Prince Edward County was paid a visit by a renowned and nominated movie star this weekend.
Toni Collette, an Australian actor that’s been nominated for both Golden Globe and Academy awards and is known for her work in Muriel’s Wedding, The Sixth Sense, Little Miss Sunshine and About a Boy, stopped by Terracello Winery on Saturday to sample some of the trademarked wood-fired pizza that’s inspired from the iconic and world famous Da Michele restaurant in Italy.
For winery owner and pizza chef Tony Auciello, it was a weekend to remember around the kitchen at his place on County Road 1 just west of the Highway 62 intersection.
“She and her family were wonderful people and she said she really enjoyed her visit here and remarked on the beauty of it all,” Aucello told the Gazette Monday.
Collette’s visit was pre-planned about a month ago through her agent.
“Her agent told me Toni had heard about Prince Edward County’s charm and the wineries from one of her personal chauffeurs,” Aucello explained. “She’s in the city filming a movie.”
After setting up reservations, Colette and her family arrived Saturday where they were greeted and provided a tour of the winery and, afterwards, seated under the vineyard pergola.
“She told me they had travelled to Naples, Italy last year and ate at the most famous pizzeria in the world called, Da Michele,”Auciello said. “Somehow she heard they were my icons and that I sourced the same ingredients from Italy to create the authentic ‘Margherita’ pizza.”
For his specialty pies, the chef uses only Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta sauce, Fior di latte mozzarella and basil, using Italian flour.
Collette also tasted Terracello’s Boca Nera wine with lunch. The vintage is akin to an Italian Barolo wine and is aged three years in French oak casks which adds many layers to its complexity.
“I asked how was everything and she said she was ‘floored’ with my food, wine, setting and warm hospitality” and I joked with her and said ‘You are the Julia Roberts of Prince Edward County’. She laughed,” Auciello said, referring to the scene in the famous movie Eat, Pray, Love.
“I can tell you she was very genuine and very gracious. She was extremely grateful and thanked me numerous times and I was just honoured to have that opportunity,” the chef said. “She really enjoyed her visit here and I think her family had a really nice day in the County.”
Auciello stressed all COVID-19 mask protocol was followed during the duration of Collette’s visit and the photo taken in the Terracello kitchen was done so during a pizza tasting.
Editor’s note : In an earlier online version of this story regarding actor Toni Collette visiting Terracello Winery on Saturday, a picture was used of Collette and winery owner Tony Auciello in the winery’s kitchen area during a pizza tasting.
As allowed by Ontario’s COVID-19 protocols, diners are permitted to remove masks while consuming food, however, the photo was taken out of context by some readers that were mistaken Collette wasn’t wearing a mask during her visit.
Auciello stresses Collette did wear a mask during her visit and only removed it while eating. At his request, we removed the photo and reposted this story with a different photo on Wednesday afternoon.