It’s Agnese here – Rita’s sister! Musing about why food and wine go so well together. The combination is something we take for granted but how did it all begin, in Italy at least?
After long experience abroad, working within cultures different from mine, I have understood that, in most places, alcohol consumption is considered a means of being together, socialising, having fun and partying.
Italians are different in this aspect! For us, food is the key to socialising. An Italian is much more likely to invite you to share food than to drink together.
Italians choose good food that respects the traditions they grew up with, to share with friends and guests. And they apply the same principles when they choose the wine they offer to accompany the food. The wine selected must enhance the dishes perfectly.
Food culture, in Italy, is full of poor, simple dishes with peasant roots and the wines of each region, city and every corner of Italy are no different. This means the combination of food and wine brings you closer to Italian traditions, evoking their history of, above all, simplicity.
Wine has always played a very important role in Italy. It was used as a medicine in the Middle Ages and had mystical values attributed to it in Christianity. It was an essential social lubricant from the time of the banquets of the ancients. Celebrated by poets and painted by painters, shared in wealth and poverty alike, it has played the same vital part as food in Italian culture.
As an Italian and a Sommelier, I am always looking for simple and traditional wines that are full of flavour, reasonably priced and easy to find abroad.
I hope these few thoughts on how Italians view wine and how it enhances our all-important food experience help you to understand the approach I will be taking to pair Rita’s lovely dishes with their perfect accompaniments.