Ravioli di Burage and Barbera del Monferrato wine

April 16, 2010

Today at the salumeria I bought some fresh Ravioli di Burage. At a salumeria in Italy one can buy many delicious foods to eat such as salami, ham, cheeses, fresh pasta, olives, and various types of salads. The Ravioli di Burage immediately caught my eye. In English it is called Borage, the scientific name is Borgo officinalis. Here in the Monferrato they call it Burage. However, in other parts of Piedmont it it is also referred to–according to the local dialect–for instance in Luserna San Giovanni in Torino province, it’s called Boras. And generally in Italy the plant is referred to as Borragine, but also Borrana.

Burage – Borragine

Then I also bought some Raschera cheese and also a bag of Grissini di Moncalvo that are handmade locally by Silano Panificio e Pasticceria in Moncalvo. All of the stuff I bought I planned to eat for lunch today, to be accompanied with a locally produced Barbera del Monferrato wine from Cantine Garrone Mario & C. of Murisengo. In Piedmontese [Piemontèis] Murisengo is called Ambrusengh. Here in the Monferrato, and elsewhere in Piedmont, it is quite common to see on road signs the name of a town or village written in Piedmontese below the Italianized name. I like this sense of authenticity in place names.

These ravioli are filled with Burage grown in Liguria. Liguria is an area where quite a bit of this plant is grown commerically. The Burage (Borage) plant’s fresh leaves and flowers are a popular ingredient in pasta, omelettes, soups, salads and is especially popular for making a green sauce (often in combination with other herbs). Another popular way to eat the leaves and flowers is in frying them in a batter; this is called frittelle di Burage ( frittelle di Boras). Borage is eaten throughout Europe as in Austria (Boretsch), France (Bourrache), and Germany and Switzerland (Borretsch). It has a unique cucumber-like taste and seems to be popular in the cusine of many cultures; in Germany referred to as Gurkenkraut (cucumber-herb). I was wondering how the Burage would taste with the Barbera del Monferrato, because my first thought was to pair it with a Cortese wine. I think both would be good, but of course it depends on how the Barbera is made, in the meaning if it is a good traditional Barbera with a good balance of acidity. But I think I made the right choice in deciding to drink the Barbera wine with the ravioli.

I could not resist buying the Raschera as it is one of my favorite cheeses to pair with Barbera wine. Raschera cheese is produced throughout the province of Cuneo in southern Piedmont. Raschera has a light smell and a moderate strength and the flavor is at its best when you let it sit outside at room temperature for at least a half an hour before eating it. This Raschera cheese and Grissini di Moncalvo were delicious with the Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2008 made by Cantine Garrone Mario & C.of Murisengo. Both encouraged my appetite for the upcoming plate of Ravioli di Burage.

Cantine Garrone Mario & C., Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2008

The Ravioli di Burage paired quite well with the Garrone Mario Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2008. Since the ravioli are filled with greens, I thought maybe a white wine might have been better. Actually the Barbera wine harmonized quite well with the flavor of the Burage. The filling of the ravioli was not particularly sweet, rather a herby medium flavor.

Ravioli di Burage

This particular Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2008 has a very deep ruby red color. The aroma is inviting because it has rich delicious notes of blackberry, elderberry and black cherry—typical fruits found in the wooded areas of the Monferrato hills. The grapes originate from Ponzano Monferrato [Ponsan Monfrà], one of the prime areas in the Monferrato for culitvating Barbera grapes. Initially, on the palate, the wine has a fruity-wood flavor—sweet wood—certainly not with a spicy tannin. The wine is well balanced, harmonized and does not have an overwhelming acidity. Essentially this wine has just the right amount of acidity and this is what makes it a lively refreshing Barbera del Monferrato that I enjoy to drink with my meal. The wine has a alcohol level of 14 percent. Garrone Mario’s Barbera 2008 DOC is a good traditional Barbera del Monferrato wine which I have also paired with Argentine and Piedmontese steaks, as well as pasta with ragù sauce, not to mention all the savory Piedmontese regional cheeses.

The grissini were eaten up quite fast …and the Raschera cheese coupled with the Barbera del Monferrato DOC 2008 from Cantine Garrone Mario & C. wine was great!

Grissini di Moncalvo stirato a mano

—Piemontèis Life



  1. lord have mercy, what a beautiful description of what sounds like a heavenly pairing of regional food and wine. where in America could we eat and drink like this every day?

  2. The Piedmontese kitchen has abundant variety and of course so many different wines to enjoy with the food.

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