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Dining Out: Taste Italy in food and wine

Since Pennsylvania changed its laws in February, the number of different wines for sale at Altomonte’s Italian Market in Doylestown has grown to about 265.

Many of those have been chosen by Aldo Bove, the store’s resident wine expert who holds a degree in wine science from Italy.

“In Italy, wine is a philosophy of life,” explains Bove. “We treat wine differently; it’s all around us.”

On Saturday, May 25, Bove will share that philosophy with customers who sign up for “A Taste of Italy,” a primer on the Italian tradition of “apertivo.”

“We want to make people understand why we have certain foods with certain wines,” he said.

Customers who sign up for one of the afternoon sessions will receive tastings of at least four kinds of wine with food pairings cooked in front of them.

A representative of one of Italy’s oldest pasta manufacturers, Vicidomini Pasta, will prepare pasta scarpariello and Bove will talk about wines and why they are compatible with different kinds of foods. Participants will taste an appetizer, pasta and dessert and sample a Prosecco, then Italian white, red and sweet wines with the different courses.

The event is modeled after the Italian apertivo experience, where friends gather to drink wine and eat small portions of food, Bove said.

The event is just the beginning of wine-based events at Altomonte’s, Bove said. Wine samples are being offered regularly at the store, and on June 1 an Italian winemaker will be at Atltomonte’s all day. Classes on food and wine also are planned.

Bove is an oenologist and his prior work experience has included operating a winery in Connecticut; his father is an executive chef in Italy and he grew up in a culture of food and wine.

The expansive Doylestown Altomonte’s opened in 2016 with a larger store after years of being tucked into a small nearby shopping center. It has a dining area for those who want to eat breakfast, lunch or supper, and a vast array of ingredients and prepared foods to take home. Those include ready-to-eat lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, chicken marsala, side dishes, pizza and salads. In addition to Italian wines, the store carries labels from around the world.

Those who are interested in “A Taste of Italy” can sign up online at The event will be held in the kitchen demo area of the market.