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01 December 2014

Roma Food & Wine Festival 2014

Roma Food and Wine Festival. I marked the date in my calendar. I wish I can mark all three days but I can only choose one day. I went for the opening day at lunch time with my husband while the kids remained with their grandaunt for the day. While they had their grandaunt's polpettine al pomodoro (meatballs in tomato sauce) which they love to high heavens, we had instead, an excellent lunch of food and wine pairings of Italy's best.

The Second Edition of the Roma Food & Wine Festival 2014, organized by Identità Golose and Merano Wine Festival, took off on 29 November and will remain until 1 December in Eataly, Rome. Participating are 18 great Italian chefs and 59 wine producers hailing from different parts of Italy and a few international ones coming from Georgia, South Africa, Austria and Slovenia. It's a mark of food and wine excellence under one roof in one great event.

The event was opened by Viviana Verese of Alice Restaurant, Eataly in Milan; Cristina Bowerman of Glass Hostaria in Rome; and Cesare Battisti of Ratanà Ristorante in Milan. Whereas the cakes are provided by Luca Montersino and the prosciutti by Massimo Pezzani of Antica Ardenga.

When I was scanning the plates that all 18 chefs are preparing for the weekend, I was thinking of closing my own kitchen and just live there for the rest of the weekend. But yes, reality sinks in and these sort of things are not acceptable when you have two kids, a husband and a dog waiting for you at home. So I stuck with our scheduled lunch there on Saturday with the kids safely in the house of their grandaunt. And it's a good thing we did because I wouldn't have been able to try three incredible dishes prepared by three admirable chefs. 

Viviana Varese's dish was a masterpiece of complex combination of ingredients that came out so good together.  It was a dish that I was very curious to try after I read the menu for the festival. As her team helps her, she herself was the one doing the composition on each dish as someone explains every single phase of the cooking. Light and truly an excellent dish.

Cristina Bowerman's dish, simply called Agnello e Carciofi (Lamb and Artichokes) is a treasure chest of flavors however simple it sounds like. The artichoke is done to the right texture and crispiness while the lamb, although too pink for my taste, was underdone just the right way. I absolutely loved her rendition of lamb and artichokes. It was our incredible dish number two.

I rarely eat oxtail. In fact, it's not really my choice of meat and I was already going to skip this dish if not for the neighbor on my table who was eating a plate of risotto. The color had a very good orange tone, the oxtail stew on top looked so tender. Our neighbor was enjoying his dish so much that my husband and I had to grab our own dishes too. And it's a good thing we did because it was really a delicious risotto, hard to forget with its richness and something to enjoy fork per fork. It's a great thing that the Oxtail Stew Fell on Cesare Battisti's Risotto. Unique name for an absolutely delicious dish.

Chef Massimo Pezzani who owns Antica Ardenga, represents the table of hams. It is a small ham producer located in the lowlands of Parma, Italy, where there is an important tradition in making hams. 

No meal can end without a good slice of cake. And that is taken cared of by Chef Luca Montersino where he has a buffet of cakes and trifles in the Festival.  I am a big lover of his cakes because on the ground floor of Eataly, his pastry line, Golosi di Salute, is available with a wide range of pastries and cakes that are displayed in a long counter. It's a feast to the eyes!

The water and the other non-wine drinks are handled by San Pellegrino. So if you, for some reason, don't drink wine, then there is option B that the San Pellegrino Sparkling Bar can concoct for you.

And there is the wine salon where the Italian wine producers converge and give a peek to their world. With more than 50 producers from Alto Adige (Sud Tirol) to Sicily, carrying different kinds of wines, it had been a struggle to try to taste as much wines as I could. With so many bottles to choose from, it had been quite a challenge which ones are to be prioritized.  

Cantina Lunae Bosoni from Liguria (top of picture).
Mea Rosa Golfo dei Poeti IGT (100% Vermentino Nero)
Etichetta Grigia Colli di Luni DOC (100% Vermentino)
Etichetta Nera Colli di Luni DOC (100% Vermentino)
Niccolo V Colli di Luni DOC (70% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, 15% Pollera Nera)

Cantina Mosparone from Piemonte (bottom of picture).
2012 Barbera d'Asti Superiore DOCG (100% Barbera)
2012 Brinà Sauvignon Blanc Piemonte DOC (100% Sauvignon Blanc)

Omina Romana from Lazio.
2011 Viognier Lazio IGP (100% Viognier)
2013 Merlot Rosato Lazio IGP (100% Merlot)
2011 Merlot Lazio IGP (100% Merlot)
2011 Diana Nemorensis Rosso Lazio IGP (50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc)

Vineyards V8+ from Veneto. 
S.A. Sior Bepi Prosecco Extra Dry DOC (100% Glera)
S.A. Sior Carlo Prosecco Millesimato Brut DOC (100% Glera)
S.A. Sior Toni Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOC (100% Glera)
S.A. Sior Piero Prosecco Superiore di Valdobbiadene Extra Dry DOCG (100% Glera)

Battaglia Graziella - Cantina Gurrieri from Sicily.
2013 Nero d'Avola Vittoria DOC (100% Nero d'Avola)
2013 Frappato Vittoria DOC (100% Frappato)
2013 Donna Grazia Vino Bianco VdT (60% Nero d'Avola, 40% Frappato)

Ritterhof Tenute from Alto Adige - Sudtirol.
2011 Sonus Gewurztraminer Sudtirol DOC (100% Gewurztraminer)
2010 Manus Lagrein Sudtirol DOC (100% Lagrein)
Grappa Gewurztraminer (100% Gewurztraminer)
Grappa Lagrein Riserva (100% Lagrein) 

Vigne Rada Alghero from Sardegna.
2012 Stria Vermentino di Sardegna DOC (100% Vermentino di Sardegna)
2012 Tre Nodi Isola dei Nuraghi IGT (100% Vermentino)

Marco Felluga - Russiz Superiore from Friuli Venezia Giulia.
2011 Russiz Superiore Col Disore Collio DOC (40% Pinot Bianco, 35% Friulano, 15% Sauvignon, 10% Ribolla Gialla)
2011 Russiz Superiore Sauvignon Collio DOC (100% Sauvignon)

I discovered a lot of good wines and in speaking with the producers, understanding the aspects of production, the grape varieties, and just seeing the passion and pride behind every bottle that they produce is already an experience in itself. Because Made in Italy is not just a stamp that you see in a product that comes from this country. It has a whole meaning and importance to every person behind the production of every single product that bears that mark.  

Made in Italy means quality and from the Italian people to you, cherish it, because it has a soul of quality, passion and excellence. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a good week!