Here are the dishes from the Italian Wine Tasting Dinner in February as consumed and surveyed by Mr. Lindskog, in reverse order…………..
Chocolate and Hazelnut Mousse, Pomegranate Sorbet
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this teetering confection when it arrived. I mean chocolate and hazelnut mousse encased in hazelnut crusted chocolate is a known quantity – it’s a swanky stickless Magnum, and you can’t go wrong with that. But I couldn’t imagine what pomegranate sorbet would bring to the party. (I can now confirm that it brought a perfumed top note that was anchored by the darker chocolate piping on the plate.)
All combined, the added elements of sesame wafer and orange gel controlled the sweetness perfectly, so don’t even think about trying to nibble at this and keep it pretty. Just come in like a wrecking ball.
Matched with Pierale Moscato IGT, Puglia, Leone de Castris
The Main Course : Rack of Lamb, Wild Garlic, Crispy Sweetbread, Grilled Brocolli paired with Ethna DOC Rosso, Alta Mora.
As a sweetbread virgin, I was a bit intimidated by this. But you never forget your first, and I won’t forget this.
The elegant wild garlic provides beautiful top-notes and the sweetbread is the silky, crunchy foundation for the blushing lamb.
I was new to wild garlic and although the name implies garlic thuggery, it couldn’t be more refined. As for the sweetbread – I’m converted. I found it to be a gorgeous experience of texture rather than flavour and I could list adjectives like silky, tender and creamy but really – just try it.
Pair with Ethna DOC Rosso, Alta Mora.
And the Starter : Pickled Mackerel, Heritage Beetroot, Poached Salsify
On the face of it some very humble ingredients here – a very plentiful fish and three root vegetables are all that make up this dish (until you get fancy with the drizzle and the micro-herbs). Salsify, which you don’t often see and which is rather cheffy, is still just a root.
But honestly – just try this dish, the pickling is light on the mackerel and the beetroot, in all its guises is earthy and grounding. The salsify, however, is a luxurious find underneath it all and along with the texture provided by the parsnip, really make this dish fly.
Perfect with S’Elegas Nuragus di Cagliari DOC, Argiolas