Langhe e Roero Inspired Antipasto: Robiola Bosina e Funghi
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 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.
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.
Wine Pairing Ideas: Dolcetto d’Alba or Roero Arneis Ingredients Instructions
Wine Pairing Ideas: Dolcetto d’Alba or Roero Arneis
Local sources in Minneapolis:
- Dolcetto and Arneis wines purchased at South Lyndale Liquors
- Robiola Bosina purchased at Surdyk’s and Jerry’s Foods in Edina
If you’re curious, here are my entries from last year:
- Anchovy Beet-Green Pesto Pasta & Arneis
- Hazelnuts, Squash & Barbera d’Alba
- Black Truffle Beef Stroganoff & Barolo
- Manzo Costantine Brasato al Nebbiolo
- Agnolotti al Plin & Favorita