Il Carnavale dell´Amore

The Carnival of Love

By Earl D.C. Bracamonte

Paparazzi, Edsa Shangri-La´s fine dining Italian restaurant, successfully green-lighted its 5-day culinary, music and art festival on Sunday night, Aug 22, at the hotel´s Isla Ballroom. Simply dubbed ¨Il Carnevale dell´Amore,¨ or ¨The Carnival of Love,¨ the weekday festival will feature the flavors, sounds and sights of fine cuisine, classical music and original period art, complemented with the colorful revelry of an Italian carnival.

Patrons will be regaled with arias nightly from world-acclaimed opera artists, flown in from Venice, during dinnertime. Tenor Maurizio Saltarin and soprano Jolanta Stanelite will be performing with violinist Alberto de Meis and pianist Guido Galterio. Signora Stalenite has been the principal soprano in various European productions of opera classics and has starred in a film on the life of Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi for BBC Films. On the other hand, Signore Saltarin has essayed the lead roles in Madame Butterfly, Shakespeare´s Macbeth and in Verdi´s Messa di Requiem amongst many others.

¨There will only be a maximum of sixty covers nightly with Italian singers moving around the tables while performing popular arias from opera productions,¨ apprised hotel spokesperson Lesley Anne Tan.

Executive Italian chef Salvatore de Vicentis will create a special six-course Italian degustacion menu differently for each night. At the media preview, he prepared a 4-course sampler meal for the attendees, each representing a different night of the festival run.

For antipasti, we were served Burrata con salsa agro dolce al peperone, a salad dish of rich buffalo mozzarella with sweet and sour mixed pepper coulis on a bed of greens. You´ll delight on the peculiar and savory quality of the cheese!

For risotto, we sampled All´aglianico con salsiccia, a plate of grains with Aglianico red wine risotto and braised Italian sausage. This one you´ll savor to the last spoonful. Delish!

For our main course, we reveled on Branzino al Finocchio, a fish plate of roasted sea bass with fennel sauce served with Yorkshire pudding. This one is a must-try. Chef de Vincentis gave a new twist in preparing the sea bass.

It was also at the high point of the meal that the opera artists dished out duets from well-loved productions. They first performed Tace il labbro folehar from "Vesova Allegra" and then the jovial tune 'Libiamo' from Verdi´s "La Traviata." Violin virtuoso de Meis also played, quite splendidly, Abinioni´s "Adagio in Sol Minore."

And capping the gustatory onslaught was Millefoglie al cioccolato con fragole e crema shantilly, a medley of sweet endings with Mille feuille of strawberry and chocolate layered with Chantilly cream. This one melts pleasantly on your palate. Simply divine!

Completing the picaresque experience, an art exhibit of Venetian costumes and ornately-designed masks from the 16th century are displayed at the mezzanine foyer right across Paparazzi. Il Mercante di Venezia, a concept store specializing in Italian art, through its president Signore Marcoroberto Ascione, brought in the masterpieces, both for display and retail, for the entire duration of the festival that culminates on August 27th.

The festival promises an enchanted evening by celebrating the joys of gourmet Italian cuisine and classic opera as world-acclaimed artists perform and move from table to table.

Paparazzi is open daily for lunch from 11:30 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon and for dinner from 6:30 til 10:30 in the evening. For reservations and/or more information about the Il Carnevale dell´Amore event, simply call 633-8888 local 2922 or send an email to


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