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Franciacorta – Exclusive food pairings for the festive season

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Recipes by the talented chefs behind three restaurants in Franciacorta bring a characterful and sophisticated touch to the festive table

Over the past year, we’ve embarked on a fantastic exploration of Franciacorta through the eyes of some of the world’s most renowned sommeliers. From London to New York, the sommeliers we interviewed were unanimous in their appreciation for the Traditional Method sparkling wine from Lombardy, which has earned pride of place on their wine lists.

Another recurring theme was the recognition of the food pairing potential of Franciacorta’s different styles which, each in their own way, stand out for their balanced richness, savoury complexity, robust acidity and, as Federico Moccia of 67 Pall Mall described it, their ‘digestibility. These distinct qualities all contribute to Franciacorta wines marrying outstandingly well with a range of different recipes and cuisines.

Perfect pairings

With the festive season upon us, we reached out to chefs at three renowned restaurants in the Franciacorta area and asked for ideal pairing suggestions for a celebratory meal. Quite fortuitously, they each focused on a different style, perfectly showcasing the many possibilities offered by this unique sparkling wine.

All the recipes include seasonal produce and warming flavours, perfect for the cold days ahead – each with a touch of sophistication and festive glamour too. There’s also a nod to tradition and homeliness that evokes the spirit of the season, and also the possibility of reinterpreting these pairing suggestions through some of your own creations and family traditions.

A glass of Franciacorta is arguably the best companion to celebratory staples, such as seafood platters, smoked salmon or caviar. The Millesimato and Riserva styles in particular, are good matches for a rack of lamb or the classic Turkey dinner. For a Christmas cheese board, consider a Satèn (particularly good with soft and creamy cheeses) or a mature Riserva (which will underscore the nutty richness of aged iterations).

Franciacorta has, undoubtedly, earned a well-deserved place on all festive tables – let the merrymaking begin.

Franciacorta – Three pairings to try this Christmas

Grilled gnocchi, Franciacorta sauce and Calvisius dry caviar
By Augusto Pasini of Hill Colle Bistrot, Erbusco, Brescia, Italy

A unique interpretation of traditional gnocchi, in which technique and the quality of ingredients take centre stage. Made with red-skinned potatoes, the gnocchi are served with a creamy sauce made with reduced Franciacorta. Grated dried caviar adds texture and an idiosyncratic flavour edge.

Paired with 

Franciacorta Satén
The team at Hill Colle recommends Franciacorta’s unique Satèn style as the perfect companion to this delicate yet complex dish. The style’s characteristic fine and persistent bubbles capture and underscore all the textural and flavour nuances, without obscuring any aspect in particular, helping each of the elements to come to the forefront in their own way.

Creamy pumpkin risotto with Robiola fondue and duck speck
By Moris Dalola of Osteria Quattro Rose, Rovato, Brescia, Italy
An unapologetic risotto, unafraid to combine creaminess, savoury intensity and smoky depth. Cream and Parmesan are added to the perfectly cooked Carnaroli rice and pumpkin  before plating. The dish is then topped with a luscious Robiola fondue and thin layers of duck speck.

Paired with 

Franciacorta Extra-Brut Millesimato
This intensely flavoured and rich dish, calls for an equally robust yet refreshing wine. The Quattro Rose team therefore suggest a Franciacorta Extra-Brut Millesimato – bursting with savoury, yeasty depth it is also driven by a firm acid core. Elegant and full-bodied, this Franciacorta style is intense and creamy in itself – therefore able to match the dish – but the acidity, nuttiness and fruit core offset the richness and cleanse the palate.

Stuffed capon Brescia-style, caramelised carrots and parsley chlorophyll 
By Davide Modesti, Ristorante Vivace, Brescia, Italy
A refined take on festive tradition, this recipe brings a big bird to the table (capon in lieu of turkey) in small portions of textured and delicately layered flavours. The breasts are cooked at low temperature with a flavourful stuffing of cheese, herbs, garlic and hazelnut. The caramelised carrots and parsley chlorophyll (quickly boiled, cooled and drained leaves, processed to sauce consistency), add colourful touches of earthy freshness.

Paired with 

Franciacorta Rosé
This dish sets the gamey quality of the capon and richness of the stuffing, on the one hand, against the purity of the sauces and garnishes, on the other. A Franciacorta Rosé provides a perfect match due to the vibrancy of the red fruit, subtle tannic grip and mid-palate weight, which carry the firm texture of the meat with ease. The zesty finish and acid lift allow the parsley and carrot components to come to the forefront as well.

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