Tag Archives: Martha’s Table

Getting Ready for The Sunday Night Suppers…


Getting Ready for http://www.marthastable.org Event…

by Filippo Bartolotta

Finally we got the wines delivered at Ed Calvert Wines: D.C. best wine and gourmet shop.

Thanks to Mr. Ed Sand we managed to have all our wines delivered on time for the charity.

Now is time for Liz and Benedetta and Anders and all the volunteers to take them to the 14 houses and it’s 24°F!!!

Today we had lunch at Paolina, Frank Ruta’s place!  Perfect place to catch up again with Jan Buhrman of the Kitchen Porch!

Great to see Jan again with her never ending energy and positive mood. Joan Nathan and Jan have been friends for many years. Today we all meet up again for the great Charity event. But of course with all the thousand things to do Trillion-Tasking Joan and Jan turned up a little later, so I have been temped by a Sazerac drink by the very kind bartender: Old Overholt Rye, Syrup, Bitter, Absynth. Just what’s needed in this weather conditions.

Before the 14 dinners and the Sutarday Sips we are going to be having a Shabbat dinner at Joan’s place. Christopher Lee, chef at Chez Panisse, is cooking right now as we speak!

Jan Buhrman, Joan Nathan, Christopher Lee.

Jan is doing the vegetable stew and looking for an oyster knife! Meanwhile Joan is preparing the Challah and I got to help with that:)

David Gerson’s with the Challah bread

Everyone is doing something while waiting for Alice Waters to arrive.

Meanwhile we try the soft delicious fluffy challah!

Italy at Your Table “storage place”:)

Martha’s Table Head Quarter!

This are the menus for Sunday, but today is all dedicated to Saturday Night Sips…

To see the full list of the Sunday night Suppers Menu with Italy at Your Table Wine Pairing,


I look forward to seeing our 250 guests tonight at Greg Nelson and Josè Cunningham residence to take everyone for a Fine Wine&Food journey  to Italy’s most delicious regions: click here for a full view of them: http://www.lebaccanti.com/blog/?p=2218

The Gourmet Pit Stops of our Journey Tonight wills start with:

-We start from Lake Iseo with Italy’s most refined bubbly: the refreshing, zesty and creamy Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvée.

-Then we move to Venice with Graziano Pra‘s wonderfully oily and floral Soave

– Half an hour drive and we are in Rome&Juliet’s home: Verona. With Romano Dal Forno ultimate luscious, cashmere dense Amarone and Valpolicella.

– Going west we will taste one of the world most famous wines: Barolo. And not just any Barolo, but Luciano Sandrone‘s Le Vigne – a true long lasting artisan gem, made in Langhe, near Torino

– An hour drive north of Langhe, still in Piemonte is Proprietà Sperino. Luca De Marchi makes Italy’s Nouvelle Vague Nebbiolo with the silkiest touch.

-Let’s move down to Modena for a Balsamic vinegar Pit-Stop: the extra dense Balsamic vinegar of Modena by the Gran Deposito Aceto Balsamico Giuseppe Giusti. This isn’t just your regular vinegar, but Modena oldest one, started in 1605.

– Now is time to head towards Tuscany to visit one of Florence most important art galleries: the Galleria Frilli. Here  Anna Marinelli will welcome you with her enthusiasm to her sculpture art studio opened in 1860.

– Still hanging around Florence, only 20 miles away in Chianti, there’s Isole e Olena with Paolo de Marchi’s Cepparello: Sangiovese to it’s best!

-Another few miles south, going towards Siena is Fontodi producing a wonderfully dense and modern Sangiovese: the famous Flaccianello.

-The journey still heads south of Siena to Montalcino, for Castello di Romitorio wonderfully crafted Brunello by Sandro Chia.

– From Montalcino, the coast of Tuscany is only 30 miles. Near Suvereto is the outstanding Petra winery making a classy Super Tuscan: Petra IGT.

-From Suvereto, we get the boat to Elba Island for the new Pier Mario Meletti Cavallari’s project: Fattoria delle Ripalte, releasing a savory Red dessert wine to die for.

