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Christmas With Franciacorta, Italy’s Best-Kept Secret



Artur Vaso, 2022 Italian best sommelier, suggests ways to match up the recipes of the great chefs with the various types of Franciacorta


Christmas is a time when culinary delights take center stage, whether in the comfort of home-cooked family feasts or the artful creations of top restaurants. Guided by a profound appreciation for the world of wine, sommelier Artur Vaso has crafted a special menu for us. This menu pairs the creations of expert chefs with the diverse range of Franciacorta wines, offering a culinary journey like no other.


Located in the heart of Lombardy, Franciacorta is Italy's hidden gem. This region, nestled an hour away from Milan and bordering Lake Iseo, has not only lent its name to the renowned wine but also defines the production method, ensuring the utmost quality.


The area's morainic soil, rich in minerals from ancient glaciers, provides the ideal foundation for exceptional viticulture, ultimately reflected in the distinctive sensory profiles of Franciacorta wines. Franciacorta caters indeed to diverse tastes, with Franciacorta Brut offering a savory, fresh, and harmonious experience ideal for various dishes.


For a softer touch, there's Franciacorta Satèn, perfect for delicate flavors, while Franciacorta Rosé pairs elegantly with heartier dishes. Discover even greater complexity with aged selections like Franciacorta Millesimato and Franciacorta Riserva.


As we embark on this culinary adventure, let's kick off with starters. An idea is serving capon as an entrée. It is delicious made Brescia-style, served with caramelised carrots and filled with a stuffing bursting with herbs, garlic, onions, parsley and rosemary.


This dish, invented by chef Davide Modesti, is pure magic accompanied by a Franciacorta Rosé Brut, whose structure showcases pleasant fruity notes, while its refreshing acidity makes it a not overly intrusive presence and enables us to appreciate all the flavours of the capon.


If you prefer a traditional Christmas but would, at the same time, like to bring something out-of-the-ordinary to the table, you could begin with a pumpkin cappuccino served with red prawns, kale chips and ginger foam, like the dish invented by chef Stefano Cerveni.


These are unusual ingredients which go perfectly with Franciacorta Satèn. The characteristics of this wine include extraordinary smoothness and a fine perlage, creating a delightful contrast with the pumpkin's sweetness and ginger's zing.


Barbecued octopus served on a celeriac cream is a delicious starter which fits well into a Christmas dinner or lunch. With this dish a spot-on wine choice is Franciacorta Brut, a versatile wine which also goes perfectly with fish. its tangy, balanced flavors complement the richness of this seafood delight.


Moving onto pasta and rice now, serving up a creamy orange, rosemary, red prawn and Ponzu sauce risotto like that of chef Beppe Maffioli is a winning choice. Possibly together with a wine like Franciacorta Extra Brut, truly unbeatable with the dish’s delicate prawn flavours and as a counterpoint to the slightly sweet aromas of the orange.


Nothing could be better than a great dish of cappelletti stuffed with sturgeon to kick off a New Year's Eve dinner! These are on the menu of chef Davide Modesti. The flavours of the fish combine with the other ingredients, such as lemon zest and marjoram, breathing life into a unique whole, a delicious sequence of surprising aromas and flavours which will win you over with every mouthful. Here it is Franciacorta Dosaggio Zero 2016, which is ideal with its top-quality assemblage adding a festive touch to the occasion.


If a more delicate flavour is your thing, pappardella stuffed with pumpkin, Franciacorta and caviar with its nutmeg and shallot flavours is a phenomenal pasta dish to serve up to guests on New Year's Eve or Christmas day.


Try it with Franciacorta Satèn 2018, a wine bursting with white flower aromas. Stylish with a big personality, its finish conjures up jammy motes which go perfectly with pumpkin and caviar, a triumph of contrasting-flavour-free harmony.



Occasions such as Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner also require personality packed mains, such as braised cheek in Curtefranca rosso with Jerusalem artichokes and coffee is a dish created by chef Mauro Zacchetti.


The ideal wine with this is Franciacorta Riserva Dosaggio Zero 2011, with its fine perlage cut through with pleasant toasted bread aromas. The overall effect is an all-encompassing equilibrium which feels like a warm embrace.


As an alternative to the ‘usual’ turkey, guinea fowl is a Christmas ingredient that everyone loves. It can be served up in a sophisticated barbecued version with spinach and truffle cream.


Franciacorta Riserva Brut 2008 goes well with this dish, offering a sophisticated and memorable choice, cutting through the dish's richness. And for an ideal finish, a slice of panettone by master pastry chef Giovanni Cavalleri. Happy Christmas and New Year. Cheers everyone!


Discover more about Franciacorta: www.franciacorta.wine


By ML staff. Images courtesy of Franciacorta.

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