Recently I’ve had to pass up several social activities and a few dining opportunities, and today’s blog post highlights one of them. I was invited to preview the upcoming “Dare to Pair” wine dinners at Porta Via, and in my previous life, I would’ve immediately jumped at the chance. But, as you know, these last few weeks I haven’t ventured out much, instead enjoying my time at home bonding with Baby.
Also, during my pregnancy, I had a few aversions, one of which was wine. I have yet to taste a drop of it since giving birth, and while I’m quite sure I’ll be enjoying it again in the future, I’m not sure my body is ready for it yet. Sooo… who to take my place in sampling this food & wine?
My suggestion was my favorite vegetarian food blogger, Lesley from Lesley Eats. I know from following her on Twitter that she has thoroughly enjoyed a few wine tastings/dinners around town (Amerigo!) and she likes Porta Via. Luckily, she was agreeable to both the dinner and writing a guest post for me. Please welcome Lesley!
~Porta Via “Dare to Pair” Wine Dinners~
by Lesley Eats
If you like wine (and good food), wine dinners are a wonderful way to push yourself to try something new and have a great meal at a nice price break all at the same time. Typically, you get 3-4 glasses of wine plus specially-prepared courses for the price of just the wine alone.
All through the month of March, Porta Via Italian Kitchen is hosting a “Dare to Pair” wine dinner event, which features three wines carefully paired with their own course for just $30 per person. $30 per person! I had the good fortune to get in early and try out the first week’s menu at the White Bridge Road location Monday night.
For the first course, I got to choose among a fairly large selection of starters (including soups). Because the specially-prepared prosciutto appetizer and the soups were not vegetarian, I selected the Ensalada Mista from the salad menu. But—no surprise—Mr. Eats chose to have the prosciutto. The first course was paired with Italico Pinot Grigio, one of my favorite varietals.
Italico Pinot Grigio
The prosciutto is wrapped around goat cheese and pan-fried. Mr. Eats loved the combination and noted the prosciutto was perfect. The kitchen thoughtfully added a little salad and goat cheese on the side for me to enjoy with the sesame seed flatbread. I loved the flatbread; it was nice and buttery with a bit of melted parmesan. The sesame seeds added a little nuttiness and texture.
Prosciutto Involtini with goat cheese, balsamic reduction, arugula and sesame seed flatbread
The second course was Chicken ala Guido. I love that name. Though, of course, I skipped the chicken and had the wild mushroom risotto and asparagus that accompanied the chicken. Substitutions generally are not allowed, but they make exceptions for dietary restrictions. They can easily accommodate vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diets (you can order from their regular menu, if necessary). The wine pairing was the Toscolo Chianti. I’m a huge fan of Chiantis (particularly of Classicos) and this Chianti was dry and not too heavy so it didn’t overpower the risotto and chicken.
Wild mushroom risotto and asparagus
The risotto was very well-prepared and very satisfying as an entrée on its own. Mr. Eats had the chicken, of course, which is marinated in banana, garlic, and Italian herbs. According to Mr. Eats, just a hint of the banana comes through. The breast was perfectly cooked and was served in its own sauce.
Chicken ala Guido: oven roasted chicken breast marinated in banana and garlic, served with wild mushroom risotto and asparagus
For the final course, we were able to select from the dessert menu as well as choose a dessert wine. Porta Via has a French pastry chef on staff now who makes all the desserts, so we chose the dessert special, a buttercream trifle and also the panna cotta. To mix it up a bit, I ordered a Prosecco and Mr. Eats ordered a Port to accompany dessert.
Prosecco and port
The buttercream trifle was truly delicious and deceptively light. It sounds much richer than it was, which is a good thing after having such a large meal. The panna cotta proved to be a good choice as well. We usually get the gelato when we visit Porta Via (the texture and many of the flavors are VERY authentic; I love their gelato), so it was nice to branch out a bit and enjoy something new.
French buttercream trifle with strawberries and cocoa dust
These special fixed price wine dinners are only available Mondays through Thursdays AND, as I mentioned, only $30 per person (plus tax and gratuity). It’s a heckuva deal. Even better, a portion of the proceeds from their March wine events will be donated to the Tennessee Wildlife Rescue.
Since there’s a new menu debuting every Monday, you can go every week!
There’s also a tasting of Italian reds at the Cool Springs location on March 22 for only $25 per person. Hors d’oeuvres will be served during the tasting, but you can also stay and get 10% off your dinner.
Porta Via Nashville
21 White Bridge Road
Nashville, TN 37205
Porta Via Cool Springs/Franklin
3301 Aspen Grove
Franklin, TN 37067