“Ask and it will be given”,

an almost perfect pairing!

Food and wine represent the soul of our culture, a connection with its roots in our past. Every dish and every sip is a voyage through time, through ancient traditions and modern innovations.

My name is Adua Villa, and I have built a career as a journalist, writer and digital storyteller in the fascinating, multifaceted vortex of food and wine. As a sommelier and food and wine expert, I have travelled through the lands of flavour, exploring culture and tradition, and transforming experiences into stories to share.

From this spirit of exploration comes my latest book: "All in one night: The first book on wine written with the help of artificial intelligence". One rainy night in Milan, with a curious spirit and in search of a challenge, but also with a healthy dose of fun, I investigated what seems to be the innovation of the century: artificial intelligence, for simple, complex and sometimes highly creative pairings between food and wine.

In our first encounter, the spontaneous question was: 

«AI, what is the best wine
to accompany a victory?»

The answer from AI: "Champagne or Spumante: Champagne is often associated with celebrations and victories. A good Champagne or quality sparkling wine are classic choices for celebrating.

Red Wine: A high-quality red wine can be an excellent choice, especially if you are celebrating with a meal. Wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir are popular.

White Wine: If you prefer white wine, opt for a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc or a quality Riesling.

Rosé Wine: A good rosé wine can be a light, fresh choice for celebrating, especially during the hotter months.

Sparkling Rosé Wine: If you want something unique, you could consider a sparkling rosé wine. This is a festive choice that adds a touch of colour to a celebration."

Wow! What an answer... notice that it only mentioned international varieties, known all over the world, but it also understood that with the word "Victory", it makes sense to suggest bubbly, along with plenty of quality, popularity and celebration. This whet my appetite, and the more I continued to converse with artificial intelligence, the more I realised that it is still at a very early stage in our sector: it is very well-versed in history, but as soon as the conversation becomes more complex, its point of view and answers waver.

I don't know what relationship you have with artificial intelligence, or if you have a relationship with it, but I struggled to understand it, and particularly to handle it. I was shocked, and a little scared, reading responses such as: What wine would Maneskin pair with pasta amatriciana?

The answer from AI: "Maneskin might pair a full-bodied red wine, such as Nero d'Avola or Aglianico del Vulture, with pasta amatriciana. These wines have a strong, spiced flavour that goes perfectly with the spicy pasta sauce."

My AI friend had just responded as I would have done!

Yes, I would also have considered bubbly, some sort of sparkling accompaniment. But Nero d'Avola and Aglianico del Vulture, while they have such different identities and styles, have a DNA similar to that of these four Roman kids who loved to call themselves the "Trash of X Factor", and I loved them for it. Of course, AI can't tell me if Damiano, Victoria, Ethan and Thomas eat pasta amatriciana, but it certainly understood what reasoning to use without knowing their personal tastes, basing it on their musical choices, mood, lifestyle and origins. We will never know their perfect match without having them in front of us, but it's a good start.

Yet again, "the new thing" is scary.

It is unfamiliar, it forces us out of our comfort zone, it requires study, it makes us see from another point of view, develop a critical spirit, and sometimes it forces us to change our opinion. It often frightens us; we are not always prepared to face it, and most of the time there is not a good reason for this: we simply don't want to.

At the moment, we don't fully understand what it is and where it will take us. So, like every new thing, we initially look at it with interest, attention and often fear. 

However, in the agri-food sector, these innovations have already been in operation for a while, such as the application of digital technology and artificial intelligence in farming, which is leading to better efficiency in food production. For example, intelligent sensors can constantly monitor the environmental conditions of cultivated fields, allowing farmers to intervene promptly to optimise irrigation or prevent plant diseases. This precision in the use of resources reduces water waste and pesticide use, contributing to the sustainability of the sector.

Think of me on that rainy night in Milan, after hours spent in the company of AI. Before saying goodnight, I decided to ask it one last question: 

«What if Jesus were a sommelier?»

The answer from AI: "Peace be unto you, my child. How can I help you to find the perfect harmony between food and wine for your meal?"

ME: "Cavoli!" (Translator's note: "Cavoli" means "cabbage" in Italian, but is also an exclamation meaning "damn" or "wow")

AI: "Think of the fragrance of sweet cabbage, like the perfume of holy incense in the air. I therefore suggest a Syrah to bring out its flavour."

ME: "Sorry, 'cavoli' was an exclamation. I would like a wine to pair with blueberry pie."

AI: "Just as wild berries grow freely in nature, so is blueberry tart a gift from the earth. I recommend a Moscato d'Asti, like the spirit of the Lord, to accompany this divine delicacy."

ME: "And if I wanted to drink a Chianti Classico DOCG, what could I pair with it?"

AI: "Just as faith is unwavering in the Truth, Chianti Classico DOCG is a wine that is intense and long-lasting on the palate. I recommend that you pair it with a plate of lamb stew, like the Lord Jesus who gives his life for us."

ME: "Goodnight. But are we really sure this is a GOOD NIGHT?"

P.S. Those of you who are wine lovers, after these answers, would you say that AI is an expert?

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N° 14

artificial

Staying human
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