Chef David DiBari of The Cookery Guest Blogs about his Wine Trip in Italy

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Hey cooks and foodies, David DiBari here.

Five years ago I had the privelege of embarking on an educational wine trip to Italy. Along with Johnny Vesce, the vice president of  Bedford International, one of the leading importers of Italian juice, we toured some of their finest vineyards and producers. Upon visiting these estates we felt the soil upon which the grapes were grown, studied the process on how they were harvested and sipped the passionate reward of there product. ALL DAY LONG!!!!

At each of the estates, during the day a small nosh was prepared by the family, and paired with wine. In the evening supper was prepared by the woman of house and more wine was tasted. After a couple of glasses of wine I suddenly thought I could speak fluent Italian and found my self roaming the house trying to find the kitchen where i would spend a good portion of the evening picking the Chef’s brain (mom), watching and trying to converse as much as possible.

When you converse about something you are passionate about sometimes there is no language barrier. Five years ago, this trip spawned many culinary ideas which have surfaced at my restaurant The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry.

In Le Marche, a region in central Italy, I was witness to a White Lasagne — it’s flavor and consistency still remains on my taste buds and in my brain.  It was rich with the creaminess of besciamella and  the earthiness of the fungi, saltiness of the ham and fragrance of white truffle.

After five years of experimenting I have finally come close to emulating this piece of culinary heaven. The white lasagne has been a signature at The Cookery for an year now.

Now I’m heading back on another wine trip to Itlay. I look forward to making another pilgrimage to a culinary mecca, bringing back new ideas of food and wine to my play ground at The Cookery. We’re leaving tomorrow, and we’ll be back on May 22.

I’ll try to blog as often as I can along the way.

Here’s the itinerary:

May 14: Rome.
May 15: Casa dell’Orco in the Avellino area of Campania, then to the Rivera estate in the region of Puglia.
May 16: Ancona, home of Umani Ronchi and the Bernetti family in the Marche region; then to Umani Ronchi Winery
May 17:: Palazzo estate in Montalcino in Tuscany and Salcheto in Montepulciano in Tuscany.
May 18: Colle Massari Castle in Poggi del Sasso – Cinigiano in and Vignamaggio in Greve in Chianti Classico
May 19: Le Sorgenti, in the Colli Fiorentini appellation near Florence
May 20: Torre Rosazza in the Colli Orientali area of Friuli, then Castellani in Marano della Valpolicella
May 21: Contratto cellars in Canelli and dinner with Giacosa Fratelli in Neive

You can find the entire itinerary on the Wines from Bedford International’s website here and on The Cookery’s facebook page here.

So keep an eye out for photos (hopefully video) and ideas to inspire the menu at The Cookery.

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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at food@lohud.com

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