Since September 2016, every other month, the team at Elite RetrEat Italia has been organising The Italian Experiential Club’s exclusive events in unique luxury venues across central London that allow our members and a carefully selected network of likeminded individuals to discover, share and celebrate Italian Artisanal Excellence through exciting and emotionally engaging gastronomic soirees that are experientially paired with luxury Italian brands that represent the very best of Italian lifestyle.
On the 22nd of June we hosted our summer event with the theme being Venetian Summer. The event took place in a luxurious 2 floor penthouse in the heart of London with stunning views of the capital. As a luxury travel advisor, the aim of the evening was to take our guests on an inspiring journey throughout the Veneto region, tasting its delicious traditions. The crowd had the privilege of savouring the delicious Venetian gourmet creations of the talented chef Danilo Cortellini, a chef to the Italian ambassador in London and owner of his own catering company. I was of course in charge of the wines and decided to pair the spectacular dishes with a fascinating selection of delicious unique artisanal wines from the Veneto region that would make any wine society go wild.
The event kicked off at 6.30 when the first guests arrived. We welcomed them on the beautiful terrace overlooking St Paul Cathedral, the Shard and Tower Bridge. Not too bad ah?
Of course as a good Venetian event, we started off with an Aperol Spritz served with a selection of hams and two delicious cheeses from the Veneto region to set the mood. One of the cheeses served was called Ubriaco di Capra, a beautiful goat’s cheese aged in Traminer wine and the other is called Condio, a historic cheese aged in spices and dates back to the late 7th century when the region was known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and was at the forefront of the spice trade.
Conversations were flowing (so was the food and wine!) and it wasn’t too long until we had our entire guests on the terrace ready to start the tasting. The first wine we drank was a sparkling white from the Soave region made with the undiscovered Durella grape. Funky and unfiltered, it had a great zing and went well with the Venetian “Sarde in Saor” dish, a delicious interpretation of sweet and sour sardines.
For the second wine we headed downstairs in the living room. On the table the were some beautiful fabrics from Venetia Studium, a leading design and lighting company based in Venice who was showcasing their gorgeous designs to help create an exquisite Venetian flair. The wine was a stunning and rare white from old vines of Malvasia Istriana, made in the heart of the Venetian lagoon which had the ability of instantly transporting our guests to Venice thanks to its incredible saline note. After a little into video about the artisan himself, we all headed to the kitchen as the chef was doing a live demo on how to cook the perfect Risotto, and in this case it was the local “Risi e Bisi”, a risotto with peas and a fragrance of mint.
It was truly amazing to see how people connected over food and wine in an informal yet exclusive environment. This is exactly what our unique London experiences are all about!
After a generous helping of Risotto we headed back upstairs for the third wine tasting of the evening. One that I was particularly looking forward to! As people took their glasses they were not too sure of what to expect as the colour was orange, something between a white and a rose. By smelling it, everyone thought it was going to be a sweet wine because of its tropical notes, but as soon as they took a sip they could not believe how sharp and dry it was. A sensational wine made from volcanic soil with an ancient technique that produces whites as if they were red thanks to the prolonged skin contact, a practise that is normally done with reds only. We paired it with a refreshing Radicchio salad with Lardo and hazelnut, which was an interesting combination, playing homage to the chameleon like character of the wine.
The sun was setting, just in time for our last wine of the evening. While the guests chatted and laughed around the terrace’s couches, a smooth and rich Valpolicella Superiore wine was served to them, known as Amarone’s little sister, and a slow cooked beef laid on top of a bed of creamy polenta was the perfect pairing to finish the evening’s gastronomic experience.
And what an evening that was! Seeing people’s smiles and satisfaction are always extremely gratifying. Giving the opportunity to our guests to feel like they are experiencing special celebrations in Italy but from the heart of London and being able to sharing it with other fascinating people, is truly what makes The Italian Experiential Club so unique and loved!
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- Let’s plan your Experiential Exclusive events in London for private or corporate entertainment – Click Here
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Salute and alla prossima!
Filippo di Lenardo
Founder of Elite RetrEat Italia & The Italian Experiential Club