Rob Stark Photography
Rob Stark Photography
Valentino, the renowned Santa Monica, California, restaurant helmed by Piero Selvaggio, has defined Italian fine dining since its opening in 1972. This month it will help establish the Los Angeles Times’ new Food Bowl culinary festival by hosting four hot-ticket, one-night-only wine dinners curated by Selvaggio and James Beard Award-winning chef Luciano Pellegrini, who recently returned as the restaurant’s executive consulting chef.
All four dinners in the series will feature choice bottles from Valentino’s legendary wine cellar, paired with elaborate seven-course menus showcasing Piedmont on May 5, Tuscany on May 12, Sicily on May 19, and ending on an extravagant note with a Cal-Italian Spectacular on May 26. Selvaggio — who was recently recognized for his career achievements by Wine Spectator Magazine — will share stories about his deep connections to each territory, his love for some of each region’s little-known cooking traditions, and his life-long experiences introducing authentic Italian ingredients and epicurean regional recipes to America.
The wine dinner saluting Piedmont ($99 per guest, plus $75 for optional wine pairing) will feature great wine varietals and truffles, and plates such as veal medallions with freshwater shrimp, and boneless rabbit terrine with sweet pepper coulis. Plates at the Tuscany dinner ($125 per guest, plus $75 for Super Tuscan wine pairings) include steak with Florentine artichokes and sweet spicy shrimp stew. Selvaggio’s roots are in Sicily, so the May 19 Sicily dinner ($99 per guest, plus $55 for wine pairings) promises to be a special presentation of the island’s centuries-old traditions and new directions forged by its world class chefs.
The grand finale Cal-Italian Wine Dinner will be served May 26 in Valentino’s astonishing wine cellar. Selvaggio will open some of his rarest and most-coveted classic California wines, making it a unique opportunity to sample from one of the world’s finest California wine collections. Limited seats are $499 per person for this special tasting from Valentino’s unsurpassed wine list that has won Wine Spectator’s Grand Award every year since 1981.