Sunday, August 24, 2014

An Appetizer 'Del Cuore' - Don Alfonso 1890, Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi (Na)

This summer I decided to dedicate my time to reading something different than a math textbook.  I just recently finished reading La Cucina del Cuore by Chef Alfonso Iaccarino of Don Alfonso 1890.  Reading this book was like stepping into Iaccarino's world over and over and over again.  A world where he leads you by hand along with his wife Livia and sons Ernesto and Mario through the struggles, challenges, and successes that make Don Alfonso 1890 one of the best places on earth.
I loved reading the book and thinking back to my various  opportunities to visit the family in their restaurant as well as their agriturismo in Punta Campanella.
One particular excerpt on page, 118, caught my eye.  Here Chef Alfonso Iaccarino writes about when he put his son Ernesto's dishes on the menu for the first time...and more importantly, the numerous letters received regarding Chef Ernesto Iaccarino's appetizer:

"Tra queste c'era quella di un giapponese che diceva di essere venuto per tre sere di seguito a mangiare l'uovo con mousse di mozzarella e tatrtufo bianco e il piatto lo aveva emozionato e colpito talmente da lasciarlo senza parole, tanto che solo per iscritto aveva il coraggio di farci i complimenti.
(Iaccarino, p. 118)

Among them was that of a Japanese man who said he came   three nights in a row to eat the egg with mozzarella  mousse and white truffle and the dish had  impressed and excited him so much that it left him speechless,, so much so that   only by  writing did he have the courage to give us compliments.

I thought about the time I tried that dish, last spring. My first egg with truffles experience.   I remember talking to the chef about it asking him all kinds of questions...which truffles, how he prepared the egg, the mousse etc etc.
Not because I wanted to try to repeat it at home, but because I wanted to experience  a little piece of passion, of cuore, that went into this particular appetizer.

Last month I was back again. Quietly observing from the pass when I noticed the dish again.  Chef Iaccarino, along with his staff still experimenting with the mousse, still tweaking,  still evolving...

and that's what makes this dish, and all the dishes on the menu part of the Iaccarino philosophy...

la cucina con cuore...

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