Upcoming Spring Culinary Tours with Chef Massimo Capra

Following the upcoming Culinary Tour of California on March 3rd, Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato will be hosting the final two Niagara Culinary Experiences dinner events as part of the 2016/2017 series.

This spring, Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato will be celebrating the neighbouring Italian regions of Marche and Emilia Romagna with A Culinary Tour of Marche on April 7, 2017 and A Culinary Tour of Emilia Romagna on May 12, 2017. These two dinner events will be spectacular evenings full of amazing food and wine that will connect you with authentic Italian dining experiences right here in Niagara Falls.

A Culinary Tour of Marche will showcase the cuisine of a coastal region that’s abundant in seafood and offers beloved dishes like Minestra di Lumachelle, a soup made with egg pasta, and Muscioli Arrosto, which are stuffed and roasted mussels. Marche is also a well-established wine-growing region that will celebrated with wine pairings from Garofoli Winery, which has been producing quality wines like Rosso Cònero and Rosso Piceno for five generations.

Bordering Marche to the north is the beautiful Emilia Romagna, which is the final Italian region to be explored and celebrated by Chef Massimo Capra as part of the 2016/2017 Niagara Culinary Experiences series. Emilia Romagna’s capital city is Bologna, which has brought us notable pasta dishes like tortellini and lasagna, and as a region has given us countless classic Italian dishes and ingredients such as polenta, balsamic vinegar, and Parmesan cheese. Emilia Romagna is also known for remarkable wines such as the red and bubbly Lambrusco wine and the white Albana di Romagna.

Experience two of the city’s finest spring culinary events by visiting fallsavenueresort.com/culinary to reserve your Dinner Only or Hotel Package tickets. Both evenings will feature delicious five-course menus, a mix and mingle with Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato, a standing cocktail reception, and spectacular views of the thundering Niagara Falls from the Rainbow Room’s floor-to-ceiling windows.

20 Delicious Dishes from the 20 Regions of Italy

Italy is divided into 20 beautiful regions that each offer a unique cuisine worthy of exploration and celebration. So here is a list of some of the finest and most popular dishes from each of Italy’s 20 regions:

Abruzzo

Located in Southern Italy and known as the “greenest region in Europe”, Abruzzo offers a delicious dish called “gnello casc e ove” which is lamb stuffed with eggs and cheese.

Aosta Valley

Bordered by both France and Switzerland, Aosta Valley is a mountainous region that brings us a dish called Carbonnade consisting of salt-cured beef served with polenta.

Apulia

Apulia is sometimes identified as the heel of the boot of Italy and has a wonderful traditional pasta dish called “Orecchiette alle cime di rapa” – an ear-like pasta prepared with rapini.

Basilicata

Featuring two coastlines, one on the Tyrrhenian Sea and the other on the Gulf of Taranto, seafood is a major part of Basilicata’s cuisine, which features fish dishes like “Baccala alla lucana”, which is cod with crunchy red peppers.

Calabria

Calabria is the toe of the boot of Italy and has a cuisine that is Mediterranean-inspired and features a range of meat-based, vegetable, and fish dishes. A popular seafood dish from Calabria is “Pesce spada alla ghiotta”, which is swordfish rolls served in tomato sauce.

Campania

The region of Campania used to be known by the Romans as “Campania Felix”, which means “fertile countryside” and is the most densely populated region in Italy. Some famous dishes from Campania are Insalata Caprese, which is a Mozzarella and tomato salad, and Parmigiana, which is pran fried eggplant slices layered in cheese and tomato sauce and oven baked.  

Emilia-Romagna

Emilia-Romagna is an important cultural and educational hub – home to the world’s oldest university – and has a unique cuisine that has brought us classic Italian dishes like Cannelloni, Lasagne, and Mortadella, a sweet and aromatic pork sausage that originated in Bologna.

Friuli Venezia Giulia

The most north-eastern region in Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia’s cuisine features Prosciutto di San Daniele, which is a famous ham that is exported and enjoyed all around the world.

