Before cooking at—and eventually purchasing—The Trattoria in Saint James, chef Steve Gallagher spent four years living and working in Saint Croix. After seeing the devastation they suffered from Hurricane Maria, he knew he had to help the people of the island he briefly called home. Like many of us, his Facebook feed was filled with GoFundMe campaigns and online fundraisers, but he wanted to do something different. In speaking with his friend Anthony Nappa, a winemaker, they decided to team up and host a charity wine dinner.
Like Gallagher, Nappa also has close ties to the Virgin Islands. He and his wife Sarah, a chef who trained in Italy, got married in the British Virgin Islands and were planning on bringing their young children to visit for the first time this winter. Their wedding venue, which employed over 300 people, is virtually gone leaving many without jobs and homes for the foreseeable future. The island was hit by two hurricanes in as many weeks. “Obviously things can be rebuilt but a lot of people are devastated,” says Nappa. “There’s so much fundraising out there but it’s still not enough.”
The Trattoria is a cozy, rustic Italian restaurant in Saint James with an ever-changing menu focused on seasonal ingredients. Formerly known as Kitchen A Trattoria, the restaurant was previously owned by Eric Lomando of Orto and Kitchen A Bistro until it was sold to then head chef Steve Gallagher in 2013. The Trattoria is hands down one of the best restaurants on Long Island, but don’t just take our word for it—they earned a coveted “excellent” rating from The New York Times. Normally alcohol is not served in the restaurant, but you’re free to bring your own wine (or craft beer). So, for first timers and regulars alike, this wine pairing will be a truly unique experience.
If you’ve drank wine from Raphael recently, you’ve already had something produced by Anthony Nappa. He has been the winemaker at Raphael in Peconic for the past five years. There, he also crafts his own small batch wines and even has a separate tasting room known as The Winemaker Studio. Every Anthony Nappa wine is all natural with zero additives—not even yeast. They are each wild fermented with naturally occurring native yeast. “We try to accent the aspects of this place that are very unique,” says Nappa. The 2016 “Bordo Antico” Italian style Cabernet Franc is the only organic wine on Long Island and will be served at the dinner alongside an ash pasta.
Gallagher and Nappa put together the five-course menu intending to have each dish complement the wine and vice versa, a relatively easy task since all Anthony Nappa Wine is made to be food friendly. “He makes some good wine, I make some good food,” laughs Gallagher while discussing the progression of each course. We separately asked each of them which pairing they were most anticipating and their answers were identical—pan roasted duck breast served with Shared Table Farm 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir, a private label wine typically exclusive to wine club members.
The dinner will take place on Sunday, October 29 with settings at 2:30 and 6:00. Tickets are $150 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity, and all proceeds will be donated to The Bitter End Yacht Club Staff Irma Relief Fund and St. Pete Air USVI Relief Effort. Reservations are required and can be made in person at The Trattoria or by phone. Don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy a delicious evening of food and wine, while helping those who need it more now than ever.