Balsamic Vinegar Dinners 2010
Wednesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 22
Although frequently requested, it’s been several years since we’ve offered a Balsamic Vinegar Dinner. Up until now, repeating it hasn’t seemed right.
Oliveto is obsessed with keeping things fresh. The special dinners we choose to “repeat” only hold our interest if they include a healthy splash of new ideas. But freshness isn’t the only criteria for a special dinner. The subject also needs to offer a certain richness & the ability to captivate the kitchen, the staff, and the customer. Successful special dinners are the ones that practically live in the restaurant. They take up residence and become the driving force throughout those 2 – 4 days.
Relationships can be key, as with our farmers leading up to the Tomato Dinners, or the weeks of meetings between Tom Worthington of Monterey Fish Company and Chef Canales in the lead-up to our Oceanic Dinners (this year, June 9th – 12th). Scholarship can also be the inspiration, as with the Apicius Dinners of 4th Century Rome that evolved from Chef Canales’ own curiosity and research. These dinners only become fully satisfying for us and our diners when they are genuine in their intent and willing to go the whole way.
Oliveto’s interest with Balsamico began with Paul Bertolli in 1995. Bertolli had become skilled at starting and managing sets of barrels and was making exceptional Balsamic vinegar. After we split with Paul, the small set of barrels we owned (now 14 years old) were stored with some excellent balsamic in them, but they were not being added to or managed. Just recently, our friends at St. George/Hangar One Distillery in Alameda have offered to take them in. They have even been given their own room. Lance Winters has taken on the job and is bringing our balsamic barrels back to life. So we thought it was also a good time to bring the popular balsamic vinegar dinners back to life at Oliveto.
We’ll keep you up to date as Chef Canales develops his menu for these dinners, but you may want to reserve now (510)547-5356.
The 2010 Oliveto Balsamic dinners will be an à la carte menu with a variety of Balsamic vinegars available for dosing. The main attraction will be a condiment balsamico from a battery of barrels (Batteria AN12) that were started in 1650 and continuously maintained by the Rangone family until 1978 when they were purchased by Azienda Agricola San Geminiano–L’Aceto balsamico tradizionale di Reggio Emilia D.O.P.