A Night of Private Dining

If I was to describe a perfect night in with the girls, it would involve a gorgeous setting, good food, great company and no washing up. That ideal scenario came into fruition when my good friend Holly kindly invited me and five others – Vicki, Katie, Kat, Georgie and Fiona – to her’s for a dinner party with a difference. La Belle Assiette had asked if she’d like to try their private dining experience, where a chef goes to your house to cook a 4-course meal – from prepping, serving and clearing up afterwards, this sounded like a dream!

We were sent a menu of the Venetian feast beforehand which sounded very indulgent and exquisite. The poor chef had his work cut out when a few of us went back with our dietary requirements including veggie, gluten-free and dairy-free. But panic not, we were assured this wasn’t a problem.

On a chilly Sunday evening we all got dressed up and gathered at Holly’s gorgeous abode where the table was set beautifully ready for the feast ahead. When Giorgio arrived I think he was surprised to see us all swarm around him with our cameras – I don’t suppose it’s every night you cook for a roomful of bloggers!

Baked Crespelle filled with ricotta and artichokes served with roasted garlic besciamel. Stewed cuttlefish served on soft polenta bramata. Sardine in Saor, macerated sardines in sweet and sour onions with pine kernels and raisins

A varied way to kick off the meal, this selection of mini dishes were all presented in a neat, aesthetically pleasing fashion. I’ll admit that I’m very funny when it comes to fish so I let others eat my cuttlefish and sardines BUT the polenta bramata was delicious, as was the Crespelle – definitely my favourite out of the trio. For a starter this was quite substantial so the wait until the next course was a welcomed one!

Risotto vialone nano with radicchio de treviso and carnia mezzano stravecchio cheese

I love a hearty, comforting bowl of risotto and this was cooked to perfection. The radicchio brought a sharp pepperiness to the dish which contrasted nicely to the creamy cheese flavours. Although the portion was generous and filling, it wasn’t heavy or stodgy which can sometimes happen if risotto is overcooked or too generous on the flavouring. Molto bene, Giorgio – nailed it!

Sgroppino: Lemon sorbet and Prosecco

A fresh, zesty and sweet palette cleanser; I thought this was part of the dessert, forgetting there was a whole other course to get through first (and already feeling full!)…

Baccala’ alla Vicentina, Salted cod braised in milk and spices served with stewed runner beans in a cinnamon and clove tomato sauce

When I read the description of this dish I wasn’t sure how it would play out but let me tell you, this combination worked a dream! Light and delicate bwith punchy flavours, the fish was cooked perfectly – juicy but not chewy – and the vegetables were all that were needed to complete this fragrant dish. Another generous portion, by now I was stuffed.

Zabaione mousse served with almond crunch

…But of course it would we always find room for dessert 😉 And oh my goodness, this has to be one of the most heavenly things I’ve ever eaten. I don’t know how Giorgio whipped this up but the light, fluffy, super-sweet textures along with the crunchy almond brittle was just a match made in heaven. Wow.

A table of seven very full, satisfied bloggers, we all agreed what a treat it felt to have the chef cook up a storm while we could relax and enjoy ourselves while being in the comfort of someone’s home; a nice change to going out to a restaurant for a more intimate, personal experience. Thank you so much to Holly for having us and of course, La Belle Assiette and Giorgio for providing a very decadent evening of food!