Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Preview: Taste of Italy in Los Angeles on October 1

by @btsunoda

The Taste of Italy is an upscale food and wine event which features some of the best regional Italian cuisine, food products and wine LA has to offer. This year is the 8th annual event and I had an opportunity to preview food served by Celestino in Pasadena.

Celestino has been in business for over 17 years, originally located in Beverly Hills. It is owned and operated by the Drago brothers, known for their quality Italian cuisine since the 1980’s. Celestino’s cuisine is mostly Sicilian and some other regional dishes such as squid ink risotto or osso buco.  
One of the starters was a squid ink arancini filled with seafood. These were triangular black rice balls served piping hot and very crispy. It was one of my favorite dishes that evening and I hope they serve that at The Taste of Italy.
Porcini mushrooms are more earthy and woodsy and for that reason they make an excellent foundation for soup. Celestino’s porcini soup was topped with shaved black truffles. Taking a bite of the truffles with the porcini soup was the marriage of two great flavors.
The third dish was a veal carpaccio topped with grated pecorino cheese and shaved truffles. By this time, I was grateful that everything was paired with truffles. The veal was very delicate in flavor and didn’t overpower the remaining ingredients.

I can see why pasta is one of their specialities because the ravioli nearly melted in my mouth. I thought that adding prosciutto di Parma and quail eggs was creative. Topping it with Fontina sauce and truffles increased the wow factor for me.

I think risotto and shellfish is a natural pairing and I’m happy when I have a chance to enjoy this. Celestino combined their risotto with clams, porcini mushrooms and truffles. The risotto was extremely creamy and delicious.

Veal Scaloppine with porcini mushrooms and truffles was the final savory dish that evening. I thought the porcini sauce was extremely tasty.

Dessert was an interesting Sicilian sponge cake. This was made with mascarpone cheese and fresh fruit.

Celestino is just one of many fine Italian restaurants that are participating in this year's Taste of Italy. Other restaurants include Bar Toscana, Valentino, Drago Centro, and many more alongside fine food purveyors like Urbani Truffles, DiStefano Cheese, Prosciutto di Parma, and many wineries.

The event keeps growing each year and it a great way to sample some of LA’s finest Italian food. Tickets are available at http://italianhall.org/taste-of-italy-los-angeles/

Gourmet Pigs readers can take advantage of an online discount. Enter GPIG5 for a $5 discount off of the General Admission price or GPIG20  for a $20 discount off of Premiere Admission.

Saturday, October 1
5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Taste of Italy


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