Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Experience the Best of Italy at Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Esperienza Italiana Festival

The Italian experience come alive in a parade of festive flavors as the best of Italy comes to Manila... 

Makati Shangri-La, Manila showcases the finest in food, wine, fashion, music and innovation from Italy with its week-long Italian Festival, Esperienza Iltaliana, promising a unique immersive and total sensory experience of Italian culture.

Esperienza Italiana kicks off at the Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Sage Bar with Aperitivo Italiano, where you can enjoy tapas, great wine, and authentic aperitif on October 19, 21, and 23, 2015, from 6pm to 10pm. Recreating the Italian tradition of "happy hour," indulge in pairing your favorite aperitif, such as Cocchi Americano or Cocchi Spritz, with a variety of savory Italian antipasti, including Cured Prosciutto Gallioni, Cured Parmigiano Reggiano, Risotto Acquerello with Saffron, Green Asparagus and Italian Sausage, Paccherri in Casserole with Seafood, Spinach and Ricotta, Quiche with Goat Cheese plus an assortment of crostinis. All this for only P 1,500++ which includes an antipasti buffet and selected aperitif, or Italian Spritz.  

At Sage Bar, I get to experience a preview of Aperitivo Italiano with a variety of refreshing spritz. Spritz is a popular aperitif said to originate from the Austrian practice of adding a splash of water to Venetian wine to soften the bold notes. Since then, it's been a favorite cocktail for Italian happy hour, with soda water and seltz replacing water.  

The classic Italian Spritz consists of four basic components, the base liquor (white vermouth, red vermouth, or Aperol), a dry white wine or Prosecco, and a bubbly Seltz or soda water, poured in equal 1/3 portions, garnished with an olive, a lemon slice, or an orange twist. At the bar, all the components were laid out as round after round of spritz were served.

A few rounds of the Cocchi Americano (R) and Classico (L) get you in the groove and speaking Italian in no time, and it's happy hour, Italian style, at Sage Bar. The refreshing and soothing blend of Vermouth or Aperol, with a dry white wine or Prosecco, and finished by the bubbly soda water, combine for an effervescent cocktail with just a hint of sweetness that's light and easy, perfect with the antipasti buffet.

More variations of the Spritz are served, and toasts of "saluti" are heard all around. The unmistakable Italian flair, that infectious exuberance and sheer love of life, is immediately felt with just a few rounds of spritz, followed by even more rounds. Good times, and the Italians do it so well.

"This year, Makati Shangri-La, Manila pays tribute to what the Italian heritage has contributed to the world. We are pleased to invite our guests to partake in an authentic Italian experience right here in the grand halls of Makati Shangri-La," said General Manager Alain Borgers (L), as Marco Tiraferri (R) welcomed guests.

Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Simone Cordedda (L) and Marco Tiraferri (R) are joined by the evening's guest mixologist and spritz expert for yet another round of toasts. Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Aperitivo Italiano is just one of three events under the week-long Italian festival, with an exclusive wine dinner by Michelin Star Chef Rocco Iannone, and a concert by the 30-piece Manila Symphony Orchestra, rounding out the festival. The L' Artisan Wine Dinner by Chef Rocco Iannone is set for October 20, 21, 22, and 23, 6pm to 10:30pm at Sage Bespoke Grill with tickets priced at P 5,500++ for five courses and P 4,500++ for four course (pre-booking of tickets is required). The chef and owner of Pappacarbone on Italy's Amalfi Coast. Chef Rocco Iannone is known for adding his own unique Neapolitan spin on traditional Italian cuisine, combining tradition and modernity with the freshest ingredients. The special concert by the MSO, dubbed "That's Amore," is set for October 22 at the Lobby Lounge, with pre-concert cocktails at 6:30pm, and the concert proper at 7:30pm. Guests can also indulge in the pre-show cocktails of Prosecco and Italian aperitivo, with tickets priced at P 1,850++ (pre-booking and pre-payment of tickets is required). Then, complete your Italian experience as Paul & Shark and Piquadro showcase the latest fashion trends on October 23. The richness of authentic Italian flavors, libation, music, and fashion all in one place.

The antipasti buffet of Aperitivo Italinano includes a live station with pasta and risotto dishes prepared ala minute, made with the finest ingredients fresh from the pan.

A sumptuous spread of assorted cured meats are laid out at the antipasti buffet...

...including the impressive Cured Prosciutto Gallioni, with each thin slice melting in your mouth, pairing well with a refreshing spritz.

Nibble on some bite-sized Smoked Salmon Quiche in between rounds...

...or perhaps the Assorted Cheeses with dried fruits and candied walnuts.

The wide assortment of antipasti offer a variety of rich flavors, from the cured meats and cheeses, to the Prosciutto-Wrapped Bread Sticks (R), all perfectly washed down by a refreshing spritz. Like a soothing palate cleanser, a sip of the spritz prepares you for yet another round of tasty nibbles at the antipasti buffet.

A plate of assorted cured meats and cheeses, a duo of goat cheese and smoked salmon quiche, and a prosciutto-wrapped bread stick kicks off my flavorful Italian experience at Sage Bar...

...followed by a freshly prepared pasta dish from the live station...

...and a hearty and comforting Risotto Acquerello with Saffron, Green Asparagus, and Italian Sausage. The richness of the risotto is perfectly tempered by the sharp notes of the Italian sausage for balanced flavors, setting you up for another round of Cocchi Americano or the Classico.

And here's the fun part. I even got the chance to go behind the bar and make my own Spritz.

A platter of indulgent desserts add a sweet note to an already fun-filled evening, completing my Italian experience at Makati Shangri-La's Aperitivo Italiano.

Discover an Italian-style happy hour with the Aperitivo Italiano, an exclusive L' Artisan Wine Dinner with Michelin Star Chef Rocco Iannone, or celebrate classic Italian music with the MSO in "That's Amore" at the Lobby Lounge, the Makati Shangri-La, Manila offers a unique Italian experience not to be missed. And if you have that sudden urge to go Italian, make it Makati Shangri-La, Manila...

Makati Shangri-La, Manila's Esperienza Italiana will run from October 19 to 23, 2015. For reservations, contact Restaurant Reservations at 814-2580 or email at rric.slm@shangri-la.com.

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