Classic food, wine lead to good times

By Amy Shanks

What do Italian food, New Zealand comedians and a tasting of Craggy Range's premiere wine collection have in common? They all took place last night as part of F.A.W.C.

Milk and Honey's executive chef Paolo Pancotti and Jan Patulski, Vetro Fine Mediterranean Foods owner, were in their element at Pasta e Basta - an evening dedicated to all things pasta.

To give people an authentic experience, all pasta and cheeses were imported from Italy while a long table was arranged for communal dining, the European way.

Mr Pancotti came from the kitchen to explain each course and its origins and all the dishes were made from classic recipes passed down through generations of Italian families, combined with fresh Hawke's Bay produce.

Each of the four courses were complemented by one local and one Italian wine match.

And a collection of prestige wines from Craggy Range came out to play during a sold-out vertical tasting in the magical underground cellar dining room last night.

Master of wine and viticulture director for Craggy Range, Steve Smith, hosted a celebration of "The Quarry" - a cabernet sauvignon with small portions of merlot and cabernet franc.

Guests were treated to a taste of "The Quarry" before Mr Smith spoke about the nuances of each vintage.

An unforgettable four-course dinner, matched to the single vineyard wines of Craggy Range, and cooked by head chef Leyton Ashley completed the evening.

Down the road at Black Barn Bistro in Havelock North, a night of fun, frivolity and fabulous food was on the cards.

A three course meal was complimented by the comedic musings of Jessie Mulligan, Urzila Carlson and Guy Williams.

Mr Mulligan, was a regular panelist on TV3's 7 Days, and team captain on Paul Henry's show Would I Lie To You?.

Not only does he have a reputation as an all round funny man, Mr Mulligan is a regular restaurant reviewer for Metro magazine and runs Auckland Food Blog - a witty and occasionally cutting review of the city's food and food personalities.

Ms Carlson has appeared in numerous television shows including, Comedy Christmas Cracker with Rhys Darby, The Jono Project, A Night at the Classic and was also a regular on 7 Days.

Rounding out the group is Mr Williams, this year's Billy T Award winner who has stalked the boards of the New Zealand comedy scene for more than four years, after first appearing on Paul Henry's Breakfast programme as a pro-whaling activist in 2010.

Since then he has worked on The Jono Project, 7 Daysand Jono and Ben at 10.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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