Sommelier Artur Vaso’s suggestions for pairing recipes developed by great chefs with different types of Franciacorta.
During the holidays, the table is queen. Traditional dishes are the centerpieces of lunches and dinners cooked with the family, while in the kitchens of the best restaurants these same dishes become exquisite creative proposals reimagined by talented chefs. Sommelier Artur Vaso, moved by a great passion for the world of oenology, has composed a menu with recipes developed by expert chefs, creating beautiful Franciacorta wine pairings.
A Franciacorta Wine Pairing Dinner Menu
It starts with appetizers. One idea is to serve capon as an entrée, which is superb when prepared Brescia style, accompanied by caramelized carrots and stuffed with a rich filling of herbs, garlic, onions, parsley and rosemary. This princely dish of tradition becomes pure magic when accompanied by a Franciacorta Rosé Brut, a wine that knows how to enchant guests, made from grapes grown on well-drained soils, capable of giving life to richly perfumed productions of innate elegance. Its structure brings pleasant fruity hints to the surface, while its refreshing acidity makes it unobtrusive and allows all the ingredients in the stuffing and capon meat to be fully savored.
Those who, on the other hand, want to stay in the traditional vein, but at the same time wish to bring to the table some out-of-the-ordinary flavors, can start by preparing a pumpkin cappuccino, served with red shrimp, black cabbage chips and ginger mousse, such as the one elaborated by chef Stefano Cerveni at the Due Colombe al Borgo Antico Restaurant in Borgonato (BS). Ingredients with an unusual flavor, which together with Franciacorta Satèn harmonize expertly. Its characteristics include an extraordinary smoothness and fine perlage. It is savory and fresh, and manages to beautifully counterbalance the sweetness of the pumpkin and enhance the flavor of the ginger, creating a true harmony of taste in the mouth.
Another option is octopus roasted on the barbecue and then served with a cream of celeriac, which is a great appetizer and fits well on the menu for a holiday dinner or lunch. With this dish, an appropriate wine choice is Franciacorta Brut, a wine that is perfect for a variety of pairings, but finds a wonderful marriage with fish dishes. Its savory but balanced flavors make it rich and energetic, while its scents of dried fruit and citrus enchant and satisfy.
Moving on to first courses, try a creamy risotto with orange, rosemary, red shrimp and Ponzu sauce such as that of Chef Beppe Maffioli of Ristorante Carlo Magno in Collebeato (BS). Accompany this with a wine such as Franciacorta Extra Brut, truly ideal with the delicate taste of the shrimp and to counterbalance the slightly sweet aromas of the orange.
Another idea is fresh cappelletti pasta stuffed with sturgeon to start the dinner. This pasta is on the menu at Brescia’s Ristorante Vivace, where chef Davide Modesti is at the helm. The flavor of the fish mixes with other ingredients, such as lemon zest or marjoram, creating a pleasant alternation of aromas and flavors. Here the 2016 Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero, excellent with fish, would be ideal, because it is created without added sugar, a pure blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, rigorous and clean. A wine of high quality, with golden hues that brighten the party.
For those who prefer more delicate tastes, pappardelle stuffed with pumpkin, Franciacorta and caviar, flavored with nutmeg and shallots, is a phenomenal first course to offer guests at. It can be enjoyed while sipping Franciacorta Satèn 2018, a wine that expresses notes enhanced by hints of white flowers. Elegant and with a strong personality, on the finish it leaves a beautiful “confected” memory that marries wonderfully with the pumpkin and caviar, without creating contrasts, but rather harmonies of taste.
When it comes to second courses, dishes with character are perfect options. Braised cheek with red Curtefranca, Jerusalem artichokes and coffee is a recipe created by chef Mauro Zacchetti, of the restaurant Al Malò Cucina e Miscelazione in Rovato (BS). Ideal as a main dish, it is prepared with succulent meat, cooked together with diced vegetables, accompanied by polenta chips, made with bramata cornmeal, and a delicious purée of Jerusalem artichokes and coffee.
A refined recipe, built around delicate but also distinctive flavors. The ideal wine to pair with it is Franciacorta Riserva Dosaggio Zero 2011, with its tight perlage, permeated by pleasant hints of toasted bread. Overall it creates a balance that envelops the senses, like a warm embrace.
Alternatively, instead of the “usual” turkey, try using guinea fowl. Guests can be offered a mellowed version, barbecued, with spinach and truffle cream. Franciacorta Riserva Brut 2008 works splendidly with this dish. This is an intense wine with hints of candied citrus fruits that are dry and elegant in the mouth, ideal to enjoy with meats such as guinea fowl because it manages to eliminate all traces of fat, leaving room only for freshness and flavors.
And to end on a high note, a slice of panettone by the master Giovanni Cavalleri, of Pasticceria Roberto in Erbusco (BS).