A couple decades ago, when I was just out of college, I moved to Italy to work as an au pair. Unlike most travelers, I did not end up in a city like Florence or Rome but rather a small town in the region of Piedmont where no one spoke English. I knew nothing about wine at the time but everyday day I would meet my new Italian friends at the local bar for aperitivi and they would do the ordering. And, each day a glass would be placed in front of me filled with a red wine that was slightly sweet and slightly sparkling and very delicious. It was Brachetto d’Acqui.
A recent trip took me back to Piedmont, to the heart of where Brachetto is from, Acqui Terme. This ancient Roman town, an 1 ½ hour southeast from Milan,became my home base for three days. We settled in at the Grand Hotel Nuove Termewhich overlooks the town square and began the tour of eating and drinking and eating and drinking some more.
Brachetto d'Acqui, a slightly sweet, slightly effervescent, red wine that is delicious to drink on its own, or pair with desserts or cheeses. But, as we discovered during a cooking class at The B. Ristorante in Nizza Monferrto, Acqui Terme, Italy, Brachetto can also be use to cook with.....and in cocktails. In the class, Chef and Owner Barbara taught both a sweet dish and a savory dish.
Involtini - made with pork wrapped around lardo and prunes: