Its that time of the year again: BBQing with umbrellas, dining outdoors to escape the heat of the kitchen, and wishing it was appropriate to sit in a kiddie pool with a refreshing cocktail in hand.
We complain a lot about the weather, but what do you expect, it’s a prime conversation starter for any of our social gatherings, and at this time of the year, quite controversial!
And speaking of social gatherings, it’s also the time of year where we rush to pick up the lightest on the palate yet most refreshing alcohol beverages we can find. Most often than not, you’ll find yourself reaching for that bottle of white wine with the nice sticker, or the SALE sticker on the label, because you know, you’re too sophisticated to bring a 12 pack of Pabst to your friends’ dinner.
Although reaching for the white wines is a great idea, so very few of us choose to pick up bubbles of any kind, because we associate it mostly to special occasions or a hefty price tag. It is with great joy that I inform you that instead of picking up a bottle of white, you should try picking up a bottle of sparkling white, to be more precise, Prosecco!
This week, we got the chance to meet over 30 Prosecco winery representatives here in Montreal through the Italian Chamber of Commerce, and try some of the most delicious bubbles ever. After speaking to several of the representatives, we came to the conclusion that serving Prosecco is a great choice, for pretty much any type of summery meal. You can pair it with fish, cured hams like prosciutto, seafoods, grilled red meats, grilled veg, and the list goes on!
Prosecco, much like Parmesan cheese and Champagne, has a Controlled Designation of Origin status (DOC), which means that “real” Prosecco must come from one of the nine regulated provinces in Italy.
If we were to look at the numbers, there are 8159 wine estates, 269 sparkling wine producers and 200 million bottles, according to the Prosecco world.
Made traditionally from the Glera grape, there are some varieties that do exist which are made from various other grapes. Prosecco DOC can come in three types, spumante (sparkling), frizzante (semi-sparkling), and tranquillo (still). I’ve attached a link to each type available at the SAQ, and most likely LCBO.
If you are familiar with Prosecco, you will have most likely have had a spumante, which is the most famous and popular variety. It can be qualified as extra bubbly, and can be brut, extra dry, dry or demi-sec: this refers to the sugar content, in increasing order.
For the connoisseur, there are very distinct differences, but for those of you, who like us, don’t know all that much about Prosecco, you can differentiate between the three types by the presence and duration of the bubbles. The finer and quickly dissipating bubbles will be a tranquillo, and you’ve guessed it, very effervescent and long lasting bubbles will make it a spumante.
The taste of a Prosecco will also vary depending on the grapes; you can have a very light and floral tasting one, to a Prosecco that tastes strongly of apples and pears.
A couple of our favourites from the Prosecco DOC tasting were the following
- Piera Martellozzo “Blue Pearl” Prosecco DOC
- Fantinel Spumanti Prosecco DOC
- Pizzolato Brut Prosecco DOC, an organic and vegan Prosecco that stole the show (in my opinion)
A great thing to know when serving Prosecco is that a flute, which is usually used for Champagne or other sparkling whites, is not suitable since it doesn’t allow the bouquet (aromas and flavors) to be released. A tulip glass, for the fancier of us is recommended, but any wine glass will do.
As for pairing it with food, here are some antipasti (appetizers) that you can pair with Prosecco. Taking inspiration from these ingredients and entrées for main meals is a great idea if you’re still a little unsure of what to serve.
We started with some mixed dried fruits (figs and cranberries) and nuts, along with some aged cheese and thinly sliced prosciutto.
Next up were several light seafood and fish dishes: octopus tentacles with crunchy radishes and strawberries with a basic vinaigrette, salted cod with chickpeas and bell peppers marinated in herb-infused olive oil, salmon tartar served in a tiny waffle cone, and some other fried fish.
On the heartier side, there was a Portuguese stew of chorizo sausage and white beans, as well as strips of flat iron steaks seasoned with olive oil and salt and pepper in little ciabatta buns slathered in Portuguese mustard and marinated hot peppers.
It was a very delicious and extremely fun night, and we hope that you might enjoy a glass or two of bubbles for us!