Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Food and Wines of Abruzzo #ItalianFWT

I received samples of wines from Abruzzo for tastings and pairings that are written about in this post.  All content, opinions and writings are strictly my own.  I received no monetary compensation for this post.

Tender greens mixed with cucumber, sweet bell pepper and cantaloupe tossed in a balsamic dressing, topped with smoked duck breast and sprinkled with toasted pecans and duck skin crackling.

This salad paired nicely with a Caldora Montepulciano D'Abruzzo from Gonzalez Byass.  I received a bottle of this wine and created this pairing for our Italian FWT group.......

I am coming late to the party this month.  It is nearly 7 am here in Michigan, USA and I am just now writing up my post.  Normally my posts for this group gets posted at 6 am because we all gather for twitter chat at 11 am.  You can join us for chat today following #ItalianFWT and find out why I didn't get my post written before this morning.

Our host this month is David of Cooking Chat.  David was lucky enough to visit Abruzzo and wanted to share the experience with all of us.  You can visit his invitation post and his preview post to learn more, including 9 things that you need to know about this area and it's wines.

When Gwen of Wine Predator learned we were going to Abruzzo this month she contacted Donna of Donna White PR who arranged for some of us to receive samples of wine from the area.

Let's take a look at what the others thought of the wines D'Abruzzo........

If you would like to share an article for the event, just drop David an email with your name, article and your blog url. Email to davidbcrowley AT

Join the #ItalianFWT Abruzzo Twitter Chat

The live Twitter chat is always a highlight of these wine blogging events! Feel free to tune in whether you are sharing an article or not. It's a great way to learn more about wines from Abruzzo! To join the chat, simply tune into the Twitter hashtag #ItalianFWT at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday, October 5.

I was very excited to receive these wines and did my first pairing right away after exploring the area on my computer.   I learned that Abruzzo is in southern Italy, east of Rome.  It is bordered by the Adriatic on one side and the Appenine Mountains on the other.

The main grapes grown in this area are red Montepulciano and white Trebbiano.  They also have native grapes of Sangiovese, Pecorino, Passerina and Coccociola.  These names also give you a little insight into the foods of Abruzzo.

I opened up a bottle of Ferzo Pecarino and Citra Montepulciano for a family dinner when I served up this lasagna.  I personally drank the red wine with my dinner that night.  The Citra wine poured a deep almost black red with a black pepper on the nose.  It is a full bodied wine that paired well with the lasagna.

The Teen's Aunt Michelle, who joined us for dinner, is a white wine drinker and enjoyed the Ferzo pronouncing it "very nice".  I had intended on grabbing a taste so that I could share the experience with you but the bottle got passed around and was empty before I knew it.

So I thought I was way ahead of the game with my pairing all done when a couple of weeks later I was delighted to receive yet another bottle of Montepulciano.   This bottle was from Gonzalez Byass and I was anxious to try it.  I knew that I wanted to serve this bottle up with smoked duck breast.  I put the bottle in my wine refrigerator and the duck breast on my weekly menu.   

One thing led to another and that dinner never got made.  The duck breasts got smoked on Wednesday, only because smoking is very time consuming and forgiving.  I let these refrigerate in a brine overnight on Tuesday and then on Wednesday put them in the smoker before taking off for a few hours to run errands.  When I came home they were smoked and cooked through.  Into the refrigerator they went and I ran out to pick up the Teen from school.

When the teen got to the car she had a friend with her and they asked us to take them shopping.  So off we went shopping and ended up grabbing dinner out instead of coming home to our smoked duck breast as we were running late for choir practice.

On Thursday the Teen, once again, foiled our duck plans by asking to go to a local restaurant where her boyfriend works.  We agreed and I told Frank it would be okay because we could enjoy the duck for lunch on Friday and I would still have plenty of time to write this article.

Well, Friday came and we hit the floor running.  Frank had bought a new Truck on Wednesday and it had to go in to have a tonneau cover and mud flaps installed.  So we went and dropped that off first thing in the morning as we had a meeting at the school for the Teen at 11 am.  While we were at the shop, the Teen texted and asked if we could bring her a sub when we came to the school.  So, there went the salad because, of course, I bought us all subs.

After the meeting we ran back to the shop to get the truck.  I dropped Frank off and got back just in time to pick the Teen up from school.  Surprise, Surprise....she and her friend wanted to go shopping again (her friend is on the hunt for a homecoming dress), at least this time her friend's mom was taking them.  

So we dropped her off at the friends and stopped by my brother's house to show them the truck.  We ended up visiting for a couple of hours, drinking wine and shooting darts until the Teen called and said they were home.  We picked her up and finally headed home for our dinner of smoked duck breast.

Frank opened and poured the wine while I got to work composing the salad.  I removed the fatty skin layer from the duck breast, cut it into pieces and stuck it in the oven to render and crisp up.  I took a sip of the wine.  It poured a deep garnet and was fruity and full bodied.  This is a wine made to be enjoyed while it is young. 

It paired very nicely with the smoked duck breast salad that we finally were able to sit and enjoy.  However, between the wine at my brothers and the wine with dinner I lost all my gumption to write this article until this morning.  

Here it is 8:30 and I am finally done.  See you all at chat in a little while!!!

Smoked Duck Breast Salad

Yield: 2 servings
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 30 M
Tender greens mixed with cucumber, sweet bell pepper and cantaloupe tossed in a balsamic dressing, topped with smoked duck breast and sprinkled with toasted pecans and duck skin crackling.


  • 2 smoked duck breasts
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 t. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 c. Mixed greens 
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 slices cantaloupe, peeled and diced


How to cook Smoked Duck Breast Salad

  1. Remove the fatty duck skin from the breast.  Cut into pieces and place onto a baking sheet.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 15 minutes.  Add the pecan pieces to the other side of the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes, until the pecans are toasted and the duck skin has rendered the fat and become crisp.  Coarsely chop the duck skin into bite size pieces.
  2. Cut the duck breast meat into slices and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  4. Place the mixed greens,  cucumber, peppers and cantaloupe in a bowl and toss with about half of the dressing.  Divide between two plates, top each salad with the meat of one breast and sprinkle with the pecans and crackling.  Pass additional dressing, if desired.
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#maincoursesalads, #duck,
Entrees, Salads, Duck
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Looks like you had fun with this one! Montepulciano and lasagne sounds like a great combo!

  2. What an adventure! It looks like it was worth the wait though. I love anything with duck. And that wine...

  3. You had me at smoked duck, even if there were a few hurdles to actually get to it.

  4. I love smoked duck breast, and I can't believe that you made them yourself. Nice pairing!

    1. Thanks Deanna, I will be sharing the recipe for smoked duck breast coming up on the blog soon.

  5. A nice background story to your food choices and wine tasting. Great that you enjoyed the Montepulciano wines, they are indeed juicy and fab wines.


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