IICCI’s Italian Wine Dinner at Chennai’s Hyatt Regency portrays Italy through the lens of two staple products - food and wine
The True Italian Taste Project (under The Extraordinary Italian Taste Campaign) aims to "promote and safeguard genuine Italian agri-food products in Europe, America, Australia and Asia"
Much like every cuisine that finds its way out of its homeground, Italian cooking has been moulded infinitely to suit the Indian palate. We have our butter chicken pizzas, the kheema pastas, or maybe, you have tried the creative cone pizzas instead.
But in this fusion festival, where does the true Italian taste find itself? Perhaps, the True Italian Taste Project could help you with that. Supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and coordinated by Assocamerestero, in collaboration with the Italian Chambers of Commerce Abroad, the True Italian Taste Project (under The Extraordinary Italian Taste Campaign) aims to "promote and safeguard genuine Italian agri-food products in Europe, America, Australia and Asia".
With this project in mind and a delicious spread to offer, the Indo Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) presented an Italian Wine Dinner on Friday at the Hyatt Regency, Chennai.
Chef Gianfranco Tuttolani’s authentic food was paired with native wines for the consumer’s pleasure and knowledge by wine expert Luca Bernardini. "We want to show and promote Italy through the lens of two staple products - food and wine. Wine is not separated from the meal for us, in Italy. We also have a saying, which goes 'A meal without wine is called breakfast'. This way, we want to promote the magic of Italian culture. Italy is not just art or football, obviously," reminds Luca.
For the night, wines from the regions of Veneto (North-East) and Puglio (South-East) were served with umpteen delicacies - amouche bouche, two kinds of pastas (including cannelloni made with crepes; as they do in Abruzzo), pollo diablo with potatoes, herbed sea bass with root vegetables, and savoury strudel.
"The stuffed pasta is from the North, cannelloni is from my area and the fish is from the South. So, I tried to go around Italy and give a mix of the flavours of Italian cuisine," the chef explains. The dinner began with a simple presentation by Luca, explaining the wines to the diners, alongside the feast.
"We start with a light, sparkling wine (Prosecco), paired with the appetiser. Then, we go with another white, but still (Essentia); that we can pair with veg and fish. We go for something a little stronger next, which is a full-body Primitivo from Apulia (and a Limoncello). Generally, when you do a dinner with different wines, you should go in progression of complexity; one of the few rules you should follow," elaborates Luca.
Quite the wine expert, Luca, however, does not approach the pairing with the eyes of a sommelier as he also brings attention to that which exists behind and beyond - telling the story of the grape, of the producer, and the territory that makes this wine because it is a part of what you taste, he mentions. The people at the dinner can surely attest to this.