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A Feast for All Senses – Culinaria at Cavallino 26

The success of the Cavallino Classic is driven by our enthusiastic participants and the passion of the people who share a common interest in classic, collectible Ferraris and other fine automobiles. But with passion comes sustenance. One shouldn’t drive a Ferrari while hungry, right? One can’t appreciate the beauty of a sea of glistening automobiles without a glass of champagne, no? (Bubbles put the Eleganza in Concorso d’Eleganza – everyone knows that!)

 

One can see, hear, smell, and touch a Ferrari, but you can’t eat it! That’s where we come in!

 

We, at Cavallino headquarters, take the nourishment of our participants very seriously, and so we partner closely with the catering teams at The Breakers Hotel, Jet Aviation and Palm Beach International Raceway, to curate menus that will not only excite the palate but also fill gli stomaci of even the most discerning drivers.

 

Below are some culinary highlights from Cavallino26 by venue. If you were not able to join us this year, don’t fret! You’ll have another chance to drive and dine with us next year – January 24th through 28th – when we celebrate the 27th year of the Cavallino Classic, and the 40th year of Cavallino Magazine!

 

Jet Reception at Jet Aviation

The evening festivities kicked off Thursday night at the Jet Aviation hanger at the Palm Beach airport. More than 100 Ferraris, 10 private jets and 800 stylish guests co-mingled while feasting on Italian hors d’oevres, risotto, and specialty wines and cocktails provided by Palm Beach’s newest restaurant resident, Sant Ambroeus. A longtime favorite of the New York City and Hampton set, each Sant Ambroeus location takes you back to Italy with its Milanese-inspired dishes, pastries, gelatos, espresso bar, and endless bellinis. And the new location in Palm Beach’s Royal Poinciana Plaza has been an instant favorite since it opened its doors in the fall of 2016.

 

During the night, a bevy of handsome waiters circled the room handing out little tastes of the best of what Sant Ambroeus has to offer: Insalata di faro (barley salad with assorted seasonal vegetables, Arancini di Riso (crispy saffron risotto spheres), Tartine alla Ricotta (ricotta cheese mousse with Parmigiano Reggiano, a touch of nutmeg, and topped with a fried caper), Gazpacho al Pomodoro (tomato gazpacho soup, fresh basil and olive oil), Pinzimonio di Rapanelli (baby radish with horseradish mayo), Tagliata Dijon (sliced sirloin steak served on toast with dijon mustard sauce), Tartine al Salmone (smoked salmon, with cream fraiche, and topped with chives), Tartine al Tonnato (tuna and capers mousse, topped with micro greens), Beluga Lentil Salad with micro rucola, diced vegetables, and caesar dressing, Bigne’ alla Porcini (porcini and truffle filled bignet), and a Bresaola Panino with ricola and lemon. And on top of all this, a risotto bar serving Risotto al Parmigiano e Balsamico – aged Acquerello rice with 36-month aged Parmigiano Reggiano and “Villa Manodori” balsamic vinegar.

 

From the bar, one could order a variety of libations including Italian red wines from Allegrini and Renato Ratti, 15 year old single malt whisky from Dalmore, and cocktails made from Nolet’s Gin, and SMAKS Chair Rum…a perfect way to toast what would be the start of an epic weekend of sun and speed.

 

Palm Beach International Raceway

The true racing fans arrived at earlier in the day at Palm Beach International Raceway, first thing Thursday morning. The ground was still slick from an overnight shower. The smell of coffee filled the air from the shiny trailers lined up in a row. As the morning mist wore off, the racing began… Sessions alternated between GT, Cruising, and Competition practice. The track dried out. And before everyone knew it, it was time to break for lunch!

