Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Delicious Desserts for 2016

I had the chance to try some delicious desserts  over the past 12 months.  Here's a look at some of my favorites.

Pasticcere Antonino Maresca
Insieme/ Together 

Strawberry sorbet (made without adding water), a silk screened strawberry, almond cream, and a white chocolate cylinder filled with buffalo milk cream mousse.

Napule' - A mixture of dolci featuring some of Naples' images and icons.  

Pasticcere Carmine Di Donna
Mela - the big apple! An exciting  mix of fruit and chocolate.  Inside? Green apple, lemon juice and candied lemons, almond mousse! Then dipped in a white chocolate then green mirror glaze.  The leaves are made of white chocolate. 😉

Tiramisu - Di Donna's take on a classic dessert.  Di Donna carefully placed a spoonful of velvety mascarpone cream on the dish.  He then set down his prized mini tower that he carefully constructed earlier on top.  A tower that included two different palline, little balls.  Light colored made with creamy mascarpone and light brown made of coffee cream. Four flavorful discs help Di Donna support his structure;
 2 63 % dark chocolate, 2 coffee sables. A sprinkling of coffee crumble and a side of coffee ice cream!

Chef Lino Scarallo
Roccoco 2016/2017 - Christmas traditions meet Neapolitan chic gourmet.   A fusion of pisto; spices such as cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise.  Almonds, honey, and lemon/orange peel...inside the sphere, a creamy roccoco' mousse!

Chef Luigi Salomone
Mustacciolo - another look at a Classic Christmas dessert.


Friday, December 30, 2016

My Fantastic Firsts for 2016

Looking back at 2016, I had the chance to try some fantastic first courses by some of the top chefs in Campania and beyond. I wrote about many but I'd like to highlight some of my favs.  

February 2016 
Chef Massimo Bottura , Osteria Francescana- There I tried two fantastic firsts - his pasta e fagioli

....and his classic crunchy part of the lasagna.

April 2016 
Chef Cristian Torsiello, Osteria Arbustico's spaghetti with roasted artichokes and tuna bottarga.

May 2016
Lunch on the beach, Osteria 1860 and Chef Antonio Tarfuro's  vermiciello cacio-cavallo and pepper and buffalo tartare on the side.

June 2016 

In June, I wrote about Chef Ernesto Iaccarino, Don Alfonso 1890 and his rice with scampi and caviar.  I still remember the fresh macedonia salad underneath.

I also had the chance to try an exciting risotto by Chef Salvatore La Ragione, Ristorante Mamma.  During Festa a Vico, he presented his risotto with mussel soup,  creamed garlic and oil.

Chef Alfonso Caputo, Taverno del Capitano and his  assaggino/ taste of spaghetti with zucchini and fresh shrimp.

Chef Nino Di Costanzo, Dani Maison  rice, lemons (5 different varieties), zucchini, shrimp.  

risotto napoletano starring stuffed bell peppers.

Chef Domenico Stile, Enoteca La Torregreen bean pesto gnocchi, provolone del monaco fondue, marinated bonito.

July 2016

Chef Paolo Barrale, Marenna', and his black squid rice with thinly sliced cuttlefish...peas, coconut milk, oranges, and coriander.

Chef Lino Scarallo, Palazzo PetrucciPotato gnocchi  with cappuccio cabbage,  oysters and lime.

August 2016

I enoyed a couple of dishes from Rossellini's presented by Chef Michele Deleo - The chef's Il Riso Acquerello/Acquerello Rice...

and his Pasta with Clams and "Arrabbiata' Sauce.  

November 2016

Chef Oliver Glowig, La Tavola, Il Vino, La Dispensa - risotto all'amatriciana.

December 2016

Chef Gennaro Esposito, Torre del Saracino spaghetti with salted anchovies, squid and a creamy sauce from its fifth quarterpistachio and lemon!

A fantastic year!

Together.... for Santobono Children's Hospital in Naples

Yesterday I went out for a fried pizza. Nothing new about that except that the men who made that pizza for me happened to be 9 of Campania's top pizza makers; Antonio Starita, Enzo Coccia, Guglielmo Vuolo, Franco Pepe, Attilio Bachetti, Gino Sorbillo, Francesco, Ciro and Salvatore Salvo.  Yesterday afternoon, these pizza makers decided to get together to spread a little Christmas cheer by preparing fried pizzas for a hungry crowd at Nalbero di Napoli! To make fried pizzas and to collect donations for ONE PIZZA. ONE PIZZA is a calendar designed to raise money for the "Re-Life" project designed to renovate the intensive care ward at Santobono Children's Hospital in Naples.


Take a look at what went down!

