New openings from Lima to London, plus a few saucy table-toppers and something for your bookshelf.
Now in its 53rd edition, the annual Vinitaly wine fair in Verona offers 4,000-plus vintners from the Bel Paese the chance to pour vintages for an audience of oenophiles who are growing more international by the year. The mood soured this year, however, when talk turned from tannins to tariffs. The number of international buyers has risen by 3 per cent to 33,000 but the US threat of levies on EU agricultural products has caused concern. Italian wine exports worth €1.5bn is under threat. Drinkers who would feel the pinch include those who Stephanie Cuadra caters to at her Salt Lake City-based Terrestoria Wine Imports. Cuadra has found Utah to be fertile ground for her portfolio of female-led Italian wineries focusing on indigenous grapes.
“Salt Lake City and Park City are thriving and people are open to trying new things,” says Cuadra. “Think Sundance and indie film – it’s the same for ‘indie’ grapes.” She works with Cascina Montagnola, a producer of timorasso, a grape from Piedmont with ageing potential that is now being dubbed “the white barolo”. Her latest discovery is Veneto winery Massimago. Located in Valpolicella, it works with corvina, rondinella and other local varietals to make full-bodied amarone. There’s also a sparkling rosé that’s easy to drink – so long as pesky tariffs don’t ruin the party.
Wines for your cellar:
San Lorenzo, Castello di Ama winery Ruby-red blend of sangiovese, merlot and malvasia nera from top Tuscan producer, with cherry notes.
Millesulmare, Santa Maria La Nave winery A mono-varietal made with grecanico dorato grapes on Mount Etna.
Perlé Zero, Ferrari winery A sparkling chardonnay from Trento’s finest vintner.
4 chicken legs
1 tsp sea salt
4 tsps paprika
2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chipotle pepper
2 tbsps finely grated onion
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
3 tbsps olive oil
4 tbsps runny honey
1.5kg floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward
2 litres sunflower oil, for deep frying
Combine the marinade ingredients and then coat chicken, being sure to apply the marinade under the skin too. Marinate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Prepare the fries by peeling the potatoes and cutting them into long, 1cm-thick sticks. Keep them in a bowl of cold water for two hours to remove excess starch until chicken is ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 180c and roast the chicken for 35 minutes. When chicken is cooked, turn off the oven and keep the chicken warm while cooking the chips.
Remove the chips from the water and lay them on a clean kitchen towel, then pat dry completely.
Heat the sunflower oil in a deep, large pan to 130c. For the first fry, cook the chips in batches for about 8 minutes, checking the temperature and being careful not to brown the chips. Drain the chips onto kitchen paper.
When almost ready to serve, heat the oil to 190c and fry the chips for a second time in batches, for 2 minutes or until a golden colour. Drain and sprinkle with sea salt. Place French fries and chicken in a serving platter and serve hot.
“We try to make dishes using local ingredients,” says Juan Luis Martinez, chef and co-owner of Merito, a slick restaurant tucked down a narrow alley in Barranco. Martinez is Venezuelan but, having sharpened his knives at Central, he knows how to prepare fine fare. Unlike many of Lima’s restaurants, Merito is low-key: the earthy interior has adobe walls, stone floors and wooden tables.
Visitors to London’s Broadway Market might have spied Newton & Pott’s piccalilli or seasonal preserves made from feijoas and tamarillos. Epping Good Honey, by contrast, eschews bitterness in favour of raw, gravity-filtered honey. Peckham Sauce Co adds spice with a fermented Dutch chilli and Scotch Bonnet blend, while Single Variety Co makes a punchy jalapeño jam.
newtonandpott.co.uk; eppinggoodhoney.co.uk; peckhamsauceco.com; singlevariety.co.uk
Turn the page: [Japan] If you’ve ever been baffled by a kaiseki menu or stumped by the difference between kishimen and chukamen noodles, we’ve got the book for you. An Illustrated Guide to Japanese Cooking and Annual Events – don’t let the dull name throw you – is a comprehensive, moveable and multilingual feast that will help you identify everything from the fish in your sushi to the ingredients in your wagashi (sweets).
Enter this appealingly candle-lit nook and you’ll see why partners Chris Boustead and Laura Christie are causing a stir among even the most spoilt of north London diners. Inside, the mood is merry but the food is better: the smaller plates range from lamb neck with swede purée and smoked greens to croquettes brimming with leek, goat’s cheese and honey with truffle mayo. Yum.
The wine? Winsome – and curious. Consider the fortified mahlep from Northern Anatolia to round out the evening with a saccharine surprise. Everything monocle sampled was sublime and the bill was curiously humble. Linden Stores doles out that rarest of commodities for a commercial kitchen: intimacy. The staff appear to spring forth at the moment you think of them. The menu is short and fresh, carefully filleted of unnecessary waffle about the life of the mullet at the centre of the plate, or the particular field in Lincolnshire where the rhubarb might have grown before it was turned into ice cream and landed on your deep-fried Mars bar (really). Such care in selecting ingredients is implied and is taken care of behind the scenes.
Take a window seat if the weather’s worth it. If it isn’t, opt for the subterranean space unseen from the outside. The downstairs area has a few tables, a brick fireplace and a flagstone floor. You won’t regret it.
Pork scratchings with apple purée.
Roasted beetroot with prunes, cow’s curd and walnut crumb.
Chocolate cake with salted caramel and apple-liqueur ice cream.
You could spend all day at Niddo, a sun-drenched restaurant on the edge of Mexico City’s Juárez neighbourhood. The comforting dishes in this buzzy mother-and-son-run operation are unerringly superb. Start with a coffee and concha (shell-shaped sweet round bread) followed by a warming bowl of chilaquiles (fried corn tortillas with cheese) or the delightful overnight oats.
This cool grey room has polished red tables and pendant lights. The best seat looks through an archway into the kitchen, where strings of garlic hang and large bowls of fresh vegetables wait to be turned into something delicious.