Italy Day Sacla And Dallaglio

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 3rd June 2010

Yesterday evening Jonathan and I attended what must rate as the best 'cocktail' party I've been to for decades.   It was Italy Day at the Italian Cultural Institute at Belgrave Square.

How did I come to get invited.  Well, last year when I took part in Celebrity Masterchef, I was totally foxed by the Mystery Box and then saw the ingredients to make Pesto - one of my specialities which I often give to friends in lieu of a Bottle of Wine.  The MD of Sacla saw me on the programme - got in touch with my agent and a box of goodies winged their way to me.  I do virtually all my cooking from scratch and am not one to buy sauces but the Sacla range is superb.

So that is how I got the invite.  However I nearly didn't go - thinking with dread yet again of the awful journey in to London.  I've virtually given up taking the car as traffic is appalling.  It takes just over an hour to get to the outskirts of London and anything from an hour to two to get into Central London.  Anyway, it was a gloriously sunny day and I decided to try the High Speed Train route.  Unfortunately the nearest station to me is Dover Priory where I got my car vandalised a few months ago so I decided to drive to Folkestone West and park there.  The High Speed Train was a delight - much cleaner than the normal trains and, of course, fast.  We were at St. Pancras in under an hour.  Mind you there was a ten minute walk to get on the underground and it was spiflicatingly hot.

Got to the Italian Cultural Institute in Belgrave Square and couldn't have received a warmer welcome.  I was greeted like a member of the family and the evening just got better and better.  My hosts were brilliant in that they kept introducing me to other guests.  I'm afraid, despite my career in broadcasting, I've never been very good at 'networking or doing a room as they say'. I've spent my professional life interviewing people and on a one-to-one basis, I'm totally happy but I can't walk up to someone, cold, and introduce myself. There were many interesting folk from all different walks of life, among them the father of Laurence Dallaglio - Vincenzo - a total Italian charmer.  He and his son are working with the Sacla family developing new products - both being passionate about food.

The Canapés were the best I've ever had - really bite-size and absolutely delicious.  How often have I stood at a Cocktail Party refusing the huge canapés because they don't go into the mouth in one and you're sure to be caught with half a mouthful when someone wants to talk to you.  The Sacla canapés were a gastronomic delight and as for the Rose Prosecco - delicious. 

Jonathan arrived much later and also commented on the wonderful food.  I have to congratulate the serving girls and boys - they were constantly circulating and made sure no one missed out on anything.  Again how often does one stand and see the last 'nibble' disappear along with the server and that's it - they never come back. 

Although Jonathan didn't play Rugby at school, he has become a devoted fan of the game.  I'd forgotten the fact and omitted to tell him that Dallaglio would be at the function.  He was bowled over at being introduced to him.  I must have been somewhere else and didn't meet the 'great man'.

We must have done something right for our hosts invited us to go on with them to Little Italy in Soho.  We had a fabulous time with loads of dancing and then to cap it all the lovely Dionne (P.A. to the very glamorous MD - Clare Blampied) organized a car to bring me all the way back to Kent.  Didn't get to bed till 4.00 - but that kind of wild night is a rarity these days, so it was trebly enjoyed.

I'm now fired up to continue my Blog on the Florence trip.  Meanwhile I leave you with this photo of Clare, Vincenzo Dallaglio and me taken by the delightful photographer - Matt Harrison

P.S.  The story of SACLA is fascinating - why don't you Google it and click on Sacla 1939 where you'll see the full story.


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