 

PBIR’s Executive Sous Chef, Andrew Galbreath, pulled out all the stops for our event this year. This is not your average track food! On Thursday we were served three choices of sandwiches - shaved prime rib with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola cheese with a balsamic glaze on brioche; Maryland style crab cake with artisan greens, Roma tomatoes, and a mustard sauce on an English muffin; and last, a grilled chicken breast with smoked gouda and roasted tomato jam on herb focaccia. On the side, a fennel slaw with Florida oranges, and a baby arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, parmesan and red onion with balsamic vinaigrette. And if you saved room for dessert, a nod to Italian culture – cannolis, mini cheese cakes, and tiramisu!

 

Come Friday morning, the competition racers where primed and ready to go. Qualifying promptly took place post-drivers meeting. Historic Ferraris, Alfas, and Maseratis took to the track to the delight of onlookers. And after several rounds, it was time to fill up the tanks, not only in our cars, but in our stomachs!

 

First, a chicken cacciatore with sautéed onions and red peppers, then a fresh herb and parmesan risotto, and finally pistachio encrusted salmon with lemon beurre blanc (do I need to remind you that we’re still at a track!?). To accompany these hot dishes, there was a fall garden salad with roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, candied walnuts, and feta cheese with a maple balsamic vinaigrette; oven roasted brussel sprouts; and raspberry chocolate mousse for dessert! Just the right meal to fuel the Pre-war and Post-war races to come that afternoon!

 

The Breakers Resort

A luxury oceanfront hotel and one of America’s legendary resort destinations, The Breakers stands tall over one of the world’s most famed coastlines. For decades it has played host to the glitterati and cemented the seaside glamour that is now so central to Palm Beach culture, not to mention serving as headquarters and host for the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic. Each event at The Breakers presents participants with personally designed menus from Executive Chef, Jeff Simms, and his culinary team, as well as fine wines and champagne chosen by Master Sommelier Virginia Philip.

 

Welcome Reception – The Breakers Gold Room

As participants picked up their passes at Wednesday night’s Welcome Reception in the Gold Room at The Breakers, they were treated to an extensive display of small plates and an open bar to celebrate the evening and enjoy the company of friends, old and new. Guests snacked on tuna tartar with ginger Bavarian cream, and a soy gelée; basalmic roasted beets with whipped ricotta, walnuts, and micro celery; wagyu beef carpaccio with horseradish froth, and lemon olive oil, as well as a smoked fish platter including rainbow trout, Lake Superior whitefish, and Ducktrap salmon from Maine with traditional accoutrements. And to round out the cocktail party, a bountiful cheese and crudité presentation featuring Saga bleu from Denmark, smoked gouda, asiago, manchego, Port Salut from Pays de la Loire, France, and a sharp cheddar, along with fresh jicama, asparagus, green beans, carrots, English cucumbers, celery, zucchini, Pattypan and yellow squash, and teardrop tomatos, with a variety of compotes and dips.

 

Competition Awards Party – The Breakers’ Beach Club

A favorite event of recurring Cavallino participants is the Friday night Beach Club Party where Competition Awards are presented. After two days at the track, who doesn’t love a calm Florida breeze in the middle of January, the cool croon of Sinatra in the air, and the sight of endless fresh sushi and sashimi, Italian Prosciutto and burrata, salmon in brioche, grilled skirt steak, and salted chocolate frozen banana bites for dessert! Not to mention, an open bar! The crowd favorites are always the mini bites of comfort food favorites: bite-size lobster rolls with corn chowder, a chicken pot pie with tarragon and veggies, and a prime peppered New York sirloin with porcini hollandaise and tator tots! (tator tots - they are making a comeback, you heard it here first! – Cavallino, the foremost authority on Ferraris…and food)

 

Saturday by the Sea…of Ferraris

During the Concorso d’Eleganza on Saturday, not only does The Breakers host a breakfast for our esteemed judges, a lunch for nearly 600+ Cavallino participants, a Patrons Lounge for our most special guests, and an awards dinner that evening, but they also welcome the public to all their restaurants on property, a privilege exclusive to that one day of the year!