-Going inland in Umbria, near Perugia in the beautiful town of Montefalco is Marco Caprai of www.arnaldocaprai.it winery. He make one the most consistent and longest leaving central Italy elegant Reds: Sagrantino di Montefalco.

– Our last wine comes from the most beautiful winery in Southern Italy: Feudi di San Gregorio. In Washington DC we will taste the mineral and zesty Fiano di Avellino, made just off a few miles the Amalfi Coast.

-This will be the end of our Italian Wine and Food journey with Bonajuto ‘chocolate from Modica: one of the purest and most crystalline artisan chocolate experience.

All this will happen in a few hours Down Town in Washington D.C.

I look forward to seeing you all,






by Filippo Bartolotta

After a refreshing Thai meal with Van and Kelly we leave 69°F Santa Monica for 25°F Chicago!

While thinking of that I still have super memories of the indestructible and multilayered  Amarone Qunitarelli 1990, offered by our friend Lana during her Italy at Your Table dinner (together with other amazing treats like: 1989; Masseto double magnum 2005 and Batard Montrachet Ramonet 2003)!

This is one of the few Amarones that I can drink abundantly despite the 17° in alcohol! This year I have discovered a new Amarone -Latium Campo Leon released for the first time with the stunning 2004 vintage. I checked the producers a bit an then I tasted their second vintage 2005, which for me is even more balanced.

The wine world is struggling with over alcoholic wines as a result of  (maybe) too low yields and hotter vintages. The point though isn’t about alcohol but about balance.

A 7,5° old or young vintage  German Riesling can be an iceberg of happiness as well as 17,5% Amarone della Valpolicella can warm the coldest soul in the most suave way!

And I am glad Latium Amarone was one of the wineries that joined Italy at Your Table in Chicago because after L.A. that’ is just the prefect medicine:)

The good thing about Chicago though is that we had a lot of good people around us starting with my old sommelier friend Elke Giresh who hosted us in her lovely apartment.

Elke and I used to work in London together eight years ago and she hasn’t lost her passion for wine not for one single bit! So I had the best sommelier I could have ever asked for during my Italy at Your Table events!

Chicago seems pretty easy to live in and to get around, everything is a ten minute/$10 cab ride and so we get on our first cab ride to “Drinks Over Dear Borne” a lovely small but extremely well equipped wine shop downtown. Here owner Kyle McHugh is running the show selling all sorts of different wines, great beer selection and spirits. A lot of different free tastings are offered to buyers every day and Kyle runs the most interesting courses and events.

This is were we got off from our first cab ride in town. Barbara setting everything up like always while I carried off tastings of various sorts to make sure the bottles are ok and to set the right tasting order.

This time together with Cepparello ’06, Proprietà Sperino Lessona ’05, Arnaldo caprai Sagrantino ’03, Grattamacco ’01, Collemassari 2004, Tenute San Leonardo 2004, Montevatrano 2005 we started with the creamy and zesty contrasted Vernaccia Cusona 2006 moving on to to the structured and austere long lasting Santa Croce 2003 from Castellì’inVilla and the super sweet and densely persistent Barolo Revello VIgna Gattera 2003.

Lain put all this together for her friends and her wonderful family: every member of Lain’s family I met is packed with tons of atomic energy and smile which they are happy to give away to anybody; honestly they are pretty remarkably happy and love to create always the right atmosphere.

People tasted the evening away with Prosciutto di Parma DOP, Extravirgin Olive Oil Pasolini dall’Onda and the Traditional balsamic Vinegar di Modena. Very soon it got late and we all had to jump in cold and yet seductive Chicago for a few drinks before bed time.

Morning after is time to get over the late night with a very crispy run along the lake.

I am so glad and so lucky as most of my US pit stops have been near to the water. I loved running on river banks. sea or lakes!

I am also extremely glad I got my small Canon on time fort the road show as this way I have been able to prove you what an amazing list of great homes and hosts I have been encountering during this trip.

