Long-time deli owners Narelle and Mark (Marko) have recently revamped their Spring Hill (Brisbane) bistrocafedeli to seven-day trading, catering for all-day breakfast and long lunching.
This week’s event was a Tuscan-influenced dinner seeking to draw on the special skills in Tognini’s kitchen combined with Mark’s obvious passion for his sourcing and ingredients use.
Starters were influenced with gorgonzola (as a tart), very minerally, and slow roast cherry tomato, which emphasised the texture of Vietti’s Roero Arneis 2009, 88 (USD 49), unwooded, a trifle funky yet amically dry and cleansed with a nice nectarine bitterness balancing these food flavours.
The twist with the next plate was a baking of semolina-formed gnocci , cutely shaped with pinched ends and topped with buffalo parmesan, a Mark special. Plozner Pinot Grigio 2008 under screwcap, 86 (USD 27) kept it’s pear flavour profile of the north eastern grigios of taut acidity.
No Tuscan fare comes without a ragu, this one local wild boar over pappadelle; and a supple but simple unwooded sangiovese from Fattoria Zerbina nearby in Romagna, Ceregio 2008, 87 (USD 23.50) pairing.
The Togninis have been chasing good flavoured free range pork with renewed veuve so a late-arriving large loin, bone-in was startingly good. It had fat, that’s the flavour bit, but also moist, juicy/succulent and hard to not stop eating more.
A pair of Chiantis teased out the pork flavours; Poliziano 2008, unwooded, 88 (USD 24.75), an area Chianti owned by a Montepulciano-based maker, and Fonterutoli Classico 2007 from near Castellina, deeply rich in colour, probably from a touch of cabernet, oaked, rich in sour cherry to tease out the pork jus.
Togninis have run a cheese room for years, and become masters at “fromaggio” from Mark’s home province of Lombardia and artisan makers close by.
What came as a surprise was the service detail; cheese by wine pairings, three Italian cheeses from Sicily and Piemonte; wines from Sicily, Piemonte and Romagna-where else!
Testun al Barolo, a semi-firm mix of sheep and goat milk, is aged four months in barrel over nebbiolo grape skins, which stain the surface, giving a fermented grape surface nuance over a crunchy, creamy palate. Paired was Zisola 2007, the Mazzei family’s Sicily property making nero d’avola, this bottle very rural smelling and sun-ripe from its jamminess, 88 (USD 39.75).
Cevrin is a small round goat cheese, 100 g with mountain herbs pressed in (smelt of thyme and oregano to me, but also containing purple flowers). It teamed up with a ripper wine, Vietti Nebbiolo Langhe, a regional bottling from 2006, 90 (USD 52), floral, almondy, gentle but persisting tannins over barley-sugar ripeness, it’s acidity brings out the goatiness.
Life is too short to miss a blue mould cheese. Piemonte’s Toma blu, a semi-hard cows cheese, 8 kg round aged in barrels with herbs and spices giving this a piccante flavour with mild blue mould threads.
As it demanded a sweet or fortified wine to match the mould, Romagna-bound Fattoria Zerbina’s passito style, rack dried table white albana wine, Arrocco was superb. The 1997, 94, (USD 65 fro 500 ml) has kept a lemon green-gold lustre, ethereal apricot nose and delish sweetness which garners enjoyment for blue cheese eaters.
It’s a matter of oak-aged sweet wine with a dry finish sweeping up the cheese fat, finishing in a piccante manner with savoury mould bitterness. www.togninis.com including recipes.
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