Breaking barriers at La Pentola’s Famiglia Supper

Mi Casa Es Su Casa?

Chef Lucais Syme feels that way about his second “home”, La Pentola della Quercia, on the last Sunday of every month when he opens the doors for his popular Famiglia Suppers. The monthly series first started in March with a full lamb feast and is now approaching its sixth edition on August 25th, featuring fresh local tomatoes and Domenica Fiore organic extra virgin olive oil.

“The inspiration behind the series comes from a particular trip to Tuscany where we ate at a fantastic argo-tourismo outside Siena. It was a big table in the middle of the room and we had family style share platters and everything was from the farm. It was amazing to sit with family, as well as people we did not know,” explained Chef Syme.

According to Syme, the idea is to present an informal dining experience in a rustic Italian setting, that combines local ingredients with Italian products, while also introducing unfamiliar dishes to the guests. His ultimate goal through these suppers is to offer an evening of interaction, tasty wine, and simplistic meals.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m noticing a trend in Italian food being “simple”, having the same word drilled into my head while looking at the menu at Cafe Il Nido. Don’t confuse “simple” with spaghetti noodles coated in red sauce though, as both restaurants are clearly referencing the minimal amount of ingredients used, and the relatively “simple” culinary techniques.

Unless you consider chicken liver saltimbocca simple food…

Chef Lucais Syme

“We don’t typically sit at communal tables and share an experience with strangers. It is a great way to broaden our experiences and take some of the formality out of dining.”

I attended the Famiglia supper at the end of July, when the theme was Rossdown Farms’ organic free-run chicken. It was prepared in the same manner that Chef Syme serves nose-to-tail multi-course meals, with this particular supper all but missing the beak and the feet.

On the menu:

Chicken liver pate on croustini, pickled mustard seeds
Chicken wings, herbs, olive oil
Croquets of potato and chicken thigh, lemon cello sauce
Confit hearts, walla walla onions, local mixed green lettuces, mustard dressing
Chicken liver saltimbocca (prosciutto wrapped, breaded and fried) saffron mayonnaise
Farfale pasta, cherry tomatoes, basil
Chicken thigh and ricotta ravioli
Roasted chicken breast, zucchini ragu
Aerated white chocolate, blueberry and nasturtium flowers, elderflower spheres

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The Famiglia Supper series costs $55 per person for 10+ courses served “family-style”. Don’t be intimidated by the ten courses, as they are plates to be shared with the table, rather than individual portions. If you want a bite, take a bite, if you want a heaping pile, take a heaping pile.

With my meal I indulged in a glass (or two) of La Stella’s 2009 Fortissimo, while also trying a few of the cocktails that were handcrafted by their head bartender, Martin Corriveau. I was particularly fond of “La Dolce Vita” because of it’s treacly, yet thirst-quenching, mouthful.

FAQ (at least in my mind)

Is there an option to have wine pairings with the meal for a set price like similar multi-course meals?

There is not currently an option to have wine pairing with the meal, but with Italian food wine it is always encouraged. Award-winning Sommelier Terry Threlfall joined the La Pentola team in summer 2013 as Consulting Wine Director to focus the wine list on Northern Italian varietals and complement La Pentola’s seasonal menus. If he’s around, be sure to ask for his opinion.

Is there a maximum or minimum number of diners allowed for the suppers?

Guests may come alone, with a friend, or even a large group. There is no minimum or maximum amount of diners required.

Are walk ins allowed to order off the regular menu?

Walk ins are accepted, though it is best to reserve by calling ahead at (604) 642-0557 or emailing info@lapentola.ca.

For more information visit: http://www.lapentola.ca/famiglia-supper-series/

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