Male’ Maldives, 10th January 2023 – Vakkaru Maldives is bringing a slice of Tuscany to the island paradise this January with an ultra-exclusive wine dinner on 22nd January 2023, in collaboration with the famed Banfi winery, one Michelin star Chef Domenico Francone, and Di-vine Cellars Maldives. The one-night-only dinner at Isoletta beach will see Chef Domenico create a five-course dinner showcasing the best of Italian flavours paired with a curated selection of wines from the Banfi portfolio.
Banfi was founded in 1978 by Italian-American brothers John and Harry Mariani. Over the past 40 years, Banfi has built a successful and notable history through four key pillars – pioneering, research, innovation, and sustainability – that have helped shape the company’s story and contributed to its success. The Banfi is arguably the most famous of the brand’s Italian wineries. Located just outside the hilltop village of Montalcino, in one of the world’s most famous wine-producing regions, Tuscany, it produces world-class Brunello’s, Rosso’s and Super Tuscans. Banfi also operates other estates throughout Tuscany and Piedmont, producing various red, white, and rose wines.
The centrepiece of their extensive vineyards in Tuscany is the stunning, walled and turreted 13th-century castle, Castello Poggio Alle Mura. It houses a hotel, a glass museum, the Enoteca, and two restaurants, including the one Michelin star, La Sala dei Grappoli – Chef Domenico Francone’s domain.
Originally from Puglia, Chef Domenico Francone grew up in a family with a strong culinary tradition. After graduating from the IPSAR Antonio Turi in Matera, he gained experience in several prestigious Italian and international restaurants, including at German super chef Heinz Beck’s starred restaurant in London, Apsleys. On his return to Italy, he was offered the executive chef post of La Taverna, Castello Banfi’s other restaurant. He then headed the opening of La Sala dei Grappoli, serving a seasonal menu of traditional Tuscan dishes with a modern twist that won the restaurant its first Michelin Star in 2020.
Chef Domenico will bring his culinary expertise and authentic Tuscan flavours to Vakkaru and create an unforgettable dining experience for guests. “I am amazed by the natural beauty of Vakkaru island and all the wonderful experiences it offers. I look forward to enjoying them when I am on the island,” he says. “I am thrilled to bring the authentic flavours of Tuscany to Vakkaru and to share my passion for Italian cuisine with the guests,” says Chef Domenico. “The combination of my signature dishes such as the ‘Tortelli like Eggplant Parmigiana’ and the ‘Tenderloin, artichoke, vegetables caponata and Brunello di Montalcino Jus’, and the exceptional wines from Banfi will create a truly unforgettable dining experience.”
Speaking about the upcoming dinner, Iain McCormack, General Manager, Vakkaru Maldives, says, “We are always looking for ways to enhance the guest experience at Vakkaru and give them elevated culinary offerings. Thanks to Di-vine Cellars, this collaboration with Chef Domenico and Banfi allows us to do just that. We can’t wait for our guests to experience the authentic Italian taste and exceptional wines at Isoletta.”