Saturday, July 14, 2018

“Te le do io le Bollicine”, 16 July, Nabilah, Bacoli (Na)

 AIS Napoli presents the 10th edition of the party of the summer season - Te le do io le Bollicine.  A vast array of spumante, friends, music, fun and food to help AIS salute a sparkling summer!  Here's what you can expect on Monday evening at Nabilah! 

A star studded dinner featuring some of Campania's hottest chefs - Lino Scarallo, Pasquale Palamaro, Marianna Vital, Domenico Iavarone and Luciano Villani.

Dozens and dozens of food stands including Oyster Experience a cura di Vincenzo Supino, Old Friends, Tarallificio Tonino, Malafronte Panificio, Olio Guglielmi, ONAF Napoli con i formaggi della famiglia BUSTI e i salumi LEVONI , Carmasciando, Tempio dei formaggi, Kuma 65, La Locanda del Testardo, La Fescina, Liv Bistrot, Mamma Elena, Le Lune Bistrot, Il Falangone, Maria Rosaria canò, Masseria Guida, Masseria Alaia, Locanda Rei, Mosè a Ridosso, La Playa.

An area for street food - Chamade, Macelleria Hamburgheria Da Gigione, Da Pasqualino, Happy Hours, Caseari Cautero, Casa de Rinaldi, Olio e pomodoro.

Dessert! - Sweet Emotions, Pasticceria Lisita, Kiwi SunGold Zespri

And of course, wine!

Metodo Classico:
Rosè Brut S-ciopét – Pelaverga – Castello di Verduno
Bianco Dosaggio Zero – Erbaluce, Timorasso, Cortese, Moscato – Erpacrife
Groppello Brut Nature Paxtibi Bianco dal Nero – Zuliani
Blanc de Sers Brut Nature – Vernaza, Valderbara, Nosiola – Casata Monfort
Vernaza Belle – Pravis
Raboso Rosato Brut Redentor – Tessère
Pignoletto Millesimato 1877 – Lodi Corazza
Lambrusco di Modena – Paltrinieri
Pas Dosé Dalnero – Montepulciano, Sangiovese – Strologo
Vinudilice – Alicante Grecanico, Minnella – I Vigneri
Nerello Mascalese Rosé Extra Brut – Murgo
Metodo Martinotti:
Timorasso Terre di Libarna Colli Tortonesi Brut - Poggio
Prosecco Superiore Brut Conegliano Matiù – L’Antica Quercia
Ribolla Gialla Brut – Komjanc
Metodo Familiare:
Schiava Belle Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Francesco Poli
Silvo Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Varietà resistenti – Villa Persani
Naturalmente Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Glera – Casa Belfi
Roncaie Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Garganega – Menti
Boschera Colli Trevigiani Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Zanon Eros
Z Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Vermentino – Quartomoro

Bellavista, Foss Marai, Fontanafredda

Cantine Carputo, Franciacorta Turra, Ca' del Bosco, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, Cantine del Mare, Cantine Astroni, Contratto, Ferghettina, Montelvini, Feudi di San Gregorio, Fontanavecchia, Piatti, Sella&Mosca, Vino&Design, Cava Segura Viudas, Braida, Dogliotti, Cantine Iovine 1890, Capri Moonlight, Balter Trento DOC, Domaine D' A - Blanquette

AI Napoli will also hand out diplomas to the new sommeliers. I can remember my night a few years back.

It all kicks off at 7:30 pm, right before that amazing Nabilah sunset!
Tickets info - 
€ 35 at the box office
€ 30 in presale
€ 25 in advance for AIS members

Glass available with a deposit of € 5

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer in the City, George Restaurant Naples (Na)

Summer in the city.  The date was 21 June 2018, the first official day of summer. While city dwellers headed back to home from the beach, I decided to head towards Corso Vittorio Emanuele 135.   Home to Grand Hotel Parkers but also home to one of Naples newest gourmet restaurants, George Restaurant. George restaurant located on the 6th floor this 5 star luxury hotel. It is one of the oldest in Naples and boasts an amazing view of the city. I was there that evening to pay a visit Chef Domenico Candela, his brigade, and the dining room staff headed by restaurant manager Giovanni Avolio and Maitre SommelierAldo Gambardella.

Once I was able to snatch my gaze away from the Bay of Naples I had a chance to sit down and enjoy many of the dishes from Chef Candela’s summer menu for 2018 beginning with an aperitif /aperitivo. Let's begin.

A cylinder of pasta filled with a chicken a liver pate.  

Next Cromesquis of lamb. 

Eggplant parmesan airbag.

Chicken terrine and foie gras with cherries.

