It was a casual enough invitation. Sent through by Jamie who I’ve recently been in touch with about the Perth Slow Food group.
On Sunday Vincenzo Velletri is holding a small luncheon to thank everyone for the support of the Terra Madre producers who went to Italy last year from Western Australia. We would you to join us if at all possible.
Vince is cooking.
Now I took that to mean a light lunch, a few antipasti type plates with tasty cheese and salamis and some olives, and a nice glass of wine or two. What I didn’t think it meant was that two fantastic Italian chefs would be creating an all encompassing taste sensation and a wonderful slice of simple rustic Italian food, presented in a 5 course meal that lasted the better part of 6 hours !
As soon as we arrived at Third Avenue Restaurant the wine was flowing, with a delicious prosecco and followed on with a delicious organic Sangiovese by Montefalco, and from there things didn’t slow down. A selection of antipasto including croutons with an avocado and pistachio mousse, an olive tapenade, and a roast pumpkin and blue cheese topping, were just the start.
The it was on to the first course with:
- Organic silver beet and borlotti bean soup
- Black cabbage and pig trotter soup
- Polenta topped with Fondi-style sausage sauce
- Ravioli filled with goats cheese and a hazelnut and sage sauce.
I’ll have dreams about the polenta and pork dish… it was so simple, but so good. And beautifully presented on a wooden plank, so you could easily make something handy out of it after you’ve finished eating… that’s ingenuity for you :)
Onto the second course, which was:
- Wood fired garlic bread
- Veal braised with Sangiovese and dried porcini mushrooms
- Wood fire oven braised lamb with rosemary
The lamb was so tender it was melt in your mouth, It was just unfortunate that such a savage onslaught of dishes was beginning to take it’s toll. I did however, get special kudos from Verity James for making sure the bones were extra clean. What more of a glowing endorsement can you get, I ask you ?
Next was a cheese platter of local organic and biodynamic cheeses. My favourites been the camembert made by Cambray sheep cheeses, and the frais goats cheese made by Gabrielle Kervella (which I promptly went out and bought some more of on the way home).
Finally dessert, consisting of Fragola poached pears with cinnamon and clove. A refreshing and light way to end the meal.
The other highlight of the lunch was getting to meet some of the other people in the Perth food scene who really care about what they are doing, and are actively trying to make a difference to the way food is produced, sold, and appreciated. As well as hearing some great speeches from people who’s worlds have been changing by getting involved in Slow Food and the connections they’ve made through it.
It was quite inspiring stuff, and wonderful to think that food can be so instrumental in changing the lives of so many people. Definitely something I plan to be more involved with in the future.