Who doesn’t like an ice-cold pint of Peroni Nastro Azzuro on a warm Los Angeles evening? It’s crisp. It’s clean and refreshingly tasty with its citrus and spicy aromatic notes, and fast finish. And of course, it’s Italian. So, what libation would be better to kick off Italian Heritage Month in tandem with the brand spanking new Italian American Museum of Los Angeles, especially on this – their 50th anniversary year? Peroni even topped their own original appeal with a spectacular array of creative libations created by their exclusive mixologists to match five sensational courses crafted by legendary Chef Celestino Drago during a special intimate evening at his elegant downtown restaurant, Drago Centro. The magical evening served as a tantalizing precursor to what is about to transpire this weekend – the sixth annual Taste of Italy, presented by IAMLA before their curtain has even risen.
The balmy evening began outside in Drago’s fire lit courtyard with a lovely assortment of yummy hors d’oeuvres from tuna tartar to pizza, and paired with a Peroni Spritz (light and lovely), Marco Polo (deep and baudy) and Salty Maltese (fruity and refreshing). My favorite of the drinks was Peroni’s Salty Maltese, made with Carpano Antica and Grapefruit. Then we were invited to sit at a beautifully prepared table and greeted by Chef Celestino Drago. He was gracious and relaxed. We lit up when he came by and talked with us, as his restaurant and culinary creations were nothing but fabulous. From the Fiori di Zucca e Cappesante, paired with Peroni’s Michelada, Fettuccini Carbonara, paired with a Bella Nastro, and Guancia di Vitello e Risotto alls Milanese, paired with tall glasses of Peroni Nastro Azzuro lager, and finally Tiramisu, paired with Peroni’s Common Vices, we were all satiated and happy. And, this was only the inauguration of the Taste of Italy!
This weekend’s cultural-gastronomic event will feature Drago Centro and Peroni Nastro Azzuro, along with 50 of the region’s best restaurants from the likes of Valentino, Locanda Del Lago, Il Fornaio, Naples, Al Bacio, GROM, Celestino, as well as Italian and California-Italian wineries, among of which will be Casa Torelli, Le Vigne, Mazzocco, Ventura Limoncello and more. From This Saturday, October 11th, from 5:00-10:00PM 424 North Main Street will be burgeoning with musical entertainment by Swing Dolls, the LA Opera, the sultry sounds of Frank Sinatra by Nick D’Egidio, as well La Dolce Vita and the Lorenzo Grassi Group, cooking demonstrations by Chef Nico Chessa of Valentino and Di Stefano Cheese, and of course celebrity guests. It’s LA, people! The Taste of Italy will be an incredible experience, offering a true Italian lifestyle experience where “food, wine and culture are interconnected,” as Marianna Gatto, Executive Director of the IAMLA and historian, relayed. And simultaneously, it will be a wonderful means to benefit IAMLA, as proceeds will help to build and sustain their programs. “The Italian American Heritage Museum of Los Angeles will be open in the next few months,” promises Paul Pagnone, President of the IAMLA, “and Taste of Italy is a special opportunity to celebrate the Italian and Italian-American legacy and contributions in the heart of Los Angeles.”
Located in the oldest remaining structure from Los Angeles’ historic little Italy, Italian Hall, will house the new site of IAMLA, which will be opening the doors to the public in 2015. The museum will be a “21st century, interactive museum that documents the history and continuing contributions of Italian Americans and Italians to Southern California and the nation. Featuring interactive exhibits and educational programming, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles will provide visitors of all ages and origins a meaningful understanding of the complex, multi-cultural fabric of the United States.” Having Italian blood coursing through my veins from my Sicilian Pappa, I for one am not only totally excited about the Taste of Italy coming up with Saturday, but also about develop a greater knowledge of my roots by exploring all that will be offered at IAMLA throughout the coming years. Come too, and enjoy, indulge, experience, learn!
WHAT: The Italian American Heritage Museum of Los Angeles’ Taste of Italy
WHEN: October 11, 2014 from 5:00-10:00PM
WHERE: 424 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
WHY: Proceeds front he event will support the Italian American Museum’s exhibitions and the preservation of the Italian Hall (the building in which the Museum is located).
COST: $55 General Admission ($5 discount for LaLaScoop Readers with discount code “Scoop5” ) and includes 6 food + 6 wine tastings, $125 Premiere includes 8 food + 8 wine tasting, VIP bag, and red carpet entrance)
TICKETS/INFO: http://italianhall.org/taste-of-italy-los-angeles/ or tel. 213.485.8432