Saturday, October 21, 2017

Amazing Aperitifs and Appetizers - La Torre Del Saracino, Seiano (Na)

October has become on of my favorite months of the year.  Though the days are getting noticeably shorter, the Campania sunshine still shines bright inviting Saturday stellato lovers like me to hit the road for a min roadtrip combined with a long leisurely lunch.  I chose La Torre del Saracino in Seiano to celebrate the beginning of a marvelous month.  
It has been about 10 months since I sat down in the watchtower, which the perfect spot for an aperitif or six, a glass of champagne, and a chance to look over Chef Gennaro Esposito's 2 Michelin starred menu.

Here's a look at the treats  brought out to help me relax...

Red bell pepper ice cream, Cetara anchovy sauce, lemon and red chili pepper pesto, and pistachios.

Creamy potatoes with flying squid.

Red beet and zucchini salad.

Beef tartar and porcini mushroom sandwich.

Salmon bagel.

Steamed sandwich bun filled with rabbit alla ischitana and escarole.

After an aperitif, I was led to the dining room where I placed my order and sat down to continue my relaxing afternoon.  Starting with a glass of Ribolla Giallo Vinnae vintage 2015.

Followed by some amazing appetizers - such as this marinated redfish acquapazza.

A lightly smoked palamita tuna, nduja, and  creamy Aegerola tarallo.

Another glass of wine - this time a Reisling, Nik Weis.

Blanched prawn  with buckwheat, horseradish, and mandarin.

 An espresso cup filled with a flavorful prawn broth accompanied the dish.

Before I could bite into this appetizer, a celery soup was carefully poured on top.  That colorful soup complemented this lightly smoked scallop, creamy  Controne beans, and black garlic.

 Another glass of wine - Greco di Tufo from Feudi di San Gregorio.

A super soup made with olives from Nocellara and almonds, a fennel puree and silver scabbardfish 80s style.

And this was just the beginning...


Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ischia Safari - My Three Day Ischiaddicted Diary, 17-19 September, 2017

The dates had been penciled in on my calendar since last spring - and finally...finally the big event arrived.  Ischia Safari - a fun filled gastronomic fest on the big green island.  I had the pleasure to attend, though it was definitely a challenge balancing the island nightlife and work the next morning on the mainland.

I thought it would be fun to put together an Ischia Safari diary jam packed with ischiaddicted moments.  Here's a look - Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 September 2017.

2:15 pm - Ristorante Pizzeria Da Ciccio ,Forio
Though the press dinner was scheduled for 8 pm, I decided to arrive around lunchtime for a pizza and beer at Ristorante Pizzeria Da Ciccio located in Forio.  There I tried Ivano Veccia's Da Ciccio - the house pizza.  The pizza is topped with creamy Ischia white onions (that had been cooked under ashes) along with  rosemary, basil, and oregano, fior di latte and mozarella cheese and then baked in the oven. After it comes out, Veccia adds his tuna capaccio - prepared by Veccia by placing the tuna fillets in salt, sugar, and spices for five days. 
Ivano Veccia's Da Ciccio 

2:51 pm - Ristorante Pizzeria Da Ciccio ,Forio
A quick caffe' before tackling the rest of the day.

3:37 pm - Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Veccia offered to give me a ride to my hotel in Ischia Porto, but first he hand an errand to run.  Veccia - pizzaiolo in charge for Ischia Safari - needed to light the ovens so that they'd be the right temperature for the following evening.

Ivano Veccia

3:51 pm - Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Michelin starred chef, fresh from a packed lunch service at nearby Ristorante Indaco, arrived to check thins out.  Palamaro, alongside Chef Nino Di Costanzo is one of the organizers of this event, now in its third year.

Chef Palamaro (right) and sous chef Tommaso Luongo

9:12 pm, Casa Colonica 1930, Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Press dinner featuring some amazing local dishes, sparkling wine, music, friends and fun!

Buffalo mil mozzarella cheese

Fried 'montanara' pizza

Fresh tomato salad

Friarielli greens and black olives

Bruschetta, butter, anchovies, and lemon/orange zest

Pane/Pomodoro - Bread and tomatoes

9:35 pm, Casa Colonica 1930, Negombo, Lacco Ameno
 During the meal, we sang along to Neapolitan classic hits courtesy of Girolamo Mattera.

Marinated sardines, mint, and fresh oregano

Fried cod and sweet onions
10:25 pm, Casa Colonica 1930, Negombo, Lacco Ameno
In the kitchen as pasta maker Giovanni Assante of Gerardo di Nola prepares his pasta and beans. Yum!

