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The Italian job

August 4, 2010 3 comments

Last evening we had a lovely dinner with Italian food. Not the average pasta you can find at any ordinary Italian restaurant, but freshly made pasta. I am not sure if there are any other places that make their own fresh pasta in Bucharest, but so far, from the places I visited, this is the very first one. We were invited to dine together by our friends Christiana and Yannis.

I‘ll try to describe a little bit my culinary experience, but if you are not there to taste it yourself, you can probably grasp only a small percentage of the feeling you get from such a delicious food. The restaurant was initially established in Buftea a few years ago and was a very cozy place with great Baroque architecture and only 4 tables to serve. Now they have relocated to Blvd Mihalache and have a bigger space to accommodate more customers. People that know both places still have their hearts with the previous location, but the food remains as tasty as before and the new location is very nicely decorated.

The dinner was memorable: had a few starters first and then tried 5 different kinds of fresh pasta with amazing flavors. I think the best thing to do is to let pictures speak for themselves.

Crepes with spinach, prosciutto and cheese: Beef carpaccio with Parmesan and arugula:

Clams and shellfish:

The next round were the most amazing dishes of fresh pasta I had so far: pasta with zucchini and shrimps:

Pasta with eggplant, basil and garlic:

I posted also the other dishes of pasta with Gorgonzola:

and pasta Carbonara:

Just to make sure the food experience was complete the next dish was a Bistecca alla Fiorentina made from Italian beef brought from Tuscany. Before cooking the raw meat looks like this: an almost 1 kilo piece of meat

And the result is a huge tender steak:

Juicy on the inside:

We did have two wines with this gargantuan meal: a white Solo Quinta 2009 and a red Cuvee Uberland 2006 both from Recas.

Solo Quinta 2009

Price: 110 RON at the restaurant

This is a very interesting blend of 5 different grapes, one being Merlot. The Australian winemaker of Recas started to experiment in 2008 with Solo Quinta blending 4 white grapes with the juice from a red grape. In 2008 he chose Cabernet Sauvignon and in 2009 Merlot. The other 4 grapes are Feteasca Regala, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Muscat. The result is one of the best Romanian white wine produced.

The wine has a clear yellow lemon color. Initially the wine was served too cold and showed elegant floral flavors of linden, acacia,elder and roses and as the wine gets warmer, flavors of  grapefruit and apricots come out of the glass. In the mouth the wine is medium body with a very pleasant acidity, crispy, flavors of red currants, apricots, honey, vanilla and a fresh spiciness come together to make a round and balanced wine. A real good pairing for the dishes we had. The wine has a pleasant fresh medium aftertaste. Very good+ to Excellent

Cuvee Uberland 2006

Price: 180 RON at the restaurant

This is the top red cuvee from Recas.  I like the 2006 but I am not a fan of their 2007 Cuvee Uberland which I find very tannic and hard to drink for the moment. The 2006 is a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Sauvignon and a little bit of Feteasca Neagra. The wine has a deep opaque red with purple hues color. The best way to describe the nose of this wine is spicy: cinnamon and cloves hit you strongly from the get go, with flavors of dark fruits on the background and a nice discreet oak aroma. In the mouth the wine is medium to full body, round, with silky tannins, with blackberry, prune, ripe dark sour cheery, black pepper, good balance and a nice mouth-feel. The wine finishes with a medium aftertaste with a slight sensation of sweetness. Lovely bottle that is drinking very well right now. Very good+ to Excellent

The dessert is as good as the rest of the food: tiramisu

and the best panacotta I had so far with forest fruits:

The only thing I have left to say after this perfect evening is: Thank you Christiana and Yannis for the lovely company and the amazing food we had together. We shared a memorable experience and I am looking forward to see you soon.

Thanks for reading!

FYI: the restaurant is Osteria Gioia by Patrizia.

Categories: Romania

Celebrating summer

August 2, 2010 1 comment

Last weekend we took the opportunity and did a BBQ together with some good friends in the anticipation of the future vacation will spend together very soon. I did a little research for some different BBQ recipes and I found a very interesting kebab on Adi Hadean‘s blog: very easy to prepare and incredibly tasty.

