Thursday, March 22, 2012

Italian Night At The Werner’s & Veggie Gardening

I know the names in the title may not make sense but as it turns out, German descendent Mark is married to Italian descendent Sue.  The meal was to be lasagna and I decided to take some wine, but decided to do a little research on it.  Most folks who enjoy Italian food, know that the countries cuisine is very regional and as best I could determine, lasagna comes from the Emilia-Romagna region around Bologna. 

Bologna is about three fourths of the way up the Italian boot and toward the middle of the country and is the capital of one of Europe’s wealthiest regions.  The main wine around Bologna is Lambrusco which is usually made in sparkling form and generally made dry – apparently, like the German Riesling, the sweet stuff is shipped to the US and the good dry stuff is kept at home.

Since I was looking for a table wine, I decided to pass on Lambrusco and went in search of something else, but in the meantime, while moving some bottles from a box in the garage to the wine cooler I made a pleasant discovery.  We belong to the Wall Street Journal Wine Club and get wines from all over the word and as it turned out, we had a bottle each of pretty good Italian red and white - Bric Corderi Barbera d'Asti 2010 & Conti Carello Vigna San Lorenzo 2010 – so that’s what we took.  The red was very good but I thought the white was a little too mellow for my taste.  Now for the meal. 

Mark and Sue have a beautiful home in Tellico Village with a view of the lake and complete with a nice little wine cellar - I'm envious and wish I'd had the foresight to put one in our house when we built.  Here are a couple of shots of the bar separting the kitchen from the living/dining area. 

After socializing and sampling several wines, we sat down to a dinner of salad, lasagna sided with meatballs and Italian sausage, and a light cheese cake dessert. 

My favorite ethnic food is Italian and I think I know the good stuff when I eat it and this was definitely the good stuff.  Every thing was well seasoned and the sauce was thick and flavorful.  This was the best Italian I've eaten in a long time and come tomato season, we may have to ask Sue for some sauce lessons.  It was a super evening with good food, good wine, and best of all, good company.

Veggie Gardening Reminder (in case you missed it Friday) – It was late for last year’s garden but I did a series of gardening posts every Thursday, based on my teaching material for Master gardener students.  It began on April 28, 2011 and ran thru August.  If interested, you can go to the Blog Archive on my sidebar, click 2011, then May (first full month), and look at the topics for the Thursday posts.  I love to talk gardening so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if I can be of any help. 

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: Mid-March Garden Update

Two years ago: Stuffed Shrimp Ala Mary


3/19/2012  meal date


  1. Nothing better than a group of friends sharing good wine and good food. Especially when it's Italian.

  2. Funny... my dad is German and my mom is Italian :) Love it!
    And lasagna.. that truly is the my all time favorite Italian dish. And the one in the picture looks perfect!

  3. Sounds like you had a wonderful evening. And speaking of gardening, I thought I would let you know that the bathtub hothouse is working, basil has popped up.

  4. It looks like it was a nice evening. Kudos to you for doing enough research to choose an excellent wine!

  5. What a delightful night with friends. We are so blessed to have friends who enjoy cooking, drinking wine and entertaining also. Such fun! Food and wine are even more delicious served with a good dose of camaraderie :)

    I wonder if the trout you get there is Rainbow Trout and that's why Bev doesn't like it? I think it's one of the mildest tasting of all fish.

  6. Larry, It was great Lasagna! Much lighter than what I've had in the past...but with nice robust flavors. The homemade icecream and cheesecake were also winners! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  7. Look at that great view out of the dining room window...must be "just awful" having to live with that, ha ha.

  8. Larry,

    I enjoyed reading your coverage about Emiglia-Romagna, the provence of my family (who still reside there . . . we are the only family members that left Italy in the 1920's and who stayed in "America". It is the culinary capital of the country due to its tremendous soil and consequential wealth. However, I never grew up with lasagna due to the poverty of my mountain ancestry. I learned by myself and I must say that I hope you get your hands on your friend's sauce so that you will hopefully share it. It looks fantastic!

    I love how you both put wine cellars/coolers in your homes! Brilliant! We have wine cooler that is sadly going on the brink after 7 years from accumulating long dog hair! Bummer big time!

    Can't wait to hear about your gardening this year!

  9. Your whole dinner sounds awesome and that red sauce looks wonderfully thick too!

  10. Larry, just now read your blog on our Italian dinner evening. Your comments are too kind. The evening was fun not only because the food was good but the company was so gracious. We loved having ya'll.. With a little sweet talk Sue might even share her "secrets". Next we will do German and I will do the cooking. Mark


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