A Special Sardinian Food and Wine Night
There was a queer stillness in the air, and the view of the three long tables from outside the entrance door of the restaurant was almost intimidating. I took a look at my watch and stepped in. It was 7:00 pm., and in another thirty minutes the guests would start coming. I counted the seats for each table: 24, 25 and 14. Sixty-three. We were told that the maximum number of people the restaurant could host was sixty-two, with an additional extra seat for the friend of a couple who was visiting Hong Kong on that day, and could not miss the opportunity of a ‘Sardinian Food and Wine Dinner’. I glanced at the bar area. Ciriaco and the Wine Master, Piero Cella, sat on stools, enjoying their first glasses of wine during the wait. I didn’t join them, since I was not yet in the mood for wine, and I envied their calm composure. Everything looked perfect: the table setting, the menu – printed on nice paper, the ambience. And yet, I felt nervous.
The first three guests arrived, sporting big smiles and t-shirts celebrating Sardinia’s heritage and folklore. Slowly, other people came in and, after shaking hands and greeting new and well-known faces, we guided them to their tables. In the blink of an eye, everyone was ready for dinner.
Right after the appetiser, Piero talked about Sardinian wines, their ancient tradition, the different terroir of each grape, the influence of the sea – its presence around the island a blessing that denotes Sardinia’s peculiarity and uniqueness.
It was then Patty’s turn. She is an active member of the Italian Women’s Association and she briefly illustrated the project that the Association shared with Beyond Thirty-nine, thanks to the funds that would be raised during the dinner: the purchase of books in English for the local school ‘TWGHs Ko Ho Ning Memorial Primary School’. Patty has been teaching there on a voluntary basis and she could witness the children’s avid interest in books.
Once the talks were over, I finally sat down and relaxed. My pasta with bottarga waited for me, together with a glass of vermentino, and much more was on its way. I took one more look at the other tables. I could see satisfied faces and a real curiosity for what was being served. Bottoms up: it was the beginning of a great night.
And indeed, the ‘Sardinian Food and Wine dinner’, held on 27th of May at ‘Va Bene’ Restaurant was a very successful event. We regretfully had to turn away more reservations, since the restaurant was fully booked. It was really gratifying to see people from all over the world taking part in this special night, with such enthusiasm and open heart. The fundraising went very well too: we raised HKD 7,600 and there will be plenty of English books to be purchased for the schoolchildren.
Many are the people we’d like to thank, who helped make this event a special one.
Firstly, all our guests who, with their good participation and enthusiasm, contributed to the amazing outcome of the dinner.
Ciriaco, Piero Cella and Antonello Muscau, for putting together with great expertise an array of Sardinian products and wines, bringing to Hong Kong a flavourful part of their island.
Paolo Monti (from ‘Gaia’ Restaurant) and Fabio Sgro’ (from ‘Va Bene’ Restaurant), the Chefs who worked in team to create dishes that greatly enhanced the Sardinian ingredients.
Matteo Anzuinelli, ‘Va Bene’ restaurant’s Manager, who was able to accommodate every guest’s request.
The Italian Women’s Association – and our outgoing President, Mariapaola Paiola – for always welcoming any idea sprouting from the beautiful cooperation between the Association and Beyond Thirty-nine, and which is based on the common desire to support meaningful cultural projects.
This event was only the start of a bigger project: introducing a wide offer of Sardinian products and wines in Hong Kong. It’s a treasure trove of regional specialties that only needs to be uncovered and presented to a discerning public, always hungry for quality products.
See you in October for some other great initiatives, then.