 

Concorso d’Eleganza Lunch – Venetian Ballroom

The Concorso Lunch takes place in the grand Venetian Ballroom overlooking the ocean, and provides an extensive buffet of high-end provisions. Before we even sat down, the dessert and coffee bar tempted us with bite-sized cherry cheesecakes, individual apple pies, and brownie cookies dipped in chocolate suace. But we must be good and eat our veggies first!

 

To begin, an assortment of gourmet sandwiches - steak with grilled pears and brie on naan bread; crab salad with lemon aioli on old bay brioche; balsamic glazed chicken with arugula and tomato marmalade on rosemary focaccia; and for our vegetarian friends, a mashed chickpea and egg on ciabatta with muenster cheese, shaved fennel, roasted red peppers and chive remoulade.

 

And on the side, an array of fresh salads that could, on their own, make a meal should sandwiches not be your thing. One with grilled artichokes, zucchini and eggplant with sun dried tomato vinaigrette, and another with quinoa, apricots, cranberries, and wheat berries. However, the most noteworthy dish, would be the Localecopia baby green salad with mango, crispy plantains, avocado, and papaya vinaigrette. While the ingredients may be unassuming, the spirit of the dish is rich. Localecopia is a non-profit founded by the Breakers in 2008, that connects the hotel with the South Florida farming community to support local product consumption and achieve sustainable business practices. The origins of this organization came from a former chef at The Breakers, who questioned why the produce they were receiving couldn’t be as fresh as what his neighbor grew in his own backyard. This got everyone thinking, so a team at The Breakers then worked with the University of Florida, local government officials, and local farmers to make it happen – “farm to table” at a grand and sustainable scale. The result has made positive impacts on all involved, and all who are lucky enough to taste the end result – and in this case, that would be us! (http://localecopia.org/about-us/)

 

Patrons Lunch – Mediterranean Ballroom

For those who graciously registered as a Patron of the Cavallino Classic, a special lunch was held in our Patron’s Dining Room located in the always beautiful Mediterranean Ballroom. A respite from the crowds, the sunlit room was filled with premium eats, as well as fine wines and champagne curated by Master Sommelier Virginia Philip, and an espresso and coffee bar.

 

As guests entered the room, they were greeted with glass of Perrier-Jouët "Grand Brut", Épernay, France, NV. From there our Patrons could choose between two refreshing whites: Migration by Duckhorn Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2015 and Sterling Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, 2015; and two bold reds: Seven Hills Malbec, Walls Walla Valley, 2014 and Pezzi King Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2014.

 

This special buffet included an extensive charcuterie and cheese board featuring brie, blue d’Auvergne, boursin, and chevre cheeses, as well as duck prosciutto, Rosette de Lyon (the most famous of Lyon’s sausages), and a cured saucisson, garnished with royal mustard, orange marmalade, fig jam and apricot preserves. Trés deliche!

 

Next, a selection of beautifully dressed salads. First, baby spinach with golden beets, celery, lentils, gorgonzola, and walnuts with a white balsamic vinaigrette. Second, a quinoa salad with apricots, cranberries, and wheat berries with an orange curry vinaigrette. And third, a fresh-off-the-boat ceviche served in mini martini glasses! Trés chic!

 

As an entrée, there was a trio of proteins to choose from: prime filet of beef with rosemary butter and spring peas; grilled Mahi Mahi with a grapefruit beurre blanc, hearts of palm, and fresh pear; and a lemon roasted chicken breast with yellow and orange lady finger carrots, tarragon and cardamom. Or, on the lighter side, perhaps a lovely ladle of She-Crab Soup, made with fresh blue crab meat.

 

For dessert (if one left any room!), a coconut crème brûlée, a chocolate cremeux topped with a chocolate palm tree, and an assortment of French pastries. Trés manifique!

 

 

Cavallino Classic Gala Awards Dinner – Ponce de Leon Ballroom

But back to Italy! This is a celebration of Italian automobiles after all! And what a celebration it was at the 26th annual Cavallino Classic Awards Gala which took place on the evening of the Concorso.

