Langhe e Roero Inspired Antipasto: Robiola Bosina e Funghi

Our challenge: Langhe & Roero cheese in an antipasto

Our challenge: Langhe & Roero cheese in an antipasto

Another Italian Food & Wine Challenge
Last week, I received this message via facebook:

Buongiorno, sono Elisa Giordano e gestiisco la pagina facebook dell’ente turismo TuLangheRoero. Da lunedì parte un nuovo contest culinario speriamo tu possa partecipare come l’anno passato, ecco il regolamento: Sei un food blogger? O semplicemente un amante del cibo? Ti piace fotografare? Ma soprattutto ti piacciono le sfide?
Se la risposta è affermativa, stiamo organizzando qualcosa che fa al caso tuo.

Last year at this time, I participated in a fun food blogging/photography challenge from the Tourist Union of the Langhe and Roero, from my favorite far off destination, the Piemonte region of Italy.  I didn’t win last year, but I sure had fun creating recipes and participating, meeting other food bloggers, and trying my hand at more Piemontese inspired dishes.  I was the only English speaking participant, but who cares?  I had Google translate to help (Note to self: need to sign up for some Italian language courses).

Here’s the deal: Every week an ingredient from the Langhe & Roero region is posted on their website.  Our job is to make and photograph a creative recipe using that ingredient.  Then, we post a photo and the recipe on the facebook page no later than Sunday midnight. A little like “Iron Chef” in slow motion.

Our week 1 challenge this year: create an antipasto using a cheese from the Langhe & Roero region.

Robiola Bosina e Fungi
We have a limited selection of Langhe & Roero cheeses available in Minneapolis, so I was happy to find this two-milk surface ripened cheese from Alta Langa.  You might recognize a similarity to Brie, but this cheese is so rich and earthy, it can’t be confused with anything else.  I knew right away I’d want to serve the cheese warm, but what to combine with it? I tried a variety of additions (anchovies – no!, roasted tomatoes & olives – nice), and far and away, the winner was carmelized onions and mushrooms.  The combination piles earthy flavors on more earthy flavors. Spread warm onto a slice of crusty bread and just enjoy. (click on any photo to start slideshow)

Wine Pairing with Robiola Bosina
There’s a very good reason why wines from a region go with the foods from the same. In Italy, foods are almost exclusively drawn from local sources, and wine is thought of as a component of the meal.  Naturally, over time, the two would evolve to pair nicely.  Our wine pairing experiments always test both a white and red, as sometimes the unexpected pairing is the better of the two. Today we tried Dolcetto and Arneis, both native to the region.

How did our two wines fare today?  Beautifully!  You can’t go wrong with either the Dolcetto or the Arneis with this antipasto.  The cheese and mushrooms are very rich and earthy, but not highly spiced or strongly flavored as olives or tomatoes might be.  Both wines had the acidity or tannins to cleanse the palate and neither one was overpowered by the food.  Score!

Dolcetto
Dolcetto wines are made from the grape of the same name.  They are principally grown and produced in the Piemonte region and especially in the Langhe & Roero. You’ll often see them as Dolcetto followed by the name of the town or sub-region, such as Dolcetto d’Alba.  They offer good fruit flavors with moderate acidity and some tannins and are usually meant for early drinking.   We’ve found they pair particularly well a wide variety of cheeses.

Of all the communities that produce Dolcetto, Dogliani views it as its flagship grape and wine.  In 2005, Dogliani wines were approved for DOCG status (tighter vineyard and production standards than DOC), and the wines are a bit richer and deeper than many of the Dolcettos from other towns.

Azienda Agricola Abbona Dogliani DOCG “Papa Celso” 2012 ($26 locally)
Eye: Very dark, a bit cloudy, very pretty purple at the edge.
Nose: Blueberries, blackberries, not overripe but very dark blue fruit.
Mouth: Smooth and rich, surprisingly tannic. Nice persistence in the flavor.

Dolcetto d' Dogliani pairs nicely with a wide variety of cheeses

Dogliani (Dolcetto) pairs nicely with a wide variety of cheeses

Arneis
Like Dolcetto, Arneis is both the name of the grape and the wine. Also a native of the Langhe and especially the Roero regions, it’s a medium to full bodied white wine, with medium acidity.

Negro Angelo e Figli Vino Bianco “Vino non Filtrato” 2013 ($18)
We’ve enjoyed several Arneis DOC wines from this family winery.  Weston Hoard, ‘The Piedmont Guy“, our local importer of this winery has this wine as a “special selection”.  The back label describes it as having been aged “sur lie” for 6 months, then being bottled unfiltered.  In tasting, it is clearly Arneis, but with a bit more body than many other examples.

Eye: When sitting still after storage, appears clear but there is a bit of sediment.  Once you open it, the sediment disappears but the wine is a bit cloudy.  Pretty, misty pastel lemon yellow.
Nose: Nice, ripe pears & fresh floral notes.  Maybe a little lemon in there, too.
Mouth: Rich mouthfeel, very smooth, nice acidity but not tart at all.

A bit cloudy, this Arneis was unfiltered

A bit cloudy, this Arneis was unfiltered

Wine Pairing Ideas: Dolcetto d’Alba or Roero Arneis

Ingredients

  • 100 grams (4 oz.) Robiola Bosina
  • 100 grams (4 oz.) shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 15 ml (1 Tbsp) Extra virgin olive oil
  • Thinly sliced crusty bread
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat a skillet over a medium low heat
  • Saute the onion and shallot in the extra virgin olive oil until clear, about 5 minutes
  • Add the mushrooms, mix well and continue to saute over a medium low heat for 15 – 20 minutes more.
  • Preheat the oven to broil
  • Drizzle the bread slices with extra virgin olive oil and toast, about 2 minutes per side (watch closely)
  • Reduce the oven to 160° C (325° F)
  • Cut the Robiola into small blocks, arrange closely in a small oven-proof dish
  • Place the mushroom & onion mixture over the cheese and place in the oven
  • Heat until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley for color.
  • Serve!

Local sources in Minneapolis:

If you’re curious, here are my entries from last year:

robiola_arneis_dolcetto_tulangheroero_20150214_12

 

Comments
9 Responses to “Langhe e Roero Inspired Antipasto: Robiola Bosina e Funghi”
  1. Looks & sounds outstanding. Good luck Jeff!

  2. What a fun way to be given a challenge. Looks delicious.

  3. vinoinlove says:

    Absolutely love Robiola Bosina. I buy that very same cheese here in Munich regularly. It’s one of my favorites and I will certainly try your wine pairings with it. Especially Dolcetto with Bosina sounds like a good match. Cheers!

  4. That looks delicious, nice work!! Good luck in the competition!

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