BENGALURU: Italian food is not just olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes from the south, there is also the creamier Northern dishes that are more generous with the cheese and meats like veal and beef.
Focussing on this region of the Mediterranean country, the festival at Alto Vino in Marriott, Whitefield, serves preparations such as Insalata di Verdure di Prato - a combination of raw and marinated grilled vegetable basil cream cheese, Lingua di vitello in salsa verde - veal tongue served with green citrusy sauce, Vitello tonnato - veal slow cooked and served with tuna and cappers sauce or Pizzoccheri di Teglio - buckwheat fresh pasta.
The highlight of the festival are the wines. The imported white wines Villa Antinori from Toscana and Ricossa Gavi DOCG from Piemonte and the red wine Santa Cristina from Tuscany are perfect accompaniments. The fruity Toscana wine complements the earthy starters.
The other white wine from Piemonte is more citrusy and goes well with the rich, creamy texture of buckwheat pasta (which tastes like ragi). The crunchy and meaty chicken is also paired well with the sour red wine.
The raw and marinated vegetables such as zucchini, carrots and broccoli served on a layer of basil cream cheese in the starter Insalata di Vergue di Prato (Lombardia) taste fresh.
The menu reads the vegetables are grilled, and they been rightly done without being smoked or charred. A specialty of Lombardia, a region in North Italy known for its art and culture, the dish is healthy and filling.
Then comes the soup. The La Cisra (piemonte) is a chickpeas soup served with winter vegetables. It takes us by surprise as chickpeas is an unusual ingredient in soup.
The chef informs us that this soup is usually prepared with pork in Italy. As in India more people prefer vegetarian to meat, he prepared the soup with the stalk of chickpeas. The boiled carrots and onions in the soup make it chunkier and more colourful.
Unlike the usual Italian pasta preparations with tomato, Pizzoccheri di Teglio (V) (Lombardia) is prepared with buckwheat fresh pasta, potato and savoy cabbage. It has a creamy texture, yet is healthy. The buckwheat pasta slices had a strong, bordering bitter flavour.
Price for two: Rs 5,000