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I remember the first time that I went to Bäco Mercat. I was having drinks with a friend Downtown at The Varnish and after a few too many, we realized that we needed to eat something. Cole's wasn't serving anymore and the bartenders suggested we go around the corner to a new place that had just opened that was serving late. I remember how good the flatbread was that we had and vowed to return. Since then I have been back to Bäco Mercat a few times, each time trying new things. A recent evening before heading to the theater, we ate at Bäco Mercat again and I was reminded how consistently reliable and tasty Josef Centeno's restaurant is.
Seminar 4: Prosciutto di Parma and the Wines of Emilia Romagna In every region in Italy, there are specialty food products as well as the wines produced.  So of course the ideal way to taste wines is paired with one of these local products.  For the most recent wine seminar from the North American Sommelier Association, the wines of Emilia Romagna were paired with Prosciutto di Parma. Yum! Emilia Romagna is known for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati and Bugatti; it is home to the world’s oldest university in Bologna and is the cultural and political link between the North and the South.  Emilia Romagna is also known for Parmigiano Reggiano, Balsamic Vinegar from Modena, Prosciutto di Parma and Lambrusco. 9156522724_4832a7c93f  
Seminar 3: Wines of Sicilia Sicilia is the biggest island of the Mediterranean.   The Northern part of the island is a continuation of Apennine Mountain chain.  Wine production is concentrated on the western part of Silicia. The island is composed of 60% hill, 25% mountain and 15% flatland and the weather is very hot and windy.  There is a great variety of soil, climate and land.  The West has red soil (oxidized with iron); the South has clay; the East has limestone. In total, there are 111.2 hectares planted. Silicia is a heritage of different cultures that have influenced the wine production in the area.  1500 BC, the Phoenicians brought grapes and began winemaking; 800 BC, the Greeks (enotria or land of wine) brought vine training systems (ie. Goblet system); 200 BC, the Romans perfected and continued the wine making tradition; 600 AD, the Arabs colonized Sicily and brought Moscato grapes to produce raisins to eat.