Why don’t we continue our Mediterranean travels of last week with a cruise down to the Greek islands? It’s lunchtime and we need a sandwich. With wine of course.
We’re up for adventure so lets have an unusual wine with an unusual sandwich. Normally I’m not terribly interested in Retsina or a sandwich made with olives but the combination of both takes on a whole new personality. When in Greece.
Retsina is a dry Greek white wine that’s flavoured with pine resin. You get just a hint of pine. Think Georgian Bay in the spring. I’d not drink Retsina with most of our popular foods but there is a happy match with the oil-based cuisine of Greece and the olive in particular. Hang in there — you’re going to love this sandwich. Beautiful shades of black and white.
For the black part, you’ll need to buy a container of tapenade (olive pesto), or make your own. Fresh Mozzarella cheese (packed in water) is the white. Naturally you must use pure white bread such as Ace ciabatta or country boule. Slice the bread, smear tapenade on each piece — I also like to add chopped capers. Cut the Mozzarella quarter-in. thick, place it on one slice and close — giving a white cheese centre and a black top and bottom. The white bread forms another layer of white, so trim off some of the brown crust so it doesn’t take from the black and white aesthetic.
Salty olives, creamy mozzarella, yeasty bread and the refreshment and hint of pine in the wine — crazy and wonderful combinations. An imaginary trip to the Greek islands.
I recommending the milder of the two Retsinas at the LCBO. Malamatina in the cute half-litre, beer cap bottle can have a strong oxidized flavour.
P.S. For a run down of what to buy from last Saturday’s LCBO Vintages release, visit www.billysbestbottles.com(weekly picks/Vintages).
• RETSINA of ATTICA, Kourtakis, Greece