Contact Us

How can we help?

3143 Ponce De Leon St
New Orleans, LA, 70119
United States


swirl and savor

Palmento Event, Celebrating the Wine and Food of Sicilia

Beth Ribblett

“I went to Sicily in the winter of 2008 to explore and write about an emerging wine scene. What I discovered in more than a year of travels to the island was more than a fascinating, teeming wine frontier; I found something close to my own heartbeat.” 
Robert Camuto

Most of you who read my blog or make regular visits to the shop know that I am enamored with the wine, food and culture of southern Italy and particularly that of the island of Sicily.  I've been writing about Sicily, especially the Mount Etna region for over 2 years now.  At the time there was not one wine from the Etna available in New Orleans.  But now through the help of a few daring wholesalers, especially Matt Lirette, I can pick and choose from many whites, reds and roses from an area that I feel is one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions on the planet, period.

So you can imagine how excited I was when Robert Camuto, author of Palmento, a Sicilian Wine Odyssey, contacted me about making New Orleans part of his national book tour and if we would be interested in doing an event around his visit.  Knowing what a huge Sicilian population resides in our food and drink obsessed city, I told him we were very interested and that I thought he would be well received.  And then the wheels started turning, how could we present an event that best compliments the book?  Sure we could do a wine tasting and book signing at the shop, but we would be missing an extremely important element of Sicilian's how things have come together:

The star of the show, of course, will be Robert Camuto, who will do a short presentation on his book as well as sign copies that will be available for purchase that evening.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading Palmento and how it transported me back to that wonderful two weeks we spent visiting most of the producers that he speaks of in the book.  From the slopes of Mount Etna to the shores of Marsala and the island of Pantelleria, Robert takes you on a wonderful journey introducing you to the current players, some new and some whose families have been there for generations, but who all have important roles in this exciting, constantly evolving wine scene.  Robert is a writer who appreciates wine, not a critic, and his book explores the very human elements that effect what is your glass.  He shows you how family, relationships, food, history and wine are all intricately entwined in a uniquely Sicilian way, creating a culture that is unlike any other.

Kerry and me with Chiara Planeta
Now onto the rest of the event...So of course my first phone call was to chef Josh Smith at a Mano, because no Italian wine event is complete without regional foods to pair, and there is no better place in the city than a Mano to do something focused on southern Italy.  Josh too was very excited, and we decided we wanted to do something different the traditional sit down dinner approach.  We also wanted to make it affordable and expose as many people as we could to the amazing wines and foods of Sicilia, keep it fun and create many different pairing opportunities.  So we are presenting the event in more of a "walk about" style where you will move from station to station and sample a unique wine and food pairing at each one; twelve wines, twelve traditional Sicilian dishes from all over the island.

Tasting with Frank Cornelissen on the Etna
As in Robert's book, we wanted to represent the small artisan producers as well as the more internationally know icons of the industry.  So my next two phone calls were to the wholesalers in the area whose portfolios best suit those parameters, Antonio Molesini from Republic National Beverage and Matt Lirette of Lirette Selections.  When I told them the premise behind the event, both were excited to be involved and we began pouring over portfolios to select the best wines to represent the island of Sicily, and let me tell you that narrowing it down to 12 wines was a difficult task!

Tasting Marsala with Renato De Bartoli
But the list is now in chef Josh's hands and I am anxiously awaiting his menu ideas to pair with the wines.  Antonio and company will be representing the international stars of Planeta, Donnafugata and Feudo Maccari while Lirette Selections will focus on the small offerings from Frank Cornelissen, Occhipinti and Pietradolce.   I can't wait to see it all come together, and hope that you will consider joining us to meet Robert and celebrate the wine, food and culture of Sicilia!

Event details:
March 20th, 5-7pm
a Mano, 870 Tchoupitoulas Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Palmento will be available for purchase at the event.
Call 504.304.0635 for reservations, prepayment is required.