Tutto Gusto

October 2015 Trip Review

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I was surprised when I was seated at the exact same table (for 6 guests) as last year. Here is a photo of my place setting, which looked rather intimidating… ;)

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Yes, there were six glasses…five of them for wine and one water glass.

Five wine pairings for the five courses which were to be served…
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But before the antipasti course is the bread (focaccia and crispy thin breadsticks)…

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This year the focaccia was a little different than last year as it had red pepper flakes. It was very good.

Another difference this year from last is that each of the five courses served included a trio of foods, beginning with the Trio di Antipasti…

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The two meats were prosciutto (my favorite of this course) and dry salami. The cheese was Parmigiano Reggano with just a drizzle of honey, which is always good. This was paired with a very good pinot grigio wine. Though I enjoyed this course, I couldn’t help but compare it to the delicious first course served at this lunch last year…

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Last year the first course was a caprese salad consisting of a chopped tomato compote and Fior di Latte mozzarella cheese, which I loved.

Next up at the 2015 lunch was the First Course Trio of pastas…

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The three pastas served were Risotto with Radicchio and Pancetta, Braised Beef Ravioli, and Potato Dumplings with an Arugula and Basil Pesto. These were paired with a cabernet wine. Being a big fan of ravioli, when the trio was placed in front of me I thought the Braised Beef Ravioli would be my favorite of the three. However, after tasting all of these, it seemed a little boring compared to the other two. The potato dumplings were actually my favorite, as I really enjoyed the taste of the pesto. But even though it was nice to have three different great pastas to try, none of these were quite as good as the one pasta that was served last year for the Pasta course…

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This was Lobster Ravioli with Truffle Butter and was incredible…one of the best pastas I’ve had in my entire life! :cloud9:

However, the pattern was finally broken with the Second Course Trio served in 2015…
[IMG]This included a Porcini-rubbed Lamb Chop…

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A petite Beef Filet with Sweet and Sour Sauce…

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And my favorite of the this trio, Pheasant Breast with a Pomegranate Glaze…

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Also on this plate was a dollop of very tasty mashed potatoes, and all of this was paired with a red Bordeaux blend. Though the pheasant was my favorite, the other two meats were no slouches. ;) I generally prefer a good filet or lamb chop (and these were both very good) over any kind of poultry dish, so I was actually surprised that the pheasant was my favorite. I think it was the delicious pomegranate glaze which tipped the scales in its favor. :thumbsup2 Anyway, with the exception of the wine (which was a bit too full body for my taste), this was my favorite course of this lunch. And so I could finally say that I enjoyed this course more than the duck breast served last year…

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While I liked the pureed squash and pomegranate sauce which accompanied this, I’m not really a fan of duck so this course was a bit of a let down for me last year after the two wonderful courses which preceded it. However, this goes to show that their change to a trio of items for each course this year was probably a wise decision. With three choices it greatly increased the chances that everyone would find something that they liked with each course. :thumbsup2

Now for a comparison of the cheese course. First this year’s Trio of Formaggi…

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I generally love blue cheeses, so the Gorgonzola Dolce was a big hit with me. The Fontina cheese and the Taleggio were both very good as well. I had never tried Taleggio cheese previously so it was nice to discover a new Italian cheese to add to my list of good cheeses. Like last year, this course was paired with the same very sweet dessert wine (Passito Montegrande). This wine was way too syrupy sweet to drink on its own, but was much improved when paired with the cheese.

Overall I would have to say that I enjoyed the three cheese choices served in 2015 a bit more than those served the year before…

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Here was my description of these from last year’s review: Two of these were soft cheeses (La Tur and Robiola) and the third was hard (Parmigiano Reggiano). I would have enjoyed the Parmigiano Reggiano with some honey, but since there was none it was probably my least favorite of the three. The Robiola seemed similar to Brie. I liked it but the creamy La Tur was my favorite.

It was interesting to read my suggestion (wish) last year that they add honey to the parmigiano reggiano. ;)

So that just leaves the Dessert course, which in 2015 was this Trio di Dolci paired with a sweet red sparkling wine (Brachetto) that was similar to the popular Rosa Regale…

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This included a tasty Mocha Tiramisu…

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An even tastier chocolate lava cake, Tortino Caldo al Cioccolato…

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And my favorite of the three, a ricotta cream puff (Delizia alla Crema Ricotta)…

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I really enjoyed the addition of the fresh strawberry slices, soooo yummy! ::yes::

But speaking of cream puffs, the dessert course last year was awesome…

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Gianduia Profiterole – Vanilla Cream Puffs with Gianduia Chocolate

These were heavenly, so unfortunately none of the desserts in this year’s trio were able to top this.

And then with a final toast with my dining companions, my lunch came to an end…

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For me, this year’s lunch was not quite as fantastic as the one I attended in 2014, however it was still an exceptional dining experience. Though it didn’t work out quite as well for me, generally speaking I applaud their decision to serve a trio of items for each course this year. Also, the service was again wonderful, the food was very good, the wine pours were fairly generous, and like last year my tablemates were all friendly so overall I felt that the Italian Regional lunch was well-worth its $94 (plus tax) price. This luncheon is definitely on my wish list of F & W special events to attend next year! :thumbsup2

Want to know what I did next on this trip or just want to share a comment on this review? Click here to go to this trip’s blog post!