It’s that time of year again in Las Vegas. The lights on the famed strip seem to glow a little brighter, snow is on the distant mountains, there’s a nip in the air and The Venetian/Palazzo Resort’s month long Winter in Venice Celebration entertains visitors and locals alike. This year, the resort’s Vice President of Food and Beverage Sebastien Silversti has put together a very special festival that brings the best of Italy to the picturesque property right in the center of the Las Vegas strip. La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival is a weekend celebrating Italian gastronomy at its finest. This tasty weekend, held in conjunction with Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada and La Cucina Italiana magazine, is part of The Venetian’s annual Winter in Venice holiday festival, and will be happening from December 5th to the 8th.
Visitors can enjoy four days of colorful events and mouthwatering culinary experiences, featuring a collaboration between some of the best Italian chefs and culinary celebrities, including, Iron Chef Mario Batali, Dario Cecchini, Chef Wolfgang Puck, Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, Roberto Caporuscio, Anthony Giglio, and Robin Leach.
This gastronomic throwdown is for a good cause; a portion of ticket sales will benefit Keep Memory Alive, supporting the mission of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The weekend is a food and wine lovers’ delight. Why not enjoy Dinner with Wolfgang Puck at CUT in the Palazzo Resort on Thursday, December 5? This palate pleasing experience will team up Chef Wolfgang Puck and Dario Cecchini, the legendary Chianti “Butcher of Panzano,” as they prepare an intimate dinner for VIP guests, press and media. If you want a meal with personality, this is it. These renowned chefs are sure to delight guests, with lively stories and a carnivore’s dream dinner featuring Cecchini’s traditional Tuscan-style dishes.
For the ultimate dining experience, The Grand Banquet is for you. This Italian experience of a lifetime will be held in the Grand Colonnade, at the Venetian Resort on Friday, December 6. Here you can enjoy the ultimate Italian feast as you sit down to a delicious dinner featuring new and old-world Italy, prepared by Batali and Cecchini.
The banquet will be served Tuscan-style in the Venetian Resort’s beautiful Grand Colonnade, and will include such delights as veal carpaccio, 24-month Galardi prosciutto, risotto with white truffles, and a porchetta created by Cecchini that Chef Batali refers to as "the porchetta to end all porchettas."
"This format," adds chef Batali, "will conjure meals eaten in Italy, where banquets are spread out quite literally in the middle of a street. Though something you often find in a Tuscan or Umbrian village, it is a novelty in this country, especially in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip."
Each course will feature a world-class wine pairing by Carmelo Messina and Anthony Giglio. "Very few people have the opportunity to attend an event that so eloquently blends the finest Italian food with extraordinary vintages from renowned Italian wine producers," added Batali.
This Italian extravaganza is about education as well. Stop into ‘How to Italian: An Afternoon of Food & Fun’ at the Palazzo Resort’s Waterfall Atrium, Saturday, December 7 at 11 a.m. This will be an excellent opportunity to experience Italy with an afternoon dedicated to learning about authentic Italy from the world’s greatest chefs and culinary celebrities. La Cucina Italiana magazine’s Anthony Giglio will be the master of ceremonies for an afternoon of fun and food. In a village-like setting, guests will taste some of the finest homemade Italian dishes while learning about authentic artisanal products.
Are you getting hungry yet? Want to mingle with celebrities? Visit Bella Notte, Hosted by none other than Robin Leach at Doge’s Palace at the Venetian on Saturday, December 7at 7 p.m. “Bella Notte” celebrates Italian-Americans who have made a significant impact on the culture of the United States. Honorees and attendees will experience the fine Italian cuisine of visiting chefs from across the country, while enjoying fine entertainment under the stars.
Truffles are nature’s gift, and their aromas and flavors are unmistakable. One event that we will not miss is The Great Venetian Truffle Hunt at Mario Batali’s B&B Ristorante, Carnevino and OTTO Sunday, December 8 at 11 a.m. What a great way to close a memorable weekend than hunt for truffles! Sponsored by Urbani Truffles, the truffle hunt takes place in Chef Batali’s three hotel restaurants. The day kicks off with breakfast, including Cipriani-style Bellinis and Italian coffee. Attendees will each receive half of a golden-colored truffle and, while they sample truffle dishes and paired wines at each venue, they’ll discover if their golden-colored truffle matches one of three hidden throughout the restaurants. The three winners will receive prizes and their names will be entered into a raffle for an once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy to visit the famed La Cucina Italiana Cooking School.
The Venetian/Palazzo Resorts always do everything first class. The La Cucina Italiana Food and Wine Festival is sure to be no exception to the rule. We look forward to a weekend of gastronomic excellence.