See you on the seafront!
Sunday, September 29, 2019
See you on the seafront!
Saturday, September 21, 2019
I remember that Saturday, it was a Saturday similar to today -only a few months ago. It was the beginning of Don Alfonso 1890's 2019 season, and like every year since 2011, I travelled the nearly 90 minute drive from my house to Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi for lunch. A visit to this 2 Michelin Star Restaurant is always a dazzling dining experience and after 8 years I can safely say that I have seen Chef Ernesto Iaccarino's cuisine embark on many awesome adventures.
Ogni piatto è un viaggio - every dish is a journey, Chef Iaccarino told me.
|Chef Ernesto Iaccarino|
A journey led by Iaccarino, who shares with each diner his years of experience, travels, and flavors all combined in tasty dishes for each season. That Saturday afternoon, one of those diners was me!
My journey began in the kitchen with a quick chit chat with the chef. Would you like to try some of the new dishes for 2019?, he asked. My smile was my response.
I tried many dishes that afternoon - these four, however, are the ones that I'd like to have stamped in my gastranomic passport.
This first course pasta dish, for example. Iaccarino's fresh pasta filled with snapper marinated with lemons. Underneath, a carrot cream with ginger and - wait for it - a spicy pumpkin broth.
Then Iaccarino brought me into his mondo del pesce- second course dishes that featured treasures from the sea. Beginning with this cod dish.
Next, probably my favorite dish of the year, Iaccarino's dentice. He cooks his grouper fish at a low temperature, vacuum sealed with lemon and vanilla.
Another dish that I stamped in my passport Iaccarino's tuna with a black sesame seed crust.
This dish is a revisitation on his tuna from last year where he used pistachios. Iaccarino chose to pair his tuna with 4 different types of sauces.
A red wine sauce, onion sauce, a sauce made with horseradish, and finally one with Italian parsely.
After my viaggio was over, I had a chance to sit down with Iaccarino. This is always a magic moment. A chance for me to chat with the chef about the meal and just about anything else that comes to mind as he relaxes between services with his cigar. As he thinks about his next menu, his next season, his next viaggio.
I can't wait to taste it!
Thursday, September 12, 2019
|Chef Di Costanzo and Chef Palamaro|
Ischia Safari is Chef Nino Di Costanzo ( Dani Maison -2 Michelin Stars) and Chef Pasquale Palamaro's ( Ristorante Indaco - 1 Michelin Star) baby. A baby whose intent is to raise money for aspiring and deserving youth in search of scholarships to enter into the restaurant world as well as help provide equipment and supplies needed for training at culinary schools.
There are two moments that will contribute to our fundraising with proceeds of the tickets going to the Professional Institute for Hotel and Catering Services" Antonio Turi "of Matera. This year, in fact - explains Chef Palamaro - the leading region will be Basilicata, in the year in which Matera is European Capital of Culture and is also Ischia's twin city”.
Then on the evening of the 16th, over 200 stands feautring chefs, pizzamakers, and pastry chefs will take over the beautiful Negombo Spa with their delicacies, food and fun.
New this year? An after party on San Montano beach beginning at 11 pm for those who are not ready to go to bed just yet! Music provided by the Frankie & Canthina Band.
"It is certainly one of the most important events on the island. We would like Ischia to present itself as a sort of center for promoting and enhancing the excellence of Italian food and wine. Because - explains Nino Di Costanzo - the products of our land are, together with our monuments and our culture, the best business card for those who honor us every year with their presence ".
Thursday, September 5, 2019
Notte di Stelle or Night f the Stars will be held in Lettere (Na) on Monday 9 September 2019. It is a charity event created by Scatti di Gusto that combines food, culture and solidarity will take place at the spectacular medieval castle of the town perched on the Lattari Mountains in the regional park to which it belongs. The ancient vestiges and the panorama of the southern part of the Gulf of Naples will be the backdrop to the group of chefs, pizza makers, artisans of taste and winemakers. A full list can be found here.The aim of Notte di Stelle is to support the Sogni d’Oro project with donations from lovers of good things, which will make the departments of neurosurgery and day surgery of the Santobono Pausilipon Children's Hospital cheerful, colorful and suitable for their young patients.
To attend Notte di Stelle it is sufficient to make a minimum recommended donation of 50 € per person (30 € for those under 30) by Thursday 5 September with a bank transfer in favor of the Associazione Sostenitori Santobono Onlus on the Bank account Next IBAN: IT53L0335901600100000103988A, or directly on the Metoo platform by credit card, even until Monday 9 September morning. The reason for the transfer of the donation must be specified "participation in Notte di Stelle". For access you will need to show the receipt of the transfer.
It will also be possible to donate directly at the castle during the event by donating to the volunteers of the University of Traditions who will take care of turning the proceeds to the SantoBono Hospital Supporters Association.
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
La Locanda del Testardo - the name alone puts a smile on my face. Locanda in Italian means inn- so we're talking about a comfortable casual place where you can feel at home away from home. In this case, describing a restaurant, not a hotel.
Testardo in Italian means stubborn. A word that is not necessarily negative. Synonyms like persistent, steadfast, unshakeable come to mind. A name that, in my opinion, describes Chef patron Luca Esposito's philipsophy for the type of cuisine that he shares with his diners at his locanda a stone throws away from the Bacoli port in Campi Flegrei. A persistent, steadfast, unshakeable commitment to those who want to feel at home away from home.
So let's get back to my smile. A smile that naturally appeared as I saw Chef Esposito by the door of the restaurant and pointed me down to the parking lot just about 50 meters down to the right. A smile that continued as Esposito gave me a quick tour that Thursday evening before Maitre Sommelier Giuseppe Di Ruocco showed me to my seat. I was handed a menu and a glass of sparkling mind to help me decide my journey.
Esposito's menu is primarly seafood, and I was excited and overwhelmed with the choices. They're known for for their raw seafood platter on ice appetizers as well as a selection of antipasti based on the catch of the day.
|Creamed codfish, tomato water and tarallo|
|Raw swordfish and pumpkin|
|Cuttlefish tagliatella cooked at a low temperature, and cous cous with cuttlefish ink|
|Seafood platter with sea truffle, scampo and two seafood treats found only in the area - sfera di mare and limone di mare|
|Smoked white shrimp burger with celery sauce and puffed rice with paprika|
|Goat milk ricotta cheese 'in the garden' with mackerel in olive oil|
|Toasted bread, butter and anchovies|
|Octopus tempura with fava bean and chickory sauces|
|Assorted fried tiny fish|
When it came down to decide on a first course, well that was easy. I asked Esposito for spaghetti, so he sent me his version of the famous Spaghetti alla Nerano which features zucchini. Esposito adds steamed mussels and Provolone del Monaco cheese.
For the second course, the chef prepared grouper in an amazing teriyaki sauce.
Dessert? I decided to go with fresh summer fruit.
Note - beginning the 10th of September until the 6th of October, La Locanda del Testardo will not serve seafood - just meat. This is due to the break in the fishing season in the Tyrhennian Sea to give time for marine life to reproduce. And since Esposito is a testardo - stubborn, steadfast, persisitent - it is only natural that he strongly feels this need to serve his customers the best fresh seafood in season.