Modern caponatina 

and fake clams.
Fake clams?  Sure!  I had to ask for a brief explanation…

I take the clams and I cook them in the classic way, sautéed with garlic, oil parsley, a bit of white wine…. classic Mediterranean. After, I filter them, add agar agar to form a gelatin and the cut into small pieces.  I add the gelatin pieces to an algae infusion and put it all in a clamshell.  Then I make a lemon compote like lemon jam, I put a little essence and a grated lemon and seaweed algae - to give that touch of scent of the sea.
Shrimp with a grouper tartare mustard leaves, mayonnaise with shrimp coral.
A tartlet made with a potato dough. Inside there is a mushroom cream with ginger and geranium. On top, grated hazelnut from Piedmont and a Pimpinella leaf,


Let’s begin with black…. made with rice and cuttlefish ink. Then white rice with algae, the red one is made with beetroot and the orange with an American sweet potato, and then an American sweet potato peel, followed by polenta.

My curiosity had ignited. I had never tasted the chef’s cuisine. Never.  Candela, a Neapolitan, has spent quite a bit of time outside of Naples recently in France so I was very interested to learn what he had to offer to his guests.  Neapolitan as well as international tourists who, as I did, decided to spend their first night of summer on this beautiful terrace overlooking the city of Naples.

An amazing appetizer: scampi presented three ways – raw, fried, and with an exciting bisque.  The chef added linguine to keep it company. 

Then  cod fish from Faer Oer Islands delicately cooked  in lemon scented oil, saffron fish zabaglione risotto pasta and piquillo peppers.

Then it was time for the first course or I should say first courses. Risotto with wild arugula, cheese from Apulia and raspberry. 

Then small potato dumplings with ricotta cheese napkins, seasoned with lemon pepper foam bursting with smoked buffalo milk mozzarella cheese and a light green broth.

Then it was time to try for 870. Gulf 870. I like seafood and being a mathematician. I found it hard not to enjoy the story behind this dish as explained to me by chef Candela himself.  

Dimers in George restaurant can enjoy a magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples and it becomes even more interesting when you learn that the dish that was about to be served to me got its name from the circumference of the golf 870 square meters. Bass, lemons from Sorrento and an iodized sauce. 

Veal sweetbread cooked with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (aged 36 months), artichoke puree, Amaretto and Arabic coffee.

I took a brief pause before dessert.  Enjoying the view, a quick stroll around the dining room, a peek into the kitchen –which can be seen from the sala thanks to a giant glass window.  A sip of Aglianico, then back to my seat.

Dessert – keeping with the summer theme.  Melon, tomato and basil. 

A cantaloupe melon cannelloni filled with yogurt, candied cherry tomatoes, fior di latte ice cream and essence of cantaloupe.

Gazing at the full moon, I mentally planned my next trip back...maybe early fall to check out the Krug lounge or cigar room. 

In the meantime, Ciao George!

left to right...
Vincenzo De Luca, Fabio, Fabio Sangiovanni, Domenico Candela, Me, Antonio Lerro, Giampierro Pezziella

Cucina and Sala!!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

50 Kalo' di Ciro Salvo Opens in London

On July 12th Ciro Salvo will 50 Kalò in Trafalgar Square, his new pizzeria with his historical partner Alessandro Guglielmini. "We got the idea of ​​opening in London  a few years ago. Obviously I waited for the right time, I wanted to transfer  50 Kalò's entire identity and to do it  correctly I had to think and study the right formula. It is a leap that can be done when one is professionally mature and ready. Opening a pizzeria is easy, but transferring the soul is the most important thing. " declares Ciro Salvo. Salvo who faithfully reproduces his style of pizza good, hydrated and soft.  A style that began  about 25 years ago that has evolved over time.

The menu will feature many of  Salvo's symbolic pizzas: Margherita, 50 Kalò, Montanara; and the famous fried pizza . A wide selection of wines from Campania and Italian craft beers will be available to drink as well as special Champagne list.

During the day,  a bar will be open featuring  Italian cocktails (Spritz, Negroni, Bellini) for an aperitif or after a meal.

50 Kalo'  will be about 200 square meters with 90 seats, in the city center: in the famous Trafalgar Square,  one of the hottest locations in London.

What else? A special room so diners can observe the perfect pizza production: from preparation of the dough, hand cutting and rolling the dough into balls, manipulation, cooking and presentation..

The project is designed by Costa Group who has recreated an environment that combines English style with the Mediterranean. On the walls are photos of Ciro Salvo that reproduce the perfect sequence to make pizza, in the center the wood oven covered with red tiles, as in the pizzeria in Naples. Also the work bench is in white marble according to the Neapolitan tradition.

