For this epic dinner party — a creative collaboration of our talented chefs, event designers, and hosts – we pulled inspiration from the host’s travels to Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School of Regaliali in Sicily and family recipes from her childhood friend’s tradition, as well as some of our favorite Italian dishes at esteemed restaurants. And, of course, we brought regional and seasonal highlights into the mix.
We set the tone for the feast theme with bounty and warmth. Lemon leaves, pomegranates, persimmons, oranges, grapefruits, artichokes, and fresh-baked bread ran garland-style along the entire length of the table, with the soft glow of candlesticks lighting the room.
Guests were greeted with a fully loaded antipasto sideboard. Olives, artichokes, and peppadew peppers. Wheels of Taleggio and Parmesan cheeses. Oysters and local trout, both smoked in house. And tins of sardines, tuna, and calamari, artfully packaged by Jose Gourmet.
A signature cocktail to welcome guests, the Pomelo Gin Fizz. Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice mixed with locally crafted gin, spritzed with Prosecco and aromatic rosemary stems.
Once all guests were seated, they were treated to a parade of small plates. We kicked off with one of the traditional family recipes, a seafood salad of calamari, shrimp, clams, bay scallops, lobster and crab mingled in Italian dressing.
Adapted from a recipe from the Spiaggia cookbook, lobster pappardelle featured handmade pasta with rich lobster sauce to pour over.
Another family recipe – simple scampi of shrimp swimming in garlic-infused olive oil with melt-in-your-mouth garlic and red pepper flakes – was served in a petite stainless steel bowl.
A single seared scallop atop brown-butter cauliflower polenta was presented in a scallop shell atop a bed of sea salt. This dish was one of our original creations, inspired by a favorite dish at Bar La Grassa.
The main course featured Squid Potatoes and Herb-Stuffed Tuna with Grilled Artichokes. Though these heritage recipes came from different families’ traditions, the two rustic dishes exemplify hearty Sicilian dining.
Of course, a feast would not be complete without coffee and dessert – pizzelles, biscotti, and amaretti – made again with the host’s recipes from her favorite Italian families.
Invitations, place cards, and menus created by local type designer Chank Diesel sprinkled a playful and artful tone to this creative collaboration.