What to Pair with Asti Spumante + Mini Fruit Tart Recipe

This post was sponsored by the Italian Trade Agency as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own. Message for readers 21 and older.

Throughout life, I have been so inspired by my Italian heritage. I enjoy wine, food, and art, all of which are very close to my heart. My grandfather’s parents moved to the United States from Italy around 1910, and since I was so close to his side of my family, I always felt such a connection to that culture. Living La Dolce Vita, meaning living the sweet life, is a great phrase for the way I feel about what you will find in this post. Learn how to pair this sweet sparkling Italian wine called Asti Spumante with something sweet and easy to make.

 In this post, I wanted to share a bright, refreshing glass of Asti Spumante with you (from one of 20 wine regions in Italy), and provide an easy yet elegant recipe for mini fruit tarts, which pair very well with this sparkling Italian wine.

Asti Spumante is a sparkling wine that is produced from Moscato Bianco grapes in the southeastern part of the Piedmont region of Italy, concentrated around the cities of Asti and Alessandria, but also near Cuneo. 

Though Piedmont accounts for only 7% of Italy’s wine production, it is celebrated for producing wines of extremely high quality. Piedmont stands proud as the region with the most DOC/DOCG zones (58) and the largest percentage of officially classified wines (86%). Piedmont is Italy’s northwesternmost region, sharing a border with Switzerland and France, and surrounded by the Alps to the north and west and the last peaks of the Apennine Mountains to the south.

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(Image Source: Extraordinary Italian Wine

Below, you will notice a regional map of Italy, and the Piedmont region is shown in red.

The region is surrounded on three sides by the Alps. The name Piedmont comes from Latin meaning, ‘at the foot of the mountains,’ which makes for a very rocky soil and terrain in some areas. It’s an agricultural region, where more than half its 170,000 acres of vineyards are registered with DOC designations.

Italy produces the largest volume of wine in the world. The country may have more than 3,000 varieties of grapes, of which 590 are officially recorded with hundreds left to be catalogued. The wines are often referred to as “passionate wines,” extremely expressive wines that convey many emotions.

I often go for white wines when possible, and enjoy Chardonnay a LOT. This variety of wine has notes of light citrus fruit flavors (apple and pear mostly,) and a few hints of vanilla. Foods that pair well with Chardonnay include semi-soft cheeses such as goat cheese, herb-crusted halibut or scallops, chicken breast, and more.

My grandfather was one of my favorite people ever, and it’s really an honor to be able to celebrate him and the positive impact he had on me. My last name is Accettura, which is actually a city in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. It has always been my dream to one day visit, and hopefully I will.

Since my grandfather loved cooking for me and treating us to delicious meals at restaurants in the Chicago area and on our vacations to Florida, I learned to love good food. He would be so proud of me for following my dreams of working for myself as a food and lifestyle photographer.

Many sites I researched concluded that fresh fruit are a great pairing for Asti Spumante. A few sites even mentioned fruit tarts, which I knew would be gorgeous to pair with this wine.

HOW TO MAKE MINI FRUIT TARTS:

Ingredients:

 1-2 packages of ready to use flaky shells (freezer section near the puff pastry and pie crusts)

Fresh fruit topping:

1 kiwi, cut into small pieces

1 package of blueberries

3 strawberries, cut into slices then into slices, like a pizza

Fresh whipped cream:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

¼ cup (or more) granulated sugar

2 tsp Vanilla bean paste or regular vanilla

1/3 C. powdered sugar, sifted

Optional – frosting bag and larger star-shaped piping tip

Instructions:

1.) Make whipped cream. In a stand mixer, whip together cream, granulated and powdered sugars, and vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form, put into fridge to cool. After 15-20 minutes or less, transfer into prepared frosting bag.

2.) Lay all shells out onto work surface, and use your frosting bag to full shells. I used a swirling motion to get a nice shape. See below.

3.) Cut up fruits, and add one fruit at a time to all cups. First put one blueberry on each cup. Then, put one piece of kiwi on each, then one piece of strawberry. Serve with Asti Spumante and enjoy!

Experiment with Italian wines in creative, unexpected settings: Italian whites at the beach, Italian Rosato with BBQ, Italian whites with sushi, Nero d’Avola with Korean BBQ, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo with burgers, Valpolicella with ribs, Lambrusco with Mac n’ Cheese, Pairing Italian wines with cheese and meats.

I am SO honored to have had this chance to work with the Italian Wine Trade Agency on this incredible project. What an incredible learning experience. Cheers to amazing opportunities. 

As I mentioned before, my grandfather was 50% Italian; his parents relocated to the United States from Italy in the early 1900s. Since I was so close to my grandparents on my dad’s side, I was raised learning all about the Italian foods that my grandfather grew up enjoying, then cooking for me. I also learned later in life that my dad inherited several vintage bottles of Italian wines that my grandpa, Vito, had been keeping in the basement for many years. We still keep that wine as a memento of him, which makes this post even more special to me.

