Wine and Cheese in the Euganean Hills | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

With record-breaking temperatures passing the century mark this past weekend around the Veneto region of northeastern Italy, I really needed a break from the scorching heat wave and I needed it STAT.

I could stay at home with the AC on full blast. Perhaps.

Or, I could head to a nearby beach along the Adriatic and make like a crustacean. Perhaps.

Wine and Cheese in the Euganean Hills | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Or, I could take a seat around a long wooden table, set up inside a naturally-cooled cantina carved into the hillside of a conical peak, to enjoy a specially arranged degustazione (tasting) of cheeses from around the Mediterranean paired with wines from the Euganean Hills. YES!

Wine and Cheese in the Euganean Hills | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

In cooperation with Azienda Agricolo Ca’ Lustra, Franco Zanovello’s organic winery in Faedo di Cinto Euganeo (PD), Osteria Volante, a catering company led by Enrico Panzarasa, put on quite a show for the 20 or so invited guests as we were treated to a selection of nine cheeses from five Mediterranean islands paired with five of Ca’ Lustra’s stellar labels.

Wine and Cheese in the Euganean Hills | ©thepalladiantraveler.com

Working clockwise, Enrico explained each of the cheeses plated before us.

Caprino ai pistacchi, Tale’ di capra Girgentana and Ficu, three goat cheeses from Siciliy.

Next was Kolan, a cow’s milk cheese from Pag, Croatia.

A trio of sheep’s milk cheeses followed: Brebis Fougere from Corsica, Paski Sir from Pag, Croatia and Gran Nuraghe from Sardegna.

Mahon, a cow’s milk cheese, represented Spain’s island of Menorca.

And, finally, Fior Sardo, a sheep’s milk cheese from Sardegna.

And the wine pairings?

We opened with an aperitif of sparkling Pinello to break the ice and put us in the right mood.

Franco then uncorked Pedavenda, an aromatic white DOC blend of Manzoni Blanc, Riesling and Pinella.

The Catarratto was next, a pleasant and casual IGT-rated white from Zanovello’s Sicilian terroir; followed by the Aganoor Rosato, a bold IGT-rated rosé of Cabernet and Merlot; and then ‘A Cengia, a DOC-rated, dry Moscato.

And, Mr. Z capped the cheese pairing with Sassonero, a robust varietal, at 14.5%, of 100% Merlot grape grown on the label’s namesake hill in nearby Arquà Petrarca.

Wine and Cheese in the Euganean Hills | ©thepalladiantraveler.comFollowing the tasting, we headed outside onto the winery’s covered patio for a small, sundown respite.

Prepped by Giorgio and Alessandro, Osteria Volonte’s roving chefs, we were treated to plates of freshly cut affitati (coldcuts) and more formaggi (cheeses). And, as the sun finally settled behind the hills, we savored a delicious risotto al Serprino (the areas trademark sparkling wine) with black truffles.

Both the first and second courses were paired with the estate’s bubbly Chardonnay Brut. Mmm.

Next time Mother Nature orders up a heat wave, I’ll know exactly what to do: head for the hills, the Euganean Hills, and Ca’ Lustra‘s cool cantina.

SALUTE and BUON APPETITO!

©The Palladian Traveler

Borsalino w/ props SMALL | ©Tom Palladio Images

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Written by The Palladian Traveler

Tom traded his hometown St. Louis Cardinals' baseball cap in the United States for a Borsalino and he now hangs his "capello" in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. A veteran print and broadcast journalist, with well-worn passports that have got him into and out of 50 countries and counting, Tom fell in love with the "Bel Paese" years ago. As he notes, "I'm inspired by the beauty I find in all things that are very, very old, and reliving history, or at least meandering along cobblestone streets that were laid down over a thousand years ago and just looking up and marveling at what occupies the space still today, really gets my 'Vespa' running." Tom has a good eye behind the lens and is a graphic storyteller, but he'll let you decide as he keeps his camera batteries fully charged and the posts flowing from his creative hideaway in the hills overlooking Ostuni. You can also follow his dispatches along the cobblestone via TravelingBoy.com.

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