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Meeting Rocco: An Intimate Dinner, Wine Tasting & Small Bite Pairing

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Briana

The grand finale of our “Into the Heart of LA” culinary experience with Bertolli was a private, intimate meet and greet with celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. After a whirlwind day full of pampering, limos, celebrity treatment, meeting new friends, tasting new foods, exploring LA’s unique culinary scene and uncovering its passion for food, Bertolli saved the best for last.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

We were taken to Culina, the newly opened Italian restaurant at the Four Seasons’ Beverly Wilshire, and escorted to a private back dining room where we all waited anxiously for Rocco to arrive.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Briana

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

We were in for a treat with the special small bites tasting menu designed especially for us.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

And then came Rocco. He sat down, and I was within wine glass clinking distance!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked us about ourselves, our blogs, and our day in LA.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

He told us about his recent trip to Italy with Bertolli, his passion for fresh, local ingredients, and where he finds inspiration.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Deep in conversation with Jenny from Picky Palate about food, family, and flavor.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Culina’s sommelier, Brick, explains our wine pairings with each course. Lucky for you, Briana gently explained to me what a “sommelier” was. I was just gonna call him “Brick the Wine Guy”. *blush*

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Culina’s new modern Italian chef, Victor Casanova (love his name!), came out to greet us and tell us about our courses.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate One

Involitini Di Manzo
Kobe A-5. Delta Asparagus. Enoki Mushrooms. Parmigiano Reggiano.

Wine: Nebbiolo d’Alba. giacosa fratelli. 2007 piedmont.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Jenny

Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery Kobe beef wrapped around a spring of asparagus, tiny enoki mushrooms, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked Chef Victor to show us his prized Kobe beef, a delicacy cut from cows that are massaged daily to produce this highest quality of flavor, tenderness, and marbled texture.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Shelisa

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate Two

Caponata Di Carciofi
Baby Artichokes. Castelvetrano Green Olives. San Marzano Tomato.

Wine: Pinot Bianco. haberle. alois lageder. alto adige 2007.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Plate Three

Suppli Al Telefono
Saffron Risotto Croquette. Mozzarella Di Bufala. Tomato Sugo.

Wine: Mamertino. cru timpanara. vasari. sicily 2006.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Jenny

Gorgeous photo of our third plate by Jenny. It was as incredible as it looks.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

After our dinner with Rocco (it lasted about an hour!) we each got to sit down and chat with him, have our pictures made, and get our books signed. Bertolli had given us all copies of his newest book, Now Eat This, in our welcome gift bags.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Apparently Rocco was quite charming. Do I look smitten? *blush*

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

I also brought along an extra book for Rocco to sign… Can you tell what it says? I’ll give you a hint…

“To a fellow Kevin and Amanda fan. Congratulations! Rocco XO”

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

Rocco asked if my readers were mostly female, and when I said yes, he added the XO. ;)

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!
Photo via Pat

Giveaway!

If you’d like this copy of Rocco’s new book, Now Eat This, dedicated to a special Kevin & Amanda reader, just leave me a comment on this post by 7pm, Saturday, May 22nd. :) I’ll announce the randomly chosen winner on Monday. :)

Winner!

Congrats to #416 Becky! “Thanks for sharing your amazing pics. I would love love love to win his book. He’s a cutie.

Into the Heart of LA | My Trip to Beverly Hills via Bertolli!

There’s more…

My trip to LA didn’t end here… I stayed an extra 3 days in California and took in the gorgeous beaches of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Venice, the glitz of Hollywood, Sunset Blvd, & Melrose, and even drove down to the OC to bake with Jenny in the Picky Palate kitchen. :) Stay tuned… :)