Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Italian Cultural Wine Dinner In Bangkok, Thailand


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There are a number of countries that Thailand has had strong historic ties with and Italy, along with, for example, the U.S. and Denmark among others, has been one of these countries. This stretches back to the 19th century when Italian architects and urban designers helped design the canal, or klong, system in Bangkok, as well as some of the larger public places and wide sweeping boulevards, that helped Bangkok to become known as the “Venice of the East.”

This special relationship has endured to this day due to many factors, among them the efforts of some people to maintain and strengthen it. One of these people is Enzo Perrino, the owner of CafĂ© Buongiorno, an Italian restaurant on Sukhumvit Soi 33 who also engages in many other activities including the promotion of his Biscotti brand of cookies and other Italian products. However, on March 6, Mr. Perrino put on his Italian goodwill ambassador hat and hosted a wine dinner at one of Bangkok’s premier Italian restaurants in Bangkok – Rossini’s in the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit Hotel  – that celebrated Italian food, wine and culture.

Actually, Mr. Perrino has been conferred the title of cavaliere by the Italian government which is the equivalent of a knighthood in England and which was given to him for his efforts to promote Italian culture outside of his home country among other accomplishments. On this night he fulfilled his role admirably, guiding the dinner’s attendees through a tour of some of Italy’s regions as they sampled foods and wines representing these areas.

The Rossini staff did an admirable job of assisting Mr. Perrino, especially Chef Gaetano Palumbo from Sicily and food and beverage director Giuseppe Fornillo from Florence. Also integral to the success of the evening were the wines from Italasia, a Bangkok company that imports many Italian food items and wines as well as many other products, and who supplied the wines for the evening’s festivities.

The seven-course meal that Chef Gaetano created touched on a wide variety of Italian foods from venison carpaccio to roasted rack of lamb and hand-made raviolis, each accompanied by a wine that was selected to complement the particular dish. And each course was also accompanied by a brief narrative from Mr. Perrino who showed on a map of Italy the region that the dish represented along with some background information on the region and its culture. The event was actually titled “A Journey In Italy, Culture, Tradition and Lifestyle Wine Dinner” and it lived up to is billing, providing diners with more of an experience than most wine dinners.

This evening was a special one and was enjoyable on many levels with great food and wine, interesting cultural information and engaging conversations. It’s events like this, along with the many other efforts of Mr. Perrino and the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit – which has hosted many Italian special events in its Rossini restaurant – that will keep the strong Italian-Thai relationship flourishing here in Bangkok, the Venice of the East, for years to come.  

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