Style and substance aligned in perfect harmony at an exclusive wine dinner held Friday, Feb. 22, in a luxurious London Bay Homes model in Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club.
Three dozen guests savored five courses crafted by Angelina’s Ristorante executive chef Greg Scarlatos, paired with the wines of Husic Vineyards during the benefit dinner that was part of the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest. The two-day event raised a record $7.5 million for The Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, as well as other health-related charities.
Gemma and Mark Wilson, president and CEO of London Bay Homes, hosted the $1,000-a-plate Mediterranean Magic dinner, along with Miromar residents Kathy and Larry Courtnage.
“We are honored to have an incredible group of friends and supporters gathered here tonight for what we all recognize is an extremely important cause for our community,” Mark Wilson said. “London Bay is honored to help the Children’s Hospital become a reality.”
The guest list included wine fest signature vintner Frank Husic and his wife, Julie; Angelina’s owners Don and Angela Smith; and the founding chairman of the event, Steve Machiz and his wife, Esther. Wine fest trustees David Contreras and Brian and Maureen Schwartz also attended.
The Courtnages live in Omaha, Neb., and spend the winter months in their Miromar Lakes home. In past years, they have served as trustees of the festival and have held wine dinners at their home. They were delighted to co-host this year’s dinner.
“The reason behind the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest is the children,” Kathy Courtnage said. “That’s why we are involved.”
According to her husband, “The Golisano Children’s Hospital cares for 700 premature babies each year. It needs the money we raise to care for them and the many other children who need medical treatment,” Courtnage said.
The dinner took place in the London Bay Homes Bardolino model in Portofino, a 3,343-square-foot home ideally suited for effortless entertaining Florida-style. Guests entered through a lush courtyard into the high-ceilinged foyer. From the entry, it was a short walk through the well-appointed den to the central courtyard with its soothing fountain and trellised bougainvillea and jasmine. The centrally located courtyard provided an intimate setting for champagne and hors d’oeuvres, including herbed zeppoli with mission fig tapenade and lump crab with hot and sour radish salad.
Armed with a flaming baton, fire dancer Ikaika lured guests to the expansive outdoor living area, with its summer kitchen, fireplace and pool framed by tall palm trees that had small white lights strung between them.
At five tables situated around the pool, guests dined on spiced citrus swordfish, marinated and blackened ostrich, Darjeeling-rubbed Peking duck, cocoa-rubbed wild boar chop and a lemon Bavarian mousse, all created by Scarlatos and his culinary team, who worked with dedicated precision in the home’s spacious kitchen making full use of the dramatic black granite countertops and Wolf/Sub-Zero appliances. Each savory course was accompanied by one of Husic Vineyards California wines. Husic moved from table to table talking with guests about his wines.
Greg Davison, Angelina’s director of operations, kept an eagle eye on the food preparation and service and was happy with what he saw.
“I’m very proud of the Angelina’s culinary team,” Davison said. “The members are not only talented, they are passionate about food and ensuring that guests enjoyed an incomparable dining experience.”
During the dinner, Machiz told diners that if the next day’s auction raised $2 million, as it did last year, Naples philanthropist Tom Golisano and Benovia Winery owner Joe Anderson were prepared to match that amount, meaning the event could raise $6 million.
“If you’d asked me a couple of years ago, I would never have thought this would be possible,” said Machiz.
In the end, the event raised even more, resulting in a grand total of $7.5 million.
Serving classic Italian cuisine, Angelina’s Ristorante features a 30-foot wine tower with more than 4,000 bottles of domestic and international wine. Committed to excellence, the 210-seat restaurant is ideal for a romantic meal or a private party for up to 50. Private meeting rooms are equipped to handle audiovisual presentations with state-of-the-art technology and customized menus with the help of a courteous and professional staff.
Angelina’s Ristorante is open Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Live piano music is performed in the lounge Wednesday through Saturday from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Locally owned and operated, Angelina’s Ristorante is located at 24041 South Tamiami Trail, one mile south of Coconut Point in Bonita Springs. For more information or to make a reservation, call 239-390-3187 or visit www.angelinasofbonitasprings.com.
London Bay Homes, a leader in the Naples luxury home market for more than two decades, earned a 2013 Gold Award for Best Interior Design of a Custom Home for a private residence during The Nationals, sponsored by the NAHB. It was one of only two companies named America’s Best Builder by Builder Magazine in 2008. London Bay Homes builds custom and semi-custom homes and intimate village neighborhoods from Marco Island to Sarasota priced from the $700,000s to more than $10 million in many of the region’s most exclusive neighborhoods and communities.
To learn more about London Bay Homes and its commitment to Private Label Living, call 866-918-3354 or log onto www.ExperienceTrueLuxury.com.