Probably my favourite country in the world is Italy, partly because it is so so beautiful and I have some amazing memories from the country (we inter-railed around Italy for our Honeymoon) but also because damn I love Italian food. I mean to be honest, what is there not to love about pasta, pizza, cheese and wine? Nothing I tell you!
Last week I was asked along to join Franco Manca on their launch event night, and honestly, I think it might have been the best event I've been to yet!
Franco Manca, in the new Westquay South (Watermark for the locals) is a Neopolitan Pizzeria, bringing authentic slow-risen sourdough pizzas and organic wines to the British public. And boy am I glad they've joined us in Southampton.
We started our evening* with a selection of antipastos on platters, including cured meats, buffalo mozzarella, chilli garlic bread (made with scotch bonnets) and the most insane cheese balls, made of mozzarella and filled with double cream! I had to share one with my friend Liz as it was a little indulgent for just one person, though went beautifully with a little garlic bread!
^the aforementioned cheese ball/cream filled parcels^
We then went on to pizza making and watched the team make sourdough pizzas. They bake in the oven for 55 seconds at a scorching 500 degrees! I need an oven that cooks that fast!
Last, but my no means least, we had a little wine lesson with the Franco Manca Somelier Francesco. The restaurant only stock organic wines from Italy, and are very specific with their tastes and types. We tried four red wines, and being a huge red wine lover (not in the alcoholic sense of course) this was right up my street. The bottles ranged from light to medium/heavy, with nothing too full bodied, because heavy wine and pizza just don't go.
We also tried a red bio labrusco, which was so strange to drink as I've never had a fizzy red wine before.
Honestly I could have stayed and drunk the red wines all night long.
As a parting gift, we got to take home goodie bags, which I think have to be amongst the best I've ever taken home. Filled with the absolute Italian necessities, including homemade chilli oil, wine, sundried tomatoes, salami and parmaggiano. Also check out the Franco Manca recipe book! And we got them signed by the seriously lovely Giuseppe Mascoli who I could happily have taken home with me and just lived off his cooking and story-telling forever!
A huge thank you to Franco Manca for hosting such a fabulous evening, and for the lovely gifts. I can't wait to come back for more soon!
*meal and drinks provided at no cost for review purposes. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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