I’m not a wine person, but I do love pizza. So when I got the offer to sample Cafe Provençal’s pizza (plus wine) from my friend Paul Pajo, I jumped at the chance.
Cafe Provençal is one of those places that have been around forever in Shangri-La Mall. It’s also, unfortunately, one of the places I’d never tried. So, armed with my empty stomach, I and around 25 other bloggers descended on Cafe Provençal last Tuesday for pizza and wine — and then some.
“Pizza?” you say. “At a French restaurant?” But Cafe Provençal is French Mediterranean cuisine, which means they can pretty much serve any food from that area. The twist on this: the Napoletana-style thin crust pizza can be served with rosé wine. Tres French, oui?
They served four varieties of pizza: Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Spicy Chorizo, and Tarragon Chicken. We were able to try two wines: the Alexis Syrah Grenache, and then the Corail from Provence.
I found that the Corail fit the food better because it was lighter. The pizzas had a delicate flavor that could be overwhelmed by the Syrah Grenache, which had a bitter aftertaste.
And then there were these:
Beef Burgundy is local beef stewed for hours in reduced red wine. It was paired with mashed potatoes that helped our tongues cope with the richness of the stew (although I would have wanted some rice instead — mmm!). Pasta Provençal is, simply put, puttanesca; I initially didn’t think anything special of it until I tried it with the Corail. Then its full flavor came alive. It was a good thing I’d gotten full on the pizza, or I might have had another plate of pasta and a full glass of wine. If you must know, I don’t hold my liquor too well.
We capped the meal with beignet; it’s the French version of a doughnut, and is served with chocolate sauce. At that point in the evening, the good food and liberal flow of wine had us all in a jovial mood, and I left for home feeling sated and just a little bit tingly. I’m not a wine person but that combination just might have made me fall in love with the idea.
Next time I want to experience “Summer in Provence” maybe with my family or friends. I’ve only got until the end of March to do so, because next month there’ll be a different featured item.