A Taste of Verona

Food & Beverage

Five…California Wines! Four food courses, three Italian vinos, two delicious desserts, one opera singer and an announcement from a group that owns two DoubleTrees. Christmas came 10 months early (or two months late) for those who attended “Napa Meets Verona” at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., on Feb. 20.

The six-course dinner, hosted by Pacific Hospitality Group (PHG), coincided with two big announcements for PHG CEO Timothy Busch: the debut of the newest and fourth property of the Meritage Collection—Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara—and plans to allow Meritage Collection’s guests access to the wines of Italian vintner Marchesi Armando Fumanelli from his Verona vineyards. In addition to the four resorts in The Meritage Collection, PHG owns two Doubletree by Hilton hotels and a Crowne Plaza in Orange County, Calif.

Held in the Estate Cave, a 4,000-square-foot room carved under the vineyards of the property, the dinner paired five main courses, which includes one dessert course, with a selection of wine Trinitas Cellars—the resort’s winery—and the Fumanelli Estate. In between these five courses was a delectable dessert cocktail, made from vanilla, ginger, champagne, vodka and mango ice. Magnific!

In between food-and-wine pairings, opera singer Carlo Solivan y Rivera performed traditional opera pieces for the 100 seated guests. Wines served included Trinitas’ sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, amarone della, zinfandel and a chardonnay that tasted like butterscotch; Fumanelli’s wines were terso bianco, squarano and the velvety smooth classico superior. Dining included courses of curry-crusted scallop and slow-braised pork belly, fennel pollen-dusted black cod, cinnamon- and star-anise braised veal and three varieties of seared duck. To finish it all off, a chocolate mousse topped with a hazelnut crisp and blood orange gelato on the side. Or, as guests said later, a gift from above.

  • sandwiches-that-stand-out-at-events

    Sandwiches That Stand Out

    Simple yet satisfying, the humble sandwich is named after John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. An enthusiastic gambler who did not want to stop for proper meals, he reportedly sustained himself at the gaming table with…


    Accommodate Adventurous Taste Buds

    People’s palates are growing more adventurous, according to a new survey from the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Restaurant.org reports that researchers who queried 1,011 American adults about their eating habits found that two-thirds are enjoying a wider…

    Fall Event Decor Trends

    5 Fall Event Decor Trends

    Rust-colored leaves, cooler temperatures and cozy beverages are all part of fall’s bountiful event decor inspiration. This season is all about contrasting color patterns and multi-functional table settings. Take a cue from fall fashion by paring different…

    morimoto asia

    Morimoto Asia Nears Opening in Downtown Disney

    Chef Masaharu Morimoto will open his highly-anticipated restaurant on Sept. 30 at Orlando’s Downtown Disney in Walt Disney World Resort as the theme park transitions into Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia is the chef’s first pan-Asian restaurant. The…

    Visit Santa Barbara

    Portraits, Food Porn and Pinot with Visit Santa Barbara

    The Santa Barbara experience was brought together under one roof at a pop-up event yesterday at Naked Kitchen SF. Visit Santa Barbara invited Bay Area planners to sample artful dishes and partake in creative activities perfect for…

  • visit-raleigh-weathering-the-storm

    Live Updates: Weathering the Storm with #VisitRaleigh

    As a business travel writer, I get to experience a lot of pretty cool things, but I must say that being hosted by #VisitRaleigh North Carolina this week during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is notable (pun…

    Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Closed

    Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Closed

    Winners will be announced in our Smart Meetings December Issue. We want to thank everyone that voted and we look forward to honoring top hotels and properties that exceed industry standards, and go above and beyond to…


    7 Tips for Managing Interns

    Many firms welcome interns to the work place, but in a blog posting on hotelsmag.com Larry Mogelonsky points out that they are more than just temporary recruits brought in to handle menial tasks. The Toronto-based marketing expert offers the…


    Air Travel Complaints on the Rise in 2015

    Delays, missed connections, lost or damaged luggage, boarding bottlenecks… The list of things airline passengers grumble about could go on for days—especially since air travelers lodged more complaints in the first half of 2015, according to a…

    Low Cost Tech Tools

    14 Great Low-Cost Tech Tools for Planners

    Planners: do you want to know which low-cost tech tool can instantly transform company data into a professional quality infographic, or what free app can help schedule a virtual meeting time convenient for workers scattered across the…