September 28, 2011 by Dana
Last night, I hung out with Fabio Viviani. Yes, Fabio. Viviani. Of Top Chef fame.
Picture it now. Just me, Fabio, a bottle of wine, a delicious meal (which, of course, he made especially for me), and an evening of conversation about food, wine, Italy, and other things which were made even more interesting by his accent.
You don’t believe me?
Ok, well, maybe that last part was a bit of a lie an exaggeration.
But I did meet Fabio! Only the evening went more like this:
I was introduced to Fabio. He kissed my hand. I melted into a puddle on the floor.
He talked to a group of foodbloggers about the new Bertolli Soup for Two line. I smiled and nodded like a manic, convinced he was talking to just me.
I asked to take a picture with him. He agreed. I was suddenly a 12 year old girl with a crush who couldn’t say anything more intelligent than “cool yeah definitely.”
I’m so suave.
Anyway, I’m sure you’re wondering where/why/how this occurred.
The wonderful people at Bertolli invited me to an unveiling of their newest product, Frozen Meal Soups for Two, which took place at the adorable downtown cooking event space, Cooking by the Book. Not only did I get to meet Fabio, I got to meet Bertolli head Chef Michael Christiansen, a bunch of my fellow New York food bloggers, AND I got to enjoy delicious wine, antipasti, and sample each of Bertolli’s new meal soups!
How lucky am I??
The evening was a lot of fun, complete with a “cook off” between Fabio and Michael Christiansen to see which was faster, Fabio’s homemade soup, or Bertolli’s frozen meal soups (I’ll give you a hint: Bertolli won), and a tasting of each of the soups along with bread and wine pairings. There was even an Italian Opera singer serenading us to set the mood!
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the soups. I didn’t go in expecting much from frozen food, but these soups way exceeded my expectations. The first thing I noticed was that the veggies were just the right amount of cooked through, not at all mushy, and the chicken was real chicken, not chicken-like fillers and, well, crap.
Chef Christiansen explained to us that each of the fresh ingredients are cooked individually and then flash frozen, so when you reheat the soup at home, the vegetables and other ingredients don’t get mushy and gross.
All of the soups I tasted were good, but my favorite flavor by far was the Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken. I was so excited that I got to choose which one to take home in my “goodie bag,” because this was the definite winner.
Thanks again to all of the kind people at Bertolli, Fabio Viviani, and Michael Christiansen, for hosting such a fun event!
And speaking of fun food events, keep an eye out on facebook and twitter for live updates from the NYC Food and Wine Festival this weekend, where I’ll be working at the ShopRite Booth and eating my weight in free samples of delicious food from other booths! Stay tuned!