Vin Bar

I have one comment about Vin Bar/Valentino – just go. All wines are from their list and all food is orchestrated by Chef Nico. We have one responsibility – just enjoy.

Vino Spumante to start

Fried Zucchini Blossom stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese on a bed of fresh tomato and basil – delicious

2nd wine – Fiano di Avellino from the estate of Colli di Lapio. The grape is from the Campania region of Southern Italy. Paul Sherman likened this to a “fat Reisling.”  The Colli di Lapio estate “was established in 1994 and it is family run. Up to 1999 a traditional press was used, then a pneumatic press and a bottling machine were purchased. The wine has been successful since the first vintage, winning many awards. Clelia now also offers an Irpinia Aglianico and a Taurasi produced from 2 hectares of vineyards in the Taurasi area. The family supervises the Aglianico grape production and the wine is vinified at the estate.”

Summer Figs wrapped with Speck, with spicy oil (the oil had been infused with peppers) and micro greens. The speck was from the Northern part of Italy, closest to Germany and lightly smoked. Another absolute winner.

Eggplant tortino, Cavalo, Coulis of sweet tomatoes and sweet red pepper and micro basil – The eggplant puree was like a soufflee in texture and taste and was absolutely perfect. One of the things that I love about Chef Nico’s cuisine is that it is executed masterfully but with a modern and innovative sensibility.

Red Wine – Pinot Noir- Paul Sherman likened this to a “mouth feel of a Syrah grape.”

Lousy photo but another perfect dish – the chef gets an A, the photographer a D+. Crepes filled with duck, bean cotta on a bed of a red wine sauce  topped with dried fruit with mustard, spinach leaf on the side

Quail wrapped with proscuitto and lardo, aged 12 months stuffed with Riso al Salto sitting on a risotto cake, drizzled with Marsala sauce, sage leaf on top – a marriage of classic cuisine and extraordinary technique – my initial comment about Vin Bar/Valentino – run don’t walk is totally applicable.

Next wine – Paul Sherman selects the appropriate wine for our courses – As an aside this is the one of the few restaurants that we never BYO – I want to drink from their list as most of the time you are having little known producers that have been discovered by Piero and match perfectly with the food.

Porcini and abalone mushrooms cooked in parchment with baked cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan on top – this was the equivalent of a meat course – earthy and could almost make me a meatless fan.

Pici pasta (a thick, hand rolled pasta, like a fat spaghetti, originating in the province of Siena in Tuscany) with braised duck ragu, mushrooms and pecorino cheese – another dish that John inhaled

Close-up of the pici

Fusilloro pasta with pecorino, black olives, extra virgin olive oil and parsley – One of the things that I love about going to Vin Bar/Valentino is that it is above and beyond just dining; it is a learning experience. Piero is kind enough to really explain the intricacies of Italian food. Now a brief history of Fusilloro:

The Fusilloro pasta is produced by Verrigni:

“The history of Verrigni Pasta began in 1898. In that year Verrigni, began suppling the noble families of ROSBURGO (now Roseto degli Abruzzi) a special “pulp” obtained by a unique and natural process of stone-grinding wheat. Since that time, for more than a century, the Abruzzese pasta has been popular because those who make it maintain the passion and creativity of their ancestors.”

“Gaetano Verrigni and his wife Francesca Castelli Petrei continue this great tradition. They are leading a new “era” of “pastificio” marked by respect for this great tradition of pasta-making that this region emboddies, and the constant quest for the highest in quality. Innovative packaging, an effective distribution network, and the innovative use of specially crafted, gold die has allowed their pasta factory to become a brand leader among Italian culinary products of excellence.”

“At the basis of their success is the selection of the best organic Italian durum wheat, grown and harvested in the Abruzzo farm of Gaetano’s wife Francesca. The Old Rose GardenPasta Verrigni produces about 80 different types of pasta, from traditional types to the more modern. Varieties are made with durum wheat semolina from organic agriculture certified dall’ICEA (Institute for Ethical and Environmental Certification), full meal, Kamut, Senator Hats and spelt. Verrigni was one of the very first pasta factories in Italy to explore the world of organics, and it’s high quality has been consistently recognized by distributors, merchants and consumers.”

“Another special feature of Verrigni pasta is its special process used in drying. Their dough is dryed very slowly and at low temperature – between 45 ° and 50 ° C – with a duration of up to three days. This ensures that the delicate character of their precious organic wheat is not altered. It also allows for the natural fermentation process that helps give Verrigni pasta its unmistakable flavor.”

“Perhaps few people know that pasta actually has a flavor,” says Gaetano Verrigni. “But it does. Our pasta helps them to begin to enjoy it.”

Mr Verrigni’s success has been based on his sensitivity to the evolution of modern taste, and to his new techniques for allowing the dough of his pasta to bring out its real flavor.This has been one of the key’s to the success of this great pasta company.

Package of Fusilloro

SPECIAL GOLD DIE

“In collaboration with the artisan jewelry Sandro Seccia, Verrigni pasta has created “spaghettoro” and “fusilloro.” These innovative products are made using, for the first time ever, die made of gold. Unlike other die, this unique instrument of pasta making give this brand of pasta a texture that is different and more refined.”

“Scientific research utilizing a blind test by a senior laboratory found that people experience increased satisfaction in the eating experience of “spaghettoro” and “fusilloro” in comparison to ordinary pasta. This is likely due to the reduced stress that the dough experiences when it comes in contact with this most supple and refined character of gold. The result is a texture characterized by a unique roughness, a subtle sweetness and a distinctive note that is charming to the palate.”

“In collaboration with the artisan jewelry Sandro Seccia, Verrigni pasta has created “spaghettoro” and “fusilloro.” These innovative products are made using, for the first time everdie made of gold. Unlike other die, this unique instrument of pasta making give this brand of pasta a texture that is different and more refined.”

“Scientific research utilizing a blind test by a senior laboratory found that people experience increased satisfaction in the eating experience of “spaghettoro” and “fusilloro” in comparison to ordinary pasta. This is likely due to the reduced stress that the dough experiences when it comes in contact with this most supple and refined character of gold. The result is a texture characterized by a unique roughness, a subtle sweetness and a distinctive note that is charming to the palate.”

All the above information can be found here:

http://community.foodandwine.com/_FUSILLOROGOLDEN-DIE/photo/11079895/117547.html

Gnudi with parmesan and ricotta – in a word delicious

Cheese Course – Asiago, Boschetta, Pecorino Sardo, Cacio Romano with walnuts, figs and apricots, and puree

A fantastic meal at a fantastic restaurant – I urge everyone to go and revel in the hospitality of Piero, the terrific Paul Sherman, the graciousness of Giuseppe and the exquisite cuisine of Chef Nico and Chef Fabio. This is our “go to” restaurant for any occasion – just for an evening out as well as a special occasion.

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