this grain by sharing many details about rice and giving us a risotto cooking demonstration. Did you know there are approximately 3600 kernels of rice in 100 grams of risotto, or that it is best to use a wooden spoon when preparing risotto so you do not break up the rice?
Back to thinking about wine, the OWEC “Taste of Italy” dinner was one happening in Oakville this week! Beyond Oakville, the Niagara Food & Wine Expo is returning to the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls from April 26-28.
So there you have it: Italy, Vino, and Rice

 

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