|2011 Rambela from Randi Vini|
Gabrio arrived and I put myself in his hands with both the wine and the food. While I am familiar with the Lambrusco grape that is indigenous to the region, the cuisine is new to me. Gabrio ordered a bottle of 2010 Vittorio Graziano, Emilia Lambrusco "Fontana dei Boschi" that he said would compliment the food magically. He ordered two specialties of Modena to begin with. The first was called Gnocco Fritto. Kind of like a Zeppole, it was a fried puffy fritter that was accompanied by Mortadella, Prosciutto and Salumi. The Idea is to take a piece of the salumi and place it atop the Gnocco, fold it sandwich style and enjoy. I must tell you this was off the chart. This is an Italian sandwich or Panini taken to another level. See for yourself. Gnocco Fritto with Salumi below.
The second is called Tigelle, which is Modena’s little tile-baked mountain bread, served with soft cheese, cold cuts and pancetta spread. Kind of like and Italian English muffin, these were also magnificent. It is impossible to explain how good these two Salumi/Bread plates were. They need to be tasted to be appreciated.
Gabrio was again right on with the Vittorio Graziano Lambrusco. I am told he is widely known as one of the true artisans in the region who makes his Lambrusco the old fashioned way without additives, and with the fermentation finishing in bottle. The wine possessed an earthy bouquet, a chewy and earthy palate with layers of complexity and finesse. It was a wine with lots and lots of soul. I have never had a Lambrusco quite like it. It was the perfect compliment to the appetizers and the entrées that followed. I liked it so much that I ordered 4 bottles from Chambers Street Wines as soon as I got home. $27. This wine should be served chilled and in the same type of glass you would drink scotch on the rocks in.
Continuing to follow Gabrio’s recommendation, I ordered Tortellini in Brodo. He explained that this was a signature dish of Modena (I learn something new every day) and that in spite of the fact that it is a soup I have had many times, he promised this one would be an epiphany. Oh my God! It was an epiphany. I don’t think I can ever have the ersatz versions served in most other restaurants any more. The homemade Tortellini dumplings are filled with pork, prosciutto di parma and parmigiano reggiano and served in an ethereal broth made from Guinea Hen. Each spoonful was sublime. I think a tear came to my eye when I finished the last Tortellini and the last sip of broth.
|Tortellini in Brodo|
|Caramelle di Castelvetro|