Our wine tasting and food pairing evenings are always popular and we enjoy coming up with dishes that match Simon’s wine choices. On 10th May we held an Italian evening which was a great success.

Line up of wines served during the evening

First up was a sparkling Franciacorta, an Italian version of Champagne that’s made in exactly the same way.  We served this with a mini pizza known as a pizette topped with tomato, pesto, Italian pepperoni and mozzarella.

Pizzette – rustic individual pizzas

The pizza base recipe:

1kg strong flour
15g salt
15g dried yeast
15g caster sugar
Approx 650ml warm water



Mix yeast and sugar with a bit of the water first then mix all the ingredients together and knead for 10 mins. Rest dough for about 15 mins at room temp before shaping, topping and baking (220c fan for 7-10 minutes until crispy and golden).

The second wine was a white Gavi di Gavi and our most popular white wine of the evening.  This was served with a bruschetta topped with tomato and basil as well as garlic toasts with an olive puree.

Bruschetta topping

Our third and final white wine of the evening was a Grillo, which we serve by the bottle or glass in the restaurant.  Grillo is a great alternative to a Pinot Grigio and can be enjoyed with food, or by itself.  A raviolo (single ravioli) was served with this wine, filled with butternut squash and sage and served drizzled with a sage butter.

The first of the red wines was Bardolino, served with a trio of gnocchi.

Simple gnocchi is a blend of mashed potato, flour and egg to bind, rolled into little pillow shapes and boiled for a couple of minutes just like pasta.

For our Italian evening recently we made a plain potato gnocchi, a potato and sundried tomato one and a ricotta based gnocchi (that required two overnight processes!!).

Potato gnocchi can be a bit bland by itself, just like pasta, but we’ve found that a quick dip in the fryer gives them a lovely golden colour and a great texture. (You could also pan fry).



500g potato – mashed
1 large egg
125g plain flour
Pinch salt

Mix the egg and flour and salt with mashed potato and shape into little pillows. Boil in water with a splash of olive oil until they rise to the surface.  Serve as they are or fry until golden.

The meatballs for our fifth course were inspired by a recipe by Nigella; mini meatballs made from a blend of pork and beef mince and served in a rich tomato sauce.  The tagliatelle for this dish (and the raviolo pasta) were made by us for this event.  The basic pasta dough uses Tipo ’00’ flour which is the finest sieved flour, the general rule is 1 egg per 100g flour (or, if you would like a richer pasta, use 2 yolks in place of one egg).  Bring the flour and eggs together into a dough then knead until you have a smooth elastic dough.  Rest for about half an hour covered in cling film before rolling and shaping it.


Finally, our dessert, and when you think of Italian desserts, the first one that comes to mind is Tiramisu.  Traditionally a coffee based Italian trifle, we gave ours a Courtyard twist by using a Hazelnut liqueur.  While creating the menu for the evening we also reminisced about childhood family meals and the frequent appearance of Neapolitan ice cream!  So in addition to Tiramisu, we prepared a Neapolitan semifreddo.  Both desserts were accompanied by the Italian dessert                                                                                         wine El Aziz.


Our next wine tasting and food pairing evening is ‘La Vie Francaise’ on Friday 28th June – six French wines paired with French inspired dishes served in a tapas style.  Tickets are £30 per person and must be booked in advance.  We hope you can join us.  Click here to book https://courtyardwombourne.com/events/