My kebab’s and also some shrimps we made on a stick, served on a bed of pineapple, red and yellow pepper salad, looked like this:

Unfortunately by the time I wanted to take some photos to the rest of the food there was almost none left so next time I’ll keep in mind the priorities: 1st shoot then eat. We also had a few wines and, as this blog is about wines more than food, here are the tasting notes.

Crama Stirbey Sauvignon Blanc 2009

Price: 20 RON

The wine has a pale yellow color. The nose shows lots of appricots and some floral flavors. In the mouth the wine is watery, lacking concentration, with stone fruits, floral flavors and nice acidity. The wine has a rather short aftertaste. Not my favorite. Last time I tasted this wine on the 1st of May it left me a better impression. Good

Davino Sauvignon Blanc Edition Limitee 2007

Price: 80 RON

I chose this as the second wine because I wanted to give our guests the opportunity to compare two wines made from the same grape from different producers. I know it is not the same vintage but this was not intended to be a professional wine tasting either.

The wine has a clear deep gold color. Already you can see a big difference from the 1st wine. In the nose the wine shows intense aromas of acacia, linden and cut hay. In the mouth the wine is very concentrated, round, with very nice balance, medium body, nice acidity, with herbaceous and floral flavors, some minerality, apple, grapefruit and lemon. The wine leaves a pleasant medium aftertaste. A very nice surprise for me, as it is the first time I taste this wine. I had this wine in my cellar for almost 2 years and I am pretty sure this wine, already good to drink, can still benefit more from further ageing. Very good +

Weingut Knoll Loibner Gruner Veltliner Federspiel 2008

Price: 65 RON

Knoll is one of the best producers of Riesling and Gruner Veltliner wines in Wachau, Austria. I tasted other wines from this producer, all amazing wines for their price category. Here you can read about the Wachau wine classifications and see tasting notes on another Riesling from the same producer.

The Gruner Veltliner has a beautiful deep gold color. The nose is strong with beautiful floral flavors of linden, cut hay, white pepper and lime. In the mouth the wine shows a good concentration, medium body, very mineral, very different from the sweet floral nose, spicy, crispy, nice freshness, good acidity. The wine has a nice mineral medium aftertaste. This wine pairs nicely with a big fish. Very good+

Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005

Price: 90 RON

This wine has conquered my palate forever from the first time I had it on the World cup final 2010. It is the 3rd time I have this wine over a period of 2 weeks and continues to impress me. This is what I wrote then:

The wine has a dark red/purple opaque color. The nose is complex with dark ripe sour cherry, cassis, hints of oak, earth, dark chocolate and spices, very nicely balanced. Everything is dark about the nose and very intriguing. In the mouth the wine is full body with lots of dark fruits, black currant, dark chocolate, very Bordeaux style, black pepper and finishes in a medium plus aftertaste with certain pleasant bitterness of dark sour cherry, dark chocolate and tea leaves.Very good+ to Excellent”

This remains an amazing value wine that shows huge concentration of dark chocolate, cocoa and tea leaves on the palate. It is really Excellent+.

Farnese Edizione Cinque Autoctoni

Price: 110 RON

This is an Italian wine made by Filippo Baccalaro and French winemaker Jean-Marc Saboua from 5 particular vines: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera that put together in different percentages obtain the final result.Edizione does not have a vintage as the grapes come from two different regions even if the vintage is the same, so the wine is named with the progressive N’ of the vintage produced(L.2006).  The wine is bottled as Vino da Tavola Rosso.

The wine has an opaque dark purple color. The nose is very, very tight with very discreet flavors of ripe dark fruits. In the mouth the wines explodes with aromas. A full body wine with beautiful concentration of pure blackberry, red currant and bilberry, very silky on the palate, nice acidity, round, nice balance. The wine has a very pleasant sweetness in the aftertaste, leaving ripe blackberry aromas on your cheeks, which is amazing for a dry red wine.  Excellent

After such a tasty meal and interesting wine pairings a Romeo y Julieta cigar is perfect.

I am looking forward for the next hedonistic experience.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Austria, Italy, Romania
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