Skillet: Taste of Italy, baking bread

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Taste of Italy

For food and wine aficionados, Italy tops the list of dream destinations. There is no doubt Italian food and wine are always a big draw, and St. Albert’s XIX Nineteen Restaurant has come up with a delectable way to feed that appetite.

XIX, in partnership with Hicks Fine Wines, is hosting Taste of Italy, a palette-pleasing dinner paired with Italian wines from regions across the country.

Overseeing this new culinary event is XIX head chef Rino Lam, XIX general manager Maggie Miron and Marcia Hamm, buyer and general manager for Hicks.

“Maggie and I have wanted to do something like this for some time. They (Hicks) have extensive knowledge about wine and we have one of the best chefs in the city,” said Miron.

In the Italian tradition of savouring numerous dishes at a meal, Lam will serve a five-course menu.

This culinary adventure includes bruschetta, tagliatelle Bolognese, double-smoked bacon wrapped scallops and lamb chops. Polishing off the dinner is a creamy serving of traditional tiramisu.

In choosing wines, Hamm considers Lam’s menu and a dish’s ingredients as well as the characteristics of grapes grown in different areas of the peninsula country.

“They have so many great varieties and finding the character of the grape is important to a pairing,” Hamm said.

For instance, a salmon-coloured Sangiovese Rosato is sipped with the bruschetta. Instead the tagliatelle are matched to a Lambrusco Salamino, an ancient variety native to Emilia-Romagna.

The scallops are paired with a Verdicchio from Le Marche and the lamb chops provide an opportunity to crack a bottle of Barolo from Piemonte.

Coupled with dessert is a Passito from Pantelleria, a satellite island off Sicily.

Hamm said, “People like being pampered. You don’t have to make a decision. All you have to do is come in and enjoy yourselves like kings and queens.

Both establishments hope to host similar events in the future.

“We’re excited about this. The success of this event will decide if we maintain it and go ahead with others,” Miron noted.

Tickets are 80 per cent sold for the Thursday, Aug. 31 dinner. They are $125 per person and include GST and gratuities. Call 780-569-1819 to reserve.

Baking bread

There’s nothing like the taste of piping hot bread right out of the oven to bring back memories of hearth and home.

Laura Rogerson of Breadlove, an artisan bakehouse and bread school, is once again opening her St. Albert kitchen to guide novice bakers through the process of baking breads, focaccias and baguettes.

She shares tips and tricks for baking from-scratch breads using seasonal ingredients.

Classes are limited to six people. Cost is $75. Dates are Sept. 14, Oct. 5, 12, 15, and 29 as well as Nov. 5 and 30.

Call 780-909-0295 or email eatbreadlove@shaw.ca.

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About Author

Anna Borowiecki

Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.