The day after is time for Ben and Hayley. This young couple has travelled Italy via the best restaurants from north to south and ohh…they have a palate!

It seems as if their house were built for Italy at Your Table: open kitchen with great big table in front and light coming from the porch.

Benedetta sets off with the Pasta Challenge while I invite all the guests to grab the mineral and tropically smooth Vernaccia di Sangimignano Il Palagione 2008. Starting with this crisp Vernaccia and some prosciutto bites has made my life a lot easier as people seem to enjoy this immensely with or without food.

The wines seemed to be all good. The bold black cherry driven and leathery Castello di Banfi Brunello Poggio alle Mura 2004 was one of the hit of the night.

This evening guests had to put together the dinner or otherwise it would have been a wine only night!

So everyone, its a go, go, go! Wash your hands, get rid of your rings and mix water and flower to make those delicious ravioli and spaghetti!

Starting the evening making pasta with friends is a thrill. Why does a Italian Cooking Class sounds so appealing to Americans?

It is all about bonding, sharing our bounty with people we love and more unconsciously dealing with one of life most important foundation: food.

By now everyone knows how much I love the US, how much I feel home over here and so I feel also entitled to have some thoughts on some hot topics, such as nutrition.

Eating and drinking is one of the most repeated action we do throughout a day. Food keeps us alive, but according to the quality and source of it we can also generate more energy, better well being, less disease and happiness.

Alternatively we can eat to be alive getting sicker and sicker hence taking more and more medicines and be less and less happy.

America has lost touch with the food that is eaten every day. People just feed themselves without knowing where the ingredients come from and very often without knowing the basics of cooking and nutrition. In other words the freshest and most organic product cooked over an open flame till it gets nice and brown is bound to be cancerogenic: you might as well go out on the porch and smoke a full packet of cigarets!

Also the best Extravirgin olive oil cooked till it smokes would loose all its beneficial properties, making omega-tree fat into saturated ones.

There is also a bigger issue with Americans that haven’t got enough to feed themselves and their kids properly. That is why we joined our efforts with Martha’s table to make a difference.

I believe the following five major points should be introduced and taught to adults but above all to kids, exactly how we teach them maths and literature!

Italy at Your Table 2011 is going to look more into these topics always with a fun and entertaining way to teach and share.

These are the topics that I would like to pass onto Chef Sam Kass for the FOOD PROGRAM of the White House.

1) Learn basic agricultural knowledge to be able to grow a personal home garden

2) Learn how to accesses fresh and local products, possibly from an organic source

3) Learn basic Nutritional knowledge: i.e. amount and quality  of Carbohydrates/proteins and fat intake and food health properties

4) Learn ABC-cooking to avoid transforming good food into dangerous one

5) Learn how to avoid processed food as much as possible

5) Learn how to enjoy eating well

Watch this space as we will talk more about these subjects.

Meanwhile…dinner is ready!




Italian Wine Training at Chez Panizze

by Filippo Bartolotta

Among the million ways one could rap up a wine and food event in the Bay Area, I can’t think of a better one then Chez Panisse in Berkley with Alice Waters.

And this dream came true after Alice an I spent some time together in Washington at the Martha’s Table Charity event and at the White House where we spent a whole Monday morning between the kitchen and the great green garden revolution so much wanted by Michelle Obama.

So with a succulent prawn burrito with guacamole and jalapeno sauce, Barbara and I get on the Bart train to Berkely.

Alice invited me during Joan Nathan‘s birthday party: you have to go to Chez Panisse, Filippo!

Five minutes later the sweetest and most efficient P.A. ever met Sarah Weinermakes it happen and with one phone call I have an Italy at Your Table evening booked at Chez Panisse!  Grande Sarah. thanks!

Jonathan has been working for nearly 26 years as the wine buyer and sommelier at Chez Panisse.

He has been insisting on having me there at 1500. I didn’t quite catch why till I entered the restaurant:

a full classroom of people were waiting for me to learn more about Italian wines: it was Alice Waters’ collaborators!

