Monday, July 30, 2018

Travelling Among the Stars, Relais Blu, Massa Lubrense (Na)

Have you ever heard the expression ‘An invitation you can't refuse?’ Well I received one from my friend Guido who invited me along with a small group of friends to join him for dinner. But not just any dinner. Dinner at the Michelin starred restaurant Relais Blu in Massa Lubrense. Wow! was my first response. Ok! was my second. 

The dinner, scheduled for last Tuesday evening would feature Relais Blu’s resident Chef Roberto Allocca and his special guest,  Chef Eugenio Boer ( Bu:r in Milan)

We decided to arrive just before sunset, that way we could enjoy one of the best shows on earth while sipping a glass of sparkling wine and enjoying the music provided by the DJ.
I went to the bar for a glass of Kettmeir Alto Adige Metedo Classico Brut Athesis 2015

And with that glass and my camera I headed to the kitchen to hello and get a sneak peek and what was about to go down.

Chef Allocca (left), Chef Boer (far right)

Chef Allocca took the chance to show me around the kitchen, which has changed since my last visit in 2015. It is now a control center - not only for Relais Blu’s starred restaurant, but a new restaurant that opened up a little more than a week before. SAL, a restaurant has a more traditional menu in respect to Relais Blu’s gourmet cuisine. one kitchen one kitchen brigade two passes and an area for the pastry chef. It was a quick look, which included an invitation to come back and check out the new menus for both restaurants. 

But tonight. Tonight I was there to check out what Allocca and Boer had in store for the guests that evening.  Allocca explained to me that it would be a viaggio…a journey.  We’d be travelling among the stars seated comfortably on wicker couches with soft cozy pillows or wicker easy chairs enjoying the cool breeze a glass of wine and lounge music. Ok then, I said.  I was ready to take my seat and enjoy the evening.
The evening began with an aperitif: 

a crispy cannolo with robiola cheese and raw prawns alongside a lamb croquette with Cetara anchovies. .

Next up – gli sfizi, the appetizers.

                             Amberjack tartare with crunchy celery and citrus aromas
                                                           Chef Allocca


Tomato, watermelon, basil, and buffalo milk mozzarella
Chef Boer

Let's continue...

Roasted eggplant with beef (raw/cooked) alla pizzaiola
Chef Allocca


Arancino (rice ball) filled with an octopus ragù and a saffron rice cream
Chef Boer

Ready for the first courses? I sure was!  Take a look...

Risotto acquerello with lobster, zucchini flowers, and salted orange
Chef Allocca

Mixed pasta with fish, frutti di mare and glasswort
Chef Boer

The main courses...

Fish ikebana in  tempura with lemon jam
Chef Allocca


Pork shoulder with creamy grilled peppers and stuffed escarole
Chef Boer

Time for the sweet part of the serata! 

Predessert- Crunchy lemon sorbet with pistachio and candied orange almonds, coffee powder and capers
Chef Boer


 Soft and velvety coffee, star anise biscuit, creamy moscovado, hazelnut bubbles and Sambuca ice cream
Chef Allocca

The evening was magical, as to be expected. Allocca who I hadn't seen several years did not disappoint with his gourmet southern style Campania dishes and flavors. While on the other hand,  Boer fused his Dutch roots with his Italian upbringing, which invited me, a Campania girl at heart, to try combinations that were diverse and delicious.
After dessert, tons of chitchat, smiles, and a whole lot of laughter, it was time to head back home.

Thanks Guido!
 A Presto Allocca
A presto Boer. 
A presto Relais Blu!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

“Te le do io le Bollicine”, 16 July, Nabilah, Bacoli (Na)

 AIS Napoli presents the 10th edition of the party of the summer season - Te le do io le Bollicine.  A vast array of spumante, friends, music, fun and food to help AIS salute a sparkling summer!  Here's what you can expect on Monday evening at Nabilah! 

A star studded dinner featuring some of Campania's hottest chefs - Lino Scarallo, Pasquale Palamaro, Marianna Vital, Domenico Iavarone and Luciano Villani.

Dozens and dozens of food stands including Oyster Experience a cura di Vincenzo Supino, Old Friends, Tarallificio Tonino, Malafronte Panificio, Olio Guglielmi, ONAF Napoli con i formaggi della famiglia BUSTI e i salumi LEVONI , Carmasciando, Tempio dei formaggi, Kuma 65, La Locanda del Testardo, La Fescina, Liv Bistrot, Mamma Elena, Le Lune Bistrot, Il Falangone, Maria Rosaria canò, Masseria Guida, Masseria Alaia, Locanda Rei, Mosè a Ridosso, La Playa.

An area for street food - Chamade, Macelleria Hamburgheria Da Gigione, Da Pasqualino, Happy Hours, Caseari Cautero, Casa de Rinaldi, Olio e pomodoro.

Dessert! - Sweet Emotions, Pasticceria Lisita, Kiwi SunGold Zespri

And of course, wine!

