WINE DIN­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCE

Fi­ume uses its pleas­ant water­front and a select cel­lar to of­fer din­ers a unique treat in Bei­jing. Mike Peters re­ports.

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Con­tact the writer at michaelpeters@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Top and above: “Ital­ian Wine Res­tau­rant” Fi­ume in Bei­jing is ded­i­cated to cre­at­ing good matches of

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Tvaruzek, or Tvaruzky in plu­ral, is a ma­ture yel­low­ish cheese

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