Serving Prosecco—the wonderful sparkling Italian white from the Veneto—is Joe’s and my favorite way to start a celebration, whether an evening with a few friends or a much bigger event. We served prosecco back at our 2008 wedding celebration,
but I couldn’t believe it when I heard a waiter offering “Italian champagne” to our guests! Prosecco is not a version of ANYTHING else, and certainly not anything French (as Joe would say)!
What prosecco is, is a marvelously food-friendly apertif, a smashing way to start an evening that can follow elegantly into a primo of soup, seafood, or salad. At any sort of party, from a big event like a wedding reception to a casual dinner party, prosecco adds the fizzy note that says, “let’s celebrate!”
What makes prosecco our preference over champagne, besides that it’s Italian and not French, is its accessible, fruity simplicity. People new to prosecco who have champagne as their point of comparison are surprised by how easy it is to drink, and how food-friendly it is. There are a few foods for which champagne is the perfect pairing (caviar not being one of them, by the way), but prosecco can pair quite nicely with many dishes which you would accompany with a lighter white wine. When we start a dinner party with prosecco and antipasti (in other words, at just about every dinner party we host), we often encourage our guests to keep drinking prosecco through the first course or two, if they wish.
Prosecco is also surprisingly affordable—there are many to choose from under $20, a price point where champagne is, as far as I’m concerned, undrinkable. There are plenty of brands around to try, so at such a reasonable price it’s worth trying out a few to find one that suits your particular taste best.
The prosecco we served at our wedding, Bele Casel, has a special place in Joe’s and my hearts, so we were delighted to find, as we were planning our 2010 trip to the Veneto, that an agriturismo we had reserved was only a short distance from the winery that makes “our” prosecco. We immediately decided to track the place down and tell them how much their sparkling concoction meant to us! What we found when we followed the map we had made at home was an unassuming and unmarked group of buildings near a modest house: we weren’t sure we were in the right place. But when we asked in our best broken Italian about Bele Casel, the young man who had come to see why our car was in his driveway lit up, and eagerly took us on a complete tour of his facility. I only wish our Italian had been better, because he explained everything about how they make Bele Casel prosecco energetically and happily in rapid Italian that we couldn’t begin to understand!
I just stumbled onto your blog from a link on the Bele Casel blog. When I read about your choice of Bele Casel prosecco for your wedding, I immediately thought, “How absolutely perfect!”
My husband and I have been drinking (and of course, enjoying) Bele Casel Prosecco for years. It’s our sparkler of choice for every occasion, and every non-occasion. But what really caught my attention was your description of your visit to Bele Casel. We were in the Veneto this past September and before we left, one of the people who works in our favorite wine shop (Moore Brothers in Wilmington, DE) “opened a door” for me, enabling me to make arrangements with Luca Ferraro for a visit.
I know I don’t have to tell you what an extraordinary family the Ferraros are. Not only did they give us a tour, but they invited us to stay to have lunch with the entire family. It was during lunch that we had our first taste of Bele Casel’s Prosecco Col Fondo. What a treat that was! After lunch, Luca, Danilo, Paola and Giuliana they drove us to Asolo so we could see their DOCG vineyard. And our timing could not have been better. They had just finished their grape harvest. AND, the day just before our visit, Luca had won the very prestigious “50 Best Italian Wines Super Prize Award for Innovation.”
The thing is this — we’re not wine connoisseurs, we’re not distributors or wholesale buyers of wine — we’re just a 60-something couple that enjoys Bele Casel Prosecco (along with many other wines). Yet, we were treated like family. By the end of our visit, my husband and Danilo were “best buds”, even though they didn’t speak each others’ language. And I can honestly say that our visit with the Ferraro family was the highlight of our 2-week trip to northeastern Italy.
So, circling back to the reason for my message to you, I’m delighted to have discovered other ardent fans of Bele Casel. And I would highly recommend that if you haven’t already tried their Prosecco Col Fondo, you do so soon. It just — I mean as in last week — became available in Delaware, and I intend to serve (and drink) a lot of it over the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Thanks for the wonderful comment, Cindy! So glad we have a fellow Bele Casel fan…Joey and Mark now have the entire family drinking at any/all occasions and in between :o). We will have to look for the Prosecco Col Fondo on both coasts and give it a try – sounds fantastic! Buon Natale!! Michele, Joe and Mark