Photos: Mario Batali, Dario Cecchini and Buddy Valastro Help the Venetian Kick Off Winter in Venice Events

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The Venetian and Palazzo’s third annual Winter in Venice kicked off a new culinary experience with the four-day La Cucina Italiana Food & Wine Festival over the weekend. Chef Mario Batali hosted the ultimate Italian celebration with the Grand Banquet, an extravagant table set for 200 guests that took over the Grand Colonnade where they were presented a family-style feast pairing new- and old-world Italy.

The menu included veal carpaccio, 24-month Galardi prosciutto, risotto with white truffle and a porchetta created by The Singing Butcher of Panzano Dario Cecchini that Chef Batali referred to as “the porchetta to end all porchettas.”

“This format will conjure meals eaten in Italy, where banquets are spread out quite literally in the middle of a street,” Batali said. “Though something you often find in a Tuscan or Umbrian village, it is a novelty in this country, especially in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.”

The four-day food event also included How To Italian. Guests were taught by some of the best chefs on property how to make some of their favorite dishes with 10 different demonstrations. Chef Mario Batali and Dario Cecchini taught tricks of the trade when it comes to preparing meat, while the Cake Boss Buddy Valastro showed how to make the perfect cake.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.

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