Le Vele Regional Wine Dinner


“Food is more essential than clothes”



On Thursday, April 25th at 7:00PM, Le Vele will be celebrating the cuisine of Sicily in its first regional dinner of the year. This incredible dining experience features a mouth-watering 5 course meal each perfectly paired with a selection of Sicily’s most iconic wines.


As one of the 20 regions of Italy, Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea located just off the “toe” of Italy’s “boot.” Often nicknamed God’s Kitchen, Sicily has a long history of producing a variety of noted cuisines and wines, and every part of Sicily has its own specialty. Sicilian cuisine is unique in that is shows traces of all cultures that have existed on the island over the last two millennia. Although its cuisine has a lot in common with Italian dishes, Sicilian food also has Greek, Spanish, French and Arab influences. Savoury meals are healthy, using seasonal fresh vegetables coupled with freshly caught seafood from the surrounding coastlines including tuna, swordfish, sardines and others. Additionally, Sicily is the third largest wine producer in Italy.

Located on the waterfront in George Town, the dinner begins with an Aperetivo or Appetizer of Arancini di Riso, which is Sicily’s famous rice balls filled with tomato, Mozzarella and green peas accompanied with tempura of cauliflower. It is said that Arancini are to have originated in 10th century Sicily at the time when the island was under Arab rule. This course is paired with a glass of Etna Rosso. As one of the most famous products of Sicilian winemaking, Etna Rosso is grown on the band that covers the slops in Etna, in the north-east of Sicily. Derived from grapes Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Cappuccio and other grapes, Etna Rosso offers a rich bouquet of cherries under spirits and spicy notes of cinnamon and black pepper. The palate is warm and enveloping, full and harmonious with balance tannins.

The Antipasto, the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal, features Eggplant Parmigiana and Sardines Beccafico style, which is a summertime Mediterranean starter stuffed with baked sardines. As one of the classic dishes of southern Italy and Sicily, it is believed that this dish dates back as far as the late 1300s. In fact, it is believed that the eggplant made its first appearance in Italy in Sicily. This dish is accompanied with a glass of Etna Bianco. Also, from the Mount Etna region, Etna Bianco wines are largely, if not entirely, made from the carricante grape, an ancient white grape variety from eastern Sicily thought to have been growing on the volcanic slopes of Mt. Etna for over a thousand years. Even though the Etna region is known primarily for its red wines, Etna Bianco is one of Italy’s most compelling white wines, wholly different from any other and is known for its savory elements.

Next up is the Primo or first course dish of Spaghetti alla Norma, which is a beautifully simple, classic Sicilian pasta dish. It is one of the most well-known Italian pasta dishes and is very typical of Sicilian cuisine created originally in Catania, Sicily. Described as a hug in a bowl, this iconic dish features aubergine (eggplant), which takes on the most amazing texture, capers, sweet tomato sauce and basil, which gives it a lovely warmth. This dish is accompanied with a glass of Mamertino, a wine rooted in antiquity when the Mamertini produced this wine. It is believed that when Julius Caesar was elected Counsel of Rome, he commissioned a special wine to be made in his honor of the occasion and called this wine Mamertino. A delicious white wine with a slight natural sweetness and a touch of effervescence, Mamertino incorporates Trebbiano and Biancale grapes, which when pressed together produce a natural sparkle.

The next dish is the Secondo or main course featuring a duo of Swordfish with Pistachios and Cherry tomato, as well as Yellowfin Tuna Mediterranean with Caponata, which is made of seasonal vegetables, capers, pine nuts and raisins. Commonly referred to as the sea gladiator, Swordfish is synonymous with Sicily and thus Sicilian cuisine. It is a mild-tasting, white-fleshed fish with a meaty texture. Another common fish in Sicilian dishes, Tuna is found in waters around the world and Yellowfin Tuna is one of Cayman’s most popular fresh fishes. This dish is accompanied with a glass of Planeta Chardonnay. Following a long process beginning in 1985, the Planeta Chardonnay is an icon for the whole of Sicily. The fermentation and aging in French wood, carefully and precisely judged, delivers a wine unique for its grace and power.

But of course, you cannot end a fabulous meal like this without dessert or Dolce. The Cassata with Ricotta and candied fruit is a traditional sweet from Sicily, and it is believed to have originated in Palermo in the 10th century when Sicily was under Muslim rule. This incredible dessert is accompanied with a glass of Passito. Otherwise known as straw wine or raisin wine, Passito is made from grapes that have been dried to concentrate their juice. The classic method of drying clusters of grapes on mats of straw in the sun dates back to pre-Roman times. With the traditional low yields and labour-intensive production method, Passito wine is quite an expensive and typically sweet to very sweet wine.

This incredible culinary event costs $85.00 per person plus gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling 745-8353 or emailing levelecayman@gmail.com.

DiningRob BartonLe Vele