Florida Winefest & Auction Kicks Off Season with Exclusive Dinner with Two Top Chefs

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Florida Winefest & Auction (FloridaWinefest.org), a nonprofit that provides funding to local qualified charitable organizations for programs assisting disadvantaged children, is kicking off its 2015-16 event season, featuring several events from November through March, with its 4th annual Wild Truffle Wine Dinner, an exclusive five-course dinner with two celebrated chefs – Christopher Covelli and Paul Mattison.

Chef Christopher Covelli

“When you see what the Florida Winefest & Auction does for children, it truly touches your heart,” says Covelli, a board member of the nonprofit.

Florida Winefest & Auction, a nonprofit that provides funding to local qualified charitable organizations for programs assisting disadvantaged children, is kicking off its 2015-16 event season, featuring several events from November through March, with its 4th annual Wild Truffle Wine Dinner, an exclusive five-course dinner with two celebrated local chefs – Christopher Covelli and Paul Mattison.

On Friday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Mattison’s Forty-One, guests will discover the exotic aroma and flavor of the wild truffle – harvested directly from Italy. The chefs will bring Tuscany to the table and discuss the hunting of wild truffles, truffle dogs and the stories surrounding the wildly expensive mushroom-like delight adored by gourmets. Covelli, a culinary instructor in Italy and Sarasota resident, began hunting for the Tuscan truffles last week for the event. The chefs prep and cook everything from scratch with the 2 pounds of truffles that are shipped back from Tuscany.

“When you see what the Florida Winefest & Auction does for children, it truly touches your heart,” says Covelli, a board member of the nonprofit. “Florida Winefest board members have seen a 14-year-old boy cry because he received his first pair of sneakers ever. It really gets you choked up, and you can’t help but be passionate about the good work the organization does for local children.”

The dinner will also be perfectly paired with superior wines presented by Banfi Vintners. During the cocktail hour, Stoli Vodka will provide the Stoli martini bar. Proceeds from this event will benefit qualified charitable organizations for programs assisting disadvantaged children.

“I am so proud to be a part of this nonprofit organization that has awarded $8 million in grants to 84 charities since 1991,” says Mattison.

Tickets are $250 per person, and space is limited to only 100 guests. For more information, visit FloridaWinefest.org or call 941-952-1109.

About Florida Winefest & Auction
For 25 years, Florida Winefest & Auction has provided funding to qualified charitable organizations for programs assisting disadvantaged children, youth and families in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The nonprofit has awarded $8 million in grants to 84 charities since 1991.

The 2016 festival will include Wine & Winemakers Dinners; Bayfront Showcase Lunch Tasting; Banquet on the Block; Grand Tasting, Brunch and Charity Auction; and Wine on the Water. For more information, call (941) 952-1109 or visit FloridaWinefest.org.

About Chef Christopher Covelli
Chef Christopher Covelli is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City where he was trained by world-renowned chefs, including Andre Soltner, Jacques Pepin and Alain Saihac. A former Wall Street executive, his background, training and living experiences have enabled him to speak five languages and specialize in Classic French, Italian and Spanish cuisine as well as American Haute Cuisine.

Chef Covelli’s cooking expertise earned him invitations as guest chef for four James Beard Foundation Dinners. He was the owner and chef of L’Uva Restaurant on Cape Cod, Mass. Chef Covelli has earned five Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence among other numerous cooking awards. Currently, Chef Covelli is the senior chef instructor at Toscana Saporita Cooking School in Lucca, Italy.

About Chef Paul Mattison
Chef Paul Mattison, executive chef and proprietor of Mattison’s, operates a successful culinary group on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Located in Sarasota, each Mattison’s restaurant location is unique to its neighborhood, offering Chef Mattison’s signature menu items, outstanding service and quality ingredients, while supporting the community, regional farmers, and culinary suppliers.

Mattison’s has received numerous awards over the years. Mattison’s was awarded Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Brand Award, one of Florida’s most prestigious culinary accolades. Other awards include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Readers’ Choice Awards, Sarasota Magazine’s Best of the Best, SRQ Magazine’s Hot List, Creative Loafing’s Editor’s Choice Award, Bradenton Herald’s Readers’ Choice Awards, among many others. Chef Mattison attended the Culinary Institute of America.

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Candice McElyea
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