Asti Spumante’s characteristics are a persistent froth, a color from pale yellow to pale gold, the perlage is fine and persistent; its fragrance is soft and characteristic and, finally, its taste is aromatic, distinctive, sweet and balanced in structure. That’s why Asti is a wine with a strong and aristocratic personality. The bubbles add SO much to the experience.

Fresh Strawberries

Since strawberries are looking so great in stores right now, they were perfect to feature in this recipe, and to pair their sweet taste with the sparkling wine.

Made from the Moscato Bianco grape, Asti Spumante is sweet and low in alcohol. In fact, it is the perfect wine of the sweet occasions and to toast after a meal. It accompanies desserts and is very suitable with fruit, as it has hints of acacia flowers, wisteria, peach and apricot.

Use any variety of fruits you would like to make these adorable mini fruit tarts. I would recommend incorporating at least 3-4 colors of different fruits for the best effect.

Thank you so much for joining me to learn more about Italian wine and what pairs best with Asti Spumante. Have you ever tried this wine before?

Feel Love. Feed Life. Feed Side By Side.

This post was sponsored by Side By Side as part of a Two-Post Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

If you read this blog for even a few seconds, you may notice I have an affinity for my two dogs, Cabbie and Porter. They are the loves of our lives, and I recently had the chance to spend some good, quality time with the girls. We brought some of our new favorite dog food called Side By Side, a Telluride-based brand of holistic dog food and treats, where they take a new approach to pet nutrition that cherishes each individual pet. These ingredients are used to deliver the best in whole food nutrition.

I was so lucky to have a recent consultation with one of the most knowledgeable individuals regarding pet nutrition that I have ever met, and also the Founder of Side By Side. Marney Prince explained the importance of feeding raw and/or freeze-dried food and treats to your  dogs, and I couldn’t agree more! Side By Side believes the best way to cherish our pets it to honor them with premium whole food nutrition made with love in small batches.

Side By Side even offers their proprietary Pet Assessment process, an online tool (found here) that allows the brand to make nutrition recommendations curated to meet your pets’ individual needs.

Since my first introduction to Side by Side, I immediate felt the passion and caring commitment displayed in all that they do., I received a phone call from the Founder of Side by Side, Marney Prince to discuss her personal recommendation on products!  During our phone conversation, I immediately knew that Marney truly cares for all animals, and I felt her compassion for my dogs as if they were her own.  I talked with her for about 45 minutes about my two dogs, Cabbie and Porter. She was extremely thorough when asking about my dogs, like what issues my dogs were having, and more lifestyle questions pertaining to how much and what types of activities we do each day, how much we interact with them, and even asked about their personalities and eating habits. I left my conversation feeling extremely good from her positive comments about my dogs and me as a dog owner.

The food and treats are amazing! Since these three varieties of treats are freeze-dried, they make for an excellent treat with very few ingredients. The dogs seemed to like the  Duck l’Orange  treats the very best; they were a great size for even our large dogs.

Here is a brief write up of what Marney told me during our assessments for the pups:

PORTER’S REVIEW:

“Porter sounds like a super fun, energetic girl that tends to hold onto a little internal heat but overall appears very balanced. I think our main concern is preventing to onset of joint degradation, since she loves to play hard, has boundless energy and is a large breed dog. As far as the allergic reaction she gets on her tummy; this sounds like a seasonal allergy, not food related but once she's on a whole food diet that moves through her body at the appropriate speed (the 24 hr/12 hr ratio of kibble/real food), you will see a reprieve in the bumps. We are releasing a supplement called Cool Down Dog the first week of June for seasonal allergies and we can certainly try that if the food alone doesn't remedy the reaction. It's a bunch of eastern and western herbs. Otherwise, we would recommend that Porter transitions to our Harmony raw, either freeze-dried or frozen, because it will provide a little higher protein for our athlete, has beautiful whole wild Alaskan salmon, duck necks, yucca (cassava root), and turmeric in it for her joints, and it is considered a neutral recipe, which is ideal for a sweet natured, happy dog. I'm going to recommend our Beef lungs and Duck L'Orange treats but she'd do great on any of our options. I love that you give her yogurt regularly, please continue”.

CABBIE’S REVIEW:

“And, for Cabbie, who sounds like an absolute doll! Again, she sounds happy, healthy and balanced. The only change I'd really like to make is to slow her aging process and prevent the onset of disease. For Cabbie, our Genial recipe, either frozen or freeze-dried, would be wonderful. It is a cooked recipe, which more appropriate for a mature woman, and contains a small amount of whole oats which support the thyroid gland and metabolic system, whole Alaskan salmon for joints and beef heart which in Chinese Medicine promotes self-confidence and Shen (heart/love) energy. I'd also like to suggest our So Hip  supplement to increase the protection of her joints, plus this formula helps the body to clear toxins and free radicals within the existing joints. Cabbie is welcome to enjoy any of our treats, but just for fun, let's try the Chicken Hearts first”.

