Wine, Women and Summer

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sipping and tasting with the lovely Italian Women of Wine in Liguria. Le Donne del Vino in Italy numbers over 800 members, with winemakers, restaurateurs, sommeliers, journalists, wine shop owners, etc. Two restaurants hosted special events to feature the wines of Emilia-Romagna paired with Ligurian cuisine. Get out your map if you don’t remember that behind the Ligurian Apennines you find the region of Emilia-Romagna.

Left to right: Cinzia Tosetti, Julia Prestia, Daniela Bernini, Paola Bisso and yours truly

Let me just say: hanging with the gals, especially when they are wine-loving and fun-loving, makes for one heck of an evening.

Paola and her dad


The first special event was held in Recco, at Daö Vittorio. Paola Bisso, daughter of one of the two legendary twins who own and run this iconic restaurant in Liguria’s gastronomic capital, famous for focaccia con formaggio, did the honors.

The featured wines were from Venturini Baldini, with Julia Prestia presenting her own vintages. As you can see from the menu, the pairings were quite special.

IMG_2333After an appetizer of the famed Recco focaccia, we were treated to a mille-feuille of green apple and squid cooked at a very low temperature, with a mayonnaise made with clam water – as exquisite as it was unusual. This was followed by a risotto with pears and pistachios, goat’s cheese and liquorice. The pairing with the Quaranta Reggiano Lambrusco was a surprise.

The main course of Ricciola in filo dough with porcini mushrooms gave the right full-bodied flavor to hold up to the Marchese Manodori Reggiano Lambrusco.

IMG_2364After dinner, I just had to have my picture taken with the chef!

The nice thing about these dinners is that there actually is time for conversation. Left: Julia and Paola having a conversation. Dessert was followed by the ceremonial gift-giving, and a great time was had by all!

Couldn’t resist a photo op with the restaurateur (center) and the winemaker (right)

August 21st was no ordinary Wednesday night at Cinzia Mattioli’s restaurant DOC in the incredibly scenic Borgio Verezzi near Finale Ligure.

Here too we were treated to an unusual pairing menu featuring the wines of Mossi 1558 presented by the proprietor herself, Silvia Mandini.

Silvia Mandini, proprietor



The menu brought together the fish-based Ligurian cuisine (from the quiche with bottarga, to the risotto with totani and sundried tomatoes, to the calamari that resembled spaghetti) with a different area of wines, Colli Piacentini.

It is always fun to listen to a winemaker talk about their passion: their wine!

Version 2
Communicative Silvia!

These midsummer nights were dreamy – bringing together friends, wine-lovers, and foods and wines that otherwise might not have met.

IMG_2950 Grazie to all those who made these encounters possible. Because wine is love and friendship and good times and good food and smiles…

Cinzia Tosetti and yours truly… Happy end of summer!

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