Since moving out of London, I feel like I haven’t really cracked the Northern blogging scene, which is why I was extra thrilled when an invitation from Carluccio’s landed at my doorstep. They were having a big party to celebrate Antonio Carluccio’s 80th birthday and the launch of their Northern flagship restaurant in St Helen’s Square in York. They’ve been working hard to meticulously restore the historical Terry’s Chocolate shop (just opposite Bettys) to house the first Carluccio’s bar (called Terry’s Bar as a nod to the building’s heritage).
I have to say, that the first impressions were WOW. The building is absolutely stunning. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that it’s definitely the most elegant Carluccio’s that I’ve ever been in. All the guests were truly taken care of. The prosecco was dangerously free-flowing, as was the Italian cocktail, the Negroni. The canapés were always on-hand and if you were twisting my arm to pick out a favourite it would be the pesto arancini. But I also spent a good portion of the evening dancing around the giant wheel of parmesan cheese, so it’s safe to say that I heartily enjoyed that as well.
The guests were delightful. Everyone from the PR and Media teams were absolutely legendary. The party was attended by a lot of local York business owners and I even got to brush elbows with the Mayor of York (identifiable by his many ribbons in the photos below). But of course, the most exciting part of the night was meeting the man of the hour, Antonio Carluccio. He was full of jokes and good humour and took time to speak to everyone at the party. He wasn’t bothered that we were all hounding him for photos and it was an absolute honour to meet him.
After all, he’s the godfather of Italian cuisine; the man who basically normalised Italian cuisine in England. Jamie Oliver began his career under Carluccio’s Neal Street restaurant. Antonio Carluccio’s written over a dozen books on Italian cooking and now at 80, he’s still going strong. I was giddy when I spoke to him. I giggled a bit and he probably thought I was a bit daft, but oh well.
This was definitely one of the most surreal experiences that I’ve had in my blogging career!