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Italian Food Festival at Bene, Sheraton Bangalore

I loved the dinner and the evening will be a sweet memory for my friend and myself, who is soon moving away, so it was one last foodie adventure together.

An excellent bottle of Chianti, a charming celebrity chef straight from Milan, and food that made us want to lick our plates clean: what more could two stressed out gals ask for on a weekday evening?! The Sheraton Bangalore’s latest food festival is at their specialty Italian restaurant, Bene. This is where Chef Enrico Fiorentini is kept busy whipping up creative, delectable items from the Lombardy region of Italy, known for its dairy preparations, which he showcased in different ways. This included a Parmesan ice cream that was a big hit with moi. The festival, which began on the 9th of November and continues through the 18th, is not to be missed if you’re a fan of Italian cuisine. Its a great opportunity to eat special delicacies and have a chat with the visiting Chef.

There are soups, salads, pastas, meat course and of course, dessert on the special menu created for this event, which begins with an introduction written by Chef  Enrico. There’s enough variety to keep the vegetarians, meat eaters (there are a couple of rabbit meat offerings), fish lovers et all, quite happy. Over the course of our meal, I learned that Lombardian cuisine focuses on rice and one of my comfort food favorites, Risotto, is a Milanese specialty. Risotto was thus featured on the menu in it’s own section, The Risotto’s Pot, with preparations including a lovely Il Risotto Mari e Monti Carnaroli ai funghi, infuso di porcini e tartara di gamberoni all’erba ciopollina aka Mushroom risotto, cepes infusion and chives prawn tartare (995), that my friend and I absolutely loved.

We also had the Tortelli di zucca alla Mantovana con gli amaretti e la mostarda, Pumpkin ravioli with a touch of amaretti cookies & candied-spiced fruits (445) that had just the perfect touch of sweetness and brought a different element to my pasta course. The really fun item was the Gnocchetti di patate allo zafferano sulla loro terra, germogli e schiuma al Parmigiano, Saffron flavored potato dumplings served on their own soil, sprouts and Parmesan cheese foam (485). The soil looked like it but tasted chocolatey, and on questioning, I found that it indeed, was created with cheese and cocoa!

For the meat course, we tried the L’ossobuco in gremolada secondo la ricetta originale “MA” di tacchino con risotto alla Milanese, which translates as Stewed turkey ossobuco with tomato and vegetable sauce, served with saffron risotto (995), and the Costolette d’agnello in panuria di polenta al Parmigiano, divine, crunchy, perfectly cooked Butter pan fried lamb chops in a herbed polenta crumbing (1595). This was a novel and extremely satisfying dish, the crunchy, coated outside and the soft and tender flesh inside… yum!

At this point we were both beginning to feel stuffed, but who could resist the sirenesque call of Le Coccole lombarde… Lombardy Sweet cuddles… dessert? So we made the sacrifice and dug into Pera al vino rosso, con gelato alla panna e Grana Padano e biscotto all’anice, Red wine poached pear served with double cream & Parmesan cheese ice cream and anise egg free biscuit (475) and Mousse di cioccolato e mascarpone con cialdine di “Brutti & Buoni” or Double chocolate & mascarpone cheese mousse with “Brutti e Buoni” hazelnut crunchy bisquit (475). Both made me very happy, and I ended up digging into my friend’s plate for one last bite of the Parmesan cheese ice cream, salty and cheesy, though she was not particularly thrilled by a salty dessert.

I loved the dinner and the evening will be a sweet memory for my friend and myself, who is soon moving away, so it was one last foodie adventure together. Do visit – you can go for lunch or dinner, since the special menu is available for both. Buon appetito!

By Natasha Ali

Natasha's first foray into food writing has been with Chef at Large. Who knew all those years spent eating food, reading about it and looking for the next restaurant to try or watching cooking shows would have left such an indelible impression?! She's back in India after having spent over a decade in the US where she studied as well as taught in academia and now works as a content writer seeing as she can write about pretty much anything. Movie mad, obsessed with the English language, and never one to turn down a glass of good wine, cup of tea, or a good book, she's open to trying any dish once, she enjoys a variety of cuisines with favorites being Ethiopian, Thai, and Lebanese.

Natasha covers Bangalore for Chef at Large and can be reached at natasha.ali@www.chefatlarge.in