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A Big Night in Asheville

Wow! We paid homage to an iconic film, said good bye to Sam Etheridge and Ambrozia, and welcomed new members to our Italian Cultural Forum. Last night at Ambrozia, Sam and Ambrozia staff prepared and served the entire dinner from the unforgettable1996 classic "Big Night" about two Italian brothers trying desperately to save their restaurant in Brooklyn and banking it all on the dinner set for one big night.
"Ciao Asheville," via Executive Director Gail Rampersaud, hosted the evening that included wine pairings from Juniper Cooper of Mutual Distribution and comments, photographs and fun fact inside information (like Isabella Rosselini was still gorgeous without makeup and the Timpano recipe came from Stanley Tucci's mother) from Debbie DiSabatino, Chef and Food Stylist for "Big Night."  
Yes, goodbye to Ambrozia. If you have not yet read the ACT story, Sam is closing down his North Asheville restaurant that has been a shelter in a storm of mediocrity. Ambrozia was the kind of place where you could sit at the bar with friends, make friends, and if Karen topped off your G&T, occasionally lose a friend! But in my defense, honesty is always the best policy. Anyway....an almost tearful Sam shared the news of the sale to Early Girl with us last night thanking his staff and customers for taking this great ride with him.
Each dish was paired with an Italian Wine.
 * Antipasto with Cortalto 2015 Pecorino from Aprutini
 * Chicken Consomme with Planeta 2017 Bianco La Segreta
    BTW: Stanley Tucci visited the Planeta Winery after the conclusion of the film.
 * Primo, Tre Risotto with 2016 Aglianico from Compagna
   While every wine was great, this Aglianico seemed to be the overall favorite. I would not say          every Aglianico would go with Shrimp Risotto but this one sure did.
 * Secondo with Colpetrone 2011 Sagrantino, Montefalco
   This is it. The big dish the big night is all about. This is the Timpano which is pasta with a crust overstuffed with  "the most important things in the world." All the stars must have been aligned last night because just as the Timpano was brought to the table on screen, here comes Sam with the first of 12 Timpanos! Perfect timing. Truth is we just got lucky. (I of course will deny that if asked.)
And then there was Debbie DiSabatino! Our connection to Debbie was made possible by Julie Hettiger, Chef, Food Stylist and member of Ciao Asheville (Julie also worked on a film, The Evening Star, with Jack Nicholson and Shirley McClain.) You might think a Food Stylist is someone who arranges the food on the plate, some real, some paper mâché, tops the dish with a strawberry and then takes a picture. Au contraire. A Food Stylist must pick the recipe, shop for the food, prepare the food, and then take the picture! Debbie even had the original "Timpano" bowl with her last night (which I think she said was actually French cookware) that  she used in the film. How cool is that? Only @MetroWines, baby!
So, as you can see, it was a Big Night for real in Asheville. Sam says he will keep on cooking somewhere somehow, Julie lives in Asheville and Debbie is just down the road in Raleigh so we can do another food featured movie night, Juniper will continue to raise our awareness of wines from around the world, and "Ciao Asheville" is smoking hot and getting hotter!
Don't forget, Ciao Asheville sponsors "Don Camilo" on Sunday, April 28th @MetroWines (https://metrowinesasheville.com/store/product/don-camillo-on-april-28th/
and "A Prosecco Only Cocktail Party on May 7th from 5:30 to 6:30 with Paola Ferraro of Bel Casel @MetroWines (https://metrowinesasheville.com/store/product/bele-casel-tasting-may-7th/)

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