Prosecco in the House!
I was pleased as Prosecco–er–punch last month to finally be able to accept Riccardo Tomadin’s invitation to his very last Prosecco supper club dinner of the summer (after all summer has swiftly packed its bags here in ‘Ol Blighty). Riccardo is the face of Riccardo Prosecco, however despite the coincidence of having the same name as the brand he represents, he is not the winemaker. Riccardo teamed up with the Friday Food Club, one of the best regarded supper clubs in London (see my blog on my first supper club experience last month), to match his Prosecco with a four course meal. It was even used as an ingredient in several of the dishes. So it was a very Prosecco-y evening indeed.
Riccardo and his Prosecco
Prosecco, as most of you I’m sure know, is probably the most famous sparkling wine from Italy. Confusingly, Prosecco is both the grape variety (although these days they like it to be known as its old synonym, ‘Glera’) and also the name of the place, situated close to Trieste in Friuli Venezia Giulia, northeast Italy. Like with any good thing, lots of Prosecco imitations have sprung up, as well as wildly varying levels of quality. Recently, the area of Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (just west of Trieste and north of Venice) has gained its DOCG status, the highest category of Italian quality wines. Riccardo’s wines fall under both DOCG and DOC (one steph down the hierarchy but still ensures high quality) status.
We started the evening off with Riccardo’s Prosecco Superiore DOCG Spumante Extra Dry. Rather confusingly again, the extra dry was actually an off-dry style, with a good amount of sugar and lots of apple and stone fruit. It was a nice way to start the evening and was paired rather well with an espresso shot of deliciously sweet corn velouté and scrumptious homemade bread.
Next up on the Prosecco list was the DOC Treviso Spumante Brut. In this case, the term Brut (meaning ‘dry’) actually did apply to the wine. A much drier style with more floral and dried fruit, it was matched with a pork, pistachio, and apricot terrine with a yummy red onion marmalade (pictured above).
The main course was a delicious Cornish pan friend pollack with a creamed Prosecco sauce of smoked bacon, leeks, and clams. It managed a fine balance of rich yet light at the same time and was quite the hit with my fellow diners. Its wine match was Riccardo’s Prosecco di Valdobbiadene DOC Treviso Vino Tranquillo. Tranquillo means ‘calm’ in Italian, and is a rather lovely way of describing a still wine. A STILL Prosecco, you ask? Why yes, and the first of its kind I’ve ever tried. It was straw in colour, and full of wild flowers, herbs, and apples. I thought it was a splendid wine that really had a sense of place–I wanted to be drinking it IN Valdobbiadene (so Riccardo, don’t be surprised if I appear at your doorstep one day soon!). I think there’s a bright future for still Prosecco and I’d like to see more of it over here in the UK.
The final course was the pèace de résistance. A summer berry Prosecco jelly with white chocolate set cream. One word: YUM. And beautiful to look at too. It was perfectly matched with Riccardo’s Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG. Only found in the high hills of the sub-region Cartizze, this was the crème della crème of Prosecco–rich with full flavours, yet delicate and refreshing, and exceptionally well made. I only wish I could’ve appreciated its goodness more (it WAS the end of the night I’d had many glasses of fizz and a few cocktails before arrival!).
As a side note, Riccardo are the only Prosecco with certified traceability. In other words, they have unique codes on each of their labels letting you trace each step of production right down the grapes used to make it. I’d love to see more wines placing importance on this–it’s something you’d never find in the huge commercial wineries–and after all don’t you want to know exactly what’s going into your own body? Similarly, Friday Food Club also follow the same mantra of using sustainable, traceable, and seasonal food. Sounds like my kind of people.
Douglas and Belinda discussing the merits of drinking Prosecco every day all day
I’d like to say a big thank to to Douglas Blyde of Intoxicating Prose for inviting me to a lovely evening, to Riccardo for his delicious Prosecco, and to Lee and Fi of Friday Food Club for their excellent feast. It was a pleasure also to be joined by Nate of Drinkprice, Carly aka Greedy Diva, Luiz aka The London Foodie, David J Constable, and Belinda aka Miss Bouquet–all excellent company.
While not made in the same way as Champagne, Prosecco is a much more economical choice than its French counterpart, and can be, as Riccardo proved to me on Saturday night, equally as delicious. Just make sure you get the good stuff!