The wines where all laid out, glasses on the table and everyone staring at me.

I looked at Barbara a little perplex, then I see Master Chef Jean Pierre Moulle waiving towards me while looking at some of our labels. Jonathan cracks open a bottle of Vernaccia di Sangimignano Panizzi 2008, he hands me a glass and I kick off.

I must admit that I was coming out of the blue sky and got a little paralyzed  thinking I that I was right in the hear of American food Revolution started right there thirty years ago with Alice Waters! Jonathan somehow put me right on track opening a second bottle of Vernaccia -Panizzi Evoè 2006. A macerated style with an almost salty palate.   Everyone loved this wine and I begun to enjoy my time at Chez Panisse.

From here we jumped to Italy at Your Table reds, going from the minerally juicy Uvaggio-Proprietà Sperino 2006 to the red berry crush and cherry packed refreshing Chianti Classico Monsanto Riserva 2006 and the thick, leathery, earthy, meaty and gun flinty Arnaldo Caprai Sagrantino 2003 Selezione 25 anni; then its time for a compare and contrast dense, sweet and luscious Tenute San Leonardo 2004 and Montevetrano 2005.

Everyone is taking notes while sipping Italy away

Jonathan is contributing with his fantastic knowledge and passion to the tasting right till the end, making the while day at Chez Panisse the smoothest and most enjoyable experience possible.

Also Messieur Jean Pierre joins in with participation when we open the savoury sweet dessert Aleatico dell’Elba 2006 of Tenute delle Ripalte.

This has been our only dessert wine of the entire Road Show making everyone’s mouth salivating!

After the training session is time to go back to work and so Cal Peternell and Benedetta Vitali go to finish off the evenings preparations

Barbara get Italy at Your table wines and products ready with the Malpighi Traditional Balsamic vinegar and Pasolini dall’onda Extravirgin Olive oil. Guests arrive promptly at 1900 and Chez Panisse Dinner is featuring some of Benedetta Vitali best dishes.

Benedeta that night show what a tremendous woman she is. starting early in the morning all the way through to the evening and then haning out with us till late at night despite in the morning we all had to depart for LA! Che donna!

Meanwhile I receive the picture of my sweet little Daphne who seems to be growing at a faster peace while in New York!

I love you baby!


San Francisco: the heart of Gourmet America


San Francisco: the heart of Gourmet America

by Filippo Bartolotta

So, so, so… on my way to Martha’s Vineyard from Boston I am putting together my thoughts on my last two days in San Francisco.

Teaching about in the US has been grounding, inspirational and entertaining for most of the guests we have reached but also for my self and LeBaccanti altogether.

Looking at some of the feedbacks it is very empowering and motivational for all of us, including all of our generous wine and food producers part takers in Italy at Your Table adventure.

But a lot of this great experience has been also just about simple getting together with great people.

One of this great Americans we met is Charles Phan of Slanted doors.

We hooked up during the Martha’s Table charity event in Washington DC with Joan Nathan and then we spent a morning together in the kitchen of the White House with Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, with assistant Chef Sam Kass and pastry chef William Yosses.

So three weeks after we go visit Charles in his element at Slanted Doors in SFC.

Charles loves preparing food for people. He has being doing that forever although he started with his first whole in the wall in the nineties cooking fresh Vietnamese cuisine with local ingredients in the San Francisco Mission District.

Then in 2002 he moved into the historical Ferry Building serving over four hundred meals a night with two hundred people working to make a lot of people happy.

His formula is simple and yet powerful: fresh food with a lot of flavor served in a laid-back comfortable environment with a lot of energy.

On top of this he has a tantalizing wine list with a lot of juicy Whites and Sparkling and a very special selection of Spirits. As one gets in the restaurant the big counter bar shows up with great mixologists and cocktail barmans serving the most delicious drinks.

Million of guests are taken care each year at Slanted Doors but Charles still retain the same energy and passion that started him in this business. He is one of the most friendly, chilled and generous Chef and Restaurant owner I have ever met so far.