This food far exceeded our expectations, and I loved the convenience of the individually wrapped so they are basically mess free, and we were able to recycle some of the containers too! It really looks like everything is made with extremely high quality ingredients, which is of top importance to me.

If feeding your dog ingredients you trust is important to you, then I would absolutely recommend Side By Side dog food and treats! Side By Side is dedicated to the preservation of the nutrients, from sourcing the best ingredients, to minimal processing, to development of a complementary line of food diets, treats, supplements, broths, and toppers –with carefully crafted recipes utilizing only natural sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and the purest herbs, to provide a personalized nutrition plan for your pet.

Take the free Side by Side personalized Pet Assessment for a personalized nutrition plan today! Also, you can get 25% off your first order and 15% the subscription service with code: LILY

King Crab Legs Recipe (Alaska Seafood Health + Sustainability) #AskForAlaska

This post was sponsored by Alaska Seafood and Influence Central, to encourage my readers to choose sustainably caught Alaska Seafood. #AskForAlaska

Looking for a beautiful and unique dinner to serve for those special occasions or just because? I was so lucky to recently prepare Alaska King Crab Legs for the very first time and they tasted better than in a fancy seafood restaurant! My family LOVED this meal and I was so happy to be able to provide such a delicious and memorable meal for them. We went all out and chose sides that truly complimented the beautiful, sustainable Alaska King Crab Legs and I am SO excited to share this find meal with you today. 

Alaska King Crab Legs Recipe + Sides

If you have been a bit hesitant to make King Crab Legs at home, this is a great chance to branch out a bit and try something new. They were SO easy to prepare, and although we baked the crab in the oven, you can also boil or grill the crab. It was already cooked when we bought it, and I chose to bake it in the oven so that I could keep the crab legs in tact, to showcase their beauty. I had a large enough baking sheet to hold the crab legs, and I was able to actually serve the crab right off of the pan I baked them on. 

Jumbo Alaska King Crab Legs + Sides

OVEN BAKED GARLIC BUTTER KING CRAB LEGS

(serves 2-4 people)

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 lb. King Crab Legs (Look for the label in the seafood counter that says Alaska Seafood)

1/2 C. Butter (or more if desired)

5 Cloves Garlic - Minced (we used a garlic press and it worked SUPER well!)

2 Lemons Cut into Thin Slices (also used on asparagus, below)

1/8 C. Olive Oil

1-2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Preheat oven to 375*. In a saucepan, melt butter, add garlic, lightly sautee, squeeze in lemon juice.

2.) Turn heat to low to let flavors mesh together.

3.) Add Creole seasoning, add olive oil, and turn off heat. 

4.) Place King Crab Legs onto baking sheet (sprayed with non stick cooking spray), and brush butter mixture over crab legs.

5.) Cover pan with foil (very lightly cover, or make a fold in the foil to create a "tent" above crab. )Bake legs for 25 minutes, and enjoy!

Garlic Lemon Butter Baked King Crab Legs

GARLIC LEMON BUTTER BAKED ASPARAGUS RECIPE

(recreated from this recipe, found here)

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb asparagus washed and trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves slightly smashed

zest from 1 lemon about 1 tablespoon

salt and pepper to taste (I actually used margarita rimming salt to get a coarser grain - it worked great!)

juice from 1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Preheat oven to 425.

2.) To trim asparagus, hold each end between your fingertips. Bend the asparagus, and it should brake about 1-2 inches from the bottom. Repeat with entire pound.

3.) Place asparagus and garlic on a sheet pan.

4.) Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on lemon zest, salt and pepper.

5.) Toss to coat evenly.

6.) Keep asparagus in a single layer on sheet.

7.) Bake for 10 minutes, until the ends are crisp and the asparagus is slightly tender.

8.) Toss with lemon juice.

Garlic Lemon Butter Baked Asparagus
Lemon Garlic Butter Oven Baked Asparagus

SLOW COOKER OR PAN SEARED RED POTATOES

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 Tbsp olive oil

2 lb. small red new potatoes, halved

1/4 Tbsp sea or kosher salt

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

3-4 cloves garlic (we pressed ours in the garlic masher)

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, optional

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Put the oil into the cooking pot of the slow cooker, set to Brown/Sauté at 350*.

2.) Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes (cut side down), salt and pepper. Let the potatoes sit in the hot cooking pot, then toss after about 3 minutes. 

3.) Once the potatoes are browned, cover and let potatoes cook for about 30 minutes, or until fully cooked. We stirred the potatoes so they did not burn.

4.) When 5 minutes are remaining, add the garlic and rosemary, and toss to combine. Cover again and allow to cook for a few minutes to soften the garlic. 

5.) Serve immediately. 

Sauteed Red Potatoes in The Slow Cooker

Alaska Seafood Infographic
Alaska King Crab Legs Recipe + Sides
Alaska Seafood - Sustainable + Healthy