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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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Your favorite family recipe could end up on Il Mito's menu for a year.
Your favorite family recipe could end up on Il Mito's menu for a year.

Il Mito celebrates home recipes

For the past few weeks, people from across the country have been uploading their family recipes onto familyreciperevival.com, as part of Il Mito's Chef Michael Feker's first initiative in a year-long plan to encourage people to make dining together at the dinner table a priority again.

Feker cites the convenience of eating on the go and pre-packaged meals as part of the reason families have lost touch with the true meaning of mealtime.

"Even family recipes, which long represented togetherness, have become something we make only during holidays and special occasions," he says.

Feker's Family Recipe Revival strives to remind people of the importance of the home-cooked meal, and that every meal is a special occasion.

For the next three weeks, the general public can vote for the recipe and story they like best. Feker will select weekly winners and reward them by featuring their dish on the Il Mito menu the following week.

Net proceeds from the sale of each winning menu item will go to the winners' charities of choice with Feker matching that contribution and donating it to the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee. After four weekly winners are chosen, the public will decide on the ultimate family recipe, which will be featured on the Il Mito menu for an entire year. Additionally, Feker and his contest sponsors will award the recipe champion a prize package worth more than $2,000.

The first week's winner was Paul and Lori Fredrich of Milwaukee, who shared their family recipe and story for chocolate hazelnut schaum torte. The schaum torte will appear on Il Mito's menu from Sunday, Feb. 28 through Saturday, March 6.

If you would like to submit a family recipes and the story behind them, visit familyreciperevival.com. In addition to helping the winners' charities of choice, each weekly winner receives a prize package from Il Mito Trattoria, Strauss Free-Raised products, Time Warner Cable, Regal Ware cookware and Sub Zero-Wolf. 

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St. Francis Winery's Chris Silva was impressed with the wine parings at Osteria.
St. Francis Winery's Chris Silva was impressed with the wine parings at Osteria.

Getting to know St. Francis Winery

Wednesday nigtht, in the intimate setting of Osteria del Mondo, 1028 E. Juneau, Marc and Marta Bianchini hosted a six course dinner featuring the wines of Sonoma Valley, California's St. Francis winery.

Chris Silva, President and CEO of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards, couldn't have been a better co-host, as he mingled through the cocktail hour, nibbling on the passed hors d'oeuvres of coconut shrimp with mango dipping sauce, thin slices of veal with tuna sauce and capers on crostini, truffled popcorn balls, and tuna tartare with pineapple salsa nestled in tortilla chips.

In addition to featuring the St. Francis wines, which delectably run the gamut from a deeply buttery chardonnay to a dry, explosive wild oak zinfandel, the menu featured items of influence from all four of the Bianchini's restaurants: Osteria del Mondo, Cubanitas, Coa, and Indulge.

The first course ushered in a halved lobster tail in the shell (Cubanitas), layered with a rich buttery garlic sauce that was only more enhanced by the St. Francis chardonnay. Silva explained that St. Francis picks their chardonnay grapes in the morning, so that the slight coolness of temperature allows for enhanced flavors in the wine. The result is a smooth, and crisp, yet extraordinarily flavorful chardonnay that would hold up to just about any entrée.

Seafood reigned through course two as well, with grilled swordfish appearing over a peanut papaya salsa (Coa). The wine pairing for the swordfish was the vineyard's trademark wild oak merlot, a merlot that shames most others of this varietal. For those wine drinkers who believe merlot a novice drink, you may want to delve into the St. Francis wild oak version, as it was one of my favorite glasses of the evening.

Next we found a plate of seared duck in a Fonseca port wine glaze with a creamy roasted onion risotto-done perfectly. Risotto is one of those dishes I loathe to order in most restaurants, but Osteria's version was failsafe and ever …

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