WINE DINING EXPERIENCE
Fiume uses its pleasant waterfront and a select cellar to offer diners a unique treat in Beijing. Mike Peters reports.
Beijing is hardly famous for its wine bars, which are few and often seem to be quickly renamed “New Store Coming Soon”. The fact that some medium to high-end restaurants in the expat warren of Sanlitun still don’t offer wine by the glass is a barometer of how far China’s capital is from embracing a wine lifestyle.
Enter Fiume, an “Italian Wine Restaurant”, dedicated to creating good matches of wine and food.
Selecting correct wines is essential to having a complete Western dining experience, says Italian owner Omar Maseroli, a native of Parma. Alcohol is often viewed in the context of social drinking and celebrations, but pairing wines with food is an essential part of the culinary art. Good wines, he says, should enhance the taste of a meal, release the pressure and tension of work, and make people really enjoy time with their friends and family.
So each month, Fiume will suggest new selections of wines that customers can pair with the current menu. Every month, Fiume will also invite professional wine masters to host tasting events to continuously enhance the experience of wine lovers.
The most recent event was “A Journey through Italian White Wines from North to South”, a four-course dinner priced at 438 yuan ($66) paired with five wines from different parts of the country. This time the wines were from Umani Ronchi and Santadi, and other companies will be featured in future events. Maseroli started things off with an appetizer of culatello di zibello with curls of Italian butter to go with a sparkling brut.
The main dish, quail-egg tagliolini served with roasted rabbit ragu, was presented with an elegant Plenio Verdicchio Dei Castelli Di Jesi Classico Reserve from Umani Ronchi. (Full disclosure: Despite being a grown-up, I still squirm a bit at bunny on a plate.) I found this dish to be rather bland, though the wine was a real pleasure. The second course, grilled Argentinian shrimp served with Italian burrata cream, revived my enthusiasm for the kitchen — and the Vieris Sauvignon Vie Di Romans. Dessert was a star pairing too: handmade mascarpone semifreddo and dry biscuit, served with Latina Vino Bianco Santadi.
These monthly wine dinners are limited to 30 diners, so if you’re a fan it’s essential to stay in touch with the restaurant.
While the weather at last month’s event was not inviting for dining on the deck due to lingering summer showers, I found myself looking out the window at the Liangma River flowing by. It’s an unassuming waterway — winding toward Solana mall rather than the Italian countryside — but charming nonetheless.
With days already getting shorter as summer comes to a close, al fresco dining will soon be a plan for “next year”. I’ll be making sure to stop by soon for a return visit for a nice glass of wine out on the deck, which is my personal favorite way to say “Happy Friday!”
wine and food. with a strong taste and smell.
Top and above: “Italian Wine Restaurant” Fiume in Beijing is dedicated to creating good matches of
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