Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chef Paolo Barrale and Marennà-Not your Typical Thanksgiving Meal

November 25 2010. The fourth Thursday in November. A day where Americans, all over the world, celebrate Thanksgiving. A day to share with family and friends…A day to go home for the holidays…

I decided to do just that..go ‘home’. My home away from home…A16. This time I headed towards Sorbo Serpico…towards Feudi dei San Gregorio. To their Michelin star restaurant Marennà, and to my friend Chef Paolo Barrale.

On this particular cold, rainy autumn day, the staff at Marennà made me feel instantly at home the minute I walked in the door. Angelo Nudo, Marennà’s sommelier , greeted us, took our coats and showed us to our table. Chef Paolo Barrale…Paolone… grinned, waved, and greeted us with a Happy Thanksgiving…No turkey today, he smiles, but I am not disappointed. I knew that whatever would come out of his kitchen would be appreciated…would make me feel comfortable and cozy…make me feel at home.

DUBL Spumante Greco di Tufo 2006 arrives…a toast to the holiday, and we begin. And what a beginning…two appetizers; candele (candle shaped pasta) stuffed with shrimp, along with frutta di mare and spring onions…the second was baccala with a creamy potato and mayonnaise sauce with truffles. Angelo paired our appetizers and first course with Pietricalda Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2009.

Next, Chef Barrale and his team sent out two fantastic firsts from the kitchen…a risotto with salmon cubes sprinked on top (salmon that had been marinated with oranges, lemon and dill) with a shower of lemon peel. Then, my new best friend…ravioli with a turnip and potato filling on a bed of burrata, a soft creamy cheese.

At this point I was about to ask for another glass of Fiano when Angelo set down two glasses on my table. I want you to try these two wines during your second course…okay Angelo, you’re the boss. Primitivo 2008 and Piano di Montevergine Taurasi Riserva DOCG 2002. With a glass of wine in hand, I walked over to the kitchen to watch Paolo at work.

I watched as Paolo led his team of assistants in preparing, plating, and presenting the dishes that would be served next. Dishes such as braised pork with radicchio, turnips, spinach, and truffles. Pork cheek cooked for hours in Aglianico until it becomes so tender that it practically melts in your mouth. This was served two ways…on a bed of creamy potatoes with truffles and with a side of creamy pumpkin.

Dessert---two assaggi…a pomegranate sorbet and Sicilian cannelloni with pistachios, sided with hazelnut sorbet and orange marmalade…Angelo served Privilegio Fiano di Avellino 2007.

Over a caffè, I reflected, as I usually do, about not only the meal, but my experience. My desire was to feel at home. A home away from home.

To have a full and satisfying meal with friends…with family.

To relax…and to give thanks…

Thanks Paolo…


Località Cerza Grossa
83050 Sorbo Serpico (Avellino)

Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Lunch only on Sunday.
To make a reservation, call 0825-986666 - 348.3639531.

Italian Version

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