Making its way to the plates and palates of Vakkaru Maldives this January is a very special event, bringing the vineyards and appetites of central Italy, Tuscany into the picture. On 22nd January 2023, an ultra-exclusive wine dinner will take place at the shores of Isoletta beach, as part of a unique collaboration with the esteemed Banfi winery, the Michelin-star Chef Domenico Francone and Di-vine Cellars Maldives.
Hosted as a one-night dinner, the evening will be spent effortlessly in extravagant dining with a sumptuous five-course dinner curated by Chef Domenico. His cuisine will capture the essence of Italian flavours paired with a classy collection of wines from the Banfi portfolio, making this dinner an unforgettable culinary affair for Vakkaru guests.
The Banfi winery was incorporated in 1978 by two Italian American brothers, John and Harry Mariani. Since its inception four decades ago, Banfi has progressed strongly and has raised in the eyes of connoisseurs as one of Italy’ most famed winery brands. Banfi owes its tremendous success to four founding pillars, namely: Pioneering, Research, Innovation and Sustainability through which the company forged its success story in Tuscany’s competitive market.
Nestled on the outskirts of the hilltop village of Montalcino in Tuscany, Banfi has perfected its production of world-class Brunello’s, Rosso’s and Super Tuscans over the years. Moreover, with estates in other parts of Tuscany and Piedmont, Banfi has expanded its portfolio to include various varieties of red, white, and rose wines as well.
The flavourful tasting of wines is only the tip of the iceberg for Banfi as their extensive vineyards are crowned by another jewel. Castello Poggio Alle Mura, a 13-century castle marks the centrepiece of the scenery complete with tall walls and flanked by towering turrets. Here, Banfi houses a hotel, a glass museum, the Enoteca and 2 bespoke restaurants, one of them undoubtedly the Michelin-star La Sala dei Grappoli, Chef Domenico Francone’s prized possession.
Hailing from Puglia, Chef Domenico grew up in a family with strong gastronomical roots. Following his calling, he graduated from the IPSAR Antonio Turi in Matera after which he embarked on several stints at prestigious Italian and international restaurants. His most notable experience was working under German Super Chef, Heinz Beck’s starred restaurant in London, Apsleys.
When Domenico returned to Italy, he was offered the position of Executive Chef a La Taverna, Castello Banfi’s first restaurant. During this time, he also led the opening of La Sala dei Grappoli, delivering a seasonal menu that celebrated traditional Tuscan dishes topped with a modern twist. His commendable efforts were acknowledged in 2020 when the restaurant earned its first Michelin Star.
Now, Chef Domenico is excited to share his culinary expertise in authentic Tuscan plates with Vakkaru to create a memorable dining experience for guests. Remarking on the wine dinner he said “I am thrilled to bring the authentic flavours of Tuscany to Vakkaru and to share my passion for Italian cuisine with the guests. The combination of my signature dishes such as the ‘Tortelli like Eggplant Parmigiana’ and the ‘Tenderloin, artichoke, vegetables caponata and Brunello di Montalcino Jus’, and the exceptional wines from Banfi will create a truly unforgettable dining experience.”
Speaking about the upcoming dinner, Iain McCormack, General Manager, Vakkaru Maldives commented, “We are always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience at Vakkaru and give them elevated culinary offerings. Thanks to Di-vine Cellars, this collaboration with Chef Domenico and Banfi allows us to do just that. We can’t wait for our guests to experience the authentic Italian taste and exceptional wines at Isoletta.”