Thursday, December 1, 2022

It's Time for Is Pop - Pomigliano D'Arco (Na)


Here we are- a little over a year after Chef Francesco Sodano decided to leave his role as Executive Chef at a Michelin starred restaurant on the Amalfi Coast- he is ready to embark on a new adventure a little different...a little pop.

 Is Pop, the new project developed by  Francesco who puts his territory "at the center of the village" along with his desire to bring people closer to eating well.

Is Pop is located in Pomigliano d'Arco, in the province of Naples, a stone's throw from Casa Sodano: this is the starting point of a project that can expand, maintaining its popular soul, its pop soul. The format will in fact have a prefix: Ciabatta Is Pop, because it focuses on bread and sandwiches-featuring amazing breads that Sodano is famous for.  The project is also  wide-ranging and the goal will be to have a Gelato Is Pop, a Fresh pasta Is Pop and so on. Think globally, act locally so to speak.

At Is Pop you can find all the specialties that have distinguished Francesco Sodano's cuisine in recent years, starting from sauces, such as smoke and ash or mango and curry chutney, horseradish mousse, apricot ketchup from Vesuvius, miso and lime. Not to mention seafood cold cuts, also made by Sodano: seasoned on site. They will become the specials of the sandwiches of the month (3 in rotation) that will be added to the 10 fixed sandwiches on the menu along with the possibility of creating your own ciabatta. The proposals will be appetizing, full of imagination and flavor. 

Is Pop is  a place designed for delivery and takeaway but able to accommodate 15 people at small tables.



 The sandwiches range from 8 to 15 euros, but on the menu there are also appetizers, from 4 to 10 euros, always signed by Sodano, such as tartare with pickled onion, valerian and ash sauce "that gives smoky notes", salmon carpaccio with horseradish mousse. Among the starters also some timeless classic dishes from Campania such as tarallo 'nzogna and pepper with beer mayonnaise, to recall the classic combination that in Naples is done by the sea, a pear and Neapolitan musso or the classic of the classics: bread and oil, reminding  us of one  the most popular gestures there are,  to use a piece of bread to soak up the oil. Three homemade desserts will complete the menu.


The focus of the whole restaurant will still be bread, a passion that Francesco Sodano has had for many years and that has led him to win important awards, such as the award of "Best bread basket on the table" for Gambero Rosso in the Italian Restaurants Guide. The spark of Is Pop comes from t bread: "At the restaurant it often happened to eat a piece of bread with something you found in the refrigerators, using our sauces, so I wanted to replicate this experience by making it try it outside" says the chef born in Somma Vesuviana. There will be two types of bread: both with 100% Italian flour, with 36-48 hours of lievitation, the first a white bread with fermented potato, the other with wheat, barley, spelled and burnt wheat. 

The food proposal will be flanked by a small offer of natural wines and a few labels of beers but extremely selected, in collaboration with the Crak of Padua, one of the most prestigious agricultural craft breweries in Italy.

A "pop" format, in the true sense of the word: all focused on people, all focused on the desire to start from the base and from one's own land. In this perspective, the whole project on sustainability, which has always been Francesco Sodano's workhorse, also falls into this perspective. All products are zero impact, with a cyclical farming technique, all food waste is used as compost for the soil, the oil is 100% Italian. A pop place, for ordinary people, with all the know-how of a great chef. Alongside Francesco will be  Ruben Cacace, a long-time collaborator who is now also a member of the project, who sees him personally involved. With Ruben and Francesco also Salvatore Sodano, fresh from a Michelin star at the Local in Venice, and Elisabetta Cioffi, a well respected chef and cooking school professor and Francesco and Salvatore’s mom.

 


Is Pop will be open for lunch and dinner during the week, on weekends only for dinner. The opening is scheduled for December 8 and e-commerce is also in the pipeline to bring Francesco Sodano's sauces and condiments to all the kitchens of Italy.

In bocca al lupo, guys!



Wednesday, November 2, 2022

There is Something New Under the Sun, Maroder Lounge Bar, Varcaturo (Na)



Something new has popped up on Via Madonna Del Pantano in Varcaturo.    Maroder Restaurant- a popular place in the area for traditional Italian cuisine since 1996- has done a little more than just changed their sign in the parking lot.  They've totally revamped part of the dining room turning it into a modern lounge bar which also serves sushi.  


I was quite curious, so the other evening I decided to check it out.  The lounge opens up at 6 pm- I arrived at 6:15, greeted by barman Fabio Cacciapuoti.  

Fabio Cacciapuoti

After a quick tour and chat, Cacciapuoti led me to the bar and began to prepare my first cocktail - The Truffle Maroder.



