Friday, December 30, 2011

Na...Tale and a Happy New Year - Taberna Vulgi - S. Stefano del Sole (Av)

When is the right time to say Buon Anno?  Do you really need to wait until midnight to wish friends and loved ones a Happy New Year?
Giovanni Mariconda

Chef Giovanni Mariconda didn't think so, and that's why he invited friends over to his place- Taberna Vulgi in the town of S. Stefano del Sole in the Avellino province. I joined Mariconda and company to ring in the new year a couple of days early over a wide selection of prodotti tipici made in Irpinia...

Cheeses like carmasciano, pecorino and caciocavallo.  I paired the latter with a sweet onion jam...

Salumi such as prosciutto crudo were hard to pass up as well as mozarella and ricotta cheese.

The evening began to warm up and so did the chef.  All kinds of specialties flew out of the kitchen, served and plated up right in front of us. Each dish typical of the territory, typical of the season.  From pasta and potatoes, to insalata rinforza with cod.  I couldn't pass up on Mariconda's spaghetti served in a cuptiello, a brown paper cone.  He tossed this pasta right in front of us with garlic, sugna, pecorino, and truffles.

We needed a cin cin to go with our boccone, so when in Irpinia....

Aglianico, Taurasi, Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Coda di Volpe were ready to celebrate the new year as well.  WInes from a wide variety of producers, many who were on hand to join in the festivies.  

So when is the right time to say Buon Anno?
Right after dessert...

Happy New Year!!

Taberna Vulgi di Giovanni Mariconda
Via Casino 6
S. Stefano del Sole (Av)
0825 673664

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cooking Class in a Medieval Castle...Kids Only

David and Chef Philly D'Uva
This day is for me, my 11 year old son David told me.  You can sit over there.

He was right.  This particular day was just for him, and a dozen other kids who wanted to cook in a castle. A medieval castle, Castello Doria in Angri (Sa)  David and company were in the capable  hands of Chef Philly D'Uva.  

Philly, full of patience and passion had a mission that December morning.  They were going  to mix it up a bit.  Literally.  

They pushed up their sleeves and got their hands into the flour, yeast and water creating smooth little doughy discs. They dove into the tomato sauce.

They fried up pizzas...and added sauce and cheese...

They fried up pastries and added sugar and chocolate...

And they laughed, ate, had a great time...

A day just for him...and a dozen other piccoli chef...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

SUD for Christmas...2011

Friends from Ciao Vino, Ais Napoli and SUD Ristorante got together to celebrate Christmas and a Michelin Star. 25 mini dishes, French champagne, wine, and laughter were part of the festivities.

We began with fritto all' Italiana...

tortino su salsa di lumacchine
(fried potato with a tomato/snail sauce)

riso zafferano( rice with saffron)  e lemongrass 

crocche friarelle e provola
(potato, greens and provola cheese)
Then it was time for the cocktails...

cocktail di gamberi, aspic, insalata russa, tartare di ostriche
 (shrimp cocktail, 'aspic', coleslaw, and oyster tartar)

The assaggi continue...

farfalla salmone, linguine cartoccio
(salmon with fried pasta and ricotta, pasta and shellfish) 

pasta e fagioli 

pesce al sale, calamaro ripieno, mustacciuolo
(fish cooked in 3 types of salt, stuffed squid, and mustacciuolo ) 

chef marianna vitale 

vitello stonnato, filetto wellington, pollo diavola (veal, wellington beef and spicy chicken)

sorbetto limone, profitterol all'nduja, tartine burro salato e caviale di cioccolato
(lemon sorbet, pastry stuffed with nduja, and a cracker with chocolate 'caviar')

risotto fragole
(strawberry risotto)

ananas flambe
(pineapple flambe)

And if that wasn't enough, a wide range of classic Campania desserts to keep the party going...

Wines?  Of course...destination France...

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale ...and Joyeux Noël....

SUD Ristorante
Via SS Pietro e Paolo 8
Quarto (Na)

081 0202708

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ristorante Oasis Sapori Antichi - Vallesaccarda (Av)

 We met  in Taurasi (Av) at a dinner his restaurant was catering.  At the end of the  evening  Carmine Fischetti  handed me a simple white card...a card and an invitation to visit him and his family in Vallessacarda (Av)...  Oasis Sapori Antichi...Famiglia Fischetti.

An invitation  to visit the Fischetti family, a family known throughout the Campania region.  Definiely an invitation that I did not want to refuse.  An invitation to taste dishes rich in tradition with products from the territory.  An invitation full of flavors passed through the generations.

 I couldn't think of a better time than the Christmas season to visit, so on a cold Friday evening I was back on the A16 in search of the sounds, the flavors, and the spirit of Natale with the Fischetti family.

As soon as I walked into the door, I was greeted with a familiar face, a smile  and a Buon Natale.  The large Christmas tree in the dining room wasn't the only thing that said Merry Christmas. I stepped into a special dinner for AIS Avellino starring the Fischetti menu and Umani Ronchi.

 Every table has a flavor, a memory of ChristmasPuccio Fischetti pointed out. Star anise, cinnamon,  vanilla, candied fruit were just some of aromas that sat happily in a glass on each table, ready to take part in the festivities.

Nicola Fischetti  gave me a little tour of the  kitchen where I found his sister Lina  and the kitchen staff caught up in the excitement that the season brings.  Slicing up mushrooms and truffles ... putting the final touches on the desserts that would be served that night.

A menu full of Sapori, Profumi e Atmosfera

homemade foccacia

 zuppa di cereali, olio di olive extra vergine ravece, polpetta di vitello e buccia di limone

zucca napoletana, alici salate di menaica, stracciatella di mucca, nocciole avellane, polvere di liquiriza

candele di setaro, brandelle di baccalà, porri e arance del gargano

ravioli di burrata ed erbette, manteca campana e tartufo nero di bagnoli

il vitello in lenta cottura, sedano rapa laccato al vino pelago, cremino allo yogurt di bufala, olio di ravece

frolla di nocciole e pere carmellate

piccoli pasticceria


Christmas in evening with the family, the Fischetti family.  An evening celebrating the flavors, the aromas, and the atmosphere of the season.

When you come back, I was told, we'll have to visit the old cantina, take a walk around Vallesaccarda. It is a beautiful part of Irpinia.

Another invitation that I would be sure not to pass up...

Oasis Sapori Antichi
Via Provinciale 
83050 Vallesaccarda (Av)
0827 97021

Italian Version

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Taste of Christmas - Insalata di Broccoli con Aringa Affumicata - Chef Raffaele Vitale - Casa Del Nonno 13 (Sa)

There were a row of them A row of small clear plastic hollow prisms waiting for the chef.  Chef Raffaele Vitale who silently...patiently...and meticulously filled each one with his taste of Christmas.  Broccoli di Natale, he told me.  Greens that are very common at the vegetable stands and on the dinner table during the holiday season.   But Chef Vitale added his angle to the dish...garlic mayonnaise, candied lemon peel, and lemon gelatin, he continued.  And on top, wrapped around a toothpick?  This was taste was tasty and new for me.  Aringa...aringa affumicata...smoked herring.

Chef Vitale

Merry Christmas Chef!

Casa Del Nonno 13
Via Carracciolo 11
Sant'Eustachio di Mercato San Severino
089 894399