The Bon Vivant was lucky enough to get two tickets to the Opening night for the Italian Festival. The festival, in its seventh year is a celebration of Italian excellence in design, food, wine and culture. Held at the very impressive Doltone House in Pyrmont the festival gave us all a sneak peek of what to expect over the next six weeks up till 13th November.
The food, like the whole evening, screamed ‘Made in Italy.’ Beautiful prosciutto-laced grissini were placed in small jars, like long stemmed flowers, and were dotted around the tables. Efficient and friendly wait staff buzzed around with their tasty morsels, like delicious pea and prosciutto arancini and crispy fried pumpkin flowers. We quite enjoyed the pickled white asparagus with hollandaise, it had a great crunch and freshness that worked well with the sauce – but could see it divided the crowd. The steaming mini pots of smoky pancetta risotto were an absolute hit though. Becca had to force herself to stay away from the polenta fingers wrapped in lardo – far too addictive for anyone’s own good.
After the obligatory speeches from the Italian Commissoner and a member from the NSW, guests were then free to mingle and experience the best of Italy. Enjoying music from the band Mimesis (From Sydney’s Northern Beaches, check them out at http://www.myspace.com/bandmimesis ) we had a quick look out at the beautiful ferraris that graced the entrance to the event.
(I totally think i need a payrise.)
The highlight had to be the food displays at the back of the room. A pasta chef from Barilla preparing fresh Penne all’Arrabiata was a lovely addition to the fare. The standout for us though was the shavings of Prosciutto di Parma straight from the slicer – simply gorgeous. The real deal as well, pale pink (not cartoon bacon red), melt in the mouth, (not like chewing on leather), and beautifully subtle and slightly sweet, (not like chewing on a bag of salt). In other words, it was the way Parma ‘ham’ should be! Right next to him was his best friend – an enormous wheel of Parmiggiano Reggiano, the King of Cheeses. It was crumbly and salty and all too delicious – perfect for the gorgeous Grecchino we were drinking.
(Cooking up a storm)
On top of this there are some amazing events coming up as part of the festival that both Becca and I will be checking out.
Some of the highlights are as follows:
Italian Cheese and Wine tasting
GPO Cheese and Wine Room, No.1 Martin Place.
Available across the whole festival the night matches 3 italian wines with 3 italian cheeses with tasting notes included. Running lunchtimes and for dinner it will set you back $32.
Amato’s Liquor Mart- Free Wine tasting
16th October 2010 12-4
Amatos is hosting a free italian wine tasting in house at their Norton St shop. Free tastings really hit the spot with me as it gives you the opportunity to try new and interesting wine varietals that you would see on the shelf but would never purchase.
Taste of Italy at Martin Place
Held at Martin Place this open air trattoria invites you to enjoy an extravaganza of authentic italian food and drinks coupled with cooking demonstrations and drinks all around. If you are free on this particular weekend, i highly recommend you head along.
If you would like any further details on the Italian Festival or you are interested in attending any of the events on around Sydney please check out their website www.sydneyitalianfestival.com.au