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Tuscan Brands wine director Joseph Comforti (middle) hosts La Passeggiata dei Sapori at Tuscan Market. Photo credit David Dalrymple.




La Passeggiata dei Sapori

Where: Tuscan Market, 63 Main St., Salem
When: Thursday, Oct. 13, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
Cost: $40 per person. Purchase tickets online.  
Visit: tuscanbrands.com




Walk among wine
Tasting features wine and food with Italian flair

10/06/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 Sample wines Italian style when the Tuscan Market in Salem hosts its fifth La Passeggiata dei Sapori on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5:30 p.m. The fall tasting will feature more than 60 regional Italian and world wines from a dozen different distributors, as well as food samples by Tuscan Catering.

Joseph Comforti, Tuscan Brands wine director and creator of the event, said he was inspired after researching Italian culture and experiencing it firsthand during a trip to Italy. La Passeggiata dei Sapori, which translates to English as “The Stroll of Flavors,” is a spin on the Italian tradition of La Passeggiata, an evening stroll taken after dinner. 
“In America, after mealtime we sit down, relax and watch TV, but in Italy, people go for a slow stroll and visit with their neighbors. ...The cities are opening up at 9 at night, everything is al fresco and it’s beautiful,” Comforti said. “So, I thought, why don’t we create that experience at the market, and people can stroll from table to table tasting different wines.” 
The featured wines will be from the major wine regions of Italy and other places around the world, including California, New Zealand, Australia and France. The selection has been curated to highlight wines that are fitting for fall and the holiday season; red wines make up the majority, followed by white wines and a few sparkling wines. 
“Sweet wines, dry wines — there’s a little something for everyone’s palate,” Comforti said. “It’s all about the guests getting to experience something different and becoming immersed in a world of wines they haven’t tried before.” 
About half of the featured wines will be varieties currently part of the Tuscan Market’s inventory, while the other half will be “new and exciting wines,” he said, which he chose himself. 
Averaging in the $12 to $15 range, prosecco has recently been trending in the U.S. as a cheaper and more versatile alternative to Champagne. There will be eight to 10 varieties of prosecco available at the tasting, from brut to extra dry to dry. 
“This is the golden age of prosecco. It’s the value of the decade,” Comforti said. “You can have it as a standalone drink at the beginning of a meal, at the end of a meal or with dessert. Because it’s a palate-cleanser, it’s great for Thanksgiving. It complements the food without overpowering it.” 
In addition to the wines, there will be samples of a variety of foods from the Tuscan Catering menu, including antipasti like crostini, breads, cheeses and meats, and sweet treats like gelato and pastries. 
Comforti, who will serve as the master of ceremonies, will greet guests at the door as they arrive and give them tours around the market. He and the wine distributors will also offer their expertise and guidance to help each guest discover the wines that best suit his or her taste.
A tip to help guests get the most out of the tasting, Comforti said, is to move from light to heavy wines. 
“You wouldn’t start off a meal with the roast turkey and gravy, so it’s the same with wine. Don’t assault your palate right away with a heavy red wine,” he said. “Start with the proseccos and moscatos and sweeter white wines, then transition to heavier whites and then to the reds.”





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