Barbera + Pizza

Jun 13, 2016

when a moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore…when the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine, that’s Barbera!

Is culture envy a thing? Yes!! Every foodie movie we watch and every travel memoir we read inevitably lures us back to one of our favourite places, the Italy of our “dreams”. Because it comes from a people, a place, a tradition and a moment in time, wine has the power to transport us to the Italy of our imaginations.

So what do you when someone who is so effortlessly Italian gives you a gift of handmade salami? You make pizza of course! Charred, greasy, blistered, cheesy, smoky, it`s burning my mouth but I can`t help myself… great pizza is a slice of happiness! Marrying into an Italian family, we are often the lucky recipients of primo ingredients. In a world where artisanal is such a buzz word, often without the pedigree to back it up, we love that there are still people out there who are keeping traditions alive without giving it a second thoughts. ‘It’s the way that my mother did it …and her mother before her’.

The sausages in question were lovingly cared for from start to finish. Hand ground and stuffed, tied and hung from the ceiling in a basement cold room, spritzed and squeezed (yep, it`s a sausage thing), and left to dry. Three months later…rich, fatty, salty, spicy, sweet, chewy slices of goodness.

wine of the people + food of the people

Grown in the hills and slopes of Northern Italy,  Barbera is known by locals as ‘the people’s wine’. A fresh fruit forward red wine, Barbera is a favourite accompaniment to the country’s rustic eats.

We are a pizza-pie lovin’ people.  Pizza is the most photographed food on Instagram:  #pizzagram  #instapizza #pizzalove #pizzaporn #crazyforpizza … the list goes on and on.

Have yourself a spontaneous Friday night pizza party, grab a few bottles of Barbera and live a bit of the dolce vita!

did you know…

  • prounounced BAR berr AH
  • Barbera is Italy’s third most planted red grape….but perhaps it’s best kept secret
  • this versatile grape started out as a favoured blending component but has gained traction as a top notch varietal
  • grown in Italy’s northwestern Piedmont region, Barbera was considered a lesser grape to Nebbiolo, the grape behind the region’s famous Barolo and Barberesco
  • the best vineyards are around the provinces of Alba and Asti, and the hills of Monferrato (Barbera d’Alba DOCG, Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Barbera del Monferrato DOCG)
  • the dark skinned grape varietal goes back to the 7th century and generates dark purple to inky black wines with a hint of magenta
  • Barbera is full of fresh, bright fruit flavours such as cherries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries balanced out with aromas of violets, dried lavender, anise and vanilla
  • at first the wine may appear to be full bodied because of its dark colour and complex aromas but in fact the wine is quite light bodied, with soft tannins and a refreshing acidity……a seeming contradiction
  • a versatile, drinkable, affordable food wine capable of enhancing most any meal
  • BTW…it’s what winemakers drink while they wait for their Barolo to cellar

Barbera + Frank’s Handmade Salami Pizza

makes 1 pizza

For the crust:

1 ¾ C  00 flour
1 t  sugar
1 t  Kosher salt
½ t instant yeast
1 T extra virgin olive oil
6 ounces water, lukewarm
cornmeal or semolina for dusting

For the topping:

1 small can best quality tomatoes, gently crushed by hand
1 clove garlic, finely chopped and added to the tomatoes
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a combination of mozzarella and fontina)
1 cup thinly sliced dry Italian sausage or salami
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, leaves left whole

  1. For the crust: In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. With a wooden spoon, stir in oil and water. Mix until shaggy dough forms. Turn dough out onto work surface and knead a few minutes until dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 24 hours or up to 3 days.
  2. For the pizza: Place pizza stone in oven. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  3. While the oven is preheating, get your fixins’ ready (we mean your sauce, cheese, salami and parsley)
  4. Gently stretch the dough into a free form circle the size of your pizza stone, about 14-16 inches in diameter
  5. Sprinkle a pizza paddle (or an upside down baking sheet) with cornmeal or semolina. Lay the dough on the semolina, gently stretching to form a rough circle.
  6. Using a soup spoon, spread the crushed tomato/garlic mixture over the dough. Scatter the cheese over the pizza, then sprinkle the salami over.
  7. Slide pizza onto preheated pizza stone, then close the door, quick! You don’t want to lose that intense heat that will make your crust blistery delicious all over.
  8. Bake until the crust is browned and golden, the cheese is bubbling and the salami has crisped up, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  9. Scatter fresh parsley over, serve immediately.

what we chose to pair and why

Barbera’s generous acidity cleaves right through and provides balance to rich dishes, like greasy gooey fatty rich pizza.


  • ruby red to purple in colour
  • aromas and flavours of ripe red cherries, strawberries, juicy popping red fruit (kinda like mouth filling ripe Kool-aid…but in a good way!!), herbaceous green flavours, hints of spice, think anise and vanilla
  • on the palate the wine is juicy with soft silky tannins and a refreshing crisp acidity


  • the acidity in the wine is perfectly matched by the tart, tangy flavour of our sourdough crust and zippy tomato sauce.
  • every refreshing sip of Barbera invites you to have another bite… or slice of fatty, cheesy, sausage heaven!


As Dean Martin would say ‘Scuzza me, but you see back in old Napoli, that’s Amore!!’

Barbera + Pizza = True Love

our wine…

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne

2011, Piedmont Italy

The best Barberas tend to come from top Barbaresco and Barolo producers. Among these, Vietti holds a honoured place: one the first producers to isolate Piedmont’s greatest vineyards and showcase them in single-cru wines in the 1950s. Today the winery is run by the three Currado siblings (whose ancestor founded the winery in 1919) and their spouses.

Vietti’s Barbera d’Asti is a cuvée from the prime Asti subzone of Piedmont. Tre Vigne refers to the 30 – 40 year old vines grown in three sites, Monforte, Castiglione Falletto and Castiglione Tinella.


Like a good friend…we are just trying to push you outside of your comfort zone.

Live a little and expand your palate.



Christie Pollard

Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers

After 10 years as a restaurateur, culinary instructor and caterer, a trip to France sparked an untapped enthusiasm for all things wine.  I gave up the restaurant life,  made a huge u-turn and dove head first into the vast world of wine.  I have never looked back and achieved my Sommelier certification with the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers in 2015.  I love sharing my pursuit of the perfect pairing in a fun, unfussy and ultimately delicious way with my friends, family and those I teach.


Josie Pontarelli

Red Seal Chef, Culinary Instructor

I graduated from the Stratford Chefs School in 1999 and achieved Red Seal Certification shortly thereafter. With this strong foundation laid, an opportunity to spend time in California presented itself. While there, I was intoxicated by the seasonality and quality of the ingredients everywhere I looked. This experience proved to be a turning point for me in how I thought about food. It inspired me to have a deep and enduring respect for the people, food and culture that go into the perfect dish.

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