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THEegg has always been a primordial food which, thanks to its versatility, has been able to carve out a main space in the kitchen of every continent. The most used is chicken egg, but they are also used eggs quail, goose, ostrich. In this educational article designed for aspiring sommeliers who are attending the third level of the AIS course you will find some preparations with the famous eggs and the respective pairing advice.

What are eggs good for?

The greatest value of eggs is undoubtedly their great versatility: they are the basic ingredient of sweet and savory dishes and their rich supply of proteins and essential amino acids makes them irreplaceable in any diet, as long as you also pay attention to their high cholesterol level, although recent studies show that the human body is unable to absorb too much from this food. The egg is an almost complete food, almost because it does not contain sugars and for this reason it is particularly suitable in case of diabetes. In addition, the yolk contains vitamins A, B, D, E and PP.

White shell or brown shell eggs?

The color of the shell is considered by many to be an indication of quality, but in reality this is wrong as it only identifies the breed of the hen. The shell is thin and fragile and is mainly composed of calcium carbonate. You can also recognize a fresh egg by touch: on the shell, for a few days after its deposition, there is a protective veil formed by mucin, a glycoprotein of the intestinal tract, which makes it velvety. Even the size of the air chamber between the white sheets that make up the shell is a sign of freshness: to have a very fresh egg it must be small!

What do eggs contain?

THEalbumen it is an aqueous, viscous solution rich in albumin, a protein that coagulates under the effect of heat making it become a solid and white mass. From a nutritional point of view it is less important than the yolk.

Il egg yolk it is enclosed within the invisible vitelline membrane. Above all, it is one of the very few foods to contain vitamin D along with salmon and milk, which is also produced by humans during sun exposure. This vitamin is essential in bone development and it has been shown that children with rickets effects improve their disease when exposed to sunlight and eating foods containing this vitamin. Its color varies from yellow to orange and depends on the lifestyle of the hen: the more the egg has a deep yellow color, almost tending to orange, the more the hen has led a quality life by eating healthy things and scratching freely.

Organoleptic analysis of eggs

The predominant sensations that you have by eating this food change a lot also according to the type of cooking, but in general the egg is fatty, tending to sweet, aromatic, oily and with a great persistence of taste olfactory.

What to combine with eggs?

Let's see together some famous preparations and some examples of combinations.

Egg with oyster

Oyster egg

Very fresh yolk seasoned with salt, lemon and pepper. Difficult to match due to the lemon, however, it becomes perfect with a white with good structure and freshness, as long as it has a sufficient alcoholic component. I would prefer a not too aromatic grape variety in order to let the yolk aroma prevail. Perfect a 'Albana di Romagna DOCG like Leone Conti's “Progetto 1”: persistence and elegance accompany and seduce a dish as simple as it is refined!

Soft-boiled egg

Soft-boiled egg

Egg with shell immersed in boiling water for 2-3 minutes from the resumption of boiling. A soft and creamy yolk and a partially firm egg white are obtained. For this preparation a young and acidulous white wine is perfect, fresh but not very complex and with a preferably simple structure. In this case I propose a “Planalto” Douro Branco Reserva DO 2013 13% from Casa Ferreirinha: don't be fooled by the “Reserva”, it's the wine for you!

Poached egg

Poached egg

The water and vinegar are brought to a boil, a quick vortex is made by mixing with a spoon and the egg is placed inside. It is left to cook for about 3 minutes then it is gently extracted with a slotted spoon and rinsed with warm water. A perfect for this preparation pinot bianco like the “Schulthauser” South Tyrol Pinot Bianco 2012 13.5% of St. Michael Eppan. Distinct but not intrusive aroma, freshness and good structure enhance the fluidity of the yolk, diluting its greasiness.

Vegetable omelette eggs


The omelette is a preparation that is obtained by beating the eggs without too much force and then pouring the mixture into a non-stick pan greased with extra virgin olive oil and left to cook for 8-10 minutes. The combination therefore also varies according to the ingredients chosen, but considering that this preparation accentuates the fatness of the yolk it is preferable to combine a fresh and not too structured bubble. I propose “Impressions of September” Ravenna Rosato IGT 12,5% ​​of the Leone Conti company: fruity, acidulous and light, it degreases even the heaviest omelette!

Egg omelette with herbs


Always prepared with beaten eggs, salt and pepper, it differs from the omelette because cream is added. Unlike the omelette which is turned upside down to brown on both sides, the omelette is folded back on itself to form a kind of crescent so that the inside remains creamy. Even this prepared with various ingredients maintains more greasiness than the omelette and for this reason it needs a more acidulous wine, perhaps with a vegetable scent like the “Gold Muskateller” Alto Adige Moscato Giallo 2012 13% of the St. Michael Eppan.

Scrambled eggs

Scrambled eggs

It starts by beating the eggs with 2 tablespoons of liquid per yolk (cream, milk, butter or broth), then they differ from the omelette and omelette because during cooking they are traditionally broken with a wooden spoon over low heat. This procedure of "strapazzatura”Of the eggs, if carried out in a continuous and homogeneous way, allows the formation of the soft and creamy rennet at the base of the recipe. The perfect match? I would venture a “Vie” IGT Bianco Rubicone 2013 13.5%: a persistent and elegant finish, slightly savory and very fresh harmonizes the fatty notes.

