The Italian Wine and Food Festival is celebrating its fifth birthday at a huge new venue: The Cutaway at Barangaroo.
“This year it’s about us growing up and getting a world-class venue,” says festival founder Lara Caraturo. “It’s an exciting space to work in. We’ve been in older venues in the past, but the Cutaway is a beautiful modern space; it’s a blank canvas.”
Chefs from last year’s festival are back with pop-up restaurants and cooking demonstrations on the main stage. Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater) and Richard Ptacnik (Otto) will be back, and this year Salt Meats and Cheese is serving fresh pasta in an unconventional way. “They hollow out the Parmigiano Reggiano wheel, fill it with pasta and heat it until it becomes this oozing goodness,” says Caraturo. “It’s quite spectacular.”
New CBD eatery Bacco Osterio e Espresso is a newcomer to the festival. “[Executive chef Andrew Cibej] and I jumped at the chance to be at the festival. Italian food and culture is such a big part of Sydney life, so an event like this should be celebrated,” says head chef Scott Williams.
They’ll be serving Berkshire pork snags with lentil salad and salsa verde as well as Bacco Osterio’s popular porchetta panino. Williams and Cibej will also be doing a ricotta-making demonstration. “It’s so easy and delicious, everyone should know how to make it,” Williams says.
Five dishes to watch for are MARTA's agnelo porchettato, a focaccia of herb-stuffed, rolled lamb porchetta, lamb juice and romaine lettuce; Big Poppa’s burrata, heirloom tomato and fig vino cotto salad; Dust Bakery’s lobster tail pastry with salted caramel; Vannella Cheese’s burrata burger; and Lucio Pizzeria’s traditional Neapolitan pizza.
Caraturo says choosing a most-anticipated event at the festival is like being asked to choose her favourite child, but she’s excited about the wine and cocktail bars.
“We will still have our wine masterclasses and the tasting zone, but we’re also showcasing Barolo and Franciacorta, which is Italy’s answer to Champagne,” she says. “We’ll have sommeliers at the bars, pouring and teaching about the grape varieties. It’s a new experience for us.”
The Negroni bar will be run by Big Poppa’s. “It’s a real feature of the event. They’ll do Negronis and Venetian spritzes,” she says.
From tastings and demonstrations at the marketplace, to meals by some of Sydney’s best Italian chefs, there’s plenty to see and do.
The Italian Wine and Food Festival is on Sunday August 27, 11am–9pm, at The Cutaway at Barangaroo Reserve.