Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pizza and Wine Pairings at Pitfire Pizza Company

Being always on the look out for fun food and wine combinations, I set up a pizza and wine pairing event with Pitfire Pizza Company and my dining group came along to share the experience.

Pitfire Pizza Company prides itself in using fresh local ingredients for most of the items on their men
u and that definitely showed in the 6 different pizzas we sampled that night. Of the six, two stood out.

First, there's the asparagus and egg pizza. Yes, you are reading correctly. Asparagus and egg pizza. Along with the asparagus and an oven-poached egg, ingredients also include Tuscan proscuitto, roasted garlic, fontina cheese and lemon zest. Dare I say that with the ham and the egg, it's almost like a breakfast pizza, for surely, I could eat this pizza morning, noon or night. With all its many textures and flavors, from the crunch of the asparagus to the subtle tartness of the lemon zest, each bite felt like a wonderful surprise party.

But my absolute favorite pizza of the night was called Deidre's Bianca, inspired by Pitfire Pizza's Marketing Director, Deidre. Ingredients for this pizza included a mix of dandelion greens, black Russian kale, arugula with herbed ricotta, mozzarella and roasted garlic. What I loved about this pizza was the flavor profiles of the greens, which leaned towards being peppery, a little bitter and overall, packed punches of strong flavor. The herbs in the cheese served as a great enhancement to the greens while some of the sweetness of the roasted garlic ensured that everything was in balance.

Here I have been raving about the pizza, but have yet to even mention the pizza and wine pairings, which were a welcome change from the regular standby of pizza and beer. However, I found something amusing about the whole business of eating pizza with my hands while twirling a wine glass in between bites. It was definitely an "Inner Child" meets "Grown Up Sophisticate (or at least the Sophisticate of my own mind)" kind of thing.

Since I'm more of a foodie than a wine enthusiast, I can't necessarily speak well about the wine we had for the evening. I can say that some pairings worked better than others. For example, I really enjoyed the Rock Rabbit Sauvignon Blanc 2005 with the Heirloom Tomato Pizza. It was a wine that was a bit citrusy and mellow and balanced well with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes and the stronger flavor of the basil. On the other end of the spectrum, the Boutari Moschofilero, a Greek wine, bombed when paired with Deidre's Bianca pizza. It makes sense to pair the Bianca with a stronger red wine given that the greens on that pizza have a kick to them, but that wine was too over powering.

For many, pizza and beer may still be the way to go, but I think that pizza and wine also have their own merits and it's fun to experiment. With the variety of wines out there, you're certain to find a perfect marriage of pizza and wine and you'll probably have a lot of fun in the process, too.

To see pics, go to:

Pitfire Pizza Company
108 West 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

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