Rolling hills, beautiful weather, the scent of fresh olive oil fills the air ? let the essence of Tuscany inspire your next dinner party. Learn how to host an authentic five-course Tuscan dinner or simplify that to a more relaxed Tuscan themed wine party.
Antipasti to Dolce: The Five Course Tuscan Dinner
It is no secret that Italians love food, and Italian dinners are a true celebration consisting of four to five courses. The courses, in order, are antipasto (appetizers), primi piatti (first course), secondi (main course), dolce (dessert), and possibly a digestivo or a drink to settle the stomach. Here is a sample Italian dinner with Tuscan inspired choices for each course and possible wine pairings.
- Antipasto ?Italian meats and cheeses (salami, capicola, prosciutto with asiago, pecorino romano, and parmigiano reggiano cheeses); Tuscan bean salad, and a variety of olives and marinated vegetables (such as artichoke hearts). Serve with mineral water or perhaps a glass of Chianti.
- Primi piatti ? Spinach tortellini in a red sauce or Porchini mushroom ravioli in a wine sauce. Served with Chianti.
- Secondi ? Grilled steak, veal, or game served alongside grilled asparagus or zucchini lightly seasoned with olive oil and pepper. Serve with a bottle of Brunello or Vino Nobile.
- Dolce ? Keep it light with some biscotti and a panforte from Siena. Serve with coffee.
- Digestivo ? A true Tuscan classic ? Vin Santo would finish the night off perfectly. Alternatives include ice cold limoncello or a glass of amaretto on the rocks. Remember, sip it and enjoy.
Tuscan Style Wine Parties
Don?t have time or the desire to serve a full Italian dinner? How about a Tuscan themed wine party instead? Have friends bring different Tuscan blends such as Chianti, Brunello, or Vino Nobile or maybe any of the Super Tuscans that are on the market today. For food and appetizers, take inspiration from the full dinner menu above but make appetizer sized versions. Instead of grilled steak, make a bruschetta toasted with thin strips of roast beef, garlic, and olive oil.
Replace the ravioli or tortellini with a pasta salad featuring grilled veggies. Grill some zucchini spears and top with grated parmesan cheese. Whatever you choose, make it fresh and flavorful and put the focus on learning about the wines and what foods complement them. Beyond that do as they do in Italy; relax, listen to some Pavarotti, and enjoy the time with your friends.
What Tuscan wines would you serve? What are your inspirations for an antipasto plate? Have a favorite digestivo or vegetable dish? How do you prepare your steak or game?
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