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A foodie's trick to cocktail and food pairing

 Hosting dinner parties is one of my favorite things, coming up with the food menu and then finding cocktails to pair with it. I tend to make appetizers rich in flavor, so a light and lovely sparkling cocktail that cuts through the richness is a perfect match.

An appetizer I make constantly during tomato season is Pane al Pomodoro (an all-time favorite, thank you Pizzeria Delfina!). Having worked in Italian restaurants for most of my career, I’ve learned that bitter and bubbly pair well against rich food.

In this dish creamy ricotta is layered together with sweet and acidic tomatoes, and crunch bread. I serve it with the “Bitter Delight,” a cocktail created by my friend Cynthia, the beverage manager at SF’s Tratto Restaurant. I love how the bubbly contrasts the ricotta, and how the bitterness complements the acidity of the tomatoes.

Pane al Pomodoro

  • Day Old Baguette sliced at a 45˚ angle
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 1-2 Early Girl Tomatoes per slice of bread
  • 4 cups Ricotta, with 2 cups of whipped Heavy Cream folded in
  • Flake Salt
  • Black Pepper
  1.  Soak both sides of bread with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Put the bread in a hot cast iron out of the oven and toast the first side over the pilot light. Flip bread and pop back into oven to toast second side.
  3. Plate bread and smash entire tomato (cut in half) into the bread, it will be sopping with pulp.
  4. Place a large dollop of ricotta mix on the bread. Finish by drizzling with olive oil, flake salt, and fresh cracked black pepper.

Bitter Delight

  • 1 oz Combier
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Prosecco
  • Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, double strain into a coupe or wine glass. Top with the prosecco and garnish with a lemon peel.

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