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Venues to Celebrate Santa Barbara Culture, Cuisine During Epicure.sb in October

During the monthlong event, restaurants, tasting rooms, hotels and more will reveal lesser known secrets and recipes under the theme 'epic-Scoop'

Clinging to summer weather but ready for fall, October is a month Alessandro Cartumini has come to look forward to since moving to Santa Barbara four years ago.

As the executive chef at Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, the native Italian is able to flex his cooking muscles, and the overlap of growing seasons means avocados, citrus, berries and pumpkins peacefully mingle.

Those skills will once again be highlighted this month during the sixth annual epicure.sb event, a month-long homage to Santa Barbara culture, cuisine and libations.

Beginning Wednesday, restaurants, tasting rooms, hotels, museums and more will show visitors and locals lesser known secrets and recipes under the theme “epic-Scoop.”

Cartumini’s special sea urchin appetizer with avocado and corn at Bella Vista is one of 90 offerings during the October celebration, which includes 54 events, 26 special menus and 13 hotel packages, according to Visit Santa Barbara, the tourism organization spearheading the annual promotion.

A list of participating local businesses can be found by clicking here.

“It’s like the month where everything kind of comes together in terms of produce,” Cartumini told Noozhawk. “We’re going to showcase an appetizer dish that’s all about Santa Barbara. It’s a great way to attract people from outside of town, which is what we want.”

Alessandro Cartumini, executive chef at Bella Vista at the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore, has made a limited-time appetizer featuring avocado, abalone and corn. (Four Seasons The Biltmore photo)

After training and working as a chef in Italy, Cartumini began working for Four Seasons restaurants, including ones in Milan, London, Scottsdale, Ariz., San Diego and Palo Alto, where he helped open a hotel restaurant in 2005.

He moved down to Santa Barbara in 2010, and has since fallen in love with the area he calls home.

The hotel near Montecito’s Butterfly Beach historically draws many visitors, but Cartumini enjoys epicure.sb for showcasing the entire county’s harvest and talents, not just certain restaurants.

Last year, Cartumini worked up a tasting menu with 100 percent locally sourced dishes.

This year the hotel’s Ty Lounge will offer a Lepanza brandy cocktail — the Peña Flamenca  — inspired by Santa Barbara’s Spanish heritage, as another example, he said.

He hopes to find time to venture out and try what other chefs have crafted, possibly for inspiration.

“I think it’s great because we’re not just promoting the venue, we’re promoting Santa Barbara as a destination,” Cartumini said. “Everybody wants to be here. It’s a pretty dreamy setting.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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