Italian Chef's Tasting Menu - 2/29/13

Set up/wine Tasting Menu  Opening gifts Behind the scene


I just bought Michael Chiarello's cookbook: Bottega (meaning boutique or shop in Italian) and I after reading it, I am totally inspired to cook a great meal for my friends.  If you are not familiar with Michael Chiarello he is an American celebrity chef specializing in Italian food with an influenced of fresh and local ingredients in Napa Valley.  He hosts on the food Network the show Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello which I used to watch whenever I get a chance.  Chiarello owns a winery called Chiarello Family Vineyards, Bottega Ristorante in Napa Valley, and NapaStyle, a purveyor of food, cookware, and furniture.  Recently, he was a competitor on the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef and he placed as the second runner up (so close to winning and that's too bad).

Chiarello is very talented and I always like the way he made entertainment look really easy!  I always wanted to try his food so tonight I will use the Bottega cookbook and will cook to celebrate bold Italian flavors from the heart of California's wine country where Chiarello is from.


Table set up

I did not want a fancy table this time but I wanted the table to reflect the vibrant color of Napa so I choose yellow and bright green.

Yellow plates, silverware, and water goblins are brought out.

Individual plate setting.


Table overview


More table overview



Menu for the evening.

Close look at the menu


The Guests/Appetizers/Wine

Our friends gathering for appetizers, cocktail and cocktail.


Appetizers or what's left of it.


Phuc opening the wines!


Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso 2006 and  Brunello di Montalcino 2006

Brunello di Montalcino is one Italy's most famous and prestigious wines.

Note from Phuc: Unlike the Napa Valley region which are used to have 7 to 8 good to excellent vintage every decade, the French and Italian are lucky to get 1 or 2 excellent vintage.  The Italian Brunello based grape is Sangiovese is very difficult to handle well. Their last great vintage was in 1997 when they became famous to the world and we did drink many bottles of this vintage from various vineyards in the past.

Now comes the 2006 vintage which was built up as surpassing the 1997 and setting a new bench mark for excellence so tonight I am bringing  a few bottles from different wine makers.  Below are the comments from various wine experts:

The rumors have been circulating around for some time about the greatness of the 2006 vintage in Brunello Di Montalcino, but only recently did the first set of scores finally come out.  They were from longtime Wine Spectator Italian critic James Suckling, who not only gave huge score across the board, but proclaimed 2006 as the greatest modern vintage ever for Brunello!

James Suckling on "06 Brunello: "I am very excited about the vintage.  The wines are subtle, yet rich, structured, and powerful.  This vintage is the new benchmark for the region modern 1997.. they are some of the most interesting young Brunellos I have ever tasted since I first started going to Montalcino in 1983."

" In my opinion, many wineries made the best wines they're ever made!  This vintage really shows tremendous quality across the board, whether in style or sub-region, they're not to be missed!".- Greg ST. Clair (K&L's Italian Buyer)

"2006 does indeed deliver on its promise of an excellent vintage... 2006 stand out in terms of quality and elegance." Wine Enthusiast.



Ciacci Piccolomini d'Aragona Brunello di Montalcino Pianrosso 2006

Sitting down for dinner

Starting with the very popular Kistler!




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