In just about a month, all-things-Italian will be celebrated at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
Even though wine-drinking in Italy is in a slump, it’ll be alive and well at The Venetian’s La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival, which is scheduled for December 5-8. It’s part of the resort’s annual Winter in Venice holiday festival.
Celebrities scheduled to attend include:
• Chef Mario Batali
• Dario Cecchini
• Chef Wolfgang Puck
• Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro
• Roberto Caporuscio
• Anthony Giglio
• Robin Leach
A portion of ticket sales will benefit Keep Memory Alive, supporting the mission of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
Here’s a look at the marquee events, as described on The Venetian’s website…
• Dinner with Wolfgang Puck
CUT, The Palazzo
Thursday, December 5, 7-9 p.m.
Chef Wolfgang Puck teams with Dario Cecchini, the legendary Chianti “Butcher of Panzano,” to prepare an intimate dinner for VIP guests, press and media. If you want a meal with personality, this is it. The chefs will delight guests at CUT, with lively stories and a carnivore’s dream dinner featuring Cecchini’s traditional Tuscan-style dishes. ($250 per person)
• The Grand Banquet
Grand Colonnade, The Venetian
Friday, December 6, 7-11 p.m.
Guests are presented with the ultimate Italian feast as they sit down to a sumptuous dinner pairing new- and old-world Italy, prepared by Mario Batali and Dario Cecchini. The banquet will be Tuscan-style in the hotel’s iconic Grand Colonnade, and will include such fare as veal Carpaccio, 24-month Galardi prosciutto, risotto with white truffle, and aporchetta created by Cecchini that Chef Batali refers to as “the porchetta to end all porchettas. This format,” adds Chef Batali, “will conjure meals eaten in Italy, where banquets are spread out quite literally in the middle of a street. Though something you often find in a Tuscan or Umbrian village, it is a novelty in this country, especially in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.” Each course will feature a world-class wine pairing by Carmelo Messina and Anthony Giglio. ($500 per person)
• How to Italian — An Afternoon of Food & Fun
The Palazzo Waterfall Atrium
Saturday, December 7, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Experience Italy with an afternoon dedicated to learning about authentic Italy from the world’s greatest chefs and culinary celebrities. La Cucina Italiana magazine’s own Anthony Giglio will be the master of ceremonies for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. In a village-like setting, taste some of the finest homemade Italian treats while learning about authentic artisanal products. Throughout the day on center stage, interact with celebrity chefs and mixologists from the U.S. and Italy, who will inspire the most modest chef to try new things. ($50 per person)
• Bella Notte
Doges Palace, The Venetian
Saturday, December 7, 7-10 p.m.
Hosted by Robin Leach, “Bella Notte” will celebrate Italian-Americans who have made a significant impact on the culture of the United States. Honorees and attendees will experience the fine Italian cuisine of visiting chefs from across the country, while enjoying fine entertainment under the stars. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. ($150 per person)
7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
• The Great Venetian Truffle Hunt
B&B Ristorante, Carnevino and OTTO
Sunday, December 8, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
At this closing event, your odds of winning a trip to Italy are much better than finding a truffle in the wild. Sponsored by Urbani Truffles, the truffle hunt takes place in Chef Batali’s three hotel restaurants. The day kicks off with breakfast, including Cipriani-style Bellinis and Italian coffee. Attendees will each receive half of a golden-colored truffle and, while they sample truffle dishes and paired wines at each venue, they’ll discover if their golden-colored truffle matches one of three hidden throughout the restaurants.
The three winners will receive prizes and their names will be entered into a raffle for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy to visit the famed La Cucina Italiana Cooking School. ($150 per person)
To learn more or to purchase tickets for La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival, click here (http://www.venetian.com/Las-Vegas-Entertainment/Special-Events/La-Cucina-Italiana/).