Lazio

Home to the country’s capital, which is also the largest city in Italy, the Lazio region offers “spaghetti alla carbonara”, which is spaghetti prepared with guanciale, pecorino and eggs.

Liguria

Seafood comprises a large part of Liguria’s cuisine, however pesto is arguably the region’s most famous culinary contribution. Pesto is a popular green sauce made from basil leaves, sliced garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmigiano cheese.

Lombardy

Lombardy brings us a number of delicious Italian dessert dishes including Panettone, which is a sweet tasting Milanese Christmas bread made with candied citrus peels and raisins, and Torrone – a candy made from sugar, egg whites, honey, and toasted almonds.

Marche

The hilly and mountainous Marche offers unique dishes like “Olive all’ascolana”, which is fried stoned olives that have been stuffed with Parmesan cheese and pork, chicken, or beef.

Molise

Molise is Italy’s youngest region and features a cuisine very similar to that of Abruzzo. “Pasta e fagioli” is a famous dish from Molise, which is a pasta and white bean soup cooked with pork rinds and pig’s feet.

Piedmont

Surrounded by the Alps on three of its sides, Piedmont is Italy’s second largest region and brings us Panna cotta, a dessert consisting of sweetened cream set with gelatin.

Sardinia

Located just south of the French island of Corsica, Sardinia offers a warm and hearty dish called Panada, which is a type of bread soup with added eggs, beef broth and cheese.

Sicily

Sicily is a cultural centre for music, literature, art, and cuisine and is home to classic dishes like Arancini, which are stuffed and fried rice balls, and Cannoli, which is a shell-shaped pastry filled with sweet ricotta cheese.

Trentino-South Tyrol

Trentino-South Tyrol used to be a part of Austria-Hungary and this influence is still evident in the region’s cuisine, which features a popular dumping dish called Canederli or Knodel.

Tuscany

The region of Tuscany is known for its simplistic cuisine and high-quality wine, with a popular dish being Ribollita – a twice-cooked vegetable soup, and arguably the most popular regional wine being Chianti.

Umbria

Possessing neither a border with other European countries or a coastline, Umbria offers “Lenticchie di Castelluccio con salsicce”, which is a lentil stew prepared with sausages.

Veneto

Veneto is home to some of the most recognizable dishes in Italian cuisine such as Risi e bisi and tiramisu, along with world-famous wine such as Prosecco.

Get a Taste of California Right Here in Niagara Falls

Some of the world’s finest vineyards and wineries are nestled among the rolling hills of California’s famous Napa Valley wine region, which is an incredible place worthy of celebration right here in Niagara Falls.

This March, A Culinary Tour of California dinner event at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra will transport guests to beautiful California with an evening full of delicious west coast-inspired dishes paired with wines from Napa Valley’s very own Robert Mondavi Winery. The five-course dinner menu features dishes like Foie Gras Torchon, Big Eye Tuna Crudo made with California grapefruit, California Walnut Ravioli, and an assortment of delectable bite-size desserts.

Chef Massimo Capra and Executive Chef John Casciato’s innovative Pacific Coast-inspired dishes will be expertly paired with wines like Robert Mondavi’s famous Fumé Blanc, which is both rich and refreshingly crisp, and Moscato d’Oro, which offers incredible peach and lychee fruit aromas.

Book your tickets now to join us on March 3rd for this Niagara Culinary Experiences dinner event, which will be an unforgettable dining experience where you can discover the magic of California’s Napa Valley in direct view of the magnificent Niagara Falls.

Food & Wine: A Perfect Pair

Food and wine go hand-in-hand and when paired thoughtfully and correctly, can make for an unforgettable dining experience. Here at the Rainbow Room we pride ourselves on providing fresh seasonal dishes alongside an extensive wine list and want to offer a few quick tips on how to find the perfect pairing:

Vegetables – Both roasted and raw vegetables tend to pair best with dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio. Try pairing vegetable dishes like our fresh Niagara Greens with a crisp glass of dry white from a local Niagara winery.

