What’s your favourite cuisine? When you’re considered a foodie (whether you like the term or not) you get asked that question a lot.
A friend asked me this very thing a few days ago. “Thai,” i replied without hesitation. “Then probably Indian.” We started discussing the merits of various cuisines — Vietnamese, Peruvian, Ethiopian. About 10 minutes into the conversation Italian food was mentioned.
We paused for thought, then agreed that Italian was actually one of our favourites, though we had overlooked it in our enthusiasm over the plethora of cuisines available on our Australian doorstep.
Italian is rarely my cuisine of choice when choosing a dining destination. Thai, Laotian, Afghan, Chinese, and Korean restaurants have all enticed me in their doors in recent weeks. The only look-in Italian got was when we ordered a take-away pizza from the family-run pizzeria at the top of our street. It was the closest, quickest, easiest means of dinner that night.
Well, let’s just say my (too big for my belly) eyes have been opened. The Crave Sydney International Food Festival held it’s gala dinner on Sunday night. The theme was Italian. The food was outstanding.
Nine Italian chefs, including six based in Australia – Eugenio Riva, Karen Martini, Alessandro Pavoni, Nino Zoccali, Giovanni Pilu and Alfie Spina – laboured over an amazing five-course, 10-dish Italian feast.
For me, Pavoni’s aged carnaroli risotto with scampi bottarga and mandarin, Zoccali’s sweet pea ravioli with gorgonzola cream and burnt butter, and Pilu’s roast suckling pig were the standout dishes of the night. Of those three chefs, i’ve only eaten at Zoccali’s Pendolino restaurant, once, and then it was for a work lunch.
Well, boys guess what? I’m booking in. You’ve sold me on the finer qualities of Italian cuisine.
Does Italian cuisine rate as one of your favourites?
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The Food Sage attended the Showcase Gala Dinner as a guest of Crave Sydney.