Ingredients include truffle bourbon, chestnut brandy, sugar, lemon juice, milk, an aglianico wine float, marron glacè, and a spritz of truffle essence. Perfect for the fall season when chestnuts and truffles make their appearance.



While sipping my first cocktail, I was introduced to the second novità at Maroder.  Sushi chef Rafael Herrera, who brought over my first of 3 aperitifs- sea bass nigiri, caviar, and grated lime.

Rafael Herrera





Soon afterwards, a plate of salmon nigiri with salmon roe.






At this point, Cacciapuoti began working on my second cocktail- Camillo lo Vuole Tonico - which includes the name of the count who invented the Negroni cocktail.  

Ingredients include Gin Tanqueray, redistillation of vermouth and Campari, orange bitter, Fever Tree tonic water,  and a redistillation that he painted on one side of the glass.  

In fact, Cacciapuoti told me that this drink, depending on what side of the glass you drink it from can be a Negroni or a gin tonic.


This arrived at the same time as my 3rd plate of sushi. Tempura shrimp uramaki, salmon, Philadelphia Cream cheese, wacame salad, fish roe.




As I was finishing up my happy hour, I couldn't help but notice another colorful drink that Cacciapuoti was preparing for another guest.  

Taste of Sea.




Gin distilled with seaweed, sage and thyme, mango puree, lime juice, limoncello, Perrier water top, bamboo leaf and a flying fish roe (tobiko).


Definitely will have to try on my next visit. As well as check out some of the upcoming changes that the Maroder team hinted will be coming in the near future.

In bocca al lupo, Maroder Lounge!






Friday, October 21, 2022

The 15th edition of Malazè, the Campi Flegrei Festival-lab Continues


The event created to promote the beauties and tourist-cultural proposals of the Phlegraean area, organized by Malazè Laboratorio di Comunità APS, continues in its second weekend of events dedicated to food and wine, the beauties of the territory, the landscape, the myths and its stories. These are the ingredients that will accompany young and old "ViaggiAttori" to live an experiential dimension that only these unique places can offer.


"We are halfway there, happy to have resumed this year but aware that Malazè - explains the creator of the event, Rosario Mattera - cannot limit itself to being a showcase of the Phlegraean Fields for only two weeks a year. We want to look to the future in an innovative way to create wealth responsibly in the food sector as well as in cultural and social enterprise, in new digital technologies and in design. But we haven't forgotten our past; we know that roots can make a difference in the globalized world ”.


 Below is the complete calendar of the second weekend of Malazè, reservations are required for each event.


Friday 21st October 2022


At the table with the Sibyl | Masseria Sardo - Lake Averno at 7:30 pm

For info and reservations: 0818581814 - 3493083243 | ristorante@masseriasardo.com


 

Tasting Laboratory of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Campania | Slow Food Campania - Slow Olive Group | Bacoli at 10:00 (reserved for operators in the sector)

For info and reservations: 339 8006902 | slowolivecampania@gmail.com

Saturday 22nd October 2022

The Rione Terra, like a museum, between Myth, tales and recent history - Lux in Fabula Antonio Isabettini | Pozzuoli - Rione Terra at 17:00, Palazzo Migliaresi at 17:00

Antonio Isabettini tells the story and the chronicle of the Rione Terra with the projection of unpublished visual documents. For info: 328 667 0977 |luxinfabula2@libero.it

Bio Fitness Game - The Garden of the Templars - Redhorn.

Pozzuoli - Lake Averno at 09:00. Team sports training with an athletic trainer and treasure hunt with the Sibyl's enigmas along the shores of Lake Averno.

For info and reservations: 345 667 0467 - 351 731 4370 | info@ilgiardinodeitemplari.it

Discovering the vegetable garden and agro-biodiversity (Pozzuoli - Lake Averno at 10:00). The club's educators will guide families on an outdoor day at the educational garden of the Phlegraean Dog Center in Lake Averno to discover the vegetable garden and biodiversity of agriculture. For info and reservations: 340 6004477 - 348 9608185 | legambientecittaflegrea@gmail.com

In the footsteps of San Gennaro - Progetto Uomo Onlus (9:30 am 1st group / 11:00 am 2nd group - 15 participants per group). A visit, a mix of history, art, tradition and devotion to understand the life of San Gennaro and his link with Naples and the Phlegraean Fields. Accompanied by a qualified guide and a friar, you will have the opportunity to visit the church, the cloister and the soup kitchen (to which part of the proceeds will go) in a different way, focusing on the artistic and spiritual aspect local.

