alexWhen we launched WINEormous, I honestly had no idea just how many stories were right in our back yard. Last Friday, after a stop at The Wine Company in Temecula, Laura and I joined our friends for dinner at Gourmet Italia in Temecula. It had been a while since I had been there, and I got a chance to re-aquaint myself with owner Alex Prestifilippo. Our dinner was excellent, Alex helped us select some great wines including a Malbec from Briar Rose and the ’05 John Tiso Vineyards La Serenissima Cabernet.

After dinner, Alex invited Laura and me to attend his cooking class at Gourmet Italia North in Murrieta. We went Tuesday night and left thoroughly impressed. What I’ve been discovering on this journey is the passion that great winemakers and chefs share. You’ve either got it or you don’t, and Alex has it.

ingredientsStarting with fresh ingredients is essential. On the menu was Crostini con favelle al sapore di pancetta (crostini with fava beans and pancetta), Insalata di arance, finocchio e fichi in profumo di agrumi di Sicilia (salad with oranges, fennel, figs and mint), Maccu di fave fresche saporite con olio nuovo di produzione locale (fresh fava been soup with garlic, olive oil and fennel), Baccala’ alla siracusana servito con cipolle in agrodolce (cod over sauteed onion with sweet and sour) and Ananas fresca bagnata con malvasia de Wiens Winery (Fresh pineapple with strawberries with a Malvasia wine sauce).

Alex is a wonderful teacher, and the fact that head chef Fabrizio was there to help was certainly a plus. We took copious notes and look forward to trying our hand at making this delicious meal.