Monday, May 1, 2017

Barolo Night

We were at Giando one evening during the Easter long weekend for a wine-pairing dinner featuring a few bottles from Barolo with dishes of the cooking style from the same region. I have never been to the restaurant ever since they moved into the Star Street area, and I am glad to see they were as busy as ever with most of the tables filled when we arrived slightly before 8pm when the dinner was supposed to start.

The dinner was hosted by the Italian auction house Gelardini and Romani in anticipation of their upcoming wine auction in town, and we were joined by a few others at the tables in the private room at the back of the dining room. From my past few visits both at Giando and at Gia Trattoria, which took over Giando’s original space at Fenwick Pier, I fell in love with its excellent home-style, authentic Italian cooking, and this time there was no exception.

We began with a straight-forward garden vegetable salad dressed with bagna cauda and quail egg. I am still fascinated by Piedmont’s obsession with anchovies in its cuisine, but the salad was amazing, starting with many kinds of the fresh produce and bagna cauda’s strong anchovy flavor.

We continued with a few other courses typical in the region, including the ravioli with butter and walnut sauce, the green asparagus risotto with grated parmesan, and of course, the braised beef cheek with red wine sauce. Traditionally it’s braised with Barolo wine – I don’t know what wines were used in this version at Giando, but it’s very tender – almost effortless to cut through with our knives.

We had quite a few bottles, selected to show the various styles of Barolo and also through different vintages, beginning with the more recent ones and ended with a special one from the 1958 vintage. No surprise with the pair of Damilano, one of my favorite producers in the region, to start except I thought the 2007 Barolo Brunate was ahead of the 2006 vintage of Cannubi this time, with a more opened-up nose. My favorite bottles of the evening were a toss between the 2007 Giuseppe Rinaldi Cannubi San Lorenzo-Ravera and the 1958 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo. The former was just beautiful with such expressive nose, and the latter has lively color with a pale fade-away rim, a clean sherry nose with some ashes and coffee, and the long finish was unforgettable.

Of course I wouldn’t expect anything other than chocolate to end our Piedmontese evening with (given the region was most famous for its chocolate production), and our chocolate mousse was decent with good rich flavor and soft and creamy texture. At the end I probably had one or two glasses too much… but that I guess was the testimony of how good the wines and food were.

More pictures at

When? April 14 2017
Where? Giando, G/F 9 Star Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Braised beef cheek with red wine sauce, cauliflower puree and roasted red onions
2008 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvee Saten Brut
2007 Damilamo Barolo Brunate (en Magnum)
2007 Giuseppe Rinaldi Cannubi San Lorenzo – Ravera Barolo
2006 Damilano Barolo Cannubi (en Magnum)
1996 Domenico Clerico Barolo Pajana
1986 Ceretto Barolo Bricco Rocche Brunate
1958 Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo

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