Friday, August 23, 2013

Italian Culinary Experience with Zonin USA and Aroma Kitchen & Winebar

I recently attended the Italian Culinary Experience hosted by Zonin USA at the Astor Center.  Zonin hosts the events monthly, partnering with a different NY restaurant each time, to create an original culinary experience to highlight their signature wines.  This month, the restaurant partner was Astor Center's neighbor, Aroma Kitchen & Winebar.

The event is a blogger dream.  Everyone takes photographs and scribbles notes and shares the same excitement for great cuisine.

The evening featured six plates and six glasses of wine, and as you can expect, the event got remarkably rowdier as the night wore on and the wine kicked in!  

The food was delicious.  We enjoyed an aperitivo of P.E.I. mussel crostinos with smoked lardo paired with sparkly Zonin prosecco.

The second course was a beautifully plated scallop tartare with creamy guacamole and crimson beets that introduced most of us to insolia wine, a deeply flavorful white wine that would make a fan of any typical red wine drinker.

The third plate was the least beautiful but one of the most tasty, braised octopus with grapefruit, leek and frisee.  The octopus was ultra-tender, and the chef described the preparation to us: thaw out an octopus, stick it in a hot pot with only some cloves of garlic, cover, and let that baby cook in its own juices.  Apparently octopus has so much liquid in it, that all the water will be extracted over time, and after about an hour, the octopus will be tender and delicious.  This is now tagged onto my list of cooking must-trys.

The primi course featured Delverde bucatini, dressed simply with oil, sardine, and herbacious breadcrumbs.

I kept licking my lips with its savoriness, the little piece of peppered sardine at the base adding just the right salty kick.

The main was a plate of grilled swordfish and castelvetrano tapenade.  The fish was sturdy and the carrots tender, sweetened with tomato.

For dessert, Zonin poured beautiful jewel-colored glasses of rosato, a dessert wine blending pinot noir and moscato.  I've never had a rosato wine before, and now I can't stop thinking about it.  It was sweet, delicious, and definitely my favorite of the night.

It paired wonderfully with the trio of pistachio desserts that Aroma had prepared: pistachio creme brulee, cookie, and gelato.

My favorite was the pistachio gelato, creamy, nutty, with an addictive sugar cookie that stuck in my teeth the entire time, but I loved it all the same.

The exposure to new wines and new New York foods made this experience quite remarkable. Thanks again for sharing the foodie love, Zonin!


  1. 1what a fabulous event! i LOVE the colors of the tartare!

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