Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kitchen Talk - Chef Mirko Balzano - Villa Assunta, Mirabella Eclano (Av)

Chef Mirko Balzano
Chef,  arrivo verso le 1230,  I told Chef Mirko Balzano.  I wanted to arrive at Villa Assunta at 1230 pm, a little before the 1 pm lunch time so we'd have time to talk before the crowd hit.  The day was typical Irpinian late winter early spring weather.  The sun wasn't sure what it wanted to do that day...hide behind the clouds, stay out for 30 minutes at a time, or play with the wind.   As if it had decided, along with the landscape, that the color of the day would be gray.

But they don't know I was on my way to visit Mirko Balzano.  Chef Balzano. 27 years young. Known  as one of the top young chefs in Campania as well as  throughout Italy.

That cool grey windy day outside would be blown away by Balzano's dishes full of creativity, enthusiasm, color, and most importantly...flavor.

Like his gambero in irpinia...lightly sauteed shrimp gently resting upon a cannolo made with corn flour then stuffed with turnip greens, provola and potatoes.



Or his risotto made with buffalo yogurt, trout bottarga and eggs.  Then on the side, the right amount of homemade honey by the signora...to get the perfect contrast of of sweetness.


Then there was his ravioli...his ravioli irplin.  Homemade pasta stuffed with wild boar that his hunter friend had caught and butchered for him.  Topped with browned butter and anchovy sauce.


Or even Balzano's comfortable cozy cod fish with potato soup,chestnuts (castagne del prete), porcini mushrooms, and black truffles from Bagnoli.


Dessert?  A mixed plate of sweet specialties...served on a 45 rpm...


No, they didn't know that I was on my way to Balzano.  So maybe that's why the sun decided to stay out on my way home...as if trying to make up for lost time.   Too little, too late.   Who needs the sun when you have risotto?  Or ravioli?   Or after you have just spent the afternoon with a little colorful  kitchen talk....








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