Attending Antonio Carluccio’s 80th birthday party in York

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. 

Opera singers. No biggie.

The Sherrif of York 

Me being absolutely unable to play it cool whilst meeting Antonio.

This was definitely one of the most surreal experiences that I’ve had in my blogging career! 

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  • Wow what an honour to attend, and I bet the free flowing Carluccios canapes were amazing! How did you manage to get an invite? Alice xxx


    • Haha, I have no idea! I just got an email from them asking for my postal address and then voila – an invite! It was such a good event though, hopefully everyone was super pleased with their hard work and that Antonio had a good night! x

  • Zara

    Sounds like an incredible party! I’ve never been to Carluccios (the horror I know!) but the canapés look incredible! xo

  • I love Carluccios! And how cute is your face upon meeting him?!

  • I didn’t know that about Antonio Carluccio and I love the photo of you meeting him! Is this where the pub on the corner used to be or is that still there? Maybe this is where we should meet for coffee next time I’m home (because there aren’t a million other choices in York!) xx

    • There’s still a pub to the left of Carluccios (from the viewpoint of looking across St Helen’s Square from Bettys). I think it used to be a bank before it came the Carluccios but my mind is absolutely blanking it out now!

      Haha, I actually think York’s coffee game is on point! The Pig & Pastry is probably my favourite though! Have you read about Skosh? It’s a new restaurant and Jay Rayner (the food critic) said it’s one of the best restaurants that he’s ever been to and that it’s basically above michelin star quality. It’s insanely booked up now because of all the publicity but it’s perfect blogger date fodder too! x

  • That sounds like such an amazing event! I can’t believe you got to meet Carluccio aswell – you looked so happy! The building and setting looks so amazing too. I’ve only ever been to Carluccio’s once before and it was such a bad experience that I’ve sadly never been back again. I might have to give it another try, because the food looks amazing!
    xo April | April Everday

    • Oh man! I hate when one branch of a restaurant ruins it for all the others! I’ve had that happen at other chains too. Carluccio’s is definitely worth giving it a second try, though! x

  • Sounds like such an awesome event to be invited to, what a great opportunity! I totally agree about how beautiful the building is, what a beautiful place. Definitely super elegant! Lovely photos Amanda, I’d love to visit there one day 🙂 x

    Kayleigh | anenthusiasmfor.co.uk

  • What an incredible opportunity! And that food looks amazing. It reminds me of an Italian restaurant that my family and I would go to when I was little, especially since all of the adults would order a Negroni 🙂
    Also, I can’t get over your face when meeting him – you look so happy!!

    • Hahaha, I was maybe a little bit over enthusiastic when I met him, but he was really kind about it. To be honest, the Negroni really threw me for a loop, it was so strong! I had to hand mine to Sam to have him finish off after the first few sips. So I stuck to prosecco for most of the night (not a bad position to be in 😉 ) xx

  • Great photos of what sounds like a great event

  • What a legend! He looks really cheerful (and spritely for an octogenarian…) – so lucky that you got to meet him 🙂 Seems like you’ve got York’s blogging scene nailed already! x

    Tamsin | A Certain Adventure

    • Haha, I totally don’t but I’m certainly trying to make some in roads! (I was super impressed by his energy too!) x

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Carluccios, there’s one in Meadowhall and I always mean to go when I’m there! Think I’d much rather go to a pretty one in York though!

  • Oh my, how sweet! Your face in that photo with Carluccio haha #starstuck