When we first heard that the Saffron Supper Club, the Miami-based roving pop-up dinner club that explores food and culture of the Middle East, would be hosting its latest dinner at Midtown’s Bocce Ristorante we kind of scratched our heads.
But after attending the fifth installment of the dinner series titled, “On the Spice Trail: The Food of the Maghreb” we learned just how much Arabic food really influenced Southern Italian cuisine during our three-course meal and saw how suiting of a pairing it was.
The meal began with a prosecco filled reception and bites of fresh mozzarella being made and served right in front of guests by Bocce’s chef de cuisine, Nunzio Fuschillo, along with other passed bites. We then made our way into the dinner where the group of 65 guests took over three large tables for the family-style meal.
“There’s something so beautiful about a community seating communally,” said the Saffron Supper Club’s co-founder Maude Eaton during her opening remarks.
Dinner began with a surprise first course courtesy of Bocce — a pizza topped with eggplant, pine nuts, ricotta, tomatoes and raisins. If you’ve never had raisins on a pizza, you should pronto since this dish made us a believer. Then it was time for a taste of one of Bocce’s signature dishes, its Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli, which served as the official first course.
Throughout the dinner, the club’s other co-founder and self-proclaimed “amateur food geek” Sara Liss, read entertaining stories to the crowd and shared interesting tidbits about the cuisine of the Maghreb, the area where North Africa meets the Mediterranean.
It was then time for the main course that included Braised Lamb, a Blood-Orange Salad topped with sunflower seeds and toasted pine nuts, braised fennel and slightly sweet Couscous made with a homemade stock that had everyone raving. Every course of the meal was paired with a wine by Zonin, which for this dinner all happened to come from indigenous Sicilian grapes that have been around sine the 16th century.
The final course was a Saffron Panna Cotta topped with a almond crunch and to-go bags filled with cookies, which was a light and sweet ending for the flavorful dinner.
Want to check out a Saffron Supper Club for yourself? The next dinner will be hosted at the Persian-influenced Fooq’s in Downtown Miami on Sunday, June 28 and will be themed “Pistachios and Mint: A Persian Wedding Feast.” There are only 30 seats available so get your tickets soon by calling 786-536-2749.