Sponsored by the Italian Consortium Terre Nostre, joining forces with popular chef and YouTube sensation Vincenzo Prosperi from Vincenzo’s Plate, along with the amazing I Love Italian Food Facebook page… An exclusive dinner event was created to showcase the star of the evening – wines of the Veneto region.
Having just come back from this picturesque Northeastern Italian region, Kent and I were pleased to be part of this preview tasting celebration that could not have come at a better time!
Held at Sydney’s newest edition to the Italian food scene – DOC Dining in Five Dock.
Not only were we excited about discovering this new restaurant with fellow foodies; I particularly liked the verandah area of the restaurant that had us as good as dining al fresco. Our shared long table at the end of the terrace overlooking the leafy front yard was great.
Before Kent and I were even in the door we bumped into Josh from My Kitchen Rules (MKR) whom we had recently met and gotten to know at a recent event. We hadn’t even greeted Vincenzo, our host and the event’s organiser, but our laughter began there and then.
Soon Vincenzo, YouTube’s ‘The FoodFather’ had seen us, gave us a huge hug, kisses and very warm welcome. He introduced us to his lovely wife Suzanne, who was in charge of their photo duties that evening. Some familiar faces including our new friend, MasterChef’s ‘Nonna G’ Gina and our dear old friends: Loredana from the Italian Trade Agency and the one and only – Dion Woo – he’s everywhere! Many kisses, hugs and chats later, it’s time to refill my glass of Italian Prosecco. ‘Is that Nic?’ Nic, yes that’s MKR Nic, Josh’s brother! Nic became our temporary barman, helping guests refilling their glasses and he’s as fun-loving and down to earth as his brother Josh.
Seating at the long table had been prearranged but before we even thought of finding our places, our host called us to attention and introduced each of us in the room. He knew us all by name which shows how intimate he was with this gathering. Loredana was crowned ‘the most elegant woman’ which we all agreed is a title well deserved. Everyone’s speciality was introduced, mine was writer and Kent, fashion photographer of course. Convivial Vincenzo being Vincenzo, you can imagine the jokes he shared and the laughter as he worked his way around the room.
During our fabulous meal, Loredana and I asked Dion to represent us all, thanking Vincenzo for such a cosy, sweet gathering in this festive season. Here’s what I remember most from Dion’s speech: ‘I think the Chinese and the Italian have this in common, we share our love through food…’ That’s very true, I nodded. Sharing food is the most common way for Chinese to show appreciation and love, and so it is for the Italians I believe.
Other things in common? Well Gina and I discovered that we had both read Brian Weiss’ book ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’. Dion was intrigued that Gina had cooked for celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson from the Season 10 MasterChef show. ‘Watch her on 10-Play Dion!’, I recommended. ‘I’m currently watching Season Seven’s catch-up episodes.’ What can I say, I am addicted! Who else? Being a foodie, I was happy to meet the gorgeous Instagram influencer, or should I say Sydney foodie ‘It Girl’ – Chloe Sue. Also a pleasure to meet YouTuber and photographer Ethan Li; Sydney-based ‘Urban Eater’ Glendon and chef Enzo Guarino from Casa e Cucina.
The Food And The Wines
What better way to showcase the stars of the night: Pinot Grigio by De Stefani and Bardolino by San Leone than pairing them with delicious Italian tasting meal!
Here’s our six-course tasting menu; each dish was thoughtfully selected by our host:
Potato, Porcini, Taleggio, Truffle
Fiori di Zucchini
Zucchini Flowers, Eggplant, Ricotta, Pesto
Tuna Carpaccio, Blood Orange, Fennel, Mint, Soy
Eye Fillet Ragu, Tomato, Parmesan
Charcoal Spatchcock, Lime, Chilli, Mash
Macadamia Praline, Coffee Crumble, Caramelised Macadamia,
Chocolate Ice Cream
The croquette was crispy and golden brown on the outside, creamy on the inside. I enjoyed my Zucchini Flower, not only was it pretty to look at, it was light with interesting floral textures. My favourite starter was the Tuna Carpaccio, it melted in my mouth, beautiful – More please!
The starters were paired with a Pinot Grigio by De Stefani, this Veneto white wine is well known for the intensity of its aroma. It’s fruity, refreshing and easy to drink.
There were two mains, Eye Fillet Ragu pasta and Charcoal Spatchcock. If I were to choose one of them to go back for more, it’d be the Charcoal Spatchcock. The spatchcock was well cooked, juicy and well seasoned with a hint of chilli which I loved. Mash potato was very smooth; over all, a winning dish for me! While I also enjoyed the pasta ragu, Kent of course loved it; particularly enjoying the very wide ribbons of Papparelle and the deliciously rich slow cooked meat sauce. Wide pasta sheets are something we experienced and learnt a lot more about during out time in Italy.
For these two main courses, we had Bardolino by San Leone as our matching wine. This red wine has the freshness in the acidity particularly pleasant and long lasting to my palate and worked perfectly with the ragu as well as with the poultry.
No doubt our dessert was a crowd-pleaser. The silkiness of the chocolate ice cream, the crunchiness of the coffee crumble and the nutty aroma from the caramelised macadamia… Yummy! Needless to say, everyone polished off their plates.
A Foodie’s Thoughts
What I love about this food and wine event is how intimate it was, so much more than just a wine tasting! There was real engagement between the diners. Thanks again to Vincenzo’s caring thoughts from guest list, menu selection to seating arrangements making sure that everything ran smoothly. Kent and I both had a fabulous time. Grazie mille Vincenzo!
As this would be my wrap-up post of 2018, White Caviar Life wish you all a wonderful New Year. See you in 2019 when our Northern Italy series continues. Saluti!