Red Meat – Red meat like our AAA Beef Tenderloin dish taste best when enjoyed with a glass of bold red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah, or even a medium red wine like a Zinfandel or Merlot.

Fish – Fish is almost always paired with white wine and with dishes like our Pan Seared Wild Scallops and West Coast Wild Halibut, a nice rich white like Chardonnay or a dry white wine like Pinot Grigio is best for bringing out the flavours.

Dessert – Wine can’t exclusively be enjoyed during the main course when there are so many out there that are perfect for dessert. The Niagara Region is known for producing some of the best ice wine in the world, which pairs perfectly with desserts like our Passionfruit Pavlova.

There is no doubt that a dish can be made more delicious when complemented with the right glass of wine, so why not experiment with different combinations to find a food and wine pairing that perfectly matches your tastes.

It’s All About the Appetizers

Eating at a restaurant is often a very entree-oriented experience, but here at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra we think it’s important not to overlook the innovative and amazing flavours that can also be found in appetizers. So, here are some of the best seasonal appetizers currently on the menu at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra, which are guaranteed to be unforgettable and will start your meal off with a bang.

Milli-Strato Lasagna

The Milli-Strato Lasagna is a very special dish that we’ve created in honour of the 87th anniversary of the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls Fallsview hotel. It features 87 amazing layers of hand-rolled pasta served with Massimo’s signature bolognese, bechamel, and grana padano, because we can’t think of a better way to celebrate an anniversary than with 87 layers of pasta.

Pear & Prosciutto

It’s pear season in Niagara and we’ve found that nothing compliments delicious Bartlett pears quite like some amazing pingue prosciutto. This seasonal dish features gorgonzola cheese, candied walnuts, and pomegranate caviar, making it a sweet and savoury fall appetizer that will be the perfect start to your meal.

Niagara Greens

At the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra we pride ourselves on using fresh and seasonal ingredients from across the Niagara region in order to offer guests a truly local culinary experience. And no appetizer has more of a local flair than our Niagara Greens dish, which features locally farmed, sweet potato “fieno” dried Niagara fruits, toasted pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic ancient grain dressing.

Zuppetta Di Cipolla Onion Soup

There’s no doubt that Italian food and wine go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean we should forget about the amazing flavours that beer has to offer. We’ve incorporated Niagara Brewing Company’s Amber Eh! Ale into our Zuppetta Di Cipolla Onion Soup, which also features aged provolone and grilled calabrese bread and offers a totally unique taste that is sure to warm you up.

Stop by the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra to try all of these amazing appetizers and experience the most innovative Italian cuisine that the city has to offer, all in direct view of the spectacular Niagara Falls. 

Embark on a Culinary Tour of Veneto this Fall with Chef Massimo Capra

The remarkable canals of Venice, historic Palladian villas of Vicenza, and medieval beauty of Verona all help to make Veneto one of the most spectacular and alluring regions in Italy.  And perhaps just as alluring is the region’s centuries-old culinary and wine-growing traditions, which have given us beloved Italian dishes like risotto, polenta and risi e bisi as well as incredible wines like merlot and prosecco.

Risotto is a quintessential Italian dish that has its roots in Lombarde, Italy and is now one of the most common ways to prepare rice in Italy. Risotto’s creamy consistency sets it apart from other rice dishes and its versatility means it can be served in a number of different varieties like risotto alla milanese, risotto alla zucca, and risotto al nero di seppia.

Risi e bisi is a creamy rice dish cooked with rice and peas that has a more soup-like consistency than traditional risotto dishes. It’s often prepared throughout Veneto in celebration of Saint Mark’s feast day and is mainly enjoyed in the springtime. The soup is so thick that it appears to be a risotto, but is in fact meant to be served and eaten with a spoon.

