Create. Reveal. Evolve.

San Francisco’s Bar Bambino Releases Summer Schedule Highlighting Adventures on the Trail of the Habsburg Empire

8 July, 2010

Wine & Cheese tastings and Two Wine Dinners July and August 2010

San Francisco, CA – Bar Bambino owner Christopher Losa has always had an interest in cultural history and gastronomy and knows that they are inextricably linked. Hungry for knowledge, earlier this spring he set out to explore the backroads of Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Hungary to discover the indigenous wines and culinary influences that helped shape what is considered modern Italian cuisine today.   Deemed the “Adventures on the Trail of the Habsburg Empire” thematically, Losa has designed exploratory tastings that teach as much about history as they do about the crosswinds of culinary influence.

The Habsburg Empire, which inspires the theme of this summer’s events, was also known as the House of Austria and was one of Europe’s most influential royal houses, best known as the origin of all the elected Holy Roman Emperors from 1428 to 1740.  Originally reigning in Austria, the empire grew to include parts of today’s Germany, France, Spain, Hungary and much of Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and the historic Bohemia. It was this cross-cultural mix that created culinary as well as viticultural experimentation throughout the region.  Lately, wine lists and competitions in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland and other culinary meccas have been showcasing wines from Austria, Hungary, and Slovenia as curious palates look for new varieties to enjoy.

Two dinners on July 22nd and August 26th take two decidedly different routes, one with indigenous varietal wines from Slovenia, Austria and Croatia, the other with non-indigenous varietals being cultivated with exceptional success in California, Austria, Croatia, Germany and Slovenia.  Chef Lizzie Binder demonstrates her versatility with dishes respecting Italian tradition, but infused with influences from modern Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Hungary. The two wine and cheese pairings on July 17th and August 8th led by Losa and consulting cheese director Daphne Zepos also take their cues from new wine and cheese discoveries by Losa and Zepos respectively.  The first tasting will spotlight wines discovered on Losa’s recent travels and cheeses that highlight Spring milk cheese’s from France.  The second tasting further explores unfamiliar varietals and pairs them with under-exposed cheeses from Germany, Adriatic Italy and northern Greece..


Adventures On The Trail Of The Habsburg Empire Wine + Cheese Tasting, Part I

Saturday 17 Jul  2p - 4p, $35 pp not incl. tax and gratuity

4 wines (2 white, 2 red) from Austria, coastal Croatia, and eastern Slovenia

As Owner + Wine Director Christopher Losa was scouring the trail of the Habsburgs for viniculture treasures, consulting cheese director, Daphne Zepos was in France finding the best of cheeses from Spring milk.  This tasting will highlight some of Christopher's finds from Austria, coastal Croatia, and eastern Slovenia and Daphne will present some of her French cheese finds that are just beginning to ripen and fully expose their maker's touch.

Cheeses - Comte aged at the Fort of Saint Antoine, Ossau Iraty sheep milk cheese from the Basque Pyrenees

Wines - Biodynamic Grüner Vetliner from Bernhard Ott, Furmint from Verus in Eastern Slovenia, and two reds from coastal Croatia: a Dalmatian indigenous blend of Babich, Lasin, and Plavina and from the island of Hvar a Plavac, the ancestral grape of Zinfandel

Adventures On The Trail Of The Habsburg Empire Wine Dinner

Thursday 22 Jul 7p - 10p, $85 pp not including tax and gratuity

5-course degustation menu of Chef Elizabeth Binder's creations that draw from her mastery of Italian cuisine, infuse them with influences from today's Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary, and prepares them from locally sourced organic and sustainable ingredients.  The menu will feature barley risotto with lamb shoulder and mint, sea bass with paprika and heirloom tomatoes, Berkshire pork roasted with stone fruit and cabbage salad. The paired wines follow the trail of owner Christopher Losa's recent travels to the region.  He and Chef Binder have selected unknown, but world-class whites from the Prlekija region of Slovenia and the northern shore of Lake Ballaton in Hungary and red wines ranging from elegant and delicate from the slate soils of Austria to soft and big from Dalmatia on the Croatian coast.

Adventures On The Trail Of The Habsburg Empire Wine + Cheese Tasting, Part II

Saturday 8 Aug 2p - 4p, $35 pp not incl. tax and gratuity

4 wines (1 white, 1 rosé, 1 red, 1 sweet) from Austria, inland Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary

Bar Bambino-quality cheeses from this part of the world aren't available in the US so we are selecting cheeses from geographically/historically connected areas (southern Germany, Adriatic Italy, and northern Greece) to ensure taste quality, interest, and to spur conversation about the connections and relations of the cheese-making history and viniculture of the general region.

Cheese highlights - Asiago washed in red wine from Venice, from Germany the real Munster cheese

Wine - An naturally made (amphora) wine from Tomas Tomac in central Croatia, gorgeous Cabernet Sauvignon rosé from central Slovenia, St. Laurent from Austria, and an expressive Tokaj from Hungary.

New Varietals Wine Dinner

Thursday 26 Aug 7p - 10p, $85 pp not including tax and gratuity

The globalization of the wine industry has had polarizing effects on wine.  While it could be argued that there has been a dilution  of wine styles to suit a "homogenized" universal palate, there has also been the benefit of new varietals introduced to new growing areas with extraordinary results. For this dinner we will pair "common" varietals made in an uncommonly good fashion in unexpected places.   We've selected Italian varietals grown locally in Napa, Burgundy charmers from Germany, and extraordinary Bordeaux blends from Slovenia.  Chef Lizzie's menu features delicious, refined, and inspired approaches to steak tartare, spaghetti and meatballs, and meatloaf.

About Bar Bambino

Nestled on an edgy urban block of San Francisco’s Mission District lies Bar Bambino, a neighborhood eatery that brings simple, elegant food and wine to the table in a convivial gathering spot. Inspired by years living in Europe, owner Christopher Losa has created a restaurant the San Francisco Chronicle has hailed as “a true oasis with a sexy, speakeasy vibe”. Embracing the idea that life is better around the table, Bar Bambino offers seasonally inspired Italian classics served in an lively and informal, urban atmosphere. Featuring locally and sustainably sourced produce and meats, house-made pastas, and inspired desserts, Executive Chef Elizabeth Binder demonstrates a thorough knowledge of regional Italian cuisine while her understated touch brings a lightness and elegance to traditional recipes. Opened in April 2007, Bar Bambino has garnered local and national accolades, repeatedly named as a San Francisco Chronicle Top 100 restaurant and as one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s Top 10 Wine Bars in the nation.

For more information and reservations please call Bar Bambino at 415/701 VINO (8466) or email