Before exploring the possible food and wine pairings in the Italian peninsula, it seems important to us to address a notion that, according to the philosophy of alfavin.ch, is the foundation of any tasting, whatever it is: pleasure!Without pleasure there is no tasting and even less food and wine pairing. To take pleasure in tasting a wine, a dish, or both together, you need to experience this feeling. Being an epicurean is an art of living that must be cultivated, developed, but above all shared.

For a long time reserved for sommeliers, food and wine pairing is becoming more democratic and is now making its appearance in family homes. A vast subject, complex and simple at the same time, food and wine pairing is above all a matter of taste. There are always two ways of approaching the question: either you choose your dish first and then select the wine, or you do the opposite.

The rules of Italian food and wine pairing

Whether in Italy, France or elsewhere, there are no rules but rather principles. Historically, like everywhere else in the world where wine is produced, wines from the region are generally paired with dishes from that same region. If you decide to start a wine and food pairing without taking into account the regional aspect, there are a few aspects to take into account to achieve the most suitable pairing. The first is the choice of a wine that will enhance the dish and not erase it, and vice versa. That is to say that the dish should not erase the wine either. Another aspect not to be neglected is the composition of the dish: cooking, sauce, accompaniment. The sauce is a determining element because of its composition, it is the link between the dish and the wine. The aromatic side of the wines is also a principle not to be neglected, in the sense that the aromatic similarities between the dish and the wine allow more resonance.

To a spicy or spicy Italian cuisine, choose wines with a structure and aromatic complexity able to support the power of spices. If, on the other hand, you decide to go for more subtle dishes, look for wines with more finesse and elegance in the mouth. Seafood dishes or simply seafood platters will prefer white wines but also red wines combining freshness and fine tannins. Cheeses.... The eternal question. Traditionally, we tend to pair cheese with red wine, since in our European cultures, and particularly in Italy and France, cheese is usually served after the main course. However, having tested this type of pairing, a white wine or even a bubbly and sweet wine, sublimates the cheese even better; for the simple reason that the aromatic tracers between the cheese and these types of wines have much more similarities.

The classic dishes and wines of Italy

Let's go now to the discovery of culinary and wine associations of a country where the cuisine, as varied as it is, is above all a cuisine of character, where each "Mamma" has its own cooking secrets, often transmitted from generation to generation. From the aperitif to the dessert, we will find our happiness for sure!

Coppa, Mortadella, Prosciutto, ... these words are not foreign to you. And for good reason, Italian cured meats whose history often goes back centuries are as famous as pizza. With a Parma ham with a delicate, fine and racy texture, opt for a Langhe Nebbiolo from the Cascina del Monastero. A wine with notes of red fruits, whose structure in the mouth remains fresh and elegant to start the aperitif. For seafood tapas as an aperitif, cockles, mussels, razor clams and octopus will go well with a white wine, especially those with fruit and minerality; a perfect match would be Greco di Tufo by Claudia Quarta: a bright fruit in the mouth, supported by a good framework of freshness, a mineral and thirst-quenching finish, a wine that will give balance to seafood worked in tapas with garlic, herbs and spices.

For fish, let yourself be tempted by a cod with basil cream. The Chardonnay Rossj-Bass from the Gaja estate is the ideal companion. Its fruitiness and roundness accompany the creaminess of the cod and its basil cream sauce. How about an octopus with tomato? The octopus's chewy texture and a spicy tomato sauce, accompanied by a Zeresimo from the Fosso Corno estate, are a great match. A blend of Montepulciano and Merlot, this wine has a crisp fruitiness and a nice freshness that will give relief to this dish.

On the meat side, a combination of polpette, candied eggplant, pesto sauce and an Es Primitivo from Gianfranco Fino is a good base to work with. This 100% Primitivo wine is simply sublime, its character in the mouth and its elegant tannins will envelop the dish. With a venison stew simmered for several hours, choose a Chianti Riserva from Cantagallo. This structured 100% Sangiovese with notes of black fruits, wild berries and spices is a perfect match for the tasty meat of venison, whose chewiness requires a wine with assertive tannins.

For cheese lovers, we recommend a piquant Gorgonzola that matures for 90 to 110 days. It has a creamy taste, full of character, reminiscent of English stilton. Opt for a Recioto della Valpolicella Antolini. From the Amarone region, this wine is made from wilted grapes and is dense with notes of black cherry and cocoa. The aromatic power and sweetness of the wine will resonate with this gorgonzola: a combination based on the power of the flavors but which gives a perfect balance.

To finish on a fresh, light and sweet note, here is the Prosecco Emma Superiore Brut Docg by Setteanime: notes of white fruits, refreshing bubbles. Serve with Cantuccini: small crunchy cakes with almonds.

To sum up...

Above all, please yourself. The most important thing is to have a good time. There is no absolute truth on the subject, just principles that must be respected if you wish to sublimate the dish, the wine, and their association. In the end, remember that there are many possibilities and for all palates: those who like white, those who like red, etc... Remember that the simplest principle to apply is the agreement of regions. The cuisine and the wines of the Italian regions have a long history in common!

These pairings listed above are only from our own culinary experience but worked wonderfully. And the most important thing is to have shared these moments in good company.

Find the food and wine pairings on the page of each wine on the Italian wine store.