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Food may reign supreme as the foremost reason people flock to the Eldorado Great Italian Festival, but that all-you-can-eat pasta and garlic bread can work up a thirst. Festival booths and special events will keep you refreshed and ready to eat, grape stomp and shop your way through the festival, running Oct. 8-9.

No. 1 in Italy

Italy’s best-selling beer, Peroni, will be featured. Since 1846, Peroni has been the No. 1 beer in Italy, and will be sold alongside Coors Light and limoncello. Limoncello is an Italian lemon liqueur made by seeping Sorrento lemons in a rectified spirit, then mixing with syrup. The resulting beverage is light, refreshing, and just right as an aperitif post-noodle feast.

The traditional bellini

The famous bellini, an Italian Festival favorite, is the star of the show. A combination of sparkling wine and pureed white peaches, the Bellini comes to America courtesy Harry’s Bar of Venice and was invented in the 1930s or 40s — quickly becoming a local favorite.

Take this Italian tradition home with the Eldorado Italian Festival Bellini recipe, which also features peach schnapps: 2/3 cup white peach puree (sub yellow peaches if white are unavailable), 2 teaspoons peach schnapps, chilled Prosecco or sparkling wine. Place a heaping tablespoon of the puree mixture in the bottom of a champagne flute. Add schnapps, and slowly pour chilled Prosecco to fill glass.

Sample the wine

In addition to the booths, festival attendees will have the chance to sample both Italian and California wines during the Italian Festival Wine Walk. The Wine Walk will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost $30 per person, per day or $50 per person for two days.

Vintage Eldorado

Finally, at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Reno Ballroom, the Eldorado presents Vintage Eldorado. This special event, which costs $55 a ticket in advance or $65 at the door, features an evening of Italian food, both domestic and imported wines, and beer and spirits straight from Italy. The evening includes a silent auction, and the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of the Truckee Meadows. Get your tickets.

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