Polenta is another widely popular dish from Veneto which holds a rich history in Italy and is still enjoyed by countless people today. This boiled cornmeal dish is simple in terms of ingredients, but takes a long time to cook and requires constant stirring. Different forms of grain mush, similar to polenta, have been eaten in Italy since Roman times and the dish was often eaten by members of the lower class as cornmeal was often all they could afford. Polenta can be enjoyed as a porridge or can be left to solidify as a loaf, and in the Venetian tradition it is prepared with cuttle fish and tomato broth.

And let’s not forget about tiramisu. Although the exact origin of this delicious coffee-flavoured dessert is often disputed, most people believe that it has its roots in Treviso, Italy in the Veneto region. Tiramisu is made by dipping lady’s fingers biscuits into coffee and layering them with a mascarpone cheese mixture and cocoa, and is enjoyed in many different ways by people all over the world.

In addition to incredible food and dessert dishes, Veneto is a very significant wine-growing region and is recognized for producing some of the best wines in the world. It is perhaps best known for producing Merlot and Prosecco, although a number of other popular wines are also produced throughout the region.

Merlot is one of the most popular varieties of red wine and the dark grape was first found in Italy near Venice around 1855. Prosecco on the other hand, is a famous Italian white wine that can be either sparkling or still. Some people may know Prosecco as the main ingredient in Bellini cocktails, while others may know it as a great alternative to champagne.

The Culinary Tour of Veneto with Massimo Capra will bring all of the very best food and wine from Veneto into the Rainbow Room’s incredible Fallsview dining room. This special evening is taking place on November 18, 2016  and both hotel stay packages and dinner-only tickets can be reserved at www.fallsavenueresort.com/culinary.

Niagara Culinary Experiences Back at The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra

Chef Massimo Capra is back once again for this year’s Niagara Culinary Experiences series at Falls Avenue Resort, and is ready to take guests on magnificent culinary  tours of four unique regions, offering five course dinners and wine pairings, standing cocktail receptions with canapes, and a mix & mingle with the chefs in the Rainbow Room’s remarkable Fallsview dining room.

On November 18th, 2016 Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato will be hosting  the first of the Rainbow Room’s culinary events with A Culinary Tour of Veneto. The Italian region of Veneto is well-known for its capital city Venice, but just as worthy of adoration and praise is the region’s diverse cuisine, which has brought us some amazing dishes like risotto, polenta, and risi e bisi.

The Rainbow Room’s second culinary event will be held on March 3rd, 2017 and is A Culinary Tour of California. The Napa Valley in California is known for producing some of the best wines in the world, including Robert Mondavi Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc. At A Culinary Tour of California, Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato will be honouring  the amazing flavours and innovative spirit of Robert Mondavi wines by offering up remarkable west coast Italian cuisine paired with some of the winery’s finest wines.

On April 7th, 2017, guests can join Chef Massimo Capra and Chef John Casciato on A Culinary Tour of Marche and experience delicious and rustic flavours from throughout the Marches and amazing wines from Garofoli Winery. This Italian region incorporates so many delicious flavours and ingredients into its cuisine, and the Culinary Tour of Marche event will give guests a true taste of what this region has to offer.

And finally, guests can experience the last of the Niagara Culinary Experiences series events at A Culinary Tour of Emilia Romagna on May 12th, 2017. Many dishes and ingredients  like tortellini, lasagne, balsamic vinegar, and parmesan cheese originated in the Emilia-Romagna region and are now at the heart of Italian cuisine, and this special evening has been designed to showcase and celebrate them along with some truly incredible wines.

Dinner-only tickets for each Rainbow Room event are $139 per person, while Dinner and Hotel Stay Packages feautring a beautiful Fallsview King Room stay are $199 per person. To book your tickets now, please visit www.fallsavenueresort.com/culinary.

