April 2019 featured some Eastern European favorites! These wines just beg for food. We’ve paired them below with some classic dishes from their homelands. Some of these dishes take some work… so invite some friends and make an evening of it! As always, we’d love to see your comments and pictures. Enjoy!

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FIG AND PARMA HAM SALAD

This bright, crisp salad is the perfect companion to Tornai’s dry Furmint. The intense aromatics of the wine complement the richness of ripe figs, and the wine’s high acidity cleanses the palate after a bite of the Parma ham. It’s a match made in heaven!

Makes 4 servings. Prep time is approximately 10 minutes. This is an easy one!

Ingredients
6 ripe figs, quartered
140 g bag rocket, watercress and spinach leaves
8 slices Parma ham
2 balls buffalo mozzarella
2 tbsp. balsamic glaze
Few sprigs fresh mint
1 ciabatta loaf, sliced into chunks
1 tsp. olive oil, to brush
1 garlic clove, peeled

Directions

  1. On a large serving dish, arrange figs, salad leaves and Parma ham. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and dot among the salad. Drizzle over balsamic glaze and top with the mint.

  2. Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta until golden, then brush lightly with oil and rub the surface with garlic. Serve alongside the salad.


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VRBNIK SURLICE

What do you pair with a Sansigot? Why, surlice from the town of Vrbnik of course! This is a Croatian answer to boeuf bourguignon. It’s one of the most traditional dishes from the home of the Sansigot grape: the Island of Krk. We highly recommend this dish, but don’t even think about making it unless you’re planning on having a night in! So set aside some time, open up your Šipun Sansigot, and get ready for an experience. You’re even going to make the pasta.

Makes 4 servings. Prep time is a long time. But this one is fun…

Ingredients for the Surlice Pasta
3/4 lb flour
3/4 cup water
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil

Ingredients for the Sauce
1 lb beef, cut into 1/2” to 1” cubes
1-2 onion(s)
1 fresh tomato
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1/3 cup red wine
Parsley
Grated parmesan

Directions for the Surlice Pasta
You’ll need wooden skewers to make these properly. Surlice is a hollow pasta, and the hole in the middle allows the pasta to absorb the sauce. You can make these without holes if you’d like, but they’re way better with the holes!

  1. Mix flour, warm water, egg, salt, and olive oil and knead a firm dough. Let it rest for 1-2 hours.

  2. On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut it into small pieces. Flatten each piece on the palm of your hand, and then wrap them one by one around floured skewers and roll on the wooden board or between the hands to shape into hollow rolls.

  3. Put the shaped dough on a floured surface and leave it for an hour. You can speed up the process a bit if you put the little tubes of pasta briefly into a freezer.

  4. When you cook the surlice, drop it into boiling salted water and cook until al dente. The water should be as salty as the ocean! 

Directions for the Sauce

  1. Pour half the olive oil into a pan and heat. Mince the onion and saute until translucent.

  2. Add beef and minced garlic along with some salt and pepper. Saute until beef is browned. Add the rest of the oilve oil.

  3. Add diced tomatoes and parsley. Lower heat and simmer for at least an hour. Periodically add wine and water in small amounts.

  4. Continue frying until the ingredients form a fine sauce.

  5. In a separate pot, cook the surlice. When they’re ready (al dente!), combine them with the sauce. Et voila!


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A MORE PRACTICAL SKRADINSKI RIZOT: Anthony Bourdain’s Favorite Croatian Dish

Skradin is a small town on the Adriatic coast of Croatia, north of Split. It’s beautifully idyllic, but the scenery isn’t what this town is most famous for… people flock to this village for its prized risotto! While the traditional version of this dish involves a 12 hour simmer of veal stock, we have a slightly less time consuming recipe that will pair beautifully with Bibich’s Brut Rosé. Bibich, in fact, hosted Anthony Bourdain and made Skradinski Rizot (but wouldn’t give him their recipe!). He famously said upon tasting this dish, “Holy s*** that’s good!”

Makes many servings. Get some friends to help eat this.

Tip: Start the bouillon as early as you can. Using a pressure cooker is a fantastic idea in order to keep the rich flavors in the broth. With a pressure cooker, cook the bouillon for an hour. Without, cook for as long as possible.

Ingredients
2 lb rump veal
2 lb onions (3-4 medium-sized onions)
2 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/3 lb any hard sheep’s milk cheese (think Pecorino or Manchego, but use whatever you’d like)
salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste

Ingredients for Bouillon
1 qt good quality chicken broth (if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on capon broth, use it instead!)
1 qt good quality beef broth
1 lb veal, cubed
1 bunch parsley
4 stalks celery, cut in large pieces
3 large carrots, cut in large pieces
1/2 bunch kale

Directions

  1. Simmer the bouillon with all ingredients. A pressure cooker is highly recommended.

  2. Saute finely chopped onion in oil until translucent. Add the diced veal and brown. Add half of the bouillon. Put this mixture in the pressure cooker and cook on high for one hour. This should result in a mixture with a pate-like texture.

  3. Add the Arborio rice. Simmer on low heat, stirring frequently. Add bouillon as necessary until risotto is the proper texture. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Before serving, sprinkle abundantly with grated cheese.