Eggs in Cocotte

Eggs in Cocotte

It is obtained by placing the egg in a small greased container sprinkled with salt, called “cocotte”, which is then cooked in a bain-marie for 6-8 minutes or until the egg white has completely congealed. Here I return to a very delicate white, young and fresh and not too aromatic as the “Start” Spumante Charmat long method of San Patrignano. This delicious but not very demanding bubble is an accomplice of a creamy and aromatic yolk and a clotted but soft egg white.

Fried eggs

Fried eggs

Fried eggs are famously made in various ways ... to make them well, however, it is advisable to separate the yolk from the white and start cooking the latter in a non-stick pan. Add the yolk, being careful not to break it, and leave to cook covered for about a minute. The result is a clotted white and a creamy yolk that can be accompanied by a young, sweet and fresh wine like “Dr.L” Riesling Qualitatswein 2013 8.5% Doctor Loosen.

Fried egg yolk fried egg

Fried yolk

Choose an extra fresh egg and separate the yolk from the white. Cover the yolk with breadcrumbs, being careful not to break it and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours, then fry it in sunflower oil at 180 ° for about 30 seconds. You will get a thin and crunchy crust and a liquid inside. Perfect with a cream of cheese or white truffle with a knife. Accompanied with the extraordinary aromatic elegance of “Arcano” Franciacorta Brut Riserva DOCG 2000 12.5% ​​from the Gatta family.

Barzotto egg barzotte eggs

Egg Barzotto

Barzotto egg is similar to boiled egg, the only thing that changes is the slightly shorter cooking time (about 4-5 minutes). The result is a firm egg white and a slightly soft yolk. This particular cooking combines the sensation of greasiness typical of the shorter cooking in the yolk with the sensation of fatness typical of the longer cooking in the egg white. We therefore propose a fresh wine but not too much like the "Ribolla yellow”Collio DOC 2013 13% by Marco Felluga.

Hard-boiled eggs hard-boiled egg

Hard-boiled eggs

To prepare them, place the egg in a pan and cover it with water. As soon as it reaches the temperature it counts 8-10 minutes (the time also depends on the size of the eggs). Once cooked, pass them for a moment under cold water and then shell them. Salt and pepper to taste. The strong feeling of fatness due to the prolonged cooking of the yolk can be diluted with an aromatic bubble such as "Rive di Rua" Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG Brut vintage 11.5% by Bepin de Eto.

Egg meringue cream


Sweet preparation typical of Italian and French cuisine based on egg white and powdered sugar beaten until they swell and become frothy and white. From this preparation was born the words "whip to firm snow". Once the typical shape has been created with the pastry bag on a baking sheet, it is “dried” in a very low oven (about 65 °) and slightly open for about 3 hours. They become delicious filled with cream! An unusual combination can be with "Autumn Colors" Chardonnay Passito 2006 12.5% ​​from Tenuta Sant'Antonio.

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Eggs: Questions & Answers

How do I recognize a fresh egg?

When the egg is closed in its shell, you can immerse the egg in salted water (10% salt): if it rests on the bottom it means that the air chamber is small and therefore the egg is fresh, while if it starts rising means that the air chamber has grown larger and the egg is not fresh.

When the egg is open, the yolk must have a rounded and consistent appearance and must be centered in the compact albumen and must not break easily.

What is the difference between category A eggs and category B eggs?

The classification of category A and category B eggs is based on freshness. Fresh eggs are category A, a letter which indicates that they have not undergone any preservation, cleaning or refrigeration treatment. If the eggs are very fresh, or have an air chamber less than 4 mm, they are defined as A Extra. Over time the porous shell lets in air and the air chamber expands becoming larger than 6 mm and the eggs enter category B.

Category A eggs are destined for the retail trade, while category B eggs are destined for the processing industry, subject to mandatory pasteurization by law.

What's the difference in egg size?

Category A eggs are cataloged according to their weight in:

  • XL: VERY LARGE - weight equal to or greater than 73 grams;
  • L: LARGE - weight between 63 and 73 grams;
  • M: MEDIUM - weight between 53 and 63 grams;
  • S: SMALL - weight less than 53 grams.
How long should an egg be consumed?

To establish by how long an egg should be consumed, it is enough to know its laying date: from that it is 28 days old. During the first 9 days it can be “extra” or “extra fresh”, after which they must be reclassified in category A or B depending on the state in which they are found.

Is the egg really hard to digest?

The digestibility of an egg depends on the type of cooking. The yolk, if in cooking there is no added fat and fast cooking is preferred, the egg is well digestible. If the cooking time increases (such as for hard-boiled eggs) digestibility decreases. This is because the egg contains an enzyme that undermines liver function, but is only activated if the egg is well cooked. The egg white, on the other hand, is more digestible cooked or whipped, but above all a prolonged cooking of this causes the inactivation of avidin, a bad anti-nutritional factor that when raw blocks the activity of vitamin H or biotin, essential for the skin and the development of man. In summary, it is necessary to cook the yolk a little and the egg white a lot to get the best benefit!

Did you know that ...

Dante Alighieri considered a salted egg the best food in the world. A popular anecdote relates that one day the poet met a stranger in the square who asked him: "What is the best food in the world?". "The egg," replied the poet. A year later, in the same square, the two met again, and the stranger asked point blank: "With what?". "With salt" was the prompt reply of Dante, famous for his memory. Starting from this episode, Achille Campanile wrote the story Dante and the egg, contained in the collection Lives of illustrious men 

I hope as always that you enjoyed this article and it was useful, for anything scroll down the page and leave me a comment! Further information on eggs and food and wine pairings can be found in my book Sommelier: the illustrated manual!



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