Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pistachio Dacquoise and Then Some - Pastry Chef Lucio Paciello - Palazzo Petrucci (Na)

And so here we are.  The end of a long and lovely meal at Palazzo Petrucci in Naples. The end of the meal that means the arrival of the dolce...the dessert.
Dessert which most of us have a tendency to want to pass over.  No...I don't have any space, we say.  Ok, just a bite.  To make the chef happy, we say to ourselves.
As the server made his way down the long staircase that connected Palazzo Petrucci's kitchen to the dining room below, I was just a little curious as to what pastry chef Lucio Paciello decided to send down,  Something chocolate? I wondered.
Far from it.

A pistachio dacquoise .  Dacquoise?  A soft cookie made with egg yolks, dried fruits and sugar Paciello wrote me afterwards.  But there was  much  much more!  Mango sauce, lime ganache and a pistachio parfait.  Was there space?  Yes there was. I made sure there was.

Light and fresh was my humble opinion.  As I took my second bite, Sommelier Sergio Martinelli had a surprise or two himself.  During lunch he had a wine for me to try with each serving....but this time  he had two glasses of dessert wines.  Two glasses which led to an interesting conversation and play on wine pairing.  Our AIS training taught us that sweets need to be paired with sweet wines, so Martinelli poured me a glass of  Ben Rye Passito di Pantellera from Donnafugata.

This  popular dessert wine brought out the nuttiness of Paciello's dolce.  Ok.  But I noticed that Martinelli had another wine for me to try.  A taste test.  A gioco, a game, to see what else we could highlight in this to die for dessert.  I watched as he opened a bottle of 2009 Chateau Suduiraut Castelnau de Suduiraut.  

Why? I would soon find out.  This wine was not as sweet as the first.   It, however,  highlighted the dessert's acidity.  It focused on the fresh flavor of the limes - not only in the ganache, but in the fresh slices Paciello placed on top.  

Nuttiness, acidity, freshness, morbidezza, crunchy pistacchios, tangy mango...
No...I don't have any space, we say.  Ok, just a bite.  To make the chef happy, we say to ourselves.
It's time to give desserts a second thought.

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