The moment we received the invitation to ‘Italy on A Spoon‘, Kent and I were excited; it’s the opening night of the Sydney Italian Festival and World Week of Italian Cuisine.
This double celebration took place at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf. What could be a better way to celebrate Italian cuisine than enjoying a seasonal dining experience, presented by six top Australia-based Italian chefs with matching Italian wines!
This event was hosted by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), and on arrival we were welcomed by the very friendly Loredana Di Nunzio from ITA, who looked absolutely gorgeous and elegant in a satin floral dress. We were also greeted by waiters with drinks trays – I chose Prosecco! And there’s a long pre-diner grazing-table with a generous quantity of top quality Italian cheeses.
As more guests started arriving, Kent and I were happily able to catch up with some familiar faces and friends: the Vincenzo’s Plate popular cook Vincenzo Prosperi and the lovely, talented radio personality, actress and presenter Janette Lakiss. Soon the speeches began and we moved our way towards the stage. The first speech was made by Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, followed by Arturo Arcano, Consul General of Italy and a warm welcome by tonight’s host Antonietta Baccanari, Italian Trade Commissioner.
Marketing Manager of the Italian Tourist Board Emanuele Attanasio also made an appearance and spoke. Chef consultant and producer Luca Ciano, the chefs who were presenting Italian cuisine for the event all made their way to the stage; each talked passionately about their dishes and the different region of Italy they were from… Enjoying some light banter about where in Italy is best to rounds of applause from different sections of the assembled group!
So, who were these six top Italian chefs that joined forces to produce a cocktail menu showcasing regional cuisine from across Italy? Well, here’s the list of the chefs’ names; where you can find them and their menu on the night:
SARDINE INVOLTINO CALABRIAN STYLE, N’DUJA, LICORICE REDUCTION
Chef Sandro Isabella, Sale e Pepe Brookvale
VITELLO TONNATO, TUNA SAUCE, PUFFED RICE, RASPBERRY
Chef Andrea Tranchero, Barilla Australia
MONKFISH POTACCHIO STYLE
Chef Fabio Dupretti, Unico Ristorante
RIGATONI ALLA VACCINARA, OXTAIL RAGU’, COCOA, RAISIN, PINE NUTS, PECORINO
Chef Michele Liasio, Oliveto Ristorante & Bar
SAFFRON RISOTTO “ALLA MILANESE”, VEAL OSSOBUCO, GREMOLATA
Chef Luca Ciano, Chef consultant and producer
Chef Salvatore D’Altiero, Ristorante Isola D’Ischia
The gelato and wine were provided by:
Laura Nobile, Gelato Alpino
Direct Wine Cellars
From the photos I selected above, you can imagine how spoiled we were by these mouth-watering Italian foods and matching wines. My personal favourites were the Sardine Involtino Calabrian Style, Saffron Risotto ‘alla Milanese’ and of course Cassata Gelato! So delicious!!
After a couple of glasses of wine I started telling everyone that I am a big fan of the Italian detective show Inspector Montalbano – set in a picturesque Sicilian seaside town (thank you Kent for introducing me to the show). What I have noticed is that Inspector Montalbano always enjoys his meals with a glass of wine without interruption; no mater how serious the crime he is dealing with, it’s just not allowed!
Perhaps there’s a message there for all of us wherever we may be; to celebrate life by enjoying our food, we shouldn’t let anyone or anything disturb this blessing – of course that is it! (And if you haven’t seen the show I highly recommend it!)
And as the Italians say ‘Ciao!’
Until next time…
The Sydney Italian Festival is part of a month-long global festival; celebrating Italy and World Week of Italian Cuisine which is being celebrated with more than 1,000 events in 105 countries.
Thank you to the Italian Trade Agency for our invitation.
Photography by Kent Johnson Photography.