Celebrate and enjoy the very best of Italian Cuisine with the Orient-Express Dining with the Stars weekends during 2012.
Italians have a well earned reputation for their love of food, with their cuisine forming the centre piece for many a social gathering. As such, Orient-Express’ Italian gems have put together Dining with the Stars, a series of five culinary weekends that will celebrate the fine art of Italian gastronomy.
Running from March to November, ten Michelin starred chefs with an impressive 21 stars between them will produce some of their finest menus exclusively for the hotels’ guests in Venice, Portofino, Taormina, Ravello, and Florence. Incorporating two gourmet dinners, an excursion to a local site of importance and accommodation in luxury suites, the weekends are set to be the ultimate experience for gourmand travellers with sophisticated and adventurous palates.
The first culinary weekend will take place at the iconic Hotel Cipriani in Venice from 17th – 19th March. Filippo Chiappini Dattilo, owner of Michelin starred restaurant Antica Osteria del Teatro in Piacenza will recreate dishes from his kitchens on March 17th. Three Michelin-starred Chef Massimo Bottura will then take his turn to create his masterpieces on March 18th. Guests will stay in a Junior Suite with daily breakfast and will be whisked away for a guided visit of the famous Fortuny atelier on Giudecca Island during their stay, the only atelier in the world still producing the fabrics designed by Mariano Fortuny. They will also be treated to a visit to the ancient Bevilacqua weaving mill, which uses the same hand operated antique looms and techniques employed during the Renaissance.
On 14th and 15th April, Hotel Splendido in Portofino will play host to three chefs, brothers Chicco and Bobo Cerea, and Pino Cuttaia, who between them hold five Michelin stars. Chicco and Bobo are passionate about creating modern Italian cuisine that retains strong links to tradition, and have a particular passion for concocting experimental desserts. Pino will use his skills to create a gastronomic journey of Sicilian delights. As part of their weekend experience, guests will be taken on a guided visit of the Cervara Abbey in Portofino where they will be treated to an exclusive harp and violin concert in the private gardens of the historical site.
At Grand Hotel Timeo and Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina, foodies will have the pleasure of sampling the culinary skills of Pietro Leemann, who owns the first ever vegetarian restaurant to earn a Michelin star, and who will be creating an entirely vegetarian degustation menu for guests on September 29th. The following evening, Heinz Beck will work his magic in the kitchens, using Taormina’s most luscious crop, the tomato. Guests making the journey to Taormina for this culinary weekend will be treated to a visit to Catania fish market to learn about the different varieties of fish that can be found in the waters of Sicily, and also to a puppet-making workshop, to hear about the history of the craft integral to Sicilian culture.
With the weather still warm and sunny in Ravello, Hotel Caruso on the Amalfi Coast will provide an idyllic backdrop for the penultimate Dining with the Stars weekend. On October 20th and 21st, Norbert Niederkofler, founder of the Chef’s Cup in Italy, and Niko Romito, whose essential ingredients include cheeses from the Abruzzi region and extra virgin olive oil, will work their magic. During their stay, guests will have the chance to waltz the night away to the classic tunes of Wagner, who visited and was inspired by the historical town of Ravello.
Perhaps the most apt setting for the grand finale of the Dining with the Stars extravaganzas is Villa San Michele in Florence, home to the world famous cookery school. Gennaro Esposito, who is chief organiser of the Feast of Vico, a three day food festival that draws 150 chefs to the Amalfi Coast, and Mauro Uliassi, whose forte lies in creating seafood dishes, will cook up a Michelin starred storm on November 3rd and 4th. To complete their Italian gastronomic experience, guests will also be taken on a truffle hunting excursion with a specially trained dog around the San Miniato region, a tiny Tuscan hilltop village in the hills near Florence, and will learn how the powerful flavours of truffle, one of nature’s gourmet wonders, can transform the simplest of dishes.
Rates for the Dining with the Stars weekends start from €3,910 (approximately £3,294) per couple, and include two nights accommodation in a Junior Suite, daily breakfast, two gourmet dinners cooked by two Michelin starred chefs, and an exclusive local excursion.
For further information or to make a booking please call Orient-Express on 0845 077 2222.