What’s better than three nights of dinners featuring the cuisine of three different regions of Italy?
How about four weeks of dinners featuring the cuisine of four different parts of Italy!
Last year Periwinkle, the Italian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, hosted three dinners over three months featuring authentic cuisine from three different regions of Italy – Campania, Parma and Tuscany. Because of the positive response, this year, the restaurant has enhanced the offering, running it an entire week and expanding it to four regions.
The Tour of Italy series features the talents of Periwinkle’s Italian chef de cuisine, Stefano Attardi, who is from the Campania region of Italy.
The first week of dinners, between 25 February through 3 March, highlighted the cuisine of Chef Attardi’s home region and included eight different dishes served family style. The dinner was served in four courses – antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. There was a choice of two dishes in each course and a couple could try both choices, meaning there were eight different dishes to sample.
The antipasti included Insalata di Mare, a delicious, citrusy salad made with mixed seafood and typical of Campania. Also served with this first course was a trio of appetisers from land, including bruschetta, Parma ham and the most well known of Campania’s cheeses, buffalo mozzarella, set atop a lettuce salad with a colourful combination of fresh tomatoes.
No multi-course Italian meal would be complete without pasta, especially in Campania. Periwinkle served cannelloni Napoletani, named after Campania’s capital city, Naples. This tubular pasta was filled with a mixture of buffalo mozzarella, ricotta cheese and ground beef, topped with a rich tomato and basil sauce.
Perhaps the highlight of the meal was the seafood risotto. Made with mixture of calamari, shrimp, scallops, octopus, mussels, clams and monkfish and cooked in a seafood broth. This creamy dish didn’t use any dairy products, making its texture and rich taste all the more remarkable.
The main course included one seafood dish – crispy skinned fresh snapper – and one unique meat dish called “Braciolette di Manzo”. This savoury dish featured thinly sliced rib eye beef rolled around a mixture of Pecorino cheese, artichokes, wild mushrooms, roasted peppers and pine nuts.
The snapper course featured Castelvetrano olives, which are harvested young and only lightly cured, giving them a bright green colour and meaty texture.
Of course, there was also dessert – an almond chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and almond sponge cake with vanilla bean mousse.
From 25 March to 31 March, the Tour of Italy goes to Puglia – Apulia in English – which is located in the “heel” part of the boot-shaped country.
From 22 to 28 April, the tour moves to the island of Sicily. The four-part Tour of Italy series then concludes from 27 May to 2 June with a visit to the cuisine of Italy’s other big island, Sardinia.
The cost of the Tour of Italy dinners is CI$60 inclusive of gratuities but exclusive of beverages. Periwinkle carries an impressive selection of Italian wines, aperitifs and digestifs.
Although the dinners can be enjoyed by parties of any size, the family-style format of the Tour of Italy dinners and the layout of Periwinkle’s dining areas makes it easy to accommodate groups for celebrations.