Italian-Inspired: Bacara Dinner to Feature Opera and Nobility

by Gabe Saglie, Senior Editor, Travelzoo
(published in the Santa Barbara News-Press on 9/4/14)

The next chapter in Bacara Resort’s popular “Meet the Masters” dinner series will feature Italian nobility.

Armando Fumanelli will be the guest of honor at the September 18th affair, which begins at 6pm with a wine reception in Bacara’s Rotunda terrace.  The celebrated winemaker hails from Italy’s Valpolicella, a famous wine growing region near the city of Verona.  And, with the title of Marchesi and as a descendant of Italian nobles dating back hundreds of years, he’s also royalty.

The historic Squarano Estate in Valpolicella
Bacara is theming the evening inspired by his visit as “A Taste of Verona.”  Guests will be treated to rare wines that have earned Mr. Fumanelli top reviews back home.  They’ll represent vintages stretching from 2006 through 2010 and highlight the native Italian grapes that grow particularly well in Valpolicella’s hilly terrain – grapes with names like corvina, corvinone and rondinella.  The vines, most of them 40 years old, grow on an historic 17th century villa, dubbed Squarano.  And some of the wines they make, like the classic Amarone, are often aged more than three years before their public release.

“The Fumanelli family has been cultivating grapes and producing prestigious wines for more than 600 years,” says Kathleen Cochran, Bacara’s general manager.  “We are honored to offer guests the rare opportunity to dine with a winemaker of this magnitude.”

Some Marchesi Fumanelli wines are aged 3 years before release
The kitchen staff at the luxury seaside resort is cooking to match, doling out a four-course menu designed by Executive Chef David Reardon.  The opening reception will include Yukon Gold potato blini with smoked salmon Ostera caviar and a white truffle and goat cheese mousse.

Starter courses will feature the classic agnolotti pasta, from Piedmont, stuffed with local spiny lobster and drizzled in vanilla cream, and pan roasted local sea bass dressed with a fall vegetable terrine.  The feature course, paired with the Marchesi Fumanelli 2008 Amarone Della Valpolicella, presents a pistachio-crusted lamb rib eye served with Swiss chard, a puree of baby carrots and an essence of Medjool dates.

Dessert is a sweet treat medley, including espresso chocolate cake, coconut rum custard and chocolate mousse.

This is meant to be a multisensory experience, though.  Enter professional singers from Opera Santa Barbara.  Between courses, diners will be treated to a bevy of Italian arias.

Natural light fills the Rotunda at Bacara, located above the lobby and offering 360-degree views

Tickets are $150 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity.  Call 877-496-9877 or visit  An overnight package, which includes two event tickets and valet parking, is available from $549.

Bacara Resort’s “Meet the Masters” dinner series debuted in January.  Previous high-profile culinary guests have included Master Sommelier Fred Dame and Japanese sake expert Yuji Matsumoto.  Currently, the series takes place the third Wednesday of every month.


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