This Italian Themed Dinner Party & Wine Pairing shares a taste of Italy with guests. See this 4-course menu with wine selections plus Italian inspired tablescape.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Italian Trade Commission. All opinions are 100% mine.
Share a taste of Italy with a 4-course dinner and specially curated wine selection.
I’m so excited to share this Italian themed dinner party & wine pairing. Over the past few months I’ve been sharing home entertaining ideas for incorporating high-quality Italian wines. For those, you can see this balsamic tasting party and this dinner party with mini cheese boards.
After our visit to Italy this summer I feel comfortable in presenting you with these ideas for an authentic Italian-style dinner & wine pairing. From the table setting to the 4-course dinner choices to the Italian wine selections, everything is inspired directly from our trip.
And while we may not have the fresh clams from Venice or the Florentine steak from Tuscany, we do have premium wines of Italy. At about $15 and up per bottle you can enjoy an amazing selection to complement your meal.
Set an Italian themed tablescape inspired by the sites and traditions of Italy.
The Italian experience starts with the tablescape. There are so many elements to this table that make it “Italian” for me:
- A long, rustic farm table perfect for lots of family and friends.
- A table runner decorated with broken pieces of terracotta mimic the rooftops of so many Italian buildings and homes.
- Sunflowers tucked into the runner echo the sunflower fields we saw in Tuscany on our day of the wine tasting tour.
- Potted rosemary was found on many restaurant tables, as well as bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar to accompany the bread. Other centerpiece items commonly seen were candles, of course.
- Traditional Italian plates set the scene and instantly transport me to an Italian home brimming with people. Using my grandmother’s vintage silverware reinforces the presence of family and tradition.
- Special touches at each place setting include name cards made from the same broken terracotta pieces, a printed menu with wine pairing, and Italian truffles I brought back from the trip.
COURSE 1 – Cheese & Charcuterie
The blueprint for the first course was taken directly from the lunch and wine pairing from our wine tasting tour.
In this case, I brought back some wild-boar salami that I bought in the market in Florence. It tastes amazing and wild boar is very popular in Tuscany.
I added wedges of Parmigiana cheese, and Gorgonzola dolce. Two Italian cheeses that offer very different flavor profiles and textures but go great with the salami and the wine I chose.
Add a tiny salad in the center of the plate and some crostini for a complete appetizer.
WINE: Barbera – This is a red wine grown in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy. It’s actually light in taste with flavors of berries. The high acidity in the Barbera grape makes it ideal to pair with rich salumi and cheeses. I chose a Barbera d’Asti, which comes from the area around the town of Asti in Piedmont in northwestern Italy. This wine is always a crowd-pleaser.
COURSE 2 – Spaghetti with Clams
While in Venice we found a quaint restaurant for dinner, tucked in an alleyway. As I pondered the menu asking the waiter for recommendations he declared, “you’re in Venice, you have to get the clams!” So with that, I ordered and had an amazing meal of spaghetti with clams.
The Italians have a way of making even the simplest ingredients taste amazing! This is the perfect pasta course to serve guests at my Italian themed dinner party & wine pairing.
WINE: Pinot Grigio from Northeastern Italy – This light seafood dish demands a fresh white wine. Since Venice is in the Northeastern part of Italy, I chose a Pinot Grigio from the Friuli region to the north. When in doubt, choose wine and food from the same region. Pinot Grigio from Friuli naturally tends towards a creamier, richer style that pairs brilliantly with strong flavors.
COURSE 3 – Florentine-style Steak with Green Beans
You can’t spend five days in Florence and not have a Florentine Steak! Tuscany has some of the best beef in the world from Chianina cattle, and they are proud of it. The steaks, aka La Bistecca, are a Porterhouse cut. What makes the preparation unique is how simply it’s prepared, how thickly it’s cut, and how rare it’s cooked.
I re-created that experience with some Porterhouse steaks I got from the butcher. They’re not as thick as those in Italy but they give your guests a feel for the lifestyle. These are sharing size so for a party of six you’d cook 3 steaks that are at least a pound each, with bone in. We followed these instructions for cooking.
WINE: Chianti Classico DOCG – Chianti is king when serving La Bistecca! It’s the quintessential pairing in Tuscany. Get the highest quality you can afford so you get the best experience. Chianti Classicos should be easy to find, and if you are looking to splurge, grab a Chianti Classico Riserva. Made from Sangiovese grape, Chianti Classico has the perfect amount of tannins and acidity to cleanse your palate after all that juicy steak.
COURSE 4 – Biscotti & berries
When we first arrived at our hotel in Florence we were welcomed with a tray of biscotti, berries, and Vin Santo wine. Not only was this a nice afternoon snack, it’s also a fantastic light dessert.
After three deliciously filling courses of Italian food, the last thing you want your guests to do is feel overly full. Serving a couple of biscotti with sweet Vin Santo dessert wine to dip them in, is a great way to end the meal. The wine is sweet, portions are small, and it’s meant to be sipped. We typically had it served in cordial or shot-style glasses which is how I serve it here.
WINE: Vin Santo – Vin Santo is a sweet dessert wine popular in Tuscany, although it’s produced in several regions. It’s viscous with light amber color and flavors of hazelnut, almonds, dried fruits, and honey.
This Italian themed dinner party & wine pairing is a fabulous way to share your travel experience to Italy or just dream of going there. The foods are simply prepared and the wines are exceptional in taste and quality. learn more