Good