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my wine journey

Dining with Bacchus -- a special pairing of Italian wines with Italian & International cuisines

Earlier this month, I had the great opportunity to attend the captioned event at Il Fornaio in San Jose.

Hosted by the Italian Trade Agency, this trade/media event was a wine & food educational dinner, which provided us with a learning experience on Italian wines and their adaptability to various culinary pairings.

Indeed, this event showed the potential of Italian wines as food wine, meaning the flavors of wine and food were enhanced each other, if properly paired. What I like about it was the wines selected were within a reasonable price range (around $20-40), and from all over Italy, so that it was like traveling around Italy through food and wine.

Each course from antipasti, the first course, the second course to dolci consisted of three dishes, paired with three wines, so that we could play with a number of combinations. Also, the dinner was thoroughly guided by Jienna Basaldu, an advanced sommeliere.

The full list of the dinner and wine pairing is found below. Here, I share some of the impressive pairings for me.

(1) Etna Bianco & Smoked carpaccio -- the wine, made from volcanic soils in Etna, Sicily, has fruits of pear, apricot and yellow apple with a hint of salinity and smokiness, which are nicely matched with smoked swordfish.

(2) Vermentino & pasta with pistachio pesto cream sauce -- the wine has fresh and bright fruits of peach and guava with some herbal and savory notes. These herbal and leafy notes go well with green pesto.

(3) Etna Rosso & Seabass with tomato sauce -- the wine has ruby color with tart cherry and cranberry fruits. Structured with medium + acidity and tannin, it is soft enough to go with fish. Some tertiary and savory notes such as porcini mushroom in the wine also enhanced the flavor profile of the dish.

(4) Barolo Chinato & Layered chocolate cake -- Herbal notes of fennel and cardamon of Barolo Chinato gives chocolate cake a bit of spice and they make a delicious pairing!

Thank you! I enjoyed the experience so much.


Menu of the Night


Carpaccio di Pesce Spada

Burrata con Pomodorini

Octopus Salad


Etna Bianco DOC / Terra Constantino "De Aetna" 2019

Falanghina Basilicata IGT / Paternoster 2021

Alto Adige DOC / Cantina Tramin, Pinot Bianco 2018


Risotto al Gamberetti

Casarecce al Pistacchio

Crepes alla Parigina


Soave Classico DOC / Pieropan 2020

Vermentino Di Sardegna DOC / Argiolas 2020

Prosecco DOC Rose / Val d'Oca 2020


Branzino alla Livornese

Ossobuco Di Maiale

Beef Wellington


Etna Rosso DOC / Alta Mora 2018

Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano DOCG / Carpineto 2017

Salento IGT Primitivo / Masseria li Veli "Orion" 2020


New York Style Cheesecake

Cannoli Siciliani



Moscato d'Asti DOCG / Saracco 2021

Passito Di Pantelleria DOCG / Donnafugata, Ben Rye 2019

Vino Aromatizzato / Fontanafredda, Barolo Chinato NV


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