Former farmer turns rare grain into special drink

Domenico Maurici is a huggable former southern Italian villager from Calabria Italy.  As a young man, he and his brother worked the fields of his parents’ farm, producing a rare grain called farro, a very tasty and healthy ingredient for pastas. They learned more at the regional culinary institute and at local Italian restaurants where they developed their home-style Farro based dishes. 
Southern California was next and 17 years ago, il Farro was born by the pier in Newport Beach. He was the first to present Italian food with low carbs, low gluten and high fiber with his farro grains.
This recent evening at an Italian wine release from Mission Wines, a leading distributor, il Farro was vibrating with happy diners who loved to hug and kiss as an antipasto. The farro grain was presented in the form of Fettuccine di Farro con Ricotta e Noci, Fettuccine pasta with ricotta cheese and walnuts in a blush sauce. The wine was a bold Italian, Casal Moro Rosso Del Veneto 2009 ($15). 
The main dish was a Filletto alla Wellington, a beef filet mignon wrapped in puff pastry and stuffed with chicken and mushrooms, served with a porcino mushroom sauce.  The wine that was paired, which earned a top score with me, was the Lume Sangiovese Livio Innocenti ($18) from Montalcino. Ciro Cirillo, the wine spokesman, emphasized that the wines were only “small, handcrafted wines, in fine restaurants, and passionately made to pair with food.” For more, contact il Farro at (949) 723-5711 or visit ilfarro.com.
Cupid comes to the Grand Del Mar
The Grand Del Mar, with two excellent restaurants, intimate bars and lounges to enhance the award-winning resort, spa and golf club, has mapped out a memorable month of February the “Month of Love.”
On Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day itself, Addison invites diners to join in specialties such as Baby Sea Scallops, Lamb Rack Persille and other delights. This is a six-course feast offering two options for three of the courses for $135 per person; slightly higher with wine pairings. 
Valentine’s Day dinner at Amaya will have chef Camron Woods presenting a four-course menu with options for each course such as hot smoked salmon, lobster risotto and grilled prime Filet Mignon for $95 per person; slightly higher with wine pairings.
A Chocolate & Wine Tasting happens from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 11 in the resort lobby lounge. Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez will be pouring four selections with chocolate decadent treats. Cost is $25 per perosn. Information on these and other events in February can be obtained by calling (888) 314-2030 or visiting thegranddelmar.com.
Wine Bytes
— Central and Southern Italian Wines will be poured at Bacchus Wine Market, from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in the Gaslamp District of downtown San Diego. Seven wines will be sampled from Tuscany to Sicily. The cost is $15 each. Call (619) 236-0005.
— Morgan’s In the Desert at La Quinta Country Club is planning a Pride Mountain Vineyards Dinner at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 with a reception followed by dinner. You will be served Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot and a library 2002 Cabernet. The cost is $95 per person. For an RSVP, call (760) 564-7600.
— South Coast Winery in Temecula is conducting a Wild Women Cooking Class from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29. Learn some exotic menu items paired with delicious wine selections. There is a $35 fee for this fun and charged-up event. Call (951) 587-9463 for your RSVP.
— The ABC’s of wine from grape to glass is from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 29 at Thornton Winery in Temecula. This informative workshop is conducted by winemaker David Vergari. Appetizers and three wines included.  The $65 cost is inclusive. RSVP at (951) 699-0099.
— Orfila Winery in Escondido has their next Concert in the Vines from 4:40 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 30. Enjoy the Cory Wilkens Band. It’s classic rock with an up-tempo beat. The $20 fee includes a glass of Orfila wine. For details, call (760) 738-6500, ext. 22.

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