Good luck, Ciro!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Buono Come il Pane, Quattro Passi, Nerano (Na)

Buono come il pane...As good as  bread.  An Italian proverb that describes someone who has a good heart and an excellent character. The longer that I am in Southern Italy (25 years last June), the more I can appreciate a good piece of pane.  Long gone are the days of Wonder Bread and Homepride Butter Top Wheat Bread.  The more that I go out, the more that I appreciate the love that goes into this simple staple.   This bread basket that accompanies me at the table.  
Like these specialties that I had a chance to try last month at Quattro Passi, the 2 starred Michelin Restaurant in Nerano. Home to Chef Antonio Mellino and his son Fabrizio.  In fact, it was the 26 year young Fabrizio who described the restaurant's baked goods to me with a spark in his eye...pride in his heart.
Let's begin with the crackers...Buckwheat. Homemade. Try to eat just one.  Try...


Two loaves of bread,  Crispy crust, warm, full of flavor.  Let's begin from the bottom, shall we?  Bread (prefermented with type 1 stone ground flour and sourdough).   
Then, one of my favs, Mellino's wheat bread prepared with stone ground wheat and covered with grain.  

Poi a simple cube of pane cafone- bread baked in a wood fired oven.  It was hard not to be taken back in time as Mellino shared memories of dipping freshly baked bread in tomato sauce prepared by his grandmother. Memories that he decided to share with me and the rest of his guests who shared the dining room with me that Saturday afternoon. The bread arrived in a piccolo dipping bowl with tomato water and a sprig of fresh basil - straight from Quattro Passi's herb garden.

A stone (ground) throw away from the bread that I grew up with...
Buono questo pane!

Like the character that patiently watched it leaven, baked it, and took those quattro passi, that little walk, and shared it with me....


Chef Fabrizio Mellino and I

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gin O'Clock, Monzu Gin Club and American Bar, Capri (Na)

That Saturday hundreds of tourists arrived at Marina Piccola on the beautiful island of Capri around 11 a.m. I was one of them. And though many were headed to the beach, to take a tour, sight see or a go on a boat ride to the Blue Grotto I decided to head towards Punta Tragara Hotel. Punta Tragara is one of the top hotels on the island. It boast a 5 star Luxury hotel rating, a fantasticaaa view of the Faraglioni rocks, Monzu Restaurant, and Monzu Gin Club and American Bar.

Chef Luigi Lionetti met me on my arrival and showed me around .....

with one of the first stops being the bar and Daniela Chirico.

Chirico is one of the most talented bartenders on the island with a passion for gin and tonic. Monzu, then, was the perfect playground for my increasing curiosity about this historic cocktail dating back to the 19th century - aka a G and T. His cocktail menu has 150 types of gin and 21 different tonic water.

After studying the menu I asked Chirico for a little help.

He went into action. It was gin o'clock...


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Amazing Appetizers, Chef Pasquale Palamaro, Ristorante Indaco, Lacco Ameno, Ischia

A few weeks ago I had the chance to chat with Michelin starred chef Pasquale Palamaro about his new menu for 2018.   The chef was 'in town' for an event not far from where I live.  He mentioned that he had been working on some new dishes that were...were...well, he suggested that I come to Ischia, to Ristorante Indaco to try for myself.
I was very curious, no wait...curiosissima, as they say in Italian.  So I decided to take a ferry  one evening  to Lacco Ameno to check it all out.

 Palamaro loves the sea.  And why not?  Born and raised on the bellisssima island of Ischia one can certainly  understand why.  That is why last season he decided to devote his entire menu to the sea/il mare.  So it was no surprise that for his 2018 this theme would continue.  Let's take a look at two of his appetizers.

Golden Anchovies.  Fantasticaaa!  When the plate arrived, it was hard not to be reminded of an aquarium.  A sea colored platter which hosted Palamaro's variations of anchovies.

A closer look:

  • An golden anchovy - anchovy mousse with vinegar in carpione
  • a fried golden anchovies ball with gold leaf
  • marinated anchovies
  • anchovy radish tartare 
  • puffed rice anchovy and saffron chip
  • dehydrated anchovy wafer
  • tortello pasta stuffed with an anchovy cream, 
  • capellini di zucchini and zucchini sauce

Palamaro's voyage under the sea continued with his grilled oysters and octopus carpaccio.

A closer look:

  • A  mousse prepared with the cooking water from the octopus, 
  • then a layer of lupini clams and diced crunchy carrots and zucchini, 
  • Palamaro grilled oysters with Normandy butter (for smoky notes), 
  • All topped with an octopus carpaccio, white balsamic vinegar pearls and green sauce powder (capers, vinegar, parsley)