The dinner held on the 1st August 2015 at the San Remo Ballroom, was attended by 700 guests and included the Deputy Premier of Victoria, the Hon. James Merlino MP – Ambassador of the SIE of Aeolian descent – the Consul General of Italy in Melbourne, Marco Maria Cerbo and the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, amongst many others.
John Portelli of Enoteca Sileno, patron of the Society and also of Aeolian descent, added a touch of the islands to the menu by supplying the wine to accompany the entrée – a Salina Bianco from the Virgona family, crafted from Malvasia, Inzolia and Cataratto grape varieties; as well as offering guests a packet of hand-harvested wild capers from Salina to take home. Recognised as Australia’s most respected importer, distributor and connoisseur of Italy’s finest produce, John Portelli received the Eoliano nel Mondo 2014 award in Salina, Isole Eolie last September.
Entertainment included piano accordionist The Big Squeeze, soprano Rebecca Gulinello, Rob Severini Band, a floor show by Tony Pantano and comedian Gabriel Rossi.
The final course of the night included the celebratory cake by pastry-chef Tony Cavallaro from Footscray’s renowned T. Cavallaro & Sons, with the main cake designed in the form of the island of Stromboli – inspired by the birthplace of his mother, who founded the pasticceria in 1956 with her husband Tomasso. The cake itself was a traditional Sicilian cake made with vanilla and chocolate patisserie cream and a genoase sponge.