A wild cat in Parliament house

June 2009

Some of you may know Luigi de Luca as the gelato maker at De Luca Gelateria (106 Norton Street, Leichhardt, Ph 9564 1127), one of the pioneers of  the art in Sydney. But there is a lot more to Signor de Luca than gelato. Late last month, for example, and as part of the Sydney Italian Festival, Luigi and his wife Gavina and children Virginia and Luigi Jar (GIGO) produced one of the most remarkable events I’ve ever been  privileged to attend.

They transformed the very boring dining room in State Parliament House into a dining room in the palace of the Prince of Salina in 1860. Well, there wasn’t a real Prince of Salina, but there was in the book Il Gatorade, translated in English as The Leopard, which was first a novel written by Giuseppe di Lampedusa set in Sicily, and then a film made by Luchino Visconti and starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon. Both book and film are wonderful. And there is much food in both.

So what happened on Macquarie Street was a duplication of the event depicted by Lampedusa. We ate the food as described, including a timbala of maccheroni, and rum jelly, as interpreted by Parliament House chef Scott Clark with help from Signore de Luca. The SBS Youth Orchestra played music from the period and the film and we waltzed around the room in costume. I wish you could all have been there. I don’t think we’ll see another event like that in Sydney for a long time. Mille grazie, Luigi e famiglia.

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