The Rare and Remarkable Black Truffle

The culinary team at The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra has expertly crafted a dinner menu that adds unique and exciting flavours to traditional Italian cuisine by using fresh high-quality ingredients like Pingue prosciutto, east coast lobster, and the remarkable black truffle. The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra’s Black Truffle Potato Gnocchi is a highlight of the menu, served with roasted cauliflower, pecorino, and Upper Canada ricotta, allowing it to pair perfectly with Creekside Estate’s 2013 Syrah wine.

But what makes an ingredient like the black truffle so special? For one thing, they are rare and hard to come by with most black truffles being cultivated only in France, Italy, and Spain. Finding truffles isn’t an easy task either, with truffle harvesters having to rely on the help of dogs and pigs to sniff out and uncover them in the ground. And while black truffles are not quite as rare as their white truffle counterparts, they continue to be a highly sought-after delicacy known for refining the taste of other foods. Black truffles can be found in many dishes and forms, however some of the most popular ways to enjoy them is by adding them to sauces, making them into spreads like truffle honey, eating them raw, and shaving them on top of various pasta and salad dishes.

You can experience the exquisite taste of the black truffle for yourself in an amazing gnocchi dish at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra and find out why the remarkable flavour of truffles or “tartufi” has long been an integral part of Italian cuisine.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at the Rainbow Room

Make sure to leave plenty of room for dessert when visiting the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra’s spectacular Fallsview dining room as the menu features a selection of delicious dishes that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. From bread pudding to crème brûlée, here are some of the amazing desserts you can expect to choose from:

Molten Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding– The Rainbow Room’s spin on this classic dessert dish features an incredible liquid chocolate centre, vanilla gelato, and dulce de leche, which literally means “candy made of milk”.

Espresso Crème Brûlée– The Rainbow Room’s chefs take the rich custard and hard caramel found in crème brûlée and add white chocolate and espresso scented budino along with chocolate covered espresso beans to make this dessert into a chocolate lover’s dream.

Toffee Apple Semi-Freddo– “Semifreddo” literally translates from Italian as “half frozen” and this spin on the amazing gelato-based dessert features crumbled hazelnut and chocolate bark to make something entirely sweet and new.

These desserts and more are currently being served at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra, so satisfy your sweet tooth  by heading to the Rainbow Room’s beautiful Fallsview dining room for an unforgettable dinner and dessert experience.

Pasta Lovers, Rejoice!

Pasta is a main staple of Italian cuisine and the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra offers a number of classic and delicious pasta dishes that showcase Massimo Capra’s artistic culinary vision and pair well with red and white wines produced throughout the Niagara Region. Here is a look at some of the pasta dishes you can find on the Rainbow Room’s dinner menu:

Linguine

Linguine originated in the Italian region of Liguria and is a form of pasta that means “little tongues” in Italian. The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra offers a Linguine Carbonara, which features smoked chicken, bacon and zucchini ribbons tossed in a Chardonnay cream sauce with egg.

Cannelloni

Cannelloni is cylindrical pasta that is baked and filled with stuffings like ricotta cheese, beef, or spinach. It means “large reeds” in Italian and is generally covered by a sauce. The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra offers a gluten-free and vegetarian Truffled Sweet Potato Cannelloni that features Ontario goat cheese, Yukon Gold “pasta”, red quinoa and black lentil soffritto.

Fettuccine

Fettuccine is Italian for “little ribbons” and is a type of pasta that is popular in Tuscan and Roman cuisine. The menu at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra offers a classic Fettuccine Bolognese dish that pairs well with a merlot and features a delicious sauce made with veal, beef, and sausage.

Gnocchi

Gnocchi is a type of pasta that consists of soft doughy dumplings that vary in ingredients and texture based on the region in which they are made. The word “gnocchi” is thought to be derived from the Italian word “nocchio” which means “knot in wood” or from the word “nocca” which means “knuckle”. The Rainbow Room offers a vegetarian interpretation of this classic dish with Black Truffle Potato Gnocchi featuring roasted cauliflower, pecorino, and Upper Canada ricotta cheese.