The calendar, was officially presented on the 15th of December and since that day, copies are available at the 8 pizzerias involved in the project to those who give a small donation of 10 Euro. 

Or those who'd like to help can also go online here   


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

My Amazing Appetizers for 2016

As 2016 ends, it's sort of fun to look back to  where I've been, what I tasted, tried, and wrote about.  2016 witnessed a blog break of about four months; however, I think I managed to put together a list of some amazing appetizers that left me feeling, well...amazing!
Here they are in chronological order.

February 2016.
Osteria Francescana.  I never blogged about this trip, but I sure took some pics.  Take a look at some of Chef Massimo Bottura's appetizers that I tried. 

I even got my book signed!  Grazie, chef!!

March 2016
Chef Domenico Stile - before he earned his Michelin star last month.  2 appetizers grabbed my attention- 
 Scallops , Calabrian broccoli, sea urchins and peanuts...

Buffalo, hazelnut mayonnaise, shallots and tarragon..

May 2016 - 
One of many visits to Don Alfonso 1890, which is probably one of my favorite places on earth.  Last May, I had the chance to try a revised version of the Iaccarino family's spring vegetables. Chef Ernesto Iaccarino does it again!

Chef Ciro Longobardi is the Executive Chef of Hotel Tramontano.  I had the pleasure to enjoy lunch and dinner Ristorante Belvedere, the hotels flagship restaurant.  Longobardi's squid and creamy fava bean grabbed my heart and never let go!

Chef Vincenzo Guarino, a grande chef and friend left Campania for the hills of Tuscany to a little town in Chianti.  Chef junkie that I decided to pay him a visit that required nearly 5 hours of driving.  It was worth the trip.  Appetizers like his pappa al pomodoro make my list for 2016.

April 2016
Chef Lino Scarallo, making himself at home in Palazzo Petrucci's location on the beach in Posillipo shared these spring appetizers with me.  Cuttlefish and fresh spring vegetables...

Caramelized zucchini flowers and ricotta.

 A young Michelin starred chef named Cristian Torsiello happened to be one of the few chefs that I decided to visit more than once this past year.  That says a lot, considering his Osteria Arbustico is nearly a 90-minute drive from my house.  Check out his eel, almonds, and radishes!

June 2016
Back to Torsiello and this time I enjoyed his sweetbreads!

It was an honor to have a seat at the chef's table at Dani Maison.  A front row seat at two-starred Michelin chef Nino Di Costanzo's restaurant, which at the time had only been opened for a few weeks.  It as nearly impossible to not fall in love with his Gran Cru - Do featuring the freshest seafood and amazing serving dishes made from Murano glass.

Michelin starred Chef Domenico Iavarone’s candele al ragu, which he presented at Festa a Vico 2016 and his tuna, ricotta and cherry were to not to miss appetizers.

July 2016
Chef Vincenzo Piacente - a young chef/friend surprised me last summer with an appetizer/aperitif designed especially for me.  His appetizer al Americana included some of my favorites such as a mini cheeseburger and fried chicken!

Chef Domenico De Simone of Il Bikini also shareed some amazing appetizers for the summer.  Scallops and foie gras, omg!

Back at Palazzo Petrucci and Chef Scarallo/ This time his seafood salad paired with the waves on the beach.

Chef Paolo Barrale , Marenna' Ristorante also had some amazing appetizers in 2016 - like this beef tartare, ricotta, and hazelnut fusion.

August 2016
Chef Marcello Corrado scallop ceviche and its hidden veggies were also amazing!

I finally found my way to Ravello and Chef Michele Deleo.  Of the many exciting treats the store had for me at the Michelin starred Ristorante Rossellini’s, his Mullet alla Norma stole my heart.

October 2016
It is always a pleasure to enter Chef Alfonso Caputo's kitchen to see what he is up to.  Like this onion ravioli...

and his sea urchin and arugula ice cream.

Chef Francesco Sposito, To Michelin stars, did not disappoint this season.  On the contrary!  I enjoyed something old and something new - like his squid tagliatelle...

and new like his eggplant parmigiana featuring tiny eggplants

 as well as a benvunuto starring a single oyster topped with tomato water foam and Campari soda!

December 2016

A first time visit to Torre del Saracino and Double starred Michelin Chef Gennaro Esposito left me speechless - beh except for the -what took me so long!!
I went cuttlefish crazy...

and a smoked palamita fan for life.

A quick train trip to visit the To Starred Michelin chef Oliver Glowig- an expat like me, who recently opened up a casual cozy restaurant in Rome's Terminal train station.  A simple yet delicious chicory, anchovy, and ricotta salad.

And this is only a taste of my 2016.  Stay tuned!

More on my amazing appetizers here!