Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Little 'ol Hurricane Ain't Nothin' to a Terrone

I’ll be posting from Italy in the next week or so. Work takes me back again, this time for an educational trip with a couple of managers in my company. We’ll be meeting up with some of our winery friends in Franciacorta-land and Tuscany.

Before heading off though, I managed to meet a future client over at the latest pizzeria Napoletana in Dallas, named Dough. Doug Horn has taken the concept on the road from his original spot in San Antonio. I am especially excited about this one because, 1) it is near my home and 2) the wine list is exciting and 3) the pizza is as good as it gets.

We started off last night with an Aperol spritz before heading into wine country. Fortunately for us, the heat is still blistering and that extends the rosé season.

The food was awesome, a burrata and toast appetizer, the burrata texturally more like a ricotta, but fresh and delicious. No complaints. And with the La Badiola “Acquagiusta” rosato, we merged seamlessly from aperitivo to wine.

The salad, again with fresh mozzarella was crisp, fresh, simple. Perfect. Not too much vinegar (and no balsamic, thank the Lord) kept us in good favor with the wine gods.

The pizza, one of our favorites, a prosciutto and arugula, was spot on. We did ask them to leave the truffle oil off, with which they happily complied. One note, the sprinkling of Parmigiano was not really necessary. There was already plenty of flavor on the plate. But it didn’t make the dish suffer, just an extraneous ingredient. No harm.

The wine list is off the charts awesomeness. All Italian (no concession to California Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Noir for the locals). And they were eating and drinking it up. Huge kudos’ to Fabien Jacob, the wine director, for putting together such a tight, concentrated, interesting wine list. And they don’t all come from the company I work for. But the ones that do are ones that I like. So I was a pretty happy camper,

Speaking of that we ran into a Neapolitan friend, Raffaele Ranieri and his wife Elizabeth. I blogged about Raffaele almost two years ago and was struck by his enthusiasm and his genuine love to be in America and the promise of America. Something many of us often forget.

Raffaele has a new project with his brothers; let’s say it’s a La Cucina Terrone mobile project (DFW Food Truck Foodie blogged about it here). Raffaele and I were laughing so hard the other night as we both have never worked on a farm but we come straight from terrone roots. “We are terrone-isti!” we shouted out in the pizzeria Napoletana. I loved what he said to me though. Listen to this. We were talking about Italian restaurants in Texas and Italians who came here to start restaurants. Raffaele responded, “Alfo, it is really a shame they came all this way and the food some of them make, they make the Albanian’s who came here look more authentic!” And that’s not a slam to our Albanian brothers, many of whom settled in Italy and added to the spice and the culture and the mix of life in Italy. But moreover he was lamenting that these gents would make it all the way from Piedmont, Lombardia, Toscana, Apulia, you name it, and they would forsake their heritage in place of a fettuccine Alfredo with chicken breast strips or a Caesar Salad (unheard of in Italy) with grilled salmon. Or equally awful renditions of things like Chicken Marsala (instead of veal, with that same, sad Sysco chicken breast) and any number of oddities one finds on Italian menus these days.

So, we did our terrone kvetching and parted. Home to pack and get myself to the airport to fly above, over, around (through?) Hurricane Irene to meet up with my comrades in the heart of Franciacorta country. Im going from Terrone to Alto Borghese in less than 24 hours, from flat bread to gold leaf.

Or as we say in old Napoli, Càgnano ‘e musicanti, ma a museca è sempe ‘a stessa.

Hope you all made it through the weekend and the rough weather. I’ll be posting from the dining room above and, of course, the wine trail in Italy.

Until then, good night Irene...

written by Alfonso Cevola limited rights reserved On the Wine Trail in Italy


KathyD said...

Alfonso ~ great little read! I'll look for the restaurant. Tell us about the great bubbly in Franciacorta! Salud! Kathyd

KathyD said...

Alfonso- enjoy Franciacorta... Love the bubbles!
Salud! Karhyd

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Kathy!

gianpaolo said...

stop here if you've got time if you are in Maremme

grappajoe said...

Hope your having fun my friend me and sara are working the market with the wines

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks, Joe... I know it's hot there in Austin but thanks for taking one "for the team".

Happy Selling!

Real Time Analytics