Jack Monti and Giovanni Assante

Pasta and beans/ pasta e fagioli

Spaghetti, pine nuts, raisins and very very hot chili peppers

Dessert! Sfogliatelle and donuts
September 18, 2017

00:15 am  Ischia Porto
Lights out for me! I have a ferry to catch at 0620 am!Yikes!

8:02 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
A full day of school, a rush to the ferry, and a quick taxi ride - my 2nd night at the Safari!

Around 2,500 people attended this fundraising event.  For forty five euro, guests had the chance to try five dishes choosing from over 100 chefs, pizzamakers, and pastry chefs. 
First stop: Chef Zone

Chef Crescenzo Scotti's stuffed pepper

Chef Lino Scarallo

Scarallo's beef and marinated eggplant sandwich and horseradish sauce

Chef Domenico Iavarone

Golden fried calf's head, white beans, and marinated onions

8:22 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Pizza and Panini Zone

Gianfranco Iervolino's pizza with anchovies, garlic and black olives.

Gianfranco Iervolino

Ivano Veccia
Giuseppe Pignalosa's rucola, yellow tomatoes and tuna

Giuseppe Pignalosa

Bifulco's tuna and yellow tomato sandwich

8:57 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Back to the Chef Zone

Chef Palamaro's dish starring pecorino cheese, pepper, sea snails, mantis shrimp, and frairielli greens
9:05 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
A little rock music with guitarist Matteo Di Meglio and company.

 9:09 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Chef Zone
A quick conversation with Chef Crescenzo Scotti - (who later served as my uber driver!)

Chef Scotti and Emanuela Mazzella

Chef Umberto De Martino

Chef Giorgio Bartolucci's bastoa', foie gras, and apricot chutney

Chef Giulio Coppola's mussel soup

Chef Ciro Mattera's tanuta fish with burrata cheese,lettuce and red saurkraut

 9:56 pm Negombo, Lacco Ameno
Pastry Zone:
Here I found a couple of familiar faces and tried some tasty pastries.

Pastry chef Nello Iervolino's dish reminds one of candy often given to kids by their 'nonna'/grandma

Pastry Chef Angelo Tramontano's fried San Giuseppe zeppole

Random pics from social media...

September 19, 2017

05:25 am Ischia Porto
My taxi picks me up at my hotel.  Another ferry to catch! Grooooaaaan!

8:20 pm Ristorante Indaco, Lacco Ameno

Perfect location for aperitifs prepared by Michelin starred chefs for the last evening of Ischia Safari.  About a hundred or so guests.  I even wore a dress.

Chef Andrea Migliaccio

Migliaccio's pasta al genovese, beans, and friarelli greens

Migliaccio's marinated amberjack in tomato water with avocado, annurca apple, and sea asparagus

Butcher Mario Carrabs bbq platter

Chef Francesco Sposito's soft taco with celery, turnip, tuna, and a pistachio vinagrette

Sposito's crunchy part of fried macaroni

Chef Vittorio Fusari's perch fish cerviche and amberjack spritz

Chef Giuseppe Ianotti's 'tonnato sbagliato'

Franco Pepe's fried Ciro pizza

9:56 pm Ristorante Indaco Lacco Ameno
After aperitifs poolside, I'm led to my seat inside Indaco for the start of the main portion of our meal.  Each dish served with a glass of champagne.

Chef GaetanoTrovato's oyster and burrata cheese appetier

Chef Bobo Cerea's risotto with tarragon cream, pumpkin bisque, and sea scallops

Chef Gaetano Trovato's agnolotti pasta with red shrimp, zucchini, mint and caviar

10:57 pm Ristorante Indaco
A quick peek in the kitchen!

11:05 pm Ristorante Indaco Lacco Ameno
Back at the table...
Chef Pino Cuttaia's beef fillet, artichoke oil, and potato
11:22 pm. Ristorante Indaco Lacco Ameno
Pic with the brigade of the night.

Time to head outside behind the restaurant, on practically hugging the sea for dessert! I tried 2 dishes- that's all I had space for!

Pastry Chef Carmine Di Donna's passion fruit

Pastry Chef Antonino Maresca's 'Mexico and Clouds'
 20 September, 2017
02:00 am Ischia Porto
A last get together with friends while waiting for the ferry - at 2:30 in the morning!

So, that's my diary!
A grande grazie to Chef Nino Di Costanzo, Chef Pasquale Palamaro and my partner in crime, Ivano Veccia.

Ciao Ischia
Ciao Ischia Safari-

A presto