There is nothing I enjoy more than eating and tweeting, especially when vino is involved. I mean, think about it, I can share my delicious experiences with the twitterverse and introduce my friends and followers to some new culinary delights. I can’t tell you how many times I have discovered a new restaurant, a new dish or a new drink after seeing it on twitter.
Recently I was invited to Timpano in Hyde Park to sample some new menu items that were paired with, you guessed it, vino. It was a magnificent evening with fabulous company: Jennifer Buggica (Mangiamo! Let’s Eat!) and Jeff Houck (The Stew). My friend Michael Blitch of Michael Blitch Photography was able to join me at the last-minute since I wanted to capture beautiful photographs of our experience.
We started off with Artisanal Cheese & Charcuterie which was Chef Antoine Ludcene’s gorgeous array of cured meats, artisan cheeses, tapenades, pate, fresh fruit and crusty Ciabatta. The meats included smoked duck, prosciutto and soppressata. Perfectly paired with the meats, we enjoyed a selection of white cheddar, Humboldt Fog and cranberry stilton cheeses. My favorite was the Humboldt Fog because it is produced in my home state of California (I adore California cheeses) and I have always loved how it is named after the Humboldt Fog that rolls over Humboldt Bay, which is a beautiful spot in Northern California.
With our Artisanal Cheese & Charcuterie, we enjoyed Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2009. With a gorgeous ruby color, this wine has hints of currants and red cherries. Produced entirely of Sangiovese grapes, it was the perfect wine to start off our evening.
“Wine is bottled poetry.”- Robert Louis Stevenson
Our next dish was my personal favorite, the Tuscan Egg. When I first saw it, it looked almost like arancini, which are fried risotto balls coated with breadcrumbs and filled with meat sauce, marinara, peas and/or Mozzarella. Arancini are my favorite and it took me years of practice to perfect them. This unique dish is a soft-boiled egg wrapped in crispy chicken sausage and then coated in Panko crumbs and fried. The egg is then cut in half and placed in a savory bed of Diavolo Sauce which is nice and spicy. Simply fantastico!
With our Tuscan Egg we enjoyed my favorite wine of the evening, the Meiomi Pinot Noir. Like the Humboldt Fog cheese, the Meiomi Pinot Noir is produced in my home state of California and its name stems from the fact that the grapes come from vineyards in Sonoma County, Monterey County and Santa Barbara County. The velvety smoothness of this wine paired incredibly with the Tuscan Egg.
"The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star."--Leonardo da Vinci
As we sipped our wine and chatted, our next course was presented: Osso Bucco. One of my all-time favorite comfort foods, Osso Bucco reminds me of the fall in California. I closed my eyes and thought about the fall season when the air cools and leaves turn to vibrant shades of plum and burnt orange. I don’t think Jen, Jeff or Michael realized it, but I was having a California moment and was instantly brought back to a time when I enjoyed cozy dinners in front of a fire with my family. Before I got too emotional, I opened my eyes and focused my attention to Chef Antoine as he described the preparation of this fantastic dish. Tender pork Shank on a pillow of Parmesan risotto with a rich pork demi, the Osso Bucco was sublime.
With our Osso Bucco we sipped on a beautiful Barolo, the 2006 Damilano “Lecinquevigne.” In Italian, “Lecinquevigne” means “the five vineyards” and this gem of a wine is produced with fruit from five vineyard sites across the Barolo wine region. I tasted elements of wild cherry, licorice and berries. It was another fantastic selection.
"As you get older, you shouldn't waste time drinking bad wine." --Julia Child
Our final course was a light dish of Pan Seared Scallops with asparagus, sweet creamy polenta and lobster cream sauce. Rich and tender, the scallops were seared to perfection and melted in my mouth. I absolutely loved the sweet creamy polenta! This was paired with one of my all-time favorite wines, the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, which you will always be sure to find a bottle of in my refrigerator. Crisp and clean with hints of fruit, the Santa Margherita paired with the scallops much like the way chocolate pairs with salted caramel. Pure perfection.
Timpano does everything big and it was no surprise that our dessert was, well, big! Their Chocolate Mouse Layer Cake with Cookies ‘n’ Cream Ice Cream is a chocolate lovers dream. Decadent and moist, this was the perfect ending to a fabulous meal. I could only eat a few bites but each one was special. 🙂
We enjoyed the Taylor Fladgate 20 year Tawny Port which also ignited memories of California. My love for port began in 1999 when I was working in a well-known jazz club. One night as I was closing up, one of the musicians bought be a glass of Fonseca Tawny 20 Year Port and while I sipped on the sweet cup of bliss, he told me about his first trip to Portugal and how delicious the food and port were during his travels. To this day, a trip to Portugal remains on my bucket list.
As always, Timpano left another lasting impression on me and gave me yet another reason to fall in love with Tampa.
Ciao for now!