La Domenica – A Tuscan feast with Tuscan wine

June 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver’s Italy

It was high time for some beautiful Italian food after my culinary peregrinations in Taiwan, especially since I am in the process of packing my suitcase again. I will be in Vietnam for the next two weeks and explore some of the foods in Hanoi and Saigon.

I am a lover of pasta, any pasta. Based on a recipe from the Jamie Oliver Italy book, we set out on a “fusilli con rague”. Imagine a sauce thick with the flavours of beef rosemary and tomatoes simmering on the kitchen stove for hours.

Our favorite Prosecco so that the waiting was bearable

The table waiting for the pasta

Voila: the pasta

It was delicious, just what I needed, earthy and robust, rooted in the peasant traditions of Italy.

What about the wine? I bought a bottle of Italian wine from my favourite wine shop in Taoyuan just across from the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (ICLPST). Nothing special, but decent. It was a bottle of ‘2007 Chianti D.O.C.G.’ by Melini, one of the best wine makers of Tuscany.

In wine reviews it gets three, sometimes four, out of five stars. It has about 13.5 % alcohol and costs between US$ 8 to 12. This young Chianti is a solid wine for every day, with good fruit flavours, medium bodied with a long finish. It went very well with the pasta.

PS: The good news is that in July we will be in Rome and Florence with ample opportunity to taste many Tuscan wines.

Restaurant review: La Villa – Il Ristorante, Bangkok

June 27, 2009


We are so blessed. Living in Thonglor, Bangkok, we have quite a number of first class restaurants just in walking distance from our flat. The other day, we explored La Villa – The restaurant, a classic Italian place at the corner of some smaller lanes right in the heart of Thonglor.

The building is a 1930 architectural style modern replica villa with a large parking lot in front. After one has entered the restaurant, the hassle of the corner block traffic, is left behind and the cozy atmosphere of a true Italian family restaurant engulfs the eager dinner guests.

After an entree of bruscette, we went right for the main course. It was a Friday night and the four of us were hungry and tired. I went for my favorite pizza, a pizza margherita. the girls had some ravioli and Margit ordered a seafood pasta. To cut a long story short, the food is superb.


The pizza margherita


The ravioli


Seafood pasta in aluminum foil

My knowledge of Italian wine is negligible. Having lived in Italy for almost three years but so little expertise, I am ashamed. Ordering the wine therefore, was a challenge. I choose a bottle of red, despite Margit’s seafood dish but with her consent (I admit of not caring much for the traditional tenet of having white wine with fish and seafood dishes).


My choice was a ‘2006 Castello di Farnetella – Chianti di Colli Senesi’, a wine from the lower price range of the restaurants extensive wine list. As I learned later from my research, this was an excellent choice. Colli Senesi is a sub zone of Chianti which does not have the “classico” designation. As a consequence prices are ridiculously low for the quality. Whereas just across the road the classico wines sell for about US$ 30-40, they are only about about half at non designated side.


The wine is medium bodied and has a good structure. It feels silky in the mouth and shows aromas of raspberry, prune, floral notes and licorice.

We had a great evening at La Villa. With its very competent and friendly service, this classic Italian restaurant is an excellent choice for a family meal in a homely environment. Check it out when next in Bangkok.

La Villa Wine Lounge and Restaurant
131 Thonglor, Soi 9
Sukhumvit 53
Bangkok 10110
Tel.: +66-2-7129991
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00 AM/PM and 18:00-23:00 PM