An ancient Latin proverb reads: 'Venerem sine Libero et Cerere frigere'. It can be roughly translated as: 'Without Bacchus and Ceres, Venus cools down', where the three deities stand for wine, food and love respectively. Of course, it is not the most elegant phrase in the world... but is it not true that the divine triad symbolises an essential part of the joys granted to man and that there is a relationship between these three sources of enjoyment?

[Tweet ""Venerem sine Libero et Cerere frigere" or "Without wine and food, love grows cold"].


Venus Bacchus

 "Will Venus meet Bacchus?" is the beautiful title of the most passionate tasting of the month, an event organised by A.I.S. Romagna at the Alexander Restaurant in Ravenna last Saturday that I had the pleasure of attending.

restaurant alexander ravenna

The restaurant was created out of a former cinema from the 1940s and the work was carried out by co-owner Pia in full respect of the environment and with impeccable taste. It's a real shame about the tables being too small and too close together, which makes even serving difficult. The wait staff is efficient even if I don't really like the pulled faces they serve, albeit with professionalism and care. Chef Mattia Borroni is a star of Ravenna cuisine, so much so that I ate an unforgettable guinea fowl at Ristorante Alexander on another occasion. In fact, my disappointment with last Saturday's cooking was palpable and I admit I thought Mattia had the night off given the occasion. Granted, the contribution that will have come to the restaurant for dinner may not have been high and the crowding heavy... but I believe that occasions like this are so promotional that it is essential to invest in them. And I find it almost impossible to believe that a chef of Mattia Borroni's calibre could make a series of similar slips in the first and second! (I won't comment on the desserts because I am sure they are not their work!) I only save the starter which I really liked! So I was left with the desire to return to dine at the Alexander Restaurant one night a week, when it is not full, and have the pleasure of enjoying Mattia Borroni's delicious cuisine under 'normal conditions'. Let it be clear that overall, even on this occasion I ate much much better than I would have eaten in the 90 % of Ravenna restaurants on their best night... only from them do I always expect the best! (After all, it is normal to expect a good 9 from the top of the class... isn't it?)

Menu of the evening

Broccoli flan with smoked herring and bread pesto

Carnaroli rice whipped with pumpkin, apple vinegar jelly and chlorophyll

Leg of suckling pig crispy on the skin with creamy potato oil and bean crumble

The best Italian and Romagna wines will be paired with a rich buffet of homemade pastries and coffee to follow.

So... I have much, much to say about the best Italian and Romagna wines. By now it is a certainty: at the Alexander Restaurant you cannot drink very well even if the Italian Sommelier Association organises the evening. Let's start with the bubbly:

vezzoli franciacorta

Let me preface this by saying that not all the tables drank the same things... we started off better than others (some people had to have a pignoletto of those... mmmh) with a Vezzoli Franciacorta DOCG Brut S.A. which was a little acidic, but on the whole discreet. If we had been lucky enough to drink it for the whole dinner, it would certainly have been better, but we only had one bottle for five of us... and we were left with a Bulzaga 'Spillone' Ravenna Alicante IGP which, out of an excess of zeal and goodness, I will simply say that it had nothing to do with the proposed menu. However, I recommend you take a look at the website of the Bulzaga Winery because it's really gorgeous and it's exactly what a winery website should look like... so beautiful that I could have made it 😀 (although for SEO it's not exactly optimal... but I'll stop being a web designer and get back to the story of the night!).

How marvellous the dancers and tango masters Valentina Cottignola and Ivan Ridolfi! Really wonderful to watch together! And I'll tell you more... since I've wanted to learn tango all my life... I now promise myself to start taking my first lessons by 2015!

Argentine tango ravenna

At the end of the dinner, there were five wines representing Italy, Marche and Umbria, with as many stories. Well, I didn't expect them to be so funny! I loved them all, and the actress-sommeliers were really good, each with their own strengths!

"Sated and cheered by now you will be

but concealed the nectar of Bacchus you will taste.

Ancient dramas of five Bacchae alone can unveil you

musts that your eyes will not see.

So place an X on the best scene

the one that overwhelmed your heart."

Scene 1: "Once upon a time... 'e trèb'., with Raffaella Sangiorgi, Ravenna's AIS Vice Delegate - the most FUN bacchante! (and you should have seen Pietro Vicchi in his old-fashioned Romagna peasant version) - "Solano" Sangiovese di Romagna Superiore DOC 2013, La Berta (Romagna)

Scene 2: 'The wine of lost love'with Carla Giorgi, Faenza Service Group Leader - the most ROMANTIC bacchante! (And you should have seen Mirko Morini in King... dead/resurrected version) - "Berarderga' Chianti Classico DOCG 2013, Felsina (Tuscany)

Scene 3: 'Philosophia divina'with Caterina Valbonesi, AIS Vice Delegate of Forlì. - SUGGESTIVE! - Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2012, Col d'Orcia (Tuscany)

Scene 4: "Morgana's Potionwith Angela Casadei, AIS Delegate of Cesena. - ENGAGING! - Montefalco Rosso DOC 2013, Caprai (Umbria)

Scene 5: 'Holy Sinners'with Nunzia Tesoro, Rimini's AIS Delegate. - PROVOCATING! (and you should have seen the little costume... not to mention the beautiful red shoes! Laura is now so keen on them that she's even put them as her Facebook profile picture 😀 )

The extraordinary thing is evident from the scenes: AIS Romagna all together... for a truly successful evening! In short, a really great show! Where Raffaella and Pietro triumphed with their exuberant charm... because you really should have seen them: I still laugh when I think about it!

I spent with my inseparable diVini companions, my beloved Laura and dear Andrea, a beautiful evening... can we applaud my tango-themed dress? Besides, my father is still an Argentinean citizen... I too must become Argentinean in something... and not just because I devour dulce de leche as if it were low-fat yoghurt!

venus meets bacchus

And that's not all! The evening also had the charitable purpose of raising funds for the Margherita project, illustrated by the Veneri of the Istituto Oncologico Romagnolo, who explained that the funds are used to provide free wigs of fine finishing with the collaboration of volunteer hairdressers to cancer patients who, following treatment, have to face the delicate moment of hair loss. I found it a really beautiful project, so I greet you with the same video that was projected on the elegant wall of the Alexander Restaurant last Saturday. If you want and can, please do something to support this project.

.[Tweet ""An act of charity of real benefit is worth all the abstract feelings in the world." A. R."]

Many thanks to all of you who made my evening special and a hug to all of you who read me,


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