Visiting Winemakers

Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and its cooling breezes, Italy is a sun-filled garden where grapes thrive and wine is a way of life.
The country is closing in on France as the number one wine-producing country in the world.

With thousands of grape varietals producing endless varieties of wines, we combed the country and found 150 of the country’s most prestigious labels and brought them to our stores, along with over 40 of Italy’s most talented winemakers.

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Luca Bosio of Luca Bosio Vineyards is the third generation to work the land bought by his grandparents in 1967. With a mix of technology and rural tradition, he blends his family’s grapes with grapes from hundreds of farmer organizations from different parts of the Piedmont region, giving the family greater diversity in their winemaking.

 

Stefano Chiarlo oversees the cultivation of 110 hectares at Michele Chiarlo Vineyards, adhering to the exact ecological requirements needed to produce wines of great elegance. By focusing the vineyards on hilly zones and rigorously thinning out grape bunches, Chiarlo’s wines are rich but not dense or heavy. Wine Spectator named Michele Chiarlo among the 10 best Italian wine producers.

 

Umberto Cosmo directs the Bellenda estate, located in the Veneto wine region of Italy, known for producing Prosecco and sparkling wines. Pop open a bottle and find a fresh, clean wine with delicate bubbles that enhance its subtle citrus flavor.

 

Francesco Daddi learned the art of winemaking on his family’s historic estate, Castello la Leccia in Chianti, Tuscany. The estate dates back to the 1200s and is mentioned in Dante’s famous Divine Comedy. Today, Daddi operates Tenuta Ormanni Vineyards, located near the family estate. The vineyard focuses on the traditional winemaking process and modern sustainable operations that produce wines with a fruity, intense flavor.

 

Say Formaggio!

Cheese is a staple on any Italian dinner table. For Passaporto Italia, we’ve stocked our shelves with over 30 fine Italian cheeses and invited cheesemakers to share their specialties with in-store visits and samplings.

Make sure not to miss the prized tre numeri, or “three digit,” Parmigiano-Reggiano, made on select farms in the historic Reggio Emilia province. While other Parmesans are identified with four digits, only the best of the best can be branded as tre numeri. This Parm is aged 20-24 months – roughly 33% longer than the minimum aging time – producing a creamy yet grainy taste with a caramel-like finish. Delizioso!

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Pasta Pairings

No two noodles are the same. Each noodle — with its own size, shape, and texture — is made to be savored with different dishes and sauces, from light, olive oil-based sauces to hearty, meat-based ragù. The pasta-bilities are endless!

Farfalle “Butterflies”

This thick, butterfly‑shaped pasta, also known as “bowtie pasta,” is an American favorite. Perfect for pasta salads and soups, farfalle easily soaks up thick sauces like Bolognese.

Orecchiette “Little Ears”

These “little ears” are shaped like little bowls, making them ideal for thick, chunky sauces or pasta salads. They scoop up just the right amount of sauce for the perfect bite.

Conchiglie “Shells”

Shells are versatile and make great additions to soups; they can also be used as the base of a pasta salad. Or experiment with large shells — stuff them with your favorite mixture of cheese, meat, and vegetables.

Casarecce

Shaped like a narrow, twisted, and rolled tube, casarecce pasta perfectly scoops up the ingredients of chunky sauces — like mushrooms in a hearty cream sauce or sausage in a tomato sauce. It’s also great for casseroles.

Radiatori “Radiators”

Created in the 1960s by an industrial designer, this ruffled, ridge-shaped pasta resembles radiators. The ridges make radiatori ideal for holding on to thick sauces.

Calamarata

These short, thick rings resemble calamari and are shaped for the same purpose. They need a heavy sauce to stand up to them, and are perfect paired with meat or seafood sauces.

Pappardelle

A wide, flat egg noodle, pappardelle is a bit coarser than other pasta. Traditionally served with meat sauces and ragù, pappardelle absorbs the full flavor of the accompanying sauce.

Penne Rigate “Quills” or “Feathers”

Penne rigate, a ridged pasta, locks in the flavor of virtually any sauce. Pair it with a hearty meat-, vegetable-, cream-, or oil-based sauce. It’s also great for baked dishes.

Bucatini

This straw-like pasta gets its name from the Italian word “buco,” meaning “hole.” It is shaped like thick spaghetti, but is hollow in the center. Bucatini, the perfect choice for nearly any sauce, found its soul mate with the classic all’Amatriciana sauce.

Tacconi

Flat in the center and rippled on two sides, square tacconi pasta resembles a shorter version of a lasagna noodle. This rustic pasta has a rough surface that’s designed to hold rich, earthy sauces.

Visiting Chefs

Central Market is bringing some of Italian cuisine’s most celebrated chefs to Texas! Find out when these culinary artists will be visiting your favorite store.

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Fabio Viviani

Chef Viviani owned and operated five restaurants in his native Florence before moving to the U.S. to launch restaurants in California and Chicago. Along with his food, the gregarious, charming Viviani is also known for his appearances on Top Chef and Life After Top Chef and is the author of two cookbooks.

 

Domenica Marchetti

Marchetti is a writer, teacher, and lover of Italian food and family. She grew up cooking in the kitchen with her Italian mother and spent summers in Italy cooking with her Italian aunts. She specializes in Italian home cooking and creates simple, honest dishes that bring family together. She is the author of five books, including The Glorious Pasta of Italy and The Glorious Soups and Stews of Italy.

 

Julian Barsotti

Chef Barsotti cooked under James Beard Award-winning Chef Paul Bertolli at Oliveto in Oakland, California, before bringing his talents to Dallas and launching Nonna, an award-winning Italian restaurant, in 2006. In 2012, Barsotti opened Carbone’s Fine Food & Wine, a restaurant that celebrates Italian-American cuisine.

 

Rolando Beramendi

Beramendi has been importing specialty Italian foods to the U.S. since 1987. His company, Manicaretti, has become the trusted supplier for artisanal, gourmet pantry items for famous U.S. chefs and high-end specialty stores. He is a seasoned conductor of wine tours, food and wine seminars, and cooking classes, and has appeared on The Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa.

 

Taste Real Italy

Gelato Bar

In Italy, you can find gelato on almost every street corner. And during Passaporto Italia, you can find this classic treat right in our gelato bar. We’ve been working for months to intensify each flavor for an authentic Italian experience. Stop by for a refreshing scoop (or two) of gelato or sorbeto in traditional flavors such as pistachio, Venetian tiramisu, espresso, and Italian favorites tartufo al bacio and stracciatella.

Bakery

Grab a cup of cappuccino before you stroll through our bakery. You’ll want to take a sip with every temptation. Sweet, almond-flavored biscotti, derived from the Latin word meaning “twice-baked,” are crunchy biscuits perfect for dunking. Cannoli, meaning “little tube,” pack big flavor with a distinct, rich cream filling made with sweetened, imported Sicilian ricotta cheese. Try all of our flavors, including Alla Siciliana – with candied orange, citron, and chocolate chips. Or try our panna cotta, a silky, melt-in-your-mouth custard that we’ve created in five classic Italian flavors: espresso, hazelnut, pistachio, raspberry, and vanilla.

Chef-Prepared

Think of Central Market’s chef-prepared offerings as your neighborhood trattoria during Passaporto Italia. Take home both Italian classics like arancini (savory rice balls), lasagna alla Bolognese, chicken piccata, or veal Milanese, locally known as cotoletta di vitello a orecchio di elefante. Taste fish the way Italians do – grilled, sautéed, or roasted with minimal seasonings to let the true flavor come through. Or if you want to shave a few hours off of making risotto from scratch, take home one of our three new prepacked risottos.