How to party Italian Style with beautiful Italian Sparkling wines and delicious canapés
By Riccardo Bernabei, Molo Restaurant, Sydney
There's no doubt about it, Italians love great food and delicious wine and when it comes to putting the two together with a touch of Italian pizzazz, Riccardo Bernabei of Sydney's Molo Restaurant has elevated it to a fine art.
"In Italy, we love to watch the sun set while enjoying a delicious spritz or a glass of Prosecco and we always do this with some gorgeous canapés to go with. Just like young Italians in love, food and wine always go hand in hand," said Riccardo.
Driven by his love of his Italian birthplace and his life-long passion for Italian food, Riccardo's Molo restaurant has become an iconic destination restaurant for Sydney foodies who share his love of simple and seasonally fresh fare sourced from some of the world's finest provedores.
"Live scallops from Abrolhos Island in WA, black river caviar from Uruguay, rare Red Cow Parmigiano Reggiano from Italy - we go to extraordinary lengths to source only the freshest ingredients from the highest quality and often lesser-known regional producers. In Italy, simplicity is everything, allowing the ingredients to shine – less is more!" said Riccardo.
If you're hosting a party this holiday season, Riccardo has the perfect Italian cocktail hour wine and food suggestion to add a touch of Italian class to at-home entertaining.
"I was excited to hear that Freixenet Prosecco and Sparkling Rosé recently landed on our shores. Freixenet is a leading Sparkling wine producer and they have introduced two delicious drops of Italian Sparkling into Dan Murphy's and BWS that will make any party sizzle. The beautiful diamond faceted glass bottles will add an additional flair to any table setting," he said.
Light, delicate and fresh, Riccardo said that Freixenet Prosecco pairs beautifully with raw canapés such as oysters or a crudo of fish and scampi which will complement the subtle flavours of fine, raw seafood. "I'm particularly loving the exquisitely fresh oysters and scallops from Port Stephens at the moment. Yellow fin tuna is also in season and tastes fantastic with a delicious glass of Freixenet Sparkling."
Freixenet Sparkling Rosé is fresh and fruity with sweet berry notes. Riccardo recommends pairing with buffalo ricotta-filled zucchini flowers and very lightly fried fritto misto. "The trick is to use large female zucchini flowers coated with a very light batter and make sure the temperature of the oil is bubblingly hot to give a fresh crispness – then watch the look of amazement on your guests' faces!"
Riccardo Bernabei's Buffalo Ricotta-filled Zucchini Flowers - Recipe
1 kilo of quality Buffalo Ricotta
20 good quality, large female Zucchini flowers
Zest of 3 lemons
250g Red Cow Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
For the batter:
Vegetable Oil – for frying
3 cups plain flour
Ice-cold Sparkling water
1. Combine everything together in a bowl. If the mixture is too stiff, add a small amount of milk.
2. Spoon the mixture into a large nozzled piping bag then very gently pipe into the flower.
3. Sieve the flour and mix in the Sparkling water, add salt and pepper to taste. The batter mixture should be very thin.
4. Pre-heat the oil in the frying pan and when sizzling hot, fry flowers until crisp and golden, drain any oil, then put on a plate. Sprinkle on some fresh parmesan and serve immediately with a lemon wedge and a cool glass of Freixenet Sparkling Rosé.
Freixenet Prosecco DOC, RRP: $28.00. Freixenet Sparkling Rosé, RRP: $28.00. Both available from Dan Murphy's and BWS stores nationwide.
Molo Restaurant: 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011. To make a booking, visit: https://www.molobar.com.au/.