Bertolli’s “Into the heart of Italy”!

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Last week I had the privilege of being a guest of Bertolli at their “Into the heart of Italy” premiere launch in NYC! When they extended the invitation to the event it took me all of two seconds to say an emphatic YES, YES YES I’d LOVE to attend. You see for me, being around people that share my passion for Italy & all things Italian (especially the FOOD) is a treat!

Not to mention it was extra special because, I know *gasp* *shock* this was my FIRST trip to NYC! I can’t believe it myself, I’ve been around the world (well okay not completely around it but let’s just suffice it to say I’ve been A LOT of places) but not to NYC.

I arrived into NYC at night and the city was electric! I had a fantastic Limo Driver who gave me commentary on everything as it whizzed by me. I truly felt like Alice in Wonderland! I was taken with the skyline, the sea of lights, the people and the sounds (& yes it’s true this city never sleeps) I arrived at my swanky swanky hotel, The Hudson (which is so uber cool that they don’t even have a sign outside. Good thing I had a driver or I certainly would have missed it) and knew immediately from Madonna’s music wafting through the air that I was going to like this place. It was a mix of modern, hip, & chic. VERY low lighting and eclectic furnishings! All in the details, even the inside of the elevators were snappy textural walls! They even had a sky terrace of which I was super excited to see so I could snap some shots of the skyline, but alas, tried as I did to coerce them to let me  boo hiss it wasn’t open yet! Rain check for certain!

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The room was beautifully decorated albeit small ehem cozy. The Brazilian cherry floors, the mix of stainless steel, and Japanese touches (how cool is that bed, I mean really) It was def cozy! But perfect for just little ol me. I decided that it was much too late for me to venture out on my own & ordered room service instead. I had an artichoke/fennel dip served with toasted country bread that was ah-mazing! I can’t wait to try and re-create this dish! & it was even baked in a small cast iron skillet & of course I added some wine to my order to help me wind down. I was on the 23rd floor, which I was told was a “quiet” floor. Ehem perhaps my quiet and her quiet not so much the same. Next time I’ll remember the melatonin and all will be good ; ) I know, I know.. the city that never sleeps! But seriously what are these people doing at 3 am?

The next morning I met Lori from RecipeGirl (who is just as beautiful in person) in the lobby & we headed over to a breakfast meeting at the Landmarc Restaurant. Yes, it too was fancy schmancy. We met our very snappy PR Executive there & the sweet as pie Tina from CarrotsnCake. We talked & talked & talked & oh yes ate ; ) Our server couldn’t have been any more attentive & entertaining. I had a bowl of fresh vibrant fruits and to balance that out a baguette with NUTELLA (you knew I was going to fit it in somewhere LOL) & at the end of our meal our server brought us cherry cotton candy *swoon*. Yes, I love this restaurant.

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Now off to explore the city! It was a beautiful sunny day. Perfect for exploring. Lori & I had such fun wandering around. We strolled through Central Park, the Theater District and Times Square. We had been on a mission to find a cupcake shop & low & behold a guy bumped into me carrying a HUGE sack of cupcakes! After I realized what they were I maniacally I mean sweetly caught up to him to ask him where he got them! Yes SCORE (you know we went back to get one don’t you ; ) ! I sadly was having so much fun though I didn’t even eat mine. I later gave it to Tina, so Tina let me know how it was ; ) Then we headed back to the (insert sexy voice here) Hudson to freshen up before our Luncheon.

We arrived at A Voce (Italian for voice) Restaurant, checked our coats and were led into a private room (where the glass walls were encased with wines, glorious wines) Here we met the other VIP bloggers: Lori from My Wooden Spoon, Vera from INO Mommy, Sabrina from Rhodey Girls Tests & Chris from Pardon that Vine. We were served wine and chit chatted for a few minutes before we were led into yet another private room where the luncheon was held.

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{photo credit: Kevin Mazur, Getty}

The tables were beautifully set. Look at those centerpieces (lurve those mushrooms). Even the view was spectacular. Here we were joined by Bertolli executives, PR executives, Media personalities and of course the stars of the event: Rocco DiSpirito, Marisa Tomei & Dan Cortese. We were greeted and then the food, ah the food service started.

