Impressions and pictures from a first “speak-easy” cigar dinner we organized at Frati, in early September, to wish a happy Autumn with the “hard core” of FNL and cigar friends.
The idea was to get together after the holidays in a relaxed way and mark the new season at FNL events. There was no time for announcements via FNL due to the holidays, so the circle was tight … besides, we had a surprise cigar in avant premiere and quantities were limited!
The date was on the beautiful front porch of Frati and the idea was very simple: comfort food, nice wines and drinks, a good cigar and catch-up after the holidays.
Around 8.30 the first friends started to arrive and we welcomed them with a delightful Select Spritz based on the original Italian bitter aperitif Select along with Two Cents Plain and Prosecco. Light, refreshing and bitter was just what we needed to refresh our palates and also to accompany a first introductory cigar that many lit.
We walked over to the tables and were served the first wine of the evening a very interesting Lombardy white from the labels introduced by the restaurant itself: the Pratto, Ca dei Frati 2020. This is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Turbiana with an exuberant aroma and a Northern European profile that combines acidity with sweetness. It beautifully accompanied the cold appetizers (Mozarella Burrata / Culatello di Zibello / Beef Carpaccio), but also the first course which was velvety scallops in the wood oven with cauliflower puree, mushrooms with bacon and tangerine glaze. The sparkling Doubia, the first Greek gastronomic water was on hand for another dinner to cool us down and refresh our palette.
The rest belonged to an exuberant and delectable red wine, from one of my personal favorite appellations of origin. I’m talking about Amarone della Valpolicela and specifically Pietro Dal Cero, again from Ca dei Frati, from the 2013 vintage. A complex, generous wine at the peak of its maturity that delightfully accompanied an impressive milanese cutlet.
As the chatter and anticipation grew, out came the exquisite and complex Matusalem Gran Reserva 23 rum, a delicious and bittersweet rum originating from Cuba and produced in the Dominican Republic. Some people, to freshen it up and make it lighter, added Three Cents Pineapple Soda which suits it uniquely! Along with it was the highly anticipated cigar of the evening which I will tell you about separately soon!
*Photos by Panos Smirniotis