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Lunch for Old Friends

by Paul Bertolli

Buy this collection 5 bottles

White Asparagus

Buy this collection 5 bottles

Buy this collection 5 bottles

White Asparagus
White Asparagus

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.
—Attributed to Proust

I have chewed on this sentiment and concluded in the case of two old friends, Richard Olney and Kermit Lynch, that things are very much “as they were,” in fact. Richard (RIP) has been in the grave for twenty-five years, and Kermit lives most of the year six thousand miles away. Yet as one who thinks a great deal about food and wine, I continue to be altered by their influence. Without Richard, I very well might have not followed a career in food or pursued it with as much passion. Without Kermit, I might still be loving Welch’s. As such, I was delighted to receive Kermit’s invitation to imagine what I might cook and offer by the way of wines from his Berkeley landmark if he and Richard came to lunch. In this strange and wonderful world of alternative connection, I would never have thought that lunch could go virtual! But their ethos lives.
     The menu is decidedly spring in nature. I managed to get my hands on some of the short-lived white asparagus in season and the first batch of fragrant strawberries from a nearby coastal farm, currently at their peak. Many have noted the challenge of pairing asparagus with wine, particularly when the asparagus has a slight bitterness. However, blanched white asparagus is of the virgin sort and proved a delightful fusion along-side Thierry Germain’s elegant Chenin Blanc. As for the tripe, I knew Richard and Kermit would love this rustic dish mingled as it is with other end cuts of the pig. I immediately thought of the classic Beaujolais match, and since I cooked and ate a lot of tripe while working in Florence and lived just up the road from Podere Campriano, I thought another wine with this course would reignite a familiar memory. I have a great affection for Moscato d’Asti. When asked how he made his Moscato, one winemaker friend said, “You put the grape in the bottle” (period). Marco Tintero’s Moscato has just this kind of directness and an underlying acidity that rescues what is often cloying sweetness. The perfume of ripe strawberries and Muscat is a refreshing uplift after gutsy tripe and trimmings. Buon appetito, Kermit and Richard, wherever you are in this ether!

A splash of Champagne for auld lang syne
NV Rosé Brut Grand Cru • Paul Bara
White Asparagus, Mustard Sauce, and Chive Blossoms
2021 Saumur “L’Insolite” • Thierry Germain

Choose medium-sized white asparagus. Boil in salted water until they yield to the point of a knife. Drain. Let them dry. Dress with a not-too-tart mustard vinaigrette (add a little cream). Top with chives and their blossoms. Serve barely warm.

Tripe, Snouts, and Trotters • Cannellini Beans
2019 Chianti Classico • Podere Campriano
2022 Chiroubles • Guy Breton

Cool these reds ahead

Boil 1 pig trotter and 400 grams of pig snouts in lightly salted water with bay leaf until both are fork tender (you will need to pull the snouts out before the trotter). Meanwhile, bring 160 grams of dry cannellini beans to the boil in water, turn off the heat, and let soak for a few hours. Drain the water and cover the beans again with lightly salted water; add a chunk of onion and a small bouquet of sage leaves. Simmer until soft but intact, about 1 hour. While the trotter and beans are in process, slice 1 kg beef honeycomb tripe into ¼-inch strips on the long side (they shrink!). Sweat mirepoix (heavy on the carrots) with batons of pancetta. Allow the pancetta to render and take a little color. Deglaze with white wine and reduce away. Add the tripe and bring to boil in the liquid it releases. Add crushed tomatoes to tint the mixture a pale orange and reduce to a simmer. Cook the tripe for 2½ to 3 hours to just tender. Pull the meat and skin from the trotter bones and chop it and the snouts coarsely. Add to the pot with the tripe and cook for an additional 30 minutes, raising the flame as necessary to reduce the surrounding sauce to the thickness of heavy cream. Stir in grated Parmigiano Reggiano to taste, check for salt, liberally pepper, and put more grated cheese on the table. Open both bottles.

La Tur and Il Nocciòlo cheeses by Caseificio dell’Alta Langa
Continue with the reds
Strawberries in Moscato d’Asti
Moscato d’Asti • Tintero

Buy high-season strawberries you can smell from a foot away. Chop them coarsely and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Let them stand to juice out. Spread the berries on the surface of a baking dish. Soft freeze. Drag the tines of a fork across and through the mixture to create a granita. Spoon into a coppa and pour over a little ice-cold Moscato.

A Short Hot Espresso

Paul Bertolli is the Chef/Founder of Fra’ Mani Handcrafted Foods and writes on food and wine at

NV Rosé Brut Grand Cru

Paul Bara

France |  Champagne

Discount Eligible $84.00

2021 Saumur Blanc “L’Insolite”

Thierry Germain

France |  Loire

Discount Eligible $49.00

2019 Chianti Classico

Podere Campriano

Italy |  Tuscany

Discount Eligible $35.00

2022 Chiroubles “Cuvée Léa”

Guy Breton

France |  Beaujolais

Discount Eligible $44.00

2022 Moscato d’Asti “Sorì Gramella”

Cantine Elvio Tintero

Italy |  Piedmont

Discount Eligible $14.00

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