San Francisco's food scene is so much more than just excellent restaurants and year-round stellar produce at our farmers markets. (Though, don't get me wrong, all that is awesome.) Look a little closer, and you'll find so many artisans and entrepreneurs in the nooks and crannies of our gastro-obsessed city.
Yesterday we had the opportunity, courtesy of our dear friends Nick and Russ, to attend a wee pop-up dubbed "Spuntino: Wine, Piadina and Pie," featuring four indie foodie businesses.
As we passed through the charming Bernal Heights cottage, we saw the piadina-making in action in the kitchen. Tattini, who makes piadina at El Rio on occasional Fridays, had prepared a hearty stack of the flatbreads, and Kathy of Gratta Wines (more on them below) was heating them on the griddle, then folding them around fillings of salame and mascarpone or prosciutto with a brie-like cheese, both with salad greens.
I was excited to see piadina in San Francisco. My first exposure to it was this past January, when I took a group to Emilia-Romagna to learn to make salumi, preserves and more. Our final afternoon, we went to Forlimpopoli, home of Pellegrino Artusi, the famed documenter of Italian home cooking, and learned to make piadina. And, coming up next January, we will return. Won't you join us? And if you can't join us in Italy, you can come watch me make piadina on September 9 at Skill Exchange at StoreFrontLab.
Tattini's piadina were slightly different than the ones we had there. For starters, she used whole wheat flour, which I rather liked. Hers were also thicker than the ones we made, which were sort of like chubby tortillas. Vanessa, my friend and organizer of the tours, tells me that the thickness of piadina varies from town to town (we're talking millimeters here), so it's possible that piadina in Tattini's native Bologna is on the thicker side. In any event, it was delicious.
Out back, in the diminutive yard with fog billowing in overhead, Tattini's partner had set up a miniature version of her wine pop-up bar, Mugsy's, which she also hosts at El Rio on Fridays. She was pouring a fun little prosecco, which we started with, and a crisp French rosé. I guess we need to get to El Rio more often.
By her side was Barbara Gratta of Gratta Wines, arguably the smallest winery in the state. Barbara gets her juice from sustainably grown grapes from Teldeschi Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, and turns them into lovely, elegant wines in her garage in the Bayview. A true garagiste, indeed. She was pouring all four of her current offerings: 2010 old vines zin, 2010 cabernet sauvignon, 2009 petit sirah and 2008 zinfandel dessert wine. I personally liked the zin best, a rich and jammy wine without being so big it clobbered you over the head. The cab was pleasantly soft and silky, lacking the tooth-coating tannins typical of the varietal, and the petit sirah was also surprisingly light, extremely dry with notes of violet and leather. The dessert zin was not cloyingly sweet, and had lovely notes of fig and balsamic. Priced between $17-20, Gratta Wines are surely going to grace our table in the near future.
Speaking of sweets, Ru Cymrot-Wu of Ru's Pie Club set out plates of adorable "pie buttons" and spoons of chocolate cream pie (pictured, top). Ru's crust is outrageously buttery, and I love the idea of the bite-size buttons, but the chocolate cream pie stole the show — rich, fluffy and intensely chocolatey. Ru produces pies to order via the website.
Go! Taste these wonderful things:
Go Pig or Go Home!
Join us in Italy, January 9-16, 2013, to learn to make salumi, preserves, pasta, piadina and more. You know you want to.