Strictly’s Giovanni treats Rose Ayling-Ellis to ‘aphrodisiac meal’ for birthday night out

Strictly: Deaf This Morning guests discuss Rose Ayling-Ellis

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Professional dancer Giovanni Pernice, 31, took his dance partner Rose Ayling-Ellis out for her birthday to Gola Restaurant, which expertly serves “aphrodisiac food from Puglia”. The Strictly stars seemed to have a wonderful time gorging themselves on tasty desserts at the Italian eatery. 

On Wednesday night, the Strictly pair took a rare break from rehearsals to celebrate Rose’s birthday. 

The EastEnders actress, 27, could be seen tucking into a number of delicious looking desserts on Giovanni’s Instagram Story in front of his 662,000 followers. 

Rose also took to Instagram to share several snaps of her birthday meal out with the recently-single dancer in view of her 311,000 followers. 

The pictures were a feast for the eyes, featuring a number of delectable treats, which included indulgent looking pastries, nutella gnocchi and white chocolate cheesecake.

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The dishes were served on a giant framed mirror, which Rose held as she beamed at the camera. 

“Thank you for all your lovely birthday messages,” Rose wrote in her Story. 

“I really appreciate them all. I’ve had such a wonderful day dancing and then an evening doing what I do best. Eating,” she quipped. 

Gola, which has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor, describes itself as serving “aphrodisiac food from Puglia”.

In the restaurant’s online information section it says: “The concept comes from the passion of the food matched to our homeland Puglia, where there are already historically many aphrodisiac ingredients.

“The name ‘Gola’ in Italian is the equivalent of gluttony (one of 7 deadly sins) – aka the overindulgence of food and drink”. 

These were not the only sweet treats Rose enjoyed on her birthday, however, as on Wednesday, the star could barely contain her excitement as she proudly showed off a Frozen-themed birthday cake, before proceeding to pretend to smash it into Giovanni’s camera. 

Last week, Rose and Giovanni stunned the Strictly judges with their Couple’s Choice dance, which featured an incredibly moving silent section to give an insight into what the world is like for the actress. 


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Rose was born deaf, and has previously spoken out about how she dances without being able to properly hear the music in numerous interviews.

The actress, who is Strictly’s first deaf contestant, prefers using sign language to communicate and has an interpreter on set at all time, so that she can understand everything that is happening throughout the show. 

Speaking to the BBC, she said: “I’m not really relying on the music. I’m relying on counting and the beat. 

“Giovanni is helping me with counting to make sure I get my count first, start[ing] at the most important beat, and then hopefully from onwards it’s okay.”

After their moving performance to Symphony by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson, an emotional Anton Du Beke said to the pair: “That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on the show. Congratulations.”

An equally touched Motsi Mabuse said: “Thank you, it was such a beautiful moment to include us in your world and for us to actually understand how important and how aware we all could be of each other generally everywhere. This was so special.”

The judges awarded the duo an incredible score of 39, putting them in second place on the leaderboard, underneath Rhys Stephenson and Nancy Xiu.

Last month, Giovanni broke his silence after splitting from his Love Island star girlfriend Maura Higgins, explaining that the relationship had come to a “natural end”. 

Meanwhile, Rose is in a relationship with long-time partner Samuel Arnold, whom she has been dating for approximately seven years. 

The star has developed a sweet friendship with Giovanni since they were partnered up together for Strictly.

Strictly returns for Musicals Week on Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.

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