 

Like last year, the room was organized in such a way that the tables stretched from the stage like rays of the sun, which not only allowed for people to easily run up to the stage to collect their awards with delight, but also allowed for unobstructed access to the many food stations set up throughout the room. There was no way one could fit all of it on their plate! Multiple trips were a must!

 

The first station featured BBQ short rib and Loxahatchee goat cheese polenta, served in a martini glass (a larger one this time!), and accompanied with an orange and fennel slaw. Also featured were tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil skewers for a little Italian flare.

The second station showcased three different kinds of bruschetta – crab, chili and mint; peach, prosciutto and ricotta; and roasted corn, sweet peppers, sun-dried tomato topped with cilantro lime cream – as well a tremendous pan seared Jerk spiced black grouper with jicama, watercress and tangerine slaw, and a salsa verde and mango habanero jelly.

The third station offered chicken roasted on Kona wood with a sweet and savory Hawaiian Huli Huli sauce, passion fruit glaze, Asian purple cabbage slaw, and Hawaiian king rolls. This dish was accompanied by individual parmesan reggiano bowls (actual bowls made out of cheese!) filled with Caesar salad, white anchovy, heirloom tomatoes, sweet onions and basil syrup.

 

But, I am saving the best for last! I hope you’re not full yet! The pièce de résistance! The fourth station featured an endless supply of grilled lobster tails!  They sure packed a punch with the spicy olive oil marinade and coconut drizzle, but that didn’t stop everyone from gobbling these suckers up! They were delicious!

 

For dessert, mandarin orange creamsicle cakes, individual s’mores jars, dark chocolate

mango whoopee pies with milk shots, and to top it all off, a make-your-own-sundae bar with caramel sea salt ice cream, candied popcorn, crumbled cookies, crushed nuts, whipped cream, brandied cherries, and caramel and chocolate sauces – oh my!

And just like that (time flies when you’re having fun and eating well!), the two Best of Show awards were announced, and the 26th annual Cavallino Classic at The Breakers came to a close. But not too fast! Classic Sports Sunday was right on its heels.

 

Classic Sports Sunday at Mar-a-Lago

Now in its 17th year, Classic Sports Sunday, while a little soggy this year with the Pebble Beach-like clouds and misty rain, did not disappoint. The wet weather only whetted the appetite more as attendees were eager to escape the elements, and come inside to eat and watch the awards be handed out to the most deserving classic automobiles.

The hearty buffet, overseen by Executive Chef Aaron Fuller, featured as much as you could possibly eat of both breakfast treats and lunch dishes. The trick is not filling up on one dish so you can try a little bit of everything…smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers, tomato, and finely chopped eggs yolks and egg whites; antipasto salad, Caesar salad, mushroom salad, and an arugula salad with melon and prosciutto; fluffy scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, eggs benedict, waffles with blueberries and cream, and potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce. Of course, there was an endless supply of apple smoked bacon and fruit to round out the breakfast items.

 

And then, once we had a chance to digest our breakfast, lunch was up next! Strip steak with béarnaise sauce and potato gratin, seafood ragout with lobster and spinach, marinated chicken penne pesto topped with pine nuts, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese, and chicken curry with jasmine rice and crispy vegetables.

 

Between the decadent feast, the field of classic Ferraris, Maseratis, Bentleys, Rolls, Packards, Jaguars, Lancias, and Mercedes, and the presentation of trophies, you would think the day was done, but no! The real draw of Classic Sports Sunday, the cherry on top, if you will (well at least for some of us!), is the ambitious dessert buffet displayed in the center of the room. Here, we tasted an endless array of cakes, pies, cookies, and chocolates sprinkled with edible images of classic automobiles, courtesy of Executive Pastry Chef, Graham Randall…including the infamous chocolate cake!!! (you-know-who’s favorite!)

 

And with that, Cavallino 26, officially came to a delicious end.

 

We are indebted to our friends at The Breakers, Jet Aviation and Sant Ambroeus, and Palm Beach International Raceway, for providing top-notch service, and even better food for us all!

 

We look forward to seeing, and eating with, you all at Cavallino 27! 

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