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Authentic Sicily culinary excellence at Graziella | Montréal en Lumière

Authentic Sicily culinary excellence at Graziella | Montréal en Lumière

Authentic Sicily culinary excellence at Graziella | Montréal en Lumière 1

In February, Montreal experiences essentially constant cloud cover. Luckily for us, Montréal en Lumières Festival happens to shed light on many good chefs and encourage us to meet with them. That is exactly what Graziella Battista, chef and owner at restaurant Graziella does for more than 15 years. Born in Montreal from two parents that came from the South of Italy, her roots and experience were displayed in this year’s event. With her guests from Sicily, Matteo Catania, oenologist, and Salvo Foti from Gulfi Organic Wines, she prepared an authentic Sicilian menu for the occasion.

The value of organic products and from Sicilian biologic soils were at the center of this menu. A lot of attention is put in every dish, but maybe not in every bottle. As Salvo would say, “The vine is like a man, if too spoiled, it will become lazy, and nothing good comes out of laziness.”

Gulfi grapevines have suffered and have never been watered. Passion, continuation of traditional methods with a mix of modernity and elegance is the common ground between Graziella and her guests.

Basket of wine grapes for Graziella
Nero d’Avola grapes at harvest. Graziella knows the sophisticated pairings of wine to enhance the dining experience.

With that in mind, Pierre Julien, her husband, co-owner and head sommelier, had selected the biologic Gulfi wines for their Italian grace from sustainable sources, biodynamic and ancestral culture, something you can also taste in the food served at Graziella.

The menu started with delicate squares of raw tuna with smoked eggplants paired with a crisp and fresh white Terre Siciliane Valcanzjria 2018. Followed by a filet of snapper, my favorite dish, with its orange sauce accompanied by a marinated mini Roman lettuce heart with anchovy and sucrines vinaigrette.

A white Terre Sicilane Carjcanti 2016 was served and was more mineral to compliment the filet and my palate.

Authentic Sicily culinary excellence at Graziella | Montréal en Lumière 2
Deliciously roasted tomato Tortellinis

Al dente Piglet tortellinis were next in line, dressed with San Marzano roasted tomatoes with Ragusano foamy cheese, served with a red Nerojbleo 2001, the wise one, and 2016 the young one, as Salvo puts it.

Authentic Sicily culinary excellence at Graziella | Montréal en Lumière 3
Guancia di Vitello Brasata

A little pause while some passages of Salvo Foti’s book, I Vini Del Vulcano, was read in both dining rooms divided by an open kitchen in this ancestral building, which used to be a tractor warehouse, I am told.  As Graziella came by to translate to English, her team kept busy preparing the Guancetta di vitello which stands for milk-veal cheek, a favorite of many regular customers. The flesh is very tender, melting and enhanced by a celeriac mousseline. Served with Savoy cabbage, and golden macerated raisins and four red Nero Sanioré 2013, Nero Baronj 2013 Bero Bufaleffj 2015 and Nero Màccarj 2015 that were absolutely spot-on.

Graziella is a sophisticated place for a great dining experience, great conversation and laughs. Thanks to the wonderful team and staff. Grazie a tutti!

chef's cheering with a glass of wine
Graziella dish descriptions and wine pairings unfolded at just the right pace.

Here is what you need to know:

Websites: |
Facebook: @graziellamtl
Instagram: @graziella_mtl

Want to read about more tastings at Montréal en lumière, check out Foxylee’s experience at Holborn.

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