Giro d’Italy at Tosca

What a wonderful Giro D’Italia night at Tosca.

Michelin starred head chef of Tosca Pino Navarra took us on a tour of Italy for a unique culinary escapade at Giro d’Italia.  It was a 3 days (September 21 to 23, 2017) dinners Inspired by the three-week-long bicycle race navigating around Italy, chef Pino Lavarra, together with three guest chefs, one from each of the four regions, including Lavarra himself, created  dishes where inspiration is drawn from their respective regions, paired with fine bottles from each of the region’s esteemed wineries.

From Left : Ludovico de Vivo from Sicily ; Lombardy’s Fabio Abbattista; Campania’s Paolo Barrale and Puglia’s Pino Lavarra (1st Right).

The three-day culinary showcase featured a six to eight-course dinner menu (priced at HK$1,780 to HK$1,980 per person).  Not the cheapest menu in town but it all worth it with menu especially  crafted by four Italian chefs: Puglia’s Pino Lavarra, Campania’s Paolo Barrale, Ludovico de Vivo from Sicily and Lombardy’s Fabio Abbattista. The special menu is set to be paired with winery from Gianfranco Fino, Feudi di San Gregorio, Tasca d’Almerita to Bellavista.

Below are some special wine I had tasted together with their amazing creation and would like to share here:

Almerita:  rich aromas of exotic fruits and white flowers, rich mousse with great freshness.

After a great glass of Bellavista NV Alma Brut from Lombardy, we had another glass of Almerita Brut Contea di Sclafani DOC 2011 from Tasca d’Almerita.  Both glasses of sparkling are Chardonnay based (Bellavista :90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero. Almerita: 100% Chardonnay ) using similar “methode champenoise” aged 2 years in bottles yet quite different in expression which is fun.

some delicious Chardonnay from Tasca D’Almerita with chef Ludovico De Vivo.
Can get a bottle of Tasca wine from Watson’s Wine in HK

After the rounds of bubbles, another special wine was the delicious 2015 Chardonnay from Tasca D’Almerita from Sicily which is unique from Regaleali, vinification and aging take place in French oak barrels and elegant and classy  with fresh citrus, grapefruit notes with hints of vanilla and almond, very enjoyable Sicilian Chardonnay. 

Simona Natale Fino from Gianfranco Fino with her GIANFRANCO FINO Es Primitivo di Manduria 2015

For Red we had something we don’t taste often which I’d like to highlight is Es Primitivo di Manduria 2015 from GIANFRANCO FINO which is from the 60-90 years old vine, 11 hectares out of the 21 total land on vine. 15k bottles made. everything seems off the chart, High in acid high in alcohol concentrated but all comes so well together with rip red berries licorice tobacco smoke finish round and expansive. 100% primitivo, paired well with the beef sirloin by Pino Lavarra.  

Vesuvio: spicy chocolate mousse

Spicy chocolate mousse is amazing with something I don’t have it everydayA sweet version of Puglia’s Primitivo grapeGIANFRANCO FINO Es Piu’ Sole 2012.  Their vines are over 60 years of age, by the natural grapes on the vine. The must remains in contact with the skins for at least two weeks, then is aged in wood for 9 months. soft tannins with jammy plum and black cherry, chocolate and spiciness of coffee and cedar.

Till next time, Gracie Mille.

Some more info about wineries and Chefs:

Gianfranco Fino from the Manduria city of Puglia is a young winery founded in 2004. The estate is home to grapes which are allowed to ripen on the vines for a longer time to give the wines higher sugar content and more intense flavors. Hand-harvested grapes are aged in new and inert oak to strike a perfect balance between hints of barrel aging and the unique characteristics of the terroir. Originally from Puglia, Director of the Michelin-starred Tosca Pino Lavarra has a special fondness for “the heel of the boot”. Warm memories of his hometown are reinterpreted into lovingly crafted creations to deliver the taste of Puglia.

Heading west on the map is Campania, where Feudi di San Gregorio runs its 300-hectare wine empire. The winery is on a mission to enhance local wine production with a modern approach. Much emphasis has been put on cultivating native varietals such as Greco di Tufo – the most noble of the Southern Italian grapes; Fiano di Avellino – an ancient vine of the Roman era prospering in soils of volcanic origin; Falanghina del Sannio – another ancient varietal enjoyed by the Sannites and Romans; and Aglianico – ranking among the finest red Italian grapes. Pairing with the Feudi di San Gregoriowines were scrumptious dishes prepared by Chef Paolo Barrale.  Having honed his crafts for almost 30 years, Chef Paolo specializes in traditional Italian cuisine full of unique territorial flair. With family roots in Sicily, Chef Paolo has headed the kitchen of Feudi di San Gregorio’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Marennà, for over 10 years.

Further south on the Italian peninsula is Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Boasting five farming estates in different territories in Sicily, the 500-hectare Tasca d’Almerita demonstrates the region’s vast potential in producing world-class vintages made with both international and Sicilian varietals. Benefiting from the Mediterranean climate, the five estates enjoy significant differences in average temperatures and rainfall levels, which foster the cultivation of a wide range of varietals from the well-structured reds with great aging potential to the whites with strong notes of mineral. Bathed in southern light and salt-sprayed sea breeze on the Aeolian Island of Salina, Capofaro Malvasia & Resort is a luxury lodging facility in one of Tasca d’Almerita’s estates. Its Executive Chef Ludovico De Vivo is known for fashioning his Michelin-starred creations around local flavors ranging from ingredients from the estate’s vegetable gardens to seafood from the waters surrounding the Aeolian Islands.

Home to the largest metropolitan area in Italy, Lombardy is customarily the place where Giro d’Italia starts or finishes. Producing one of the most reputable Franciacorta wines, Bellavista takes pride in its sunny hills between the scenic Lake Iseo and the Alps. The 190-hectare vineyards spreading over ten municipalities have individual harvest schedules, resulting in wines acclaimed for tasteful and subtle expression enriched with extraordinary complexity. Just a few strides away from Bellavista is LeoneFelice restaurant where Executive Chef Fabio Abbattista showcases territorial cuisine bonding between traditions and modern interpretation. Freshness and the quality of ingredients are key to his cooking, whereas techniques, as he mentions, come later. In celebration of the strong agricultural tradition Lombardy is famous for, Chef Fabio loves working with local ingredients – vegetables from the restaurant’s own garden, cheese and dairy products from small farms, seafood caught by local fishermen and meat from neighboring breeders. His dishes, inspired by modern Mediterranean cuisine, are not just an expression of his talents, but also a representation of the work and passion of local producers behind the scenes.