Australian Lucky Penny Wines Comes to Canada! The Wine Ladies Radio/TV June 2013

The mint may have pulled the penny, but “Lucky Penny” wines, two delicious blends produced by Casella Wines  just launched, are definitely here to stay! This week on The Wine Ladies’ TV  we enjoy the introduction of this premium wine label (Casella is also the producer of Yellow Tail) with delectable and innovative food pairings courtesy of  star Executive Chef Cory Vitiello of The Harbord Room restaurant. 

Chef Vitiello was specifically selected to partner with Lucky Penny for this launch. Renown for his approach in cooking, “aiming for new and exciting flavour combinations”, Casella shares in this philosophy which he showcases in the varietal combinations selected.

For Lucky Penny white, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Viognier make up the blend, packed with soft fruit flavours of pear and apricot accentuated with toased honey notes from the Chardonnay. Available at the LCBO, $16.95 per bottle.

The Lucky Penny red is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot; in the glass rich berries, hint of chocolate and subtle vanilla overtones entice the palate. Available at the LCBO, $17.95 per bottle.

“We identified the most popular grape varieties, and our winemkers created great quality wines bursting with delicious aromas that leap out of the glass” John says. He also maintains that the “skill of a winemaker in creating blends is much like that of a chef, whereby the ingredients are carefully selected and combined to create new and exciting flavour combinations” Alas, Chef Cory is the ultimate candidate for the job, hands down!

We are treated to a quick demo from Cory, creating two dishes to pair with the two wines. What might be a surprise to some…. Chef Cory is known for doing the “unexpected” he serves up a dish which includes a dalop of  ice cream to pair with the red, and for the white, a little more conventional Pan Roasted Halibut. Both dishes and combos are sublime!

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Cory Vitiello is one busy chef, having just opened a second restaurant “THR&Co. just a few doors down from The Harbord Room, be sure to stop in and try a few of his quickly becoming signature dishes, so delish!

By the way, we would be remiss not to mention, that Cory was also declared one of Canada’s 50 Most Beautful Stars in Hello Canada… so congrats to that too Chef!

John Casella, whom we have had the pleasure to interview a few times already, shared a few words via video and apologized for not being able to join us. No worries John, as the grapes come first, while harvest is in full swing.

Congratulations on Lucky Penny. Cheers!

If you would like to make Cory’s delicious recipes, paired up with your favourite Lucky Penny wine, here they are! He promised us it was not too diffcult to make. Tell us what you think on TWITTER   @thewineladies @yellowtail_aust @ChefCoryV


Cory’s Pan Roasted Halibut w/ Warm Farro Salad, Lima Bean Pesto & Pickled Pear


·        4 5oz portions of West coast Halibut fillet

·        1 cup Italian Farro

·        2 cups Chicken stock

·        2 tablespoons lightly toasted and chopped pine nuts

·        2 cups blanched and finely chopped green Kale

·        2 cups fresh or frozen Lima beans

·        1 cup canned Garbanzo beans

·        ¼ cup packed Italian Parsley leaves, picked and torn

·        ¼ cup packed Basil leaves, picked and torn

·        2 pieces Scallion, roots removed and sliced

·        1 tablespoon sliced Chives

·        1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

·        2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

·        1 Bosc pear peeled, cored and sliced into quarters

·        2 cups champagne vinegar

·        4 cups cold water

·        2 fresh Bay leaves

·        8 pieces whole white Peppercorns

·        2 teaspoons unsalted Butter

·        Granulated sugar

·        Kosher salt and fresh cracked black Pepper

·        EVOO for cooking and garnish

Lima Bean Pesto

·        In food processor combine 1 cup lima beans, Italian parsley, basil, scallions, 1 tablespoon pine nuts, parmesan, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons EVOO, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

·        Pulse ingredients together until incorporated and a uniform but somewhat chunky texture is achieved. Check the seasoning; adjust if necessary and set aside.



In a medium sized sauce pot combine the Farro, chicken stock, bay leaf, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and kosher salt.

·        Bring slowly up to a low boil and cook lightly for 20-30 minutes or until the Farro is tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside.


Pickled Pears

·        In a medium sized saucepot bring the champagne vinegar, water, bay leaf, white peppercorns, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon sugar to a boil.

·        Place the quartered pears in a non-reactive glass bowl and cover with the pickling liquid. Cool and refrigerate overnight.

·        Remove pears from liquid and very carefully slice into thin pieces with a mandolin or sharp knife. Set aside.


Warm Farro Salad


·        In a large size sauté pan warm butter and EVOO over low heat. Add shallots and cook until translucent.

·        Add faro, lima beans, garbanzo beans, chopped kale and toss with spoon to distribute. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of pesto and incorporate until warmed through.

·        Add sliced chives and keep warm over a very low heat.



·        In a large size stainless steel pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Season fish on all sides with kosher salt and, when oil is hot, add to the pan.

·        Gently sear the halibut until a light golden brown crust begins to form and place into a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes.

·        Remove from oven and carefully turn fish over in the pan. Add 1 teaspoon of butter, melt over medium heat and baste the fish evenly. Remove from pan.

·        Distribute the Halibut among 4 plates and evenly spoon some of the warm Farro salad over the plate. Garnish with the sliced pickled pears and the reserved pine nuts.


Cory’s Rhubarb Ginger and Olive Oil Upside-Down Cake with Cinnamon Ice Cream

Ice Cream


·        1 cup white sugar

·        1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream

·        2 eggs, beaten

·        1 cup heavy cream

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


·        In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and stir half of the mixture into the eggs, whisking quickly so that the eggs do not scramble.

·        Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan to combine, and stir in the heavy cream.

·        Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.

·        Cool in refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours or overnight. Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.



·        1 cup rhubarb compote

·        1 egg + 1 yolk

·        4.5oz good extra virgin olive oil

·        4oz milk

·        1oz orange juice

·        1/3 cup sugar

·        1/3 cup corn meal

·        90grams ap flour

·        ¼ teaspoon baking soda

·        ¼ teaspoon baking powder

·        zest of ½ lemon

·        1 teaspoon cinnamon


·        Whisk wet ingredients until incorporated.  Using a wooden spoon and taking care not to over-mix, gently fold the mixture into the dry ingredients.

·        Arrange rhubarb compote on the bottom of the baking dish.  Evenly distribute batter over top of the compote. 

·        Bake at 350F for approximately 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

·        Cool for ten minutes, invert to release cake and serve with a scoop of cinnamon ice.



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