La Dolce Vita
Dr. Nestor Alonso ll (The Freeman) - September 28, 2017 - 4:00pm

CEBU, Philippines — In 1960, Federico Fellini directed the Italian drama film, “La Dolce Vita” (The Sweet Life). The story followed a journalist writing for a magazine about his adventures in Rome. The movie won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.

This year, 2017, I have the privilege to record the fellowship dinner called “La Dolce Vita” of the premier dining club, La Chaine des Rotisseurs, held at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

The dress code was black for men and white for women, and the cocktails started at 6:30 p.m. before dinner at 8 p.m. Welcome drink was Romio Prosecco D.O.C. Italy and the Cocktails Pass Around or Antipasto All’ Italiana were: Parmesan basket with herb-grilled vegetables, Speck with Truffle Goat Cheese, Apple Mustard Chutney and Walnut, Prawn with Lemon Confit Chips and the Lamb Loin with Jelly.

The beautifully decorated tables were laden with more appetizers – cold cuts, breads, olives, fruits, nuts and sun-dried vegetables – just like the Family table in old Italy. Once seated, guests helped themselves to whatever they desired. The problem, however, was the tendency to forget that the dinner had merely begun and there might be a food overload further.

The white wine, Il Rocco Vermentino Sardegna D.O.C Italy, was poured; followed by the soup, Zuppetta di Vongole Veraci e Pomodorini con Fregula Sarda (Clam Soup with Grapes, Tomatoes and Sardinian Fregula). This was my first encounter with the fregula, a type of pasta made with semolina dough from Sardinia, and it was a statement from the Corporate Chef Giovanni Sias, who hails from this island. New taste sensations would be felt with the “punaw” mixed with tomato and grapes.

Pinot Grigio Venetto Italy, the third wine, was served together with the pasta dish, the Tagliatelle Fresche all’uovo al Parmigiano Con Tartufo Nero Estivo (Tagliatelle in Parmesan with Black Summer Truffle). Pasta is often served in Italian dinners but what really surprised me was the intensity of the earthly deliciousness of the truffle shavings. The parmesan cheese tweaked further its umani flavors making this pasta the best tasting pasta I had ever eaten as a food writer.

Waterfront Cebu GM Anders Hallden revealed that a kilo of truffles was flown in.

The Italian sorbet was served, the Campari Granita, followed by the main dish the Filleto Di Manzo al Marsala e Funghi Porcini, Tortino Di Patate con Pancetta (Pan-Roasted U.S. Beef Tenderloin with Marsala Wine Sauce). It was paired with the 2014 Piccini Chainti Reserva D.O.C.G. Italy. Delicious!

The dessert, Mousse di Cioccolato all’ Amaretto (Amaretto Chocolate Mousse, Fresh Italian Meringue with Chantilly Cream), was paired with the Cantini Intorcia Marsala Italy. The last course of this wonderful dinner was the Formaggi or Cheese Buffet. The buffet is the fourth type of food service (Pass Around, Family, Plated and Buffet), and this was the first dinner I had with all four methods.

During the food tasting where the officers approved the food to be served, I could not appreciate any of the cheeses because I ate too many items in the Family table. During the dinner, I was determined not to repeat, excuse me, my gluttonous mistake. There were Malagos cheeses (Blush, Blue Goat and La Maria), and Fontina cheese for the very adventurous.

Congratulation to the management and staff of Waterfront Cebu City Hotel for bringing La Dolce Vita to Cebu! (FREEMAN)

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