The Examiner

25 08 2005



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Ensemble adds extra dash for $180 meal


The acclaimed Sicilian ensemble Al Qantarah have flown in to Tasmania to provide the music for a Sicilian feast of food and wine in Launceston.

Tonight 10 the second of two gourmet extravaganzas at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery cafe at Inveresk as a part of the 10 Days On The Island festival.

Al Qantarah, which takes its name from both the Arabic word for "bridge" and a Sicilian river, is a leading exponent of medieval Sicilian music.

Famed Sicilian chef Fabio Giuffre began treating Tasmanians to the delectable cuisine of Sicilian homeland last night, at $180 a head for what's simply dubbed the Sicilian Dinner.

For their money, last night's diners enjoied an entree of fish balls, mussels, beef stuffed with cheese, followed by a main course of grilled trevalla with vegetables in a sweet-and-sour sauce with bitter chocolate and traditional Sicilian desserts.

Giuffre runs a seafood restaurant on the tiny inland of Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands off Sicily.

Giuffre, supervising food preparation at the museum cafe yesterday, was full of praise for Tasmanian produce, especially seafood.

"I came to Launceston and we dined at a restaurant eating raw scallops, mussels and clams.

"To eat them raw is the only way to check how fresh they are - "they were fantastic" Giuffre said.

Giuffre was brought to Tasmania by well-known Melbourne chef and food entrepreneur, Launceston-born and raised Amanda Sutton.

Al Qantarah will perform at Hobart's St David's Cathedral on Friday at 6pm and host a Mediterranean Odyssey at Moorilla Estate, Berriedale, on Saturday from 11 am.