Snacks, snacks, and more snacks please! Who doesn’t love snacks? A small bite of food to tide you over until something more substantial is delivered – this is one of my favourite ways to eat. You may call them appetizers, hors d’oeuvres or tapas if you’re in Spain. But let’s stick to Italian: antipasti, for the prosciutto e melone.
Considered by some as the most clichéd Italian antipasti, I absolutely love this classic dish. I think I could eat prosciutto e melone all day, every day – were it not for the obvious health concerns. This is the perfect combination of salty and sweet; juicy and dry; and supple and toothsome. In short, pure joy.
It’s also hands down one of the easiest dishes to prepare. You need one ripe cantaloupe from which you should remove the seeds and skin. Then cut the juicy flesh into bite sized cubes or larger crescent moon slices. Prosciutto is the traditional meat choice, but other salty, dry-cured hams will work. Consider speck, serrano or iberico hams for alternatives. To plate, simply drape the prosciutto over the melon, or wrap the fruit in the meat. If serving as a canapé, you can also use a decorative cocktail spear to secure the meat on individual bite sized portions.
Be aware: there are many “knock-off” renditions of these meats. Real Italian prosciutto is protected under PDO designation, which is a stringent regulatory classification. Everything down to the rearing of the pigs; the age and weights of the pigs; and the process, timing and length of curing and ageing the meat are controlled under PDO legislation. San Danielle prosciutto from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Prosciutto di Parma from Emilia Romagna are the two historic PDOs for prosciutto in Italy. In such a simple dish, quality ingredients are the key to success.
In terms of pairing, can you imagine anything better suited than Prosecco? It’s frothy, juicy, and refreshing. A range of sweetness levels would be successful in this pairing, anything from Brut to Dry depending on your preference. Prosecco can be bottled Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, and Dry – Extra Brut being the driest and Dry the sweetest, which is confusingly counterintuitive. But I love the charmat method Canella Valdobbiadene Superiore Millesimato Extra Dry with this pairing.
The charmat method, also known as tank method, results in fresh, fruity wines with a lively bubble. Valdobbiadene Superiore refers to the region from which the grapes are grown. This is the hilly central zone of production within the Veneto around the towns of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano. All of the grapes are hand harvested and the yields are kept low, which helps to keep the quality of the fruit quite high. Millesimato means this is a vintage wine and you’ll find the date of the harvest on the back of the bottle. The Canella Extra Dry is bottled with 17 g/l residual sugar and this subtle sweetness pairs fabulously with a ripe juicy melon.
This pairing just sings spring and summer. The bubbles are invigorating, and both the wine and the dish are fresh, juicy, and fabulously cheerful. If you want a sunny start to a meal or a light and easy pairing to socialize over this is it!
2018 Canella Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
USA: Buy now for only $21.99