Last week, as part of the Salute! NC Wine Celebration festivities, mr. foodie and I were busy representing Food and Wine University. In case you didn’t know, we manage the food/chef events for the festival including helping pair up the wine dinners and tastings throughout the week. A fun, challenging and rewarding task, to be sure. We had the privilege of joining Chef Tim Grandinetti at his new restaurant, Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar for an “Italian Gathering” which celebrated his new collaboration with Raffaldini Vineyards, the NC Wine Region’s only true Italian vineyard.
This “gathering” wasn’t like your typical wine dinner. There were tasting stations throughout the loggia with some meat, cheese, olives, veggies, pasta, breadsticks at will. For more info on what was served, keep reading :D.
As you can tell, Chef Tim loves to have fun and loves to entertain a crowd.
We paused our noshing to join chef in the kitchen as one of his sous chefs for a pizza demonstration. Here we learned how in Italy, pizza—or pizzette at QB, is considered street food and that no two are alike, which Chef Tim says makes it a very sexy snack, to enjoy with your hands and with wine and with friends. He made a couple for us…the seafood pizzette is amazing. All the pizzettes are amazing.
The event celebrated the heritage of two Italian Americans who are so extremely proud of their heritage and who’ve made their mark here locally to celebrate it and bring it to us for enjoyment.
So what does this announcement mean to you, foodies? Raffaldini has been chosen to make QB’s house wines!
Here’s the official QB statement….
Raffaldini Vineyards is located in both the Yadkin Valley and Swan Creek American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Owner Jay Raffaldini comes from an Italian family, and the winery specializes in national award-winning Italian varietals. Raffaldini has been a frequent guest and supporter of Spring House Kitchen, Restaurant & Bar, the first Winston-Salem partnership between Grandinetti and Lynette Matthews-Murphy. When Raffaldini and Grandinetti met about three years ago, they instantly bonded over their Italian family heritage.
“When we told Jay we were going to do an Italian restaurant, he was immediately supportive,” Grandinetti says. “With the quality of his wines, it was a natural fit for him to make our house wines.”
Grandinetti worked with Raffaldini to select two wines, a white and a red, for Quanto Basta’s house labels. The white is a Vermentino Riserva, and the red is a Sangiovese Riserva. The white sells for $35 a bottle and $7 a glass, and the red for $45 a bottle and $9 a glass.
Raffaldini Vineyards is the only Italian vineyard in North Carolina. The area’s soil and climate remind Jay Raffaldini of Italy, where his family started making wine in 1348. Once Raffaldini and his staff harvest the grapes, they dry a portion of them to concentrate the flavors before pressing and blending. This process is known as appassimento in Italian.
“We’re intensifying all of the wonderful bits,” Raffaldini says. The Raffaldini wines are ideal for food pairings because they complement the food instead of overpowering it.
About 60 guests joined Grandinetti, Matthews-Murphy and Raffaldini during a wine dinner leading up to Saturday’s Salute! NC Wine Celebration in downtown Winston-Salem. The Italian gathering included a chef’s culinary demonstration of barbera-infused handcrafted pasta. Tasting stations reflected the restaurant’s rustic Italian menu with such offerings as salumi and cheese, pizzette, shrimp arrabiata (one of the restaurant’s most-popular dishes) and eggplant Parmesan. Dessert included tiramisu and butterscotch budino paired with Le Dolce Vita, a Moscato d’Asti-style wine from Raffaldini Vineyards.
Quanto Basta means “as much as you like; as much as you need” in Italian. Since opening in March, the eatery has experienced an overwhelming response with a consistently full dining room and growing reputation for authentic Italian food in a casual setting. The Raffaldini house wine collaboration furthers Quanto Basta’s mission of celebrating the art of food and the joyful voice of the Italian culture.
Quanto Basta features Italian favorites and fresh pastas topped with rustic sauces; pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. The current wine list includes 60 labels and will eventually grow to include more than 200. The restaurant is located at 680 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, NC; (336) 893-6144. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight, and Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-late night. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. www.facebook.com/quantobastaNC
Raffaldini Vineyards was named one of Wine Business Monthly’s Top Ten Hot Small Brands in North America. Known as “Chianti in the Carolinas,” the vineyard produces Central and Southern Italian varietals, such as vermentino, pinot grigio, sangiovese and montepulciano. The winery tasting room is open daily (except for Tuesdays) at 450 Groce Road, Ronda, NC; (336) 835-9463; www.raffaldini.com.
Eat local, foodies!