Category Archives: Food

Toscanaccio’s top picks for Easter lamb

Lamb is a wine merchant’s dream for food matching – it’s equally at home with the great classics of the old world such as Chianti and Rioja as it is with the bolder, fruitier styles of Southern Europe and the new world.

To get a truly memorable match though some consideration should be given to the age of the lamb, how you’re preparing it, and whether you’re adding any other dominant flavours. This will still leave plenty of scope for us to work within your preferences and this for us is the most important thing. If you like an elegant Pinot Noir you’re probably not going to enjoy a Bordeaux in the same way, however much it may be the ‘perfect match’ so take these guidelines and adjust for your taste!

Young lamb/ lamb served pink

Young lamb has a mild flavour, and if you’re using a short cooking process this won’t have the depth of slow cooked meat. Unless you’re adding a rich jus or gravy you could stay at the lighter end of your comfort zone. Pinot Noir would be our top pick, we’re big fans of Poderi Colla’s Campo Romano Pinot Nero £21.20 which has a wonderful savoury note. It’s not Burgundy but it’s rather elegant and lovely. If you’re keeping the dish light and full of delicate spring flavours you could even go as far as a decent rose, and if bubbles are in order (the answer is always yes in our house!) then Ferghettina Franciacorta Rose £30.50 would be a great match – it’s a serious vintage Champagne-style wine that really shines with food.

Roast lamb

This is your classic lamb roast – it might be served a bit pink, but it has had a longer cooking time to allow more flavour to develop and it’s likely this is going to be served with a decent gravy. Now you can dial the wine up a notch – San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva £18.90 is a great choice if you don’t want to be too bold but a Bordeaux blend is generally what most people gravitate towards. For us, this means a supertuscan – we have quite a range in stock but Petra Hebo £18.90 is a Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend which is quite simply Bordeaux on steroids!

Slow roasted lamb/spice

Slow roasted lamb has a wonderful richness and a  slightly gamey character which calls for a wine with a bit more age, such as Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino £46.80 which would be a fantastic, elegant match. Do pay attention to what you’re adding to the dish, for instance at home we use a fragrant spice rub on the lamb which means we’ll be looking for something with more richness – A decent Nero d’Avola or Primitivo wouldn’t go amiss here, such as Donnafugata’s Sherazade £15.50. If you’re using a decent whack of spice, or even firing up the BBQ then Poggio al Tesoro’s Mediterra £21.90 would be an absolute winner in our eyes.

Spaghetti alla carbonara

Recipe – Spaghetti Carbonara

Carbonara is one of my go-to dishes for a quick supper – comforting, simple to prepare and always well received.

Carbonara has to be one of the simplest dishes and yet it’s the cause of much debate – cream or not? The full egg or just the yolk? One thing seems certain to me – Italians do not use cream in their recipe so ditch it from your dinner and try the real Italian Carbonara!

Over the years I’ve tested many different methods and I’ve finally settled on this, my definitive recipe.

A few notes;

– I use spaghetti by default but any long, thin shape will do.

– It’s worth investigating guanciale (pig cheek, we sell a lovely peppered version) – the fat renders down during cooking giving lovely flavour to the sauce.

Guanciale al pepe

– Eggs, use fresh and free range. I use only the yolk but feel free to use the whites too (I save them to make meringues). I find I get creamier results my way with a lower tendency for it to scramble.

– Truffle pecorino will turn this dish into something very special!

Recipe (feeds two)

200g spaghetti

a dash of olive oil

50g guanciale or pancetta

2 egg yolks

50g gran pecorino (or truffle pecorino), grated

Method:

Put a large pan of salted water on the boil, once at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, chop the guanciale or pancetta into small pieces and fry in a dash of olive oil on a medium heat. Once golden in colour take the pan off the heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate dish with half the grated pecorino.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain (reserving a ladle of the cooking water) and add the pasta to the guanciale pan and mix. Let this cool for about a minute and stir through the egg mixture (DO NOT apply any further heat or you will scramble the eggs). At this stage, add a dash of the pasta water to loosen the sauce then tip out onto warmed plates and garnish with the remaining gran pecorino and a dash of pepper.

The wine match? For me, it’s got to be the fresh vitality of Gavi, try our Gavi Conchetta at £9.60, crunchy green apple and limey fruit with a wonderfully dry, mineral finish.

Buon Appetito!

Spaghetti alla carbonara

 

 

 

Panettone now in stock!

We’ve just taken delivery of our first batch of Gilber panettone. All beautifully gift wrapped they make a lovely gift!

Hand made by the family-owned Gilber in Turin they are the lightest, softest panettone we’ve had!

Alongside the classic ‘Piemontese’ which is topped with nuts we have three different filled panettone and mini stocking fillers too.