I’ve been wanting to go to an Il Tocco event for a really long time. The private dinner parties, under the name Culinary Mischief, are always at secret locations and are limited to 30 people — and your multi-course meal with wine pairings is always a unique menu crafted by locally-based, Italian-born chef Gabriele Bertaccini.
Since those events can cost around $115, I was thrilled when I heard about Bacchus Mischief, the latest creation by Bertaccini that is only $50, where only a dozen guests still meet in a secret location and sample six different types of wines paired with small bite plates. I went to the inaugural Bacchus Mischief in downtown Phoenix yesterday, and I had a blast and met some really amazing people. With the wine flowing, it’s easy to make new friends, and there was an engaging, diverse group at yesterday’s tasting.
To go to an Il Tocco event, which also take place in Los Angeles and New York, first sign up for the mailing list here. You’ll receive e-mails about future events, and then less than a week before the party, if you make it on the list, you’ll get the venue address. I won’t say exactly where the one I went to was, but it was an art gallery and home with some really fun artwork and a baby grand piano that made me drool.
Once we arrived, we were led up the elevator to the kitchen/dining room area and were immediately served a drink. All the wines featured at Bacchus Mischief are little-known, inexpensive Italian wines, and you can even order bottles or cases of ones you like through Bertaccini. He and his staff prepare delicious little bites that complement the wines, and the ones we sampled yesterday included cheese and honey, bread and olive oil and flourless chocolate cake. It’s neat to sample the wine first, then taste the food and try the wine again, which gives the wine a whole new taste.
Throughout the tasting, you can take notes on your wines using the booklet Bertaccini prepares for you. The packet includes traditional wine grading, so you can file away what aromas and flavors you detected and keep it so you never forget the ones you loved. Bertaccini gave a brief history of each wine before we tried them, and the rest of the time was spent mingling with the crowd, which included people of all ages. I had a blast talking to all the new people I met, who were just as passionate about food and cocktails as I am and were just interesting people in general.
Bertaccini plans on doing Bacchus Mischief events every few weeks, while Culinary Mischief events are around monthly now. For more information, go here.