When I was studying abroad in Italy, I discovered arancini (pronounced ah-run-chee-nee). Balls of rice with meat or cheese in the middle, this was the first dish I tried recreating upon returning back to the states because I loved it so much. I had never had anything like them before and it may be safe to say that I haven’t had anything like them since because I am pretty sure my version was not right. It felt apart, I always burned it…just not right.
Fortunately, Mariano’s (my favorite grocery store in the world) is celebrating their launch of Tavola Italiana, their exclusive trade partnership with the Italian Trade Agency. In addition to selling food and beverage items imported directly from Italy, they are hosting a ton of classes and demos led by some of the best chef’s in Chicago. When I saw the Arancini making class, I knew I had to learn how to finally master this dish I had loved.
It was a blast. Chef Rich Mancini was fantastic- he so nice and the technique he showed us was the missing link for me. Terlato Wines was on hand for a wine pairing and the sweet man who played the accordion really put the experience over the top (or as my seatmate said- “the accordion is a dying art form, is it not?”). I had the nicest conversations with people who also loved Italy and had spent a lot time there so I basically came home wanting to book a one way ticket back to the motherland. Travel talk is some of my favorite talk.
Two locations of Mariano’s will be hosting events like this through the 14th. Click here to check out Bucktown’s schedule and click here to see what Ravenswood has going on. Bravo to Mariano’s for this awesome new endeavor!