Can’t touch this….La Tunella Friulano

Don’tcha just hate when you go away on holiday discover this great wine and then when you get back home, find out that it’s not available in your home county? Well, now you know how I feel after a recent tasting I had with Giovanna Borreri of La Tunella and  their importer Corney&Barrow at Tsuru sushi in Bishopsgate. La Tunella was the name and white wines were primarily the game that afternoon. La Tunella is a family owned winery situated in the north of Italy, Colli Orientali del Friuli to be exact. Friuli is known for the exceptionally mineral laden and elegant white wines they produce. The region is divided into 8 D.O.C.’s with a very distinct terroir of sandstone and marl and a favourable and unique microclimate which shields the grapes from the Alpine winds coming down from the north while still allowing the warm breezes of the Adriatic to waft up and warm the grapes. La Tunella take their terroir seriously and even brought along a small box of the flat rocks that make up the terrain. La Tunella really does rock! We got down to tasting and matching the wines with the sushi and curry. The 2008 pinot grigio while at first, a good specimen of what pinot grigio should be, really woke up in the mouth when combined with the sushi. It was a great food wine,crunchy minerality and balance of fruit with an bright lemon-lime finish. All too often pinot grigio is an insipid, pallid, glass of lemon water but here was a pinot grigio that was worth the £10 asking price. The 2008 Friulano however, was the wine that we all raved about. Friulano used to be called Tokay Friulano but the Hungarians took issue with the use of the word tokay and in 2007, the Italians were forced to drop the tokay part of the name. No matter, it is still a fantastic wine and Friulano refers not only to the grape but also the land and...

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Matching wine at Hashi’s cooking class

Lately, I’ve been doing lots of food and wine matching with Japanese food. I really enjoy the challenge of matching wine with this food. It’s not an easy thing to do, what with all the competing flavours coming at you, from the salty, umami-ish qualities of soy to hot wasabi and sweet soy, the food really can be a melange of flavours, certainly not a straight up Sunday roast, that’s for sure. I love Japanese food, whether it’s sushi or noodles, I never say no. So, when I was invited along to Reiko Hashimoto’s Hashi Cooking class in Wimbledon AND asked to match wines with the menu, I jumped at the chance. My friend Luiz (thelondonfoodie) is a huge fan of Reiko’s classes and thought it would be fun to get me to match some wines. My task was to give the other attendees a list of wines I thought would match and each could choose one to bring one along. First up, my suggested food and wine matches: Beef Tataki with Creamy Sesame Sauce paired with a rosé Gyoza paired with champagne Scallops with Creamy Spicy Sauce on sushi rice (my favourite) paired with sauvignon blanc Cold Noodles with Spicy Aubergine paired with an Italian carmenere I left it fairly open as to which wines to bring only specifying the type of wine. I was curious to see what the others would bring as they were all food bloggers. I brought along a 2008 carmenere from northern Italy, Vigna Dogarina from Campodipietra, Veneto.  I was intrigued by this wine because most carmenere I know comes from Chile so this was going to be a new experience in food AND wine tasting. I’d been told this wine was also known as cabernet franc in Italy and it did certainly have some of those cab franc characteristics. Red chili pepper, paprika, talcum powder even on the nose. It was more of the same on the palate, a quite savoury wine with a definite red chili...

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Wine and sushi at Tsuru in the City

When eating sushi, wine is not most peoples drink of choice. By why not? What if I told you I prefer wine with  Japanese food or, more specifically, sushi and wine? Why? How? Where? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have wine with just about every meal but wine and sushi can be perfect dinner partners for everyone. Last year I went to a food and wine matching night at Tsuru sushi at Bankside near London Bridge. I thought it was a brilliant idea to match sushi with wine. People often think that it’s near impossible to match Japanese food and wine but Tsuru had done a good job of it and it was a fun evening all round. You can read about the evening and watch the video here. Forward one year and Tsuru have expanded to a new location in Bishopsgate, The City of London. I went to their  opening the other night and was curious to see how the whole food and wine matching was going and if they had stuck to the idea of promoting wine with Japanese food. Happily, I can say that wine is still an integral part of their menu and not only that but Tsuru is striving to make good wine affordable to their customers. Too many restaurants in London feel the need to gouge the customer on the wine list but luckily Tsuru is not one of them. The most expensive wine topping out at £32 for a Macon Verze from the biodynamic producer Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy and Philloponant champagne priced at £34.50, might even be cheaper then in the shops. Their wine list is short but packed with wines that can show off the best against those sometimes very strong Japanese flavours. The list mostly sticks to French wines but does stray into German and Italian terroir now and then. The 2007 Sybille Kuntz Estate dry Riesling is a wine that matches very well with the sweetness of teriyaki while still being...

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Strawberry Shortcake and Bisol (food and wine matching competition)

Way back in March or was it April, I went to the La Dolce Vita show which was a showcase for everything, (what else?)Italian and was introduced to the lovely folks from Bisol prosecco. I fell in love with their prosecco, light and lively, lovely little bubbles- the perfect aperitif. Niamh of eatlikeagirl blogging fame has joined forces with Bisol to present the Jeio prosecco in a food and wine matching competition. The idea is to tell them what you’re perfect match would be with their Jeio prosecco. 5 finalists will be chosen and invited down for a cook -off at  Bibendum’s Wine office HQ. The winner of the competition will be invited down to dine at the Chef’s Table at the foodies favourite haunt,  The Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Common South. I’ve eaten at Trinity and it is delicious. So much so that I’ve decided to enter the competition with my Bisquick Strawberry Shortcake recipe. Roberto of Bisol recommended fresh strawberries to me when I was at the Dolce Vita show. I went home and dipped the strawberries in prosecco –  bliss! So I went one step further and made this childhood favourite, made with my favourite, Bisquick! Here’s my entry: Ingredients: 4 cups sliced, ripe strawberries                            1/2 cup sugar                            2 1/2 cups Bisquick mix (available from Waitrose)                             1/2 cup milk                             3 tablespoons sugar                             3 tablespoons butter, melted                             1 quart of whipping cream                                                                                   2 vanilla pods                                                                                  2 tablespoons powdered sugar For the shortcake: Heat oven to 425 degrees F, in a medium bowl, stir together strawberries and 1/2 cup of sugar, set aside In another  medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter until soft dough forms. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet, drop by 6 spoonfuls Meanwhile, take whipping cream, scrape vanilla pods and add to whipping cream, add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar (or to taste) and whip until stiff. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Split warm shortcakes, layer bottom with strawberries and whipped cream,...

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