Here’s some summer fare….including a recipe, wine, and a decent after-dinner book to enjoy on a starlit porch in the warmth of August.

Turn off the television.  Get out the corkscrew.  Now, invite your neighbors over.

The Recipe –

This is grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil.  This recipe is courtesy of The Best of Fine Cooking Magazine’s special Grilling issue from the summer of 2010.  Click the link below to get the full recipe:

Mozzarella, basil, prosciutto – grilled with chicken and waiting for a glass of white wine

The Wine –

Ornate label – simple wine

There’s plenty of wiggle room for creativity here.   But it’s summer, so this food is waving at you to pair it with a crisp, light white.  Wanting something off the beaten trail,  I chose a fresh 2009 Albariño De Fefiñanes from Rias Baixas in Spain.  Like Pinot Grigio it’s refreshing and vibrant – and I respected Evan Goldstein’s advice (in his book Perfect Pairings – A Master Sommelier’s Practical Advice for Partnering Wine with Food [2006.  University of California Press, Berkeley.  Page 96]) that a bright, refreshing wine is better for ‘simpler, sharper, or leaner preparations.’  In this case, the Mozzarella and basil add sharpness to this dish.

That’s the rationale.  But trying this tangy light white was an experiment, and the combo turned out a winner.

The Book –

For an after dinner read, venture into a blazing hot, dangerous destination without leaving your seat.

The Lost City of Z – A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, by David Grann, is the true story of the author’s quest to discover why British explorer Percy Fawcett vanished while searching for a lost civilization in the Amazon in 1925.

Here’s the opening to the Preface:

“I pulled the map from my back pocket.  It was wet and crumbled, the lines I had traced to highlight my route now faded.  I stared at my markings, hoping that they might lead me out of the Amazon, rather than deeper into it.

“The letter Z was still visible in the center of the map.  Yet it seemed less like a signpost than like a taunt, another testament to my folly.”

[2010. Vintage Departures, New York.  Page 3.]

Okay….food, wine, and book.  Why this combination?

The food is easy to prepare, filling but not heavy.  The slightly tart wine goes well with chicken and does a fine job of cutting across the mozzarella cheese filling.  In today’s world, the wine is relatively light in alcohol (12.5 percent).  It’s a bit tangy, so it lightens up your senses instead of making you drowsy with the summer heat.

Why the book?  Because it’s fine summertime entertainment with a dose of riveting imagery – dense jungles, Victorian diaries providing clues, and gold hungry explorers vigilant of flying poisonous arrow.  The author, who describes himself as an ill-suited and unlikely explorer, tells a colorful tale about the past, the present, and about surprising characters who chose to pit themselves against unknown tribes of the Amazon.

And if you want a good book for pairing wine and food, check out Goldstein’s work –


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Did you make that chicken? Looks good……Yum!

  2. Yes! But that was actually awhile ago, when I was in the U.S. Easy to make, and worth the time…

  3. wow. that looks and sounds great! I’ll pass it on to the chefs around here.

    BTW, in Bolivia we made a new friend. Carlos has a blog of food from his travels:

    I also sent him a link to your blog.

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