Frescobaldi wine shines in Italian Michelin star Chef's galaxy of cuisine
Story by Dwight Casimere
exclusive photos by Federica Valabrega
A Michelin starred chef, considered to be the best in Italy, an Italian American superstar filmmaker and action hero, and an historic Italian wine of unparalleled quality and prestige, those were the marque elements of a fantastic dinner event that took place in Los Angeles as part of the Italian government's "Year of Italian Culture, marking 2013 as a showcase of Italian culture, art, music, fashion and science, among other areas of distinction.
The chef; Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana in Modena, winner of three French Michelin stars and ranked number five in last year's Best Restaurants list, sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, making him the highest ranking Italian chef. The super star; Sylvester Stallone,the American filmmaker, actor and screenwriter, whose father was born in Gioia del Colle, in Apulia, Italy, and who is a proud exponent of his Italian American heritage, and appeared at the Bel Air dinner exclusively. The wine; Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino, from one of the oldest and most esteemed winemakers in all of Tuscany.
The Frescobaldi wine was the centerpiece of an amazing multi-course dinner prepared by chef Bottura and his team, based on the theme "Come to Italy with us." The dinner was presented in three cities, New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Frescobaldi's Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2008 was paired with an amazing main course, in which chef Bottura incorporated the wine as one of the key ingredients. Veal sous vide (a slow cooking method in which food is sealed in an airtight plastic bag and cooked in a water bath for up to 72 hours), which was "painted" with the colors of the Italian flag; the red was made with a reduction of the Brunello wine, the white was a potato puree and the green was composed of simple chlorophyll. Chef Bottura's pairing with the veal was spot-on. The firm acidity of the wine married perfectly with the rich taste of the veal. The wine's complex flavors of dark berries, rich dark earth, dried oregano, truffles and back notes of dark chocolate and cedar and a hint of tobacco on the palate made this a seamless pairing.
Other dishes and wines included Donnafugata's Passito di Pantelleria from Sicily, paired with a killer tiramisu and Franciacorta Berlucchi '61, a sparking wine, paired with Bottura's signature Risotto cacio a pepe, his response to the May 2012 earthquakes in Emilia, in which 400,000 huge wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese were destroyed. Chef Bottura simmered the Vialone Nano rice in Parmigiano broth, making an exquisite reduction, in which each grain of rice was infused with the flavor of the Parmigiano cheese. It was a masterpiece of achievement, creating a creamy, flavorful risotto without the use of cream, butter or any other butterfat except what was derived from the cheese; a fitting tribute to the indigenous cheese industry of Emilia Romagna!