The ideal pairing of local fare and Italian vino
A table setting becomes a cultural exchange program, with Filipino culinary favorites paired with Italian wines
It isn’t common to find wine from the vineyards of Italy to be on the same table as, say, adobo. “Filipino food or Asian food, in general, is not the [kind of cuisine] that, so far, has been paired with wines,” says sommelier Adriano Stefanutti of iTrulli. “But there is nothing that cannot be paired with wines because wine is such an eclectic drink.”
In pairing wine with food, Italians swear by the principle of balance. “You don’t look for the contrast; you look for the union and harmony,” Stefanutti says, adding that Italians use a strong word like “marriage” to describe the orchestration of flavors inside the mouth. To pleasure the palate with the perfect notes, each ingredient from every dish should be taken into consideration before pairing it with wine. There are no hard rules in drinking wine: whites can go with red meat and reds can also go well with fish. The only rule, it seems, is to follow a certain sequence throughout the night: from whites to reds and from wines with lower alcohol content to stronger ones. After trying a few dishes with their wine counterparts, it’s not an overstatement to conclude that the Italians do know how to dine, no matter what’s on the table.
Salmon Sinigang with Egot Trebbiano Chardonnay
Made with two kinds of grapes, the light, fruity flavor of the Egot Trebbiano Chardonnay 2014 from the Emilia-Romagna region balances the soup’s tartness. Trebbianno is one of the most frequently grown grapes in Italy.
Fried Bangus with Eugenio Collavini T-Friulano
From the Friuli region, this white wine’s acidity offsets the greasiness of Bangus without overpowering the palate.
Laing with Colesel Fei Prosecco
Trust sparkling wine to tone down the laing’s overpowering flavors. For Stefanutti, laing is one of the most difficult dishes to pair with wine because of the intricacy of its ingredients. Albeit extra dry, the Prosecco leaves a sweet note in the mouth.
Kaldereta with Il Mastino Romagna
Made with Sangiovese grapes that are grown in many parts of Italy, this wine from Romagna is best suited with the rich kaldereta. It also proves that the area where a grape is grown defines its flavor.
Kare-kare with Arnaldo Caprai Collepiano
“Bagoong is a palate killer,” remarks Stefanutti. With karekare’s “strident and contrasting ingredients,” he pairs the dish with this rather strong wine from the Umbria region, which cleans away the mighty flavor of bagoong from the palate.
Crispy Pata with Prumotto Dolceto D’Alba
This light-bodied red wine from Costo Torino cleans the grease left by the fried pork. This wine is made with Nebbiolo grapes, named after nebbia, which means “fog” in Italian. Sweet at first, the flavor grows more intensely with each sip.
Pork Adobo with Lionello Marchesi Rosso
The Lionello Marchesi Rosso Di Montalcino from Tuscany gives off the same peppery smell and flavor that are also present in adobo.
Leche Flan with Valturio Abstemio
The Moscato wine from the Marche region balances the sweetness of the dessert. Its smell and taste have notes of fruit and honey.