A16 Braised Pork with Taurasi and Falanghina

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Almost Campania, San Francisco to be exact

A16 in San Francisco or Campania?
Whenever I visit San Francisco, I make it a point to visit A16. Named after the highway that runs from Naples inland all the way through Campania, the restaurant features cuisine inspired by the region, and of course, wines as well.

At the chef's table (counter), you can watch the kitchen in action.

At the chef’s table (counter), you can watch the kitchen in action.

Our #ItalianFWT group was studying Campania this month, so I grabbed the opportunity to open up the A16 cookbook and find something that looked good.  Paired with wines of the region, I was looking forward to a nice meal at home in the spirit of both Campania and A16.

Braised pork goes equally well with white and red wines. You can't go wrong!

Braised pork goes equally well with white and red wines. You can’t go wrong!

Braised Pork with Chestnuts, Olives and Herbs
Or, in Italian: Carne di maiale brasato con castagne, olive e le erbe. This looked delicious, and I was intrigued by the use of chestnuts in a braise.  Actually, I was intrigued by chestnuts, period, as I had never tasted them let alone cook with them. 

The braising pot is beautiful. This is going to be good.

The braising pot is beautiful. This is going to be good.

Verdict: they added a delicious richness to the broth.  I loved them.  Julie wasn’t convinced by their texture (no longer crunchy), but she agreed they added a depth of flavor that was impressive. If you’re interested in trying this dish, you can find the A16 recipe here, I can also highly recommend the cookbook! The ingredients are easy to find, except the chestnuts.  Amazon to the rescue, I was able to get vacuum packed chestnuts to our house in just a few days.

Mastroberardino Family and the Wines of Terredora Di Paolo
You might recognize the Mastroberardino family name connected to the wines of Campania. In the early ’90’s a split in the family resulted in a division of name, winery, and vineyards.  Consequently, Terredora di Paolo was born and is run by part of the family, but separate from the winery of the family name.  Terredora di Paolo takes pride in their “avantgarde character.”

Falanghina text

Full bodied and smooth, this Falanghina was perfect with braised pork.

Terredora Dipaolo Irpinia Falanghina DOC ($13 at Sunfish Cellars)
Eye: Clear, straw yellow
Nose: A bit of barn and sulfur immediately on opening. After some air the wine shows floral, underripe pears, and green apple.
Mouth: Rich, full bodied. Bright fruit gives an impression of sweetness. Tastes smooth as if it’s been in oak, although it has not although it was aged on the lees which would explain the smooth body. Nice acidity, crisp. Full body dominates. Nice long finish.

Taurasi text

Terredora Dipaolo Taurasi DOCG ($20 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Eye: Clear. Dark, but translucent well towards the center. Difficult to call the color at the edge, not cool or blue but not warm either. Just a perfect dark red.
Nose: Dark blue fruit, ripe with a good bit of vanilla from oak. An internationally styled wine.
Mouth: Ripe fruit with medium+ tannins.  Oak is still pretty obvious.

The flavors and textures work together beautifully. We'll definitely make this again.

The flavors and textures work together beautifully. We’ll definitely make this again.

Wine Pairing – White or Red?
I love pairing both a red and a white wine with pork, as it’s often a toss-up as to which one tastes better with the meal.  Today, I’d give a clear nod to the Falanghina. It was rich and smooth, but just provided a perfect balance with the bright flavors of all the olives, the rich pork and chestnut flavored broth.

The Taurasi was nice with the dish, but I felt like it was a bit much.  Made in more of an international style, it just seemed a bit ripe for the flavors in the dish. I might have preferred one of the more rustic versions of Taurasi we had tasted earlier this month. Note, I had this Taurasi with leftover lamb chops at lunch the next day, where it proved an excellent match.

White wine with pork?  Falanghina = yes!

White wine with pork? Falanghina = yes! This was my fave.

Red wine with pork? Taurasi = yes!

Red wine with pork? Taurasi = yes! Good choice for red wine drinkers

 

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