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Oct 12, 2013 10:28 PM

Pairing for Focaccia di Recco

I'm going to Chi Spacca, a local restaurant, which is known for its Focaccia di Recco - which is apparently a pizza like concoction, but with a very thin cracker-like unleavened crust and salted, fermented mozzarella (no sauce). One local food critic called it the best dish she had all year.

I was thinking of bringing a bottle of my favorite champagne - Philipponnat, Clos Des Goisses. Would that work with the Focaccia?

Or would there be something more appropriate? Hate to waste a bottle of Philipponnat if it is not quite the right pairing.

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    1. re: maria lorraine

      This isn't a bready focaccia but a thinner type with a crispy crust from Genoa that's like pizza. And the cheese isn't mozzarella per se, but a salted, fermented mozzarella that's handmade to resemble Stracchino, an Italian crescenza.

      The salt in both leads me to believe the bubbles might be fantastic -- and that's in addition to the extremely high quality of the Champagne. The grapes are grown on very sunny steep slopes; the blend is 60-70% PN to 30-40% Chard (and the amount of PN doesn't bother me a bit).

      Both the dish and the wine are incredibly simple and perfect, and my guess is you might experience something sublime having the two together.

    2. I'm okay with champagne with this dish but would prefer a predominantly chardonnay-based bubbly... and PCDG is mostly pinot noir, no?

      Pinot matches fair with mozzarella, which frankly isn't a great wine-friendly cheese to begin with so to pair it with a bubbly in the $150 price range doesn't make alot of pairing sense to me.

      You ask, will PCDG "work" for the foccacia, a better question would be whether the foccacia works for this great bubbly, and my answer would be that the foccacia won't live up to this excellent champagne.... I can think of a long list of foods I'd rather pair with it.

      I'd rather pair it with a popularly-priced chardonnay or better, a nice bottle of an under-appreciated Italian white which is much more appropriately-priced for this simple dish: Soave DOC.

      1. Why not ask the sommelier?

        Here's the Champagne list from Manuelina, the place whose focaccia di Recco Nancy Silverton's is patterned after:

        1. I ended up bringing a 2000 Philipponnat, Clos Des Goisses. We also tried a Ligurian white wine (forgot what it was) that the restaurant specifically pairs with the Focaccia di Recco.

          While the Ligurian wine was nice, there was no question that the Philipponnat was the better pairing. It was an interesting exercise in the magic of pairing -- the dish just sang in a way with the Philipponnat that it didn't with the Ligurian wine. I can't really say if it was the difference between an expensive champagne and probably a relatively inexpensive wine, or if the Philipponnat was just the perfect pairing for the specific dish.

          That being said, I was not as bowled over with the 2000 Philipponnat as with the 1999. Interestingly, the clerk at the wine store suggested I have the restaurant decant the champagne. He said it was a powerful champagne and should be decanted. I did not have it decanted, and wonder now if that would have made the champagne more enjoyable.

          2 Replies
          1. re: omotosando

            Omo: very interesting question.... check the following thread on the subject... and notice that in the 3rd post the poster mentions PCDG!:

            The bottom line is that there is an obvious limit to how far you can "decant" a champagne and still retain it's effervescence. Less is more if you want to retain the bubbly nature of the champagne.

            I oftentimes find myself doing a "local" decanting... that is I pour the champagne then stir it briskly in the glass with a neutral swizzle stick.

            But ultimately I personally doubt that would have had a profound change of your experience this evening... just pour the bubbly, swizzle it a time or two... if it doesn't match the food then order something it does match !!!

            BTW: thanks for a great report... the only thing missing is I would have liked to know more regarding the "Ligurian" white you had... vermentino perhaps or ??? sorry but you have to report these details, lol, thanks again for sharing.

            1. re: TombstoneShadow

              Thanks for the link. Very interesting. I'm not saying that the 2000 Philipponnat was not a good champagne, but is just seemed, for lack of a better word, "huge." And it didn't leave me with the feeling that the 1999 did -- which was, OMG, I have never had champagne like this before.

              Maybe the 2000 is too young.