Italian cuisine is very much associated with wine and artisanal water, when it comes to drinks, but in this pairing, we attempted to defy that stereotype. From delicate cuts of cured meat to veal ravioli and even the classic Tiramisu, we pushed the boundaries of food and alcohol pairing to prove that a glass of vino isn’t always a must when it comes to Italian fare. Read on below to see what surprising flavours we encountered and how well this unique pairing experience played out!
1 | Tagliere Casereccio + Fabbrica Della Birra Perugia
Inferring from its name, Pizza Fabbrica’s pride is their well, pizza, but you’re in for an extra something special with the knowledge that its executive chef is none other than Domenico Truglia, formerly of Capri Trattoria & Pizzeria. The menu consists of a wide selection of antipasti, pasta, pizzas and even craft beers (which is not commonly found at Italian establishments). We were served four courses in total, ranging from a charcuterie platter to ravioli to pizza and finally dessert!
A truly authentic Italian meal has to start with a platter of cold cuts to whet the appetite, and boy, we were not disappointed with what we were served. The cuts included both beef and ham and were served just slightly chilled, making it a great respite from the blistering heat outside. The strips were close to paper thin and yet, robust with flavour even without the condiments provided like a variety of olives and pickled onions. When enjoyed with the Fabbrica Della Birra Perugia (Golden Ale), the first taste was malty, which gradually melted into a velvety coat of welcome bitterness on the palate and carried with it a fresh aroma. This golden ale also won the Gold medal 2013 for the European Beer Star.
2 | Ravioli di Vitello al Tartufo Nero + Yenda
Not choosing to settle for just any pasta dish, we decided on their homemade veal ravioli tossed in butter and sage sauce topped with fresh summer truffle. This was a seasonal item, and they did very well to serve us a plate that was generously topped with shavings of truffle. Although the sauce might seem rich, given its butter base, it was surprisingly light and in fact provided just the right amount of balance that the truffle needed. The veal was tender and flavourful, emphasised even more by the delicate slices of truffle.
Upon the first sip of the Yenda (Pale Ale), we couldn’t detect any prominent notes or aroma, other than a subtle fruity nuance. Although it didn’t stand out on its own, it was okay for this pairing, as the flavours on the plate needed to definitely be the star. We’re glad that we were recommended a pint that wasn’t overpowering but only served to provide a clean and crisp finish.
3 | Bresaola e Rucola + Yenda (Pale Ale)
We moved on to the last main of our very satisfying lunch thus far, which brought us to a creation made with fresh mozzarella, bresaola (cured beef), rucola and shaved parmesan. Everyone has a little bit of bias when it comes to pizza, with some preferring a mountain of cheese while other prefer a good ratio of dough to meat to greens to cheese. This pie ticked all the right boxes in our books as it had a thin crust and was crispy and fluffy (at the same time!) with ample slices of cured beef and a pile of rucola to top it off. The sage wasn’t overpowering, with only a whiff of it present in every bite. Everything came together even more perfectly when it was matched with the same beer from the last course – the pale ale. It ‘lifted’ the heaviness of the dough and lent a refreshing end together with the rucola.
4 | Birramisu + Hitachino Espresso Stout Beer
There’s no way we could turn down tiramisu, even if it’s made with beer! Excited and also a tad sceptical, our first dig into this cup of sin made us over-the-moon overjoyed. We could taste every single layer, from the mascarpone to the lady’s finger biscuits to the coffee and yes, even the beer. It all gelled together, begging us to ask ourselves why no one else has attempted this before. Bringing more beer into the equation, we were served an espresso stout beer and holy cow, the flavours were explosive! The stout brought out the coffee, and in turn the sugar from the dessert mellowed the potent stout flavours typically found in such a beer. It also has a sweet aroma of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and vanilla, completing this match to be one that’s quite clearly made in heaven.
Wani’s writing has always spoken on her behalf far more than the spoken word. Her emotional relationship with food is almost as intense as her crazy love for HIIT workouts. Having written all things lifestyle, Wani now embarks on her freelance journey, journalling her epicurean trails and sweaty gym sessions with relentless fervor.