Last Thursday, I was invited at La Scuola in Eataly for a media event to celebrate a variety of pear called the Abate Fetel, in a 3 course-tasting meal prepared by Chef Nicoletta Grippo. I was definitely curious as I mostly associate pear with desserts, besides the classic salads or the pear with roquefort that is a great combination, the sweetness of the fruit neutralizing the acidity of the cheese.
Before I talk about the food, let's discover this pear. Yes, because I admit I discovered it too! We got to try Abate Fetel pears cultivated in a North-Eastern region of Italy called Emilia-Romagna. First imported in the US in 2003, this fruit finds its roots in France were Abbé Fetel, the abbot of Chessy-les-Mines in Savoie, started cultivating it back in 1866. As you can see on the photos above, it has a long shape with a yellow skin, natural freckles and some russeting patches. In term of taste, it is crisp and sweet like honey. It is also healthy: rich in potassium, Vitamin C, fiber, the latter limiting blood sugar levels and facilitating digestion. Last, know that this pear is harvested in September and can be consumed from October to April.
Now let's talk about the food prepared by Chef Nicoletta Grippo and her crew that we tasted! Each course was paired with a drink. First was the pasta sfoglia with gorgonzola dolce, red wine poached Abate Fetel pear and walnut streusel.
Ok, I did not get the gorgonzola on mine, but still, it was very refreshing and I loved the hints of pear coming through. The streusel was delicious, light, crispy and tasty.
This dish was served with a pear bellini that was fantastic and quite traditional.
Then came an amazing dish that was definitely one of the high points of the evening: roasted Abate Fetel pear fiochetti with taleggio cream and charred radicchio.
If you are a cheese lover like me, this is definitely a dish for you: these little purses were filled with pear, parmigiano reggiano, mascarpone and ricotta, and bathed is a delightfully rich and creamy taleggio sauce that I would have eaten with a spoon.
The pairing wine was a Cantine Ceci 'Tre di Terre Verdiane' Spumante, Emilia-Romagna, Italy:
The second dish was an herbed pork roast with a creamy parsnip purée, a caramelized Abate Fetel pear and shallots.
This was beautifully presented and definitely let the pear shine on its own. But don't get me wrong, it is not as if the pear was just added to a dish: It also had a nice balance, paired with the pork.
The wine served with it was a Crotta Di Vigneron Pinot Nero 2012, Valle D'Aosta, Italy:
Last was dessert. Another high point for me: Crostata with honey roasted Abate Fetal pear and fior di latte gelato.
I simply loved it! The crostata was divine: a bit buttery, sweet and flakey, it was fantastic with the pears that were soft and sweet, a sweetness that could be counterbalanced by the delicious milk gelato.
The wine served with the dessert was a Ca dei Mandorli Brachetto d'Acqui 2012, Piedmont, Italy:
I definitely had a great time and outstanding food and wine at La Scuola Eataly. I never think about cooking with pear and it gave me some idea (I hope to you too). Trying the Abate Fetel pear in these dishes made me discover a variety that I did not know and that is worth trying. So, if you see an Abate Fetel pear at your grocery store, do not hesitate: they are delish!
Enjoy (I sure did)!
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