Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Into the Blu - Relais Blu, Massa Lubrense (Na)

One quick visit to Relais Blu for an aperitif in August demanded a follow up visit before the end of the summer season.  A visit for lunch, a trip around the wine list, and a conversation with the giovane Chef Roberto Allocca.
On this visit, I was determined to take it easy, take it slow, and enjoy my  journey into the blu.
The perfect way to begin any visit to this spectacular establishment is with a glass of spumante.  I was poured a glass of Marchese Antinori Nature-Spumante Metedo Classico.  A spumante with a never ending perlage.  

Perfect.  Perfect because I wanted to take my time.  Sip slowly as I  spoke with the owner of Relais Blu, Antonio Acampora.  He shared with me how his family has been in the hotel business for quite some time, with property in nearby Sorrento.  Seven years ago, they decided to purchase this paradise with its spectacular view of Naples and Capri.  How clients come from around the world to be pampered and cuddled in this renovated villa that hugs the cliff.  
Enjoy your day, Acampora said as he excused himself to get back to work.  
That wouldn't be to hard, I thought as I sat down to a few tasty appetizers...
smoked swordfish

prosciutto with figs

caciocavallo cheese with mandarin marmalade

porcini mushroom salad

Four bite size morsels that would prepare me for what was to lie ahead. Lunch on the terrace of Relais Blu.  A lunch prepared by Chef Allocca and his staff who had two options.  They could prepare a menu that would try its hardest to compete with the scenery, or they could present dishes that would compliment the view and speak proudly of the territory for their guest who arrive from all over the globe.  The chef chose the second option.  Dishes that would blend land, sea, and creativity into tasty beautiful creations.  
freshly baked bread with extra virgin olive oil and French butter on the side
 Each week at Relais Blu, the chef gives his customers an opportunity to try a different olive oil.  On the day of my visit, the oil was from Podere San Sebastiano.  I must admit that I tried the baba' salata and the roll filled with dried tomato without the oil, I did add a bit to my assaggio of the panino bianco.  I can still remember the aroma.
scallops with a cabbage salad, fried apples (mela annurca) and applesauce

squid stuffed with potatoes and leeks.  lemon sauce made with local masse lemons and 'aroma' of provolone cheese
These dishes were paired with wines paired by sommelier Alessandro Scrivo who has been managing the restaurant's wine list for the last four seasons.  A wine list full of Campania, particularly rich in Fiano di Avellino that pair wonderfully with the seafood dishes that exit from the kitchen.  I had a glass or two Apianum Fiano di Avellino 2011 from Salvatore Molletieri.

My lunch into the blu continued slowly...senza fretta...,
First courses...
spaghetti di gragnano with a grouper and finferli (wild mushroom) sauce.
topped with a basil foam and candied tomato 

pasta filled with king crab.  grilled porcini mushrooms on the side and a mushroom consume' 
velvety red lentils with red mullet wrapped in lard from colonnata and crispy fussili.

Grouper cooked gently in olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes with crushed potatoes and grilled porcini 

chocolate, fresh fruit and coconut semifreddo..
and desserts.  
caprese the relais blu way...

A stroll with the chef up past his herb and vegetable garden.  Up to the infinity pool.  We talked about his long career (that deserves its own post...stay tuned).

chef roberto allocca

The midday sun turned into an impressive twilight light show as I enjoyed my last sip of passito before I made my way home.  

Leaving before the sunset?  It's amazing....I was told/reminded.

No...gotta go, was my response.  Maybe on purpose.  
Another reason to return...

Relais Blu
Via Roncato, 60 - 
80061 Massa Lubrense (NA)
Tel +39 081 878 9552 -


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