Off the Menu Special: Pelican Hill’s Festa Celebrates All Things Italian

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festa 7By Christopher Trela and Catherine Del Casale | NB Indy

Autumn is here, which means it’s time for The Resort at Pelican Hill’s annual “Festa dell’Autunno,” held this weekend, Oct. 9-11.

The Italian themed celebration is fitting for Pelican Hill, as the resort is inspired by 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, who built magnificent villas that were said to embody Renaissance architecture.

This fifth annual Festa features an Italian street festival with Italian food and wine plus live music, guest chef dinners, and a jazz brunch.

“Resort guests and locals will savor the seasonally inspired autumn cuisine of not one, but two superb guest chefs from acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants in Tuscany,” said Pelican Hill Managing Director Giuseppe Lama. “Celebrating time-honored traditions like art, pageantry, music, food and wine, the flagship event of the weekend, Italian Street Festival, this year features a charming evening ambiance with olive tree-lined lanes and Palladian architecture illuminated after dark.”

Catherine attended a special sneak preview of Festa cuisine earlier this week, and came away dazzled.festa 6

“The guest chefs will be offering amazing cuisine all weekend,” gushed Catherine. “At the preview I sampled a seared branzino, braised endive, saffron-infused fennel with a licorice sauce, a lightly seared beef crude with a brunette wine reduction and orange and cinnamon-infused apple puree, and a polenta crostini with crispy pancetta and porcini mushrooms—all fabulous.”

“Don’t miss out on Chef Lombardi’s three-course lunch or five-course dinner menu on Friday and Saturday,” added Catherine. “He comes from Ristorante Il Pelican in Tuscany and will be providing diners with an exquisite meal featuring fresh fall ingredients and great wines.”

Festa schedule of events:

festa 5Friday, Oct. 9 and Saturday, Oct. 10: Guest Chef Lombardi at Andrea Ristorante. Chef Sebastiano Lombardi from the Michelin-starred Ristorante Il Pellicano in Tuscany’s seaside town of Porto Ercole presents a three-course lunch and five-course dinner menu, balancing tradition and innovation to feature the freshest autumn ingredients, paired with fine Italian wines. Lunch served noon – 2:30 p.m. Dinner served 6 – 10 p.m.

$225 per person for dinner; $80 per person for lunch (wine pairings, tax and service included).

Saturday, Oct. 10: Italian Street Festa, 2 to 8 p.m. Experience a harvest season celebration along olive tree-lined Bungalow lanes, with Italian food and wine, live music and dancing, traditional art, a Mercato, Motori Italiani auto exhibits, bocce ball and traditional flag performances.

$125 per adult; $55 per child under age 12.

Saturday, Oct. 10: Carnevale dei Bambini at Camp Pelican, 2 to 8 p.m. Pelican Hill’s children’s retreat presents Festafesta 4 dell’Autunno weekend activities for locals and guests alike. Designed for ages 4-12, Camp Pelican’s Children’s Carnival includes special afternoon and evening activities, including traditional Italian dancing, Venetian mask decorating, flag waving lessons and dressing up in classic Renaissance-style costumes for a Street Festa procession under the guidance of Italian flag performers. In the evening, the Resort pasta chef stops by for a cooking activity, followed by dinner, gelato and a screening of Pinocchio, the animated movie.

$95 per child.

festa 2Sunday, Oct. 11: Under the California Sun Jazz Brunch. From endless Prosecco mimosas to endless ocean views, Festa weekend concludes with a festive al fresco jazz brunch 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

$100 per adult; $45 per child under age 12 (Prosecco, tax and service included).

A Festa Weekend Bungalow Package (available October 10 only) includes overnight stay in a bungalow, two adult tickets to Saturday’s Italian Street Festa and two adult tickets to Sunday’s Under the California Sun Jazz Brunch. Prices start at $925 per night, double occupancy Bungalow accommodations.

Event tickets and accommodation packages are available for purchase at For reservations and information by phone, please contact Pelican Hill’s Festa reservation specialists at (855) 55-FESTA.


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