Now, at this point, you're going to have to forgive my extreme lack of photos (and possibly look at some of the other blogs of the evening) and just believe me when I say that it was an absolutely gorgeous location.
We were greeted with glasses of something spumante and (also unphotographed) canapés of loveliness. I love nibble things - these might have been the food highlights of the evening.
There were yummy little sage bread puffs with pestoey dipping sauce, beautiful breaded quails eggs with an asparagus sauce, crumbed pestoed mussels (yum - I love mussels) and goats cheese and tomato pesto calzoncini, which were like wee savoury doughnuts. All absolutely delicious - apologies for not photographing - I promise to do better next time.
We then sat down to coriander pesto pea fritters with spiced green sauce - lovely curry spicing - not what I was expecting at all.
Accompanied by this 2010 Roero Arneis - I didn't necessarily expect to like this much - not totally my kind of thing, but in fact crispy and lovely, without being overpoweringly tropical fruity.
Then pasta - fresh trofie with cherry tomato and wild garlic sauce and parmesan - probably the most unadulterated example of what you might be able to do with the new Sacla range at home without a team of awesome chefs to assist you!
I was starting to feel a bit fooded out at this stage, but gallantly worked my way through the arancini and pork bitterballen with rocket and pecorino salad and red pepper sauce (or 'a plateful of balls') - delicious, but slightly overwhelming in their enormity.
Digestion was splendidly assisted by this Nebbiolo D'Alba from 2008 - my wine pick of the night (I'll be memorising and looking out for it again) - fruity and delicious and almost certainly chock-full of booze!
We finished the meal with bison grass vodka and mint panna cotta with candied pistachios and summer berries. The panna cotta was perfect - many of us did the jiggly jelly boobs panna cotta test to make sure - and beautifully subtly flavoured and the summer fruits and nuts (delicious, despite being a wee bit crystallised) were a splendid foil to the creaminess.
We were sent away at the close of the evening with exciting party bags, filled with Sacla pasta and literature and Fi's awesome muffins (which I only got a wee bite of as husband devoured mine as soon as I got home).
All in all, I had a really lovely night - the food, drink, surroundings and company were all absolutely delightful, and it was great to meet up with old and new friends.
As for Sacla, I was impressed with the taste of the new fresh pasta and pesto range and enjoyed the party bag pasta over the following week.
Would I buy them? I'm not really certain. I don't generally eat pasta (for health type reasons), other than occasionally when I make it myself (just for fun really) and pesto is super easy to knock up yourself - I do it quite often. I might buy the fresh pasta for husband occasionally.
Would I recommend them? Yes - I think I probably would. I have friends that cook way less than I do and are too busy to bother making pesto/pasta - something like this - quick and easy, but a bit nicer than the back of the cupboard stuff - would be perfect. Actually, I might send husband out to get it sometimes too - for the days when I'm not about and he's not feeling very capable!
Many thanks to Lee and Fi and the nice people at Sacla for inviting me along!