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Italian wine tasting and dinner at Osteria

Sea bream carpaccio

Last Thursday my husband and I attended a wine tasting and four-course dinner at Osteria in the Barbican Centre. We’ve been a couple of times now for lunch so it was a real treat to go for dinner.

When we arrived we had the opportunity to try some wine before dinner from two of the wine producers there that night. We started with some prosecco from Le Contesse, which is a vineyard in Treviso. The winery gets its name from the fact that the house was once owned by Countess Tiepolo of Venice, or Contesse in Italian. We just love prosecco so it was wonderful to sample some from Le Contesse and find out all about their history and how the wine is made from Francesca Ceotto (pictured below, left), whose family owns the vineyard. Next we moved on to sample Franciacorta with Mariangela from La Valle Franciacorta (pictured below, right). The vineyard is owned by the Pezzola family and it’s situated in Rodengo Saiano in the heart of the beautiful hills of Franciacorta. We sampled both the Rosé and the Satèn and they were both fabulous.

Italian wine and dinner at Osteria

After some fabulous wine tasting it was time to sit down to dinner. My husband and I sat at the far end of the table with Francesca, Mariangela and Peter Alderin from Searcy’s restaurant group. On the table was fresh bread, olives and grissini to have whilst we waited for the first course.

Wine and dinner at Osteria

The first course was a carpaccio of sea bream with clementines, fennel and chilli and was served with Pecorino Avalos from Ilauri, which is situated in Abruzzo. The carpaccio was so fresh and worked beautifully with the wine as it’s full bodied with notes of apricots and lychees. If you know that Pecorino is a type of Italian cheese made from sheep’s milk, you may be wondering why it’s called that. It may be because the bunches of grapes when they are ripe resemble the face of a woolly sheep or because the local Pecorino sheep nibbled on the grapes!

Sea bream carpaccio

Whilst we were waiting for our mains, we heard about a beer produced by La Valle Franciacorta called Oi and we just had to try some. I’m not a beer drinker but I was intrigued… and Osteria’s Head Chef, Patrick Leano, kindly obliged!

Birra Oi

Our main course was slow roasted rack of pork with black olive and roasted vine tomatoes. This was served with Le Pinciaie from Ilauri. The pork was absolutely delcious and perfectly cooked – it was really succulent and worked so well with the black olive, which was like a tapenade. The wine, which is a Montepulciano, was gorgeous with notes of cherry, currents and vanilla. The main was served with sides of polenta and green beans.

slow roasted rack of pork


Wine and grissini

The pre-dessert dessert was Taleggio Cheese with nectarines and balsamic glaze. It was served with Bajo Montepulciano from Ilauri. For me, the nectarines were a little on the hard side as they weren’t fully ripe however they worked really well with the cheese. The dish worked well with the wine as it has notes of red fruits, such as raspberries and currants.

Taleggio Cheese with nectarines

For dessert we were served Amalfi lemon tart with mascarpone gelate and this was served with DOCG Prosecco from Le Contesse. Sadly my photo came out all blurry (must have been the wine…) so you’ll just have to imagine how delicate and zesty it was. The pastry was light and perfectly cooked and the tart was luciously lemony. It was the perfect end to an excellent meal.

We thoroughly enjoyed our evening – great wine, excellent food and wonderful company. What more could you ask for?

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.



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