Wine & Dine

Italian Food and Wine Pairing

Now summer is over we are thinking about our next vacation destination already and have had Italy on our minds for some time now. So we talk to Eddie Mcdougall of The Flying Winemaker  who samples la bella vita in a series of winning wine and food combinations from Italy, and makes us want to hop on a plane more than ever.

Burrata Caprese Salad Anyone?
Burrata Caprese Salad Anyone?

I’ve been to Italy every year since 2008 to work the harvests in the vineyards of Barolo, and in that time I’ve been blessed by the magical hands of a nonna in the kitchen. My winemaking colleagues and I, following all the hard work we put in from sunrise to sundown, regularly gather to rest and to feast on classics like risottos, perfectly dressed salads, handmade pastas, cured meats, hearty stews and, of course, a healthy fix of Italian vino.

In most countries where food is a serious business, cuisine varies from region to region; the same applies to Italy, both in its food and its wine. The diversity of regional flavours makes the country one of the world’s greatest gastronomic destination, without the need for fancy Michelin stars to prove its worth. Italian food is gauged more by honesty and simplicity.

Italian wines, on the other hand, are a little more complex and difficult to understand; the country is home to over 3,000 varietals, all of which are produced in styles dictated by the specific characteristics of the land and by longstanding regulations. Having said that, Italians didn’t start producing wines only yesterday, and the long course of time has assisted with easing our understanding of the wines and the regions.

When it comes to the science of Italian food and wine pairing, it’s a dream experience. Italian food almost seems designed to fit wine perfectly – not so different from the fit of a tailored Armani suit to an Italian gentleman. Wine is often perfectly interwoven with many of the classic dishes in any case: whether it’s as part of a stock or a gravy, or the use of a type of vinegar, wine is in the bloodlines of all great Italian recipes.

As I look ahead to my next harvest trip this September, I really get excited about the chance to enjoy some of my favourite dishes – and, of course, wash them down with a scrumptious vino. Here are a few of my all-time favourite combinations that I’m sure will have you booking your next flight to Milan.

* Quattro formaggi pizza (four-cheese pizza: gorgonzola, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and goat’s cheese)

pairs well with

Fratelli Grasso Langhe Chardonnay 2013, HK$150

* Burnt sage butter with pinenuts and gnocchi

pairs well with

La Mesma Gavi di Gavi, Etichetta Gialla, Italy HK$200

* Creamy porcini risotto

pairs well with

Chiara Boschis, E.Pira & Figli Barbera d’Alba, Italy, HK$190

* Salad of burrata (buffalo mozzarella), basil and fresh tomatoes dressed with aged balsamic vinegar

pairs well with

Eddie McDougall “Umami” Sangiovese, Alpine Valley, Australia 2008, HK$300

* Carne cruda (raw veal mince) served with shavings of white Alba truffles and olive oil

pairs well with

Bibi Graetz, Casamatta, IGT Toscana Rosso 2013, HK$173

Eddie and The Flying Winemaker
Eddie and The Flying Winemaker

All wines listed here are available at To sample the wines of these regions before you go, visit or the store at 6/F, Yu Yuet Lai Building, 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central. 

Need some restaurant inspirations in HK? Head over to our Wine and Dine page where you will find tons more restaurant reccomendations.