Perhaps nothing better represents this dearth of good wine and food matches at wine bars than the ubiquitous cheese plate. The cheese and wine thing is one of those urban legends as most dry red wines don’t taste very good with most cheeses. Brie, goat cheeses and the like with a big Cab is a waste of good cheese and good Cab. White wines and sweet wines are another matter, but matching cheese with dry reds can be tough on the wine.
Those that have had the pleasure of an aperitivo at a bar in Milan or a tapas bar in Madrid know there’s a lot more to wine bar food than a cheese plate. In Europe the bars are laden with tasty tidbits that actually taste great with wine.
While it’s too late for Christmas presents, there’s one gift every wine bar owner in the country should give themselves. Wine Bar Food by Cathy and Tony Mantuano offers a wine lover’s dream of small plates to interplay with the the most creative of wine lists. Better yet, forget that cheese plate you were getting ready to put out at your next wine tasting at home and be kind to your wines by preparing some of the wine perfect dishes the Mantuanos have assembled in this must have cookbook for any wine lover.
While Chef Tony Mantuano is famed for the complicated and elegant fare at Spiaggia, the Obamas preferred Chicago restaurant, there’s not a bit of that here in this collection of very approachable recipes. Cathy, well known as the innovative wine director of some of Chicago’s best wine oriented restaurants, has teamed with her husband to bring us the best of Mediterranean wine bar food.
Wine bar food should be simple, varied and delicious, just like this book.