When a fellow blogger from Alba, Cucina Precaria, invited me to the event #DolcediNatura on Sunday, I was thrilled to get back into the bloggersphere. With Easter right around the corner, I thought it would be a great opportunity to taste some Moscato together with the seasonal colomba (panettone), and plus, we were even offered a free dinner together with the bakers and winemakers! So why not?
The event was held in Mango's cute Enoteca Regionale for Moscato D'Asti DOCG. I know the name Mango is more likely to conjure up visions of some tropical island rather than the cold Italian Piemontese hills, right?! And it sounds even funnier pronouncing it, "MAHNGO"! I guess it could be a prelude to the fruity sweet fun fizzy wines they produce in this area though!
Moscato tasting is a challenge if you don't like sweets. Maybe it was just hard to concentrate in such a cramped space with loads of colomba in hand. After just the second glass, I was pretty much over tasting Moscato but found the strength to keep going (really hard I know!) and was especially struck by two excellent examples: Bera and Cà ed Balos. Most importantly was having the opportunity to chat with down-to-earth winemakers about a varietal and area I never knew much about.
Engrossed in conversation, I did manage to turn my head and take a few bites of Claudio's three slices of colomba. Pleasantly surprised, they were not overly sweet either and came in three flavors: almond, passito, and marron glace. As we found out during the lecture from some of the best bakers in Italy, the secret lies in the yeast. Famed baker, Achille Brena told us that he even had a 130 year old natural yeast which he has been nurturing for the last 50 years! Here are his other thoughts from the day:
- True bakers share natural yeast and recipes, and from sharing... comes excellence
- If all bakers used natural yeast, bread wouldn't harden up after just one day
- Oval shaped irregular holes in the panettone is a sign of quality
- Let's save our professions and skills to save our territory!
- A baker who uses natural yeast but doesn't sell Moscato, is like selling a car without bumpers!
- Why does panettone cost less than bread? Maybe we don't know what we are eating....
This just touches the surface of what was presented on Sunday. It made me realize how fundamental basic ingredients are, like yeast, which is the common element in both bread and wine. In "bitter" or "sour" times like these, we might just need a little quality "sweetness" to lighten things up.
As always, the best part was the dinner though! Food and wine just seems to unite people at the table like nothing else. We ate at a very nice local restaurant called Campagna Verde where we were lucky to share the table with the winemakers. But not only did they bring Moscato, they also poured us their whites, Dolcettos and Barberas! It was definitely a treat to spend the evening with new blogger friends and expand my circle out to a new area. Although these two products don't happen to be my preference, it reminded me that when you seek out quality, everything can be appreciated. So what are your favorite Moscatos?