My first tryst with Italy was nearly 16 years ago when I had back packed through Europe with my meagre savings from a job straight after college. With very little exposure to the whole wide world, my food experiences were confined to Pizza, Risotto & Pasta. It was easy on the pocket and tasted quite different from what I was used to in India. A few years later, a little worldly wise after a couple of work trips to different parts of the world, I was stationed in Geneva for a while. I took day journeys into Milan more than once to experience the fine Italian cuisine and learnt to appreciate the nuances as well as differentiate between the Italian cuisines and food culture of the hilly northern region to the Mediterranean influenced south. The dishes from the north are mostly subtly flavored with generous use of herbs, garlic and butter and quite unlike the olive oil and tomato sauce drenched pastas and pizzas of the south.
Alto Vino in Marriott, Whitefield offers one of the best Italian spreads in Bangalore and I was pretty thrilled to join the Chef Table for foodies and bloggers for the North Italian food fest. Most of the dishes on the menu were from Piemonte (Piedmont) which is on the Swiss-French border in North Italy at the foothills of the Alps. Home to some of the classiest wines in the region, the cuisine is generously laced with meat and butter.
To begin with Freshly baked bread was served on the table along with Pesto Sauce while Chef explained about the courses to be served along with the finest of wines. The evening was well spent digging into salads laced with basil cream cheese & Potato Gnocchi served on lamb ragout served along with white wine. The combination of raw and marinated grilled vegetables kicked off the digestive enzymes for the rest of the evening.
We slurped on bowls of soup which had cabbage, carrots and chick peas. Chef very kindly mentioned that he ideally includes pork ribs and bones to make it richer. Aah; would have loved that Italian version of desi paya.
As the evening progressed with the tinkling of fine cutlery & toasts to red wine over food conversations, it was time to devour the sea bass layer by layer. There was the breaded chicken breast too but opted for sea bass since it would take me closer to the taste of the Adriatic though this would have been perhaps sourced from elsewhere. The fish was lightly sauteed and grilled and was as fresh as it could be.
The cannelloni stuffed with spinach looked very tempting but I forced myself to look the other way lest I have to forego dessert for want of appetite.My bias for fresh strawberry not withstanding, the Strawberry Panna Cotta sprinkled with crunchy chocolate flakes and served with a few fresh slices was a perfect closure to a fine evening.
The bright red scooter in the corner reminded me of the streets of Bologna and so did the fresh aubergines on display. If I missed anything it was country music in the background to transport me completely to Italy.
The North Italian Food Fest is on until the 9th of March in Alto Vino, Marriott, Whitefield and with Women’s Day round the corner, just the right time to treat the special women in your life with a taste of Northern Italy.