For info and reservations: 333 3577746 | 380 4722925

Campi Flegrei where history becomes myth | Photo exhibition

11:00 opening at Casa Mehari Quarto Via Nicotera 8. For info: 335 7106976 | contact@flegreaphoto.it

Sunday 23 October 2022

Napoli Obliqua Napoli Pedala (appointment: 07:30 - Galleria Principe di Napoli) | A bike trip in the beating heart of the city of Naples, between the districts of the historic center and beyond, to learn more about the morphology of Naples, its history, traditions and contemporaneity.

For info and reservations: 338 2723767 | 338 2127542 | napolibikefestival@gmail.com

Bio Fitness Game - The Garden of the Templars - Redhorn.

Pozzuoli - Lake Averno at 09:00. Team sports training with an athletic trainer and treasure hunt with the Sibyl's enigmas along the shores of Lake Averno.

For info and reservations: 345 667 0467 - 351 731 4370 | info@ilgiardinodeitemplari.it

Foraging among the volcanoes - APS Visit Campi Flegrei - Masseria Sardo

The event will be held in the oasis of Monte Nuovo, from which we will leave to reach the shores of Lake Averno. A fascinating tour that will end with an aperitif. For info and reservations: 347 5507420 - 320 8015037 | info@visitcampiflegrei.eu

Naturalistic Walk in Procida Capital “For orchards and gardens” - Procida Porto 10:00 am | Paths to discover Procida, the smallest of the Phlegrean islands, capital of Culture 2022.

Walk through vegetable gardens, vineyards, gardens and typical streets of the island. For info and reservations: 333 7201311 - 338 8257952 | association@vivara.it

Vibrating in the memory of the ruins of the Villa Rustica del Torchio (Phlegraean quarter - Villa del Torchio 9: 30-12: 30)

Gong concert and ancestral instruments by Gong Master Antonella Notturno and guided tour by the Campi Flegrei Archaeological Group. For info and reservations: 349 0962592 - 338 3187875 | protocol.generale@comune.quarto.na.it - ​​raffaella.devivo@libero.it

Walking Tour Pozzuoli. Discovering the wonders of the Phlegraean Fields with a walk in the historic center of Pozzuoli. For info and reservations: 081 19009000 | percorsiflegrei@turismoeservizi.it

Fata Morgana at Lake Averno (from 10:30 to 13:00). The educators of Legambiente Città Flegrea and the Morgana fairy will guide the participants on a particular outdoor walk to discover the archaeological evidence, myths, legends and floral and faunal species of the mysterious Lake Averno. For info and reservations: 340 6004477 - 348 9608185 | legambientecittaflegrea@gmail.com

Capo Miseno Myth and History - Between Ceres Dionysus and Isis (Bacoli Faro di Miseno at 11:00). Guided walk through the breathtaking scenery of Capo Miseno where participants can have fun in a procession in honor of ancient divinities. For info and reservations: 339 4195725 | Culturavventura@gmail.com

Archeoemotions: Discovering the Mosaics of the Submerged Bay (from 11:00 to 12:00). Boat excursion, a unique and inimitable journey to discover the history of the submerged villas of Baia and its spectacular mosaics | For info and reservations: 379 2426496 |nostrosud.srl@libero.it

Bacoli waterways and ... wines. A guided tour to discover two extraordinary Roman archaeological sites hidden in the narrow streets of the historic center of Bacoli: the Cento Camerelle complex and the Piscina Mirabilis.

or info and reservations: 081 014 0916 | info@piscinamirabilisbacoli.it

Discovering the Ancient Misenum (Bacoli - Sacello degli Augustali at 10:00)

Guided walk to discover the sites of the ancient Roman town of Misenum whose port was the seat of the most important fleet of the Roman Empire.

Terramadre life resurfaces | Campi Flegrei Award VI edition | photographic exhibition at Castello di Baia

Flegrea PHOTO association in collaboration with the Phlegraean Fields Archaeological Park

Baia - Archaeological Museum of the Phlegraean Fields | For info: 335 7106976 | contact@flegreaphoto.it

For all updates and news in detail, just consult the event website www.malaze.it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Malazè is Back!


Malazè
is back, the festival-lab conceived by Rosario Mattera to promote the beauties and tourist-cultural proposals of the Phlegraean Fields. Now in its fifteenth edition, Malazè is an event that spreads throughout the Phlegraean Fields and ideally unites Naples, Pozzuoli, Bacoli, Monte di Procida, Quarto and Procida as well as numerous associations and businesses in the area.


This year an edition full of events dedicated to food and wine, the beauties of the Phlegraean area, history but also leisure, designed so that you can  immerse yourself in the myths and legends of this land.