Metodo Classico:
Rosè Brut S-ciopét – Pelaverga – Castello di Verduno
Bianco Dosaggio Zero – Erbaluce, Timorasso, Cortese, Moscato – Erpacrife
Groppello Brut Nature Paxtibi Bianco dal Nero – Zuliani
Blanc de Sers Brut Nature – Vernaza, Valderbara, Nosiola – Casata Monfort
Vernaza Belle – Pravis
Raboso Rosato Brut Redentor – Tessère
Pignoletto Millesimato 1877 – Lodi Corazza
Lambrusco di Modena – Paltrinieri
Pas Dosé Dalnero – Montepulciano, Sangiovese – Strologo
Vinudilice – Alicante Grecanico, Minnella – I Vigneri
Nerello Mascalese Rosé Extra Brut – Murgo
Metodo Martinotti:
Timorasso Terre di Libarna Colli Tortonesi Brut - Poggio
Prosecco Superiore Brut Conegliano Matiù – L’Antica Quercia
Ribolla Gialla Brut – Komjanc
Metodo Familiare:
Schiava Belle Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Francesco Poli
Silvo Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Varietà resistenti – Villa Persani
Naturalmente Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Glera – Casa Belfi
Roncaie Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Garganega – Menti
Boschera Colli Trevigiani Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Zanon Eros
Z Frizzante Sui Lieviti – Vermentino – Quartomoro

Bellavista, Foss Marai, Fontanafredda

Cantine Carputo, Franciacorta Turra, Ca' del Bosco, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, Cantine del Mare, Cantine Astroni, Contratto, Ferghettina, Montelvini, Feudi di San Gregorio, Fontanavecchia, Piatti, Sella&Mosca, Vino&Design, Cava Segura Viudas, Braida, Dogliotti, Cantine Iovine 1890, Capri Moonlight, Balter Trento DOC, Domaine D' A - Blanquette

AI Napoli will also hand out diplomas to the new sommeliers. I can remember my night a few years back.

It all kicks off at 7:30 pm, right before that amazing Nabilah sunset!
Tickets info - 
€ 35 at the box office
€ 30 in presale
€ 25 in advance for AIS members

Glass available with a deposit of € 5

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Summer in the City, George Restaurant Naples (Na)

Summer in the city.  The date was 21 June 2018, the first official day of summer. While city dwellers headed back to home from the beach, I decided to head towards Corso Vittorio Emanuele 135.   Home to Grand Hotel Parkers but also home to one of Naples newest gourmet restaurants, George Restaurant. George restaurant located on the 6th floor this 5 star luxury hotel. It is one of the oldest in Naples and boasts an amazing view of the city. I was there that evening to pay a visit Chef Domenico Candela, his brigade, and the dining room staff headed by restaurant manager Giovanni Avolio and Maitre SommelierAldo Gambardella.

Once I was able to snatch my gaze away from the Bay of Naples I had a chance to sit down and enjoy many of the dishes from Chef Candela’s summer menu for 2018 beginning with an aperitif /aperitivo. Let's begin.

A cylinder of pasta filled with a chicken a liver pate.  

Next Cromesquis of lamb. 

Eggplant parmesan airbag.

Chicken terrine and foie gras with cherries.

Modern caponatina 

and fake clams.
Fake clams?  Sure!  I had to ask for a brief explanation…

I take the clams and I cook them in the classic way, sautéed with garlic, oil parsley, a bit of white wine…. classic Mediterranean. After, I filter them, add agar agar to form a gelatin and the cut into small pieces.  I add the gelatin pieces to an algae infusion and put it all in a clamshell.  Then I make a lemon compote like lemon jam, I put a little essence and a grated lemon and seaweed algae - to give that touch of scent of the sea.
Shrimp with a grouper tartare mustard leaves, mayonnaise with shrimp coral.
A tartlet made with a potato dough. Inside there is a mushroom cream with ginger and geranium. On top, grated hazelnut from Piedmont and a Pimpinella leaf,


Let’s begin with black…. made with rice and cuttlefish ink. Then white rice with algae, the red one is made with beetroot and the orange with an American sweet potato, and then an American sweet potato peel, followed by polenta.

My curiosity had ignited. I had never tasted the chef’s cuisine. Never.  Candela, a Neapolitan, has spent quite a bit of time outside of Naples recently in France so I was very interested to learn what he had to offer to his guests.  Neapolitan as well as international tourists who, as I did, decided to spend their first night of summer on this beautiful terrace overlooking the city of Naples.

An amazing appetizer: scampi presented three ways – raw, fried, and with an exciting bisque.  The chef added linguine to keep it company. 

Then  cod fish from Faer Oer Islands delicately cooked  in lemon scented oil, saffron fish zabaglione risotto pasta and piquillo peppers.

Then it was time for the first course or I should say first courses. Risotto with wild arugula, cheese from Apulia and raspberry. 

Then small potato dumplings with ricotta cheese napkins, seasoned with lemon pepper foam bursting with smoked buffalo milk mozzarella cheese and a light green broth.

Then it was time to try for 870. Gulf 870. I like seafood and being a mathematician. I found it hard not to enjoy the story behind this dish as explained to me by chef Candela himself.  

Dimers in George restaurant can enjoy a magnificent view of the Gulf of Naples and it becomes even more interesting when you learn that the dish that was about to be served to me got its name from the circumference of the golf 870 square meters. Bass, lemons from Sorrento and an iodized sauce. 

Veal sweetbread cooked with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (aged 36 months), artichoke puree, Amaretto and Arabic coffee.

I took a brief pause before dessert.  Enjoying the view, a quick stroll around the dining room, a peek into the kitchen –which can be seen from the sala thanks to a giant glass window.  A sip of Aglianico, then back to my seat.

Dessert – keeping with the summer theme.  Melon, tomato and basil. 

A cantaloupe melon cannelloni filled with yogurt, candied cherry tomatoes, fior di latte ice cream and essence of cantaloupe.

Gazing at the full moon, I mentally planned my next trip back...maybe early fall to check out the Krug lounge or cigar room. 

In the meantime, Ciao George!

left to right...
Vincenzo De Luca, Fabio, Fabio Sangiovanni, Domenico Candela, Me, Antonio Lerro, Giampierro Pezziella

Cucina and Sala!!!