The list of why I love Italy is long and has consistently expanded since I moved here in 2007. Near the top of my list, is the wine pairing lunches offered at many wineries. Most of the time, a meal with wine is pleasantly inexpensive. That is not necessarily the case at these feasts, however, but they serve their best. The meticulous attention of pairing wine with well thought-out, exquisite dishes is magical.
Recently, I enjoyed this experience at Feudi di San Gregorio and Mastroberardino. Both were lovely but I would have to say, I preferred my experience at Feudi di San Gregorio best.
Mastraoberardino offered a small tour of their wine cellar followed by lunch at their restaurant, Morabianca (a scenic 30 minute drive from the winery). The restaurant is part of Mastroberardino's Radici Resort which was built approximately 2 years ago. The resort is nestled in the Taurasi DOCG region and surrounded by vineyards. In addition to the restaurant, there is also a hotel with stylish, modern rooms, and believe it or not, a golf course which is a novelty for the hills of Campania.
Morabianca offers regional cuisine with careful preparation and attentive service. My handsome date (i.e. my husband) and I were served 3 beautiful wines during the 7 course meal - yes, an amazing 7 courses. As you can imagine, we were quite full walking away from this adventure. After lunch, our waiter graciously showed us a couple of the rooms as well as a glimpse of the grounds.
Feudi di San Gregorio also offered a tour of their facilities, built in 2000 by a Japanese architect, and is the picture of modernism at it's finest. The restaurant, Marenna, promotes Slow Food and is very chic with a state-of-the-art, glassed in kitchen. Views from the kitchen and restaurant are open to the vineyards. It is evident that this ambiance inspires the menu preparation as well as delights the guests. The food planning is conscientious and announces itself with impecable presentation. I embarked on this adventure with my husband and friends. There is nothing better than sharing such experiences with those you wish to hold in your memories. Upon savoring 5 courses with 5 flawlessly paired wines, we all agreed, it was quite possibly the best meal we've had in the Campania region. By the way, we were not just poured glasses of wine during our meal. Once our glasses were filled, the bottle was placed at our table for the remainder of the meal. This did not go unnoticed - especially by my husband.
After enjoying an afternoon of gastronomic indulgences, we were full and completely satisfied but just had to inquire as to what the chef's were working on in the kitchen. Throughout the meal, we observed the chefs in their prestine, glass cube taking turns stirring something in a large pot. When we inquired into what could possibly merit such time and care, we were told it was risotto with truffles and goat cheese. As full as we were, we couldn't help but oblige when asked if we'd like to try some. Although the chef was preplexed as to why we wanted risotto after our dessert, he gave each of us generous portions to taste. In my opinion, it may well have been the best dish I ate....although that is hard to tell since I would easily request any of the dishes as my last meal.
I walked away probably a little too full, but full of some of the best wine and food I've had during my time in Italy and that is exactly why it's earned a place at the top of my list!