"The goal is to let those who do not know it discover this land and to thrill those who already know it but not enough", explains Rosario Mattera. “This is the fifteenth edition, every year is a different bet and we did not expect to get this far; I am driven by the conviction that the territory has strengths that are not sufficiently valued and that it still has a lot to offer ".



Fifteen days, four thematic areas (Taste, Myths and Stories, Archeology, Nature and Landscape). It starts on Friday 14 October 2022 with "A dip in history ... and then toast with the Romans", an appointment that will allow you to snorkel in the submerged city of Baia to continue with the "Bio Fitness Game", a workshop in Pozzuoli dedicated to slow food, Walking Tour of Pozzuoli, wine tastings of the Campi Flegrei DOC wines, oil workshops, reserved for Phlegraean restaurateurs, events to discover the ancient fortress of the Rione Terra di Pozzuoli and much more.


There is also space for outdoor activities with "Kids by bike", urban trekking and walks to discover Capo Miseno and Montenuovo; "The idleness of Dionysus" at the Terme di Baia and "Archeoemotions" will allow, however, to combine different passions together (archeology, taste and nature). Every Monday it will be the turn of the ARF cooks who will organize "Everyone in a barrel", ten-handed dinners in the cellar or workshops and meetings to discover the flavors of this land.

A preview of Malazè 2022 is scheduled for Thursday 13 October, at 5 pm, at Villa di Livia (Pozzuoli). Francesco Maisto, president of the Campi Flegrei Regional Park Authority will speak with Mattera; Nicola Caputo, Councilor for Agriculture of the Campania Region and the mayor of Pozzuoli, Luigi Manzoni. This will be followed by a tasting of typical Phlegraean dishes and Campania wines donated by the ARF and the Women of Wine of Campania. The service will be offered by the IPSEOA "Lucio Petronio" Institute of Pozzuoli.

The entire Malazè 2022 program can be viewed on the website www.malaze.it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Rediscovering Caracol - Caracol Gourmet, Bacoli (Na)

 

 


It’s as if I am rediscovering you and your cuisine, Angelo.

That is how I answered Angelo Carannante, chef of the Michelin starred restaurant Caracol Gourmet, during our after lunch chit chat that windy afternoon.

Rediscovering, reliving, and in some ways -silently celebrating- my latest lunch at one of Campania’s top restaurants.

My first visit was back in 2017.  I remember as if it were yesterday. Each yearly visit since then (minus 2020 due to Covid)  includes a steep downhill ride in the restaurant’s 4x4 (the only way to reach Caracol). Colorful, no frills, packed with flavor dishes. A wine list with international as well as local wines from Campi Flegrei.  And of course- the fantastic view. Definitely a stellar experience.

 

Let’s rediscover together-



My afternoon began with a sparkling wine by Corte dei Roberto, a sea truffle that had been steamed open on the grill, a lampuga (translated dolphin fish or mahi-mahi) kebab with teriyaki sauce, a fried ravioli filled with creamy codfish and a double buckwheat cracker with porcini mushroom.








Oct-dog...a tasty play on words- The chef's octopus sandwich.

 Then on to the appetizers. 


Cod cooked in olive oil, centrifuged friarielli broccoli, celery root cream, and clam water. 


What do you think about when I saw cauliflower?  I bet you have never had it like this...


Here it is roasted and served with a tahini sauce, anchovy caviar, an almonds.  All blanketed with cauliflower foam.

First courses- I was treated to 2.


Spaghettoni with anchovies and mussels.





A pumpkin risotto with horseradish and smoked eel...

Second course. The chef mentioned to me that when one thinks of the cuisine Campi Flegrei, they think of the sea.  Many do not realize that the territory's recipe book also features a rich history of meats, vegetables and fowl.  Like this second course so flavorfully demonstrates.




Guinea fowl breast with a red mullet champagne and caviar nage.

All throughout the meal, I was treated to a glass of wine (or four) thanks to pairings by maitre sommelier Giannantonio Scotto Di Vetta.



Pre- dessert.


Prickly pear sorbet with cinnamon and bottarga.

 Followed by a dessert inspired by the chef's trip to Brazil last year.

 In fact the dish is called Memory of a trip to Brazil-and it features coconut, cachaça and lime.

It was at about this point in the meal when a gentleman at the table to my right  spoke to me.

Are you writing a review? he asked.

No, I smiled back.  

I'm just rediscovering an old friend.  

Rediscovering, reliving, and in some ways -silently celebrating- my latest lunch at one of Campania’s top restaurants.


Chef Angelo Carannante and I