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{photo credit: Kevin Mazur, Getty}

The food was created especially for this event & the chef de cuisine was flawless. The food was mamma mia spettacolo! It was as if I was in Italy eating. First course was Funghi al Forno {Baked Mushrooms} Roasted Trumphet Royal Mushrooms, Fonduta, Mache, hazelnuts. I don’t think I’ve ever had a mushroom dish quite like this. I wanted to lick the plate (but thought better of it LOL) I relished every single bite.

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Christine from Bertolli (who has one of the most beautiful speaking voices I have ever heard seriously) began to share with us about “Into the heart of Italy” the story/passion behind it, the experience of it. She spoke with such passion and eloquence. A passion I know well. A passion that is indeed hard to put into words, but she conveyed this beautifully.

Italy took a hold of me from the moment my plane arrived and hasn’t let go since and I can say with certainty that I know it never will. I wish everyone could experience Italy the way I have and feel it’s passion. To get you a little closer to feeling that passion (or bringing it back if you’ve already) Bertolli has put together a series of webisodes titled “Into the Heart of Italy: Six Adventures, Three Celebrities, One Mission…To Unlock the Secrets of Italian Passion for Food and Life.” The series features celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito and actors Marisa Tomei & Dan Cortese as they explore the food and culture of Italy. The videos are beautifully shot , you can see the first episode below.

Almost seamlessly we segwayed into our next course: Farfalle {Butterfly pasta} Rapini, Calabrian Chilies, Pecorino Romano Can I just say this dish was the perfect balance of spice & nice. The Calabrian chilies are magical and the Pecorino cheese a beautiful finish.

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Next up Brasato: red wine braised beef short ribs, farro, root vegetable soffrito, marrow. The meat was so tender you needed not a knife, oh no, it was like buttah. It melted in your mouth. Just when you think the dishes can’t get any better they did. This was outstanding.

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And then, ah Parmigiano Reggiano: Primolio, balsamic Okay you all know how much I love my Ferrari of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano *swoon*

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and now last but not least for dessert Bombolini alla Toscana: Tuscan doughnuts, bittersweet chocolate. I literally had to stop myself from eating the entire plate of these. The creamy inside, the sugary outside, the sweetness of the dough & then the chocolate. Heavenly I tell you!

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This was such an incredible meal. Great food & great company. Exactly what an Italian meal should be! I enjoyed EVERY bit of it. After this meal I REALLY needed a nap, but no time to rest, Rocco & Dan came over to our table and we got to spend time chatting with them both. They were gracious & charming (I know you’re wondering…Marisa had to leave during the meal service so sadly we didn’t even get a chance to chat with her, maybe next time)

Next up time to learn that Farfalle Pinch! We went back into the fabulous glass encased wine room where the pasta was set up & ready for us. The chef de cuisine joined us as well as Rocco & Dan. It was nice to be in such a small intimate setting with them. We got to chat more with them, hear about that pinch, see it & try it out for ourselves. I can’t wait to make this & of course try to recreate the dish we had.

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{photo credit: Kevin Mazur, Getty}

Don’t you want to go to ITALY right now? I know I do! Well you might be in luck…Bertolli is giving away trip ”Into the Heart of ITALY” I’m hesitant to share the link because of course I want to win, but that wouldn’t be very nice of me now would it LOL. You can read about the rules and regulations and ENTER HERE to win a trip of a lifetime “Into the heart of Italy” Remember, if you win and need a translator I’m available *wink wink* Have passport will travel!

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I truly enjoyed meeting each one of these bloggers! Lori from My Wooden Spoon sat next to me and is one of the most genuine girls I have ever met. Just lurved her! Vera couldn’t be any more adorable (Vera I’m going to try my hardest to get you to try new foods ; ) ! Lori from RecipeGirl is gifted & gorgeous (loved touring the city with her, mwah thanks Lori) Sabrina who I chatted up a storm with in Italian with is precious (ci sentiamo)! Tina from CarrotsnCake is loverly and was a trooper even though she was under the weather (hope that cupcake helped out). And Chris from Pardon that Vine was charming. Just fantastic Foodie friends!

Grazie mille to Bertolli for inviting me to such a spectacular event. I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series unfold! Bravo for a job well done!

Alla prossima volta (until next time)

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Disclaimer: Travel & Accomodations were provided by Bertolli

22 Comments

  1. 1

    Wow, thanks for sharing this Paula, gives us all something to strive for. Course, you’ve raised the bar so high, gives us all something to strive harder for! Love the mushroom centerpiece, too. You have to admire the mind that thinks things like that up!!

  2. 2

    Congrats!!!!! That looks like so so much fun. I feel so much envy. (LOL)

  3. 3

    This sounds like such an amazing event! I love reading the recaps.

  4. 4

    What fun, Paula! Thanks for posting all those great photos. What a great experience. I love that little hotel room!

  5. 5

    That must have been a great time! Isn’t NYC amazing? I just went for the first time last year. Okay, I am off to check out some of your recipes to make for dinner this week.

  6. 6
    Carol /

    WOW, how wonderful for you. I totally and competely enjoyed hearing about your whole New York experience. Wonderful, good for you! P.S. I lived in New York for 14 years as a single girl and that was an experience I’ll never forget.

  7. 7

    I had so much fun meeting you! And your pictures are so beautiful!

    Until next time
    :)
    Vera

  8. 8

    Thank you for sharing your post with me! It was a fantastic day wasn’t it? Hope to chat soon! A presto!

  9. 9

    Great post! I guess I should have brought my camera to take more food pics. It was lovely meeting you… had such a wonderful time getting blisters w/ you. Next time we’ll hit Magnolia bakery!

  10. 10

    What a thrill for you to attend this great event and to visit NYC for your first time. I hope that you come on over to my blog after reading this to see my photos of my whirlwind trip to NYC a week ago. I gained 5 pounds from so much wonderful food! Italian food reigns in NYC too! Maybe we were there at the same time, who knows! I love the Bertolli Italian online videos too . . . it’s about time! Ciao, Roz

  11. 11

    Sounds like a FANTASTIC time! And the food looks delish!

  12. 12

    Wow, what a feast! Sounds like a wonderful time :)

  13. 13

    what a dream come true! so glad you enjoyed it – i think we’re all jealous-ly happy for you;)

  14. 14

    New York is magical, isn’t it? Sounds like you had an amazing time, and I’m super jealous of all of that amazing food!

  15. 15
    Val Roark /

    Paula,

    Sounds like an unbelievable trip! Thanks for sharing it with us! I ate at A Voce a few years ago and had the Bombolini! I haven’t forgotten how yummy they were! Can’t wait to go back!

  16. 16

    Paula, I so WISH I were there with you! Oh man, looks like you had a fabulous time!!! You are way too cute to boot! So happy to call you my friend lady!! Un BESOTE!!

  17. 17

    What an awesome expereince…Lucky lucky you!!

  18. 18

    What a fun event! SO JEALOUS! ;) I’m looking forward to the rest of the episodes–too fun!

  19. 19
    Beth /

    Amazing! I am so proud of you!!!

  20. 20
    Anne-Marie /

    Paula, you friended me on Tasty Kitchen a few months ago. I wasn’t able to cook much cook over the winter and I’ve just begun getting back into it. I finally checked out your website. It is so beautiful! Congratulations on making your passion come alive! Two things, non-cooking related: I was just in NYC last fall. Isn’t it the greatest place?! Also, I’m taking my first trip ever to Italy in September. I’m very excited.

    I look forward to exploring your site and your recipes further!

  21. 21

    Sounds like a fun time! Sorry I missed you by a few days in NYC… We’ll just have to find another excuse to get together another time. :)

  22. 22

    Paula thanks for the recap – like Rachael, SO JEALOUS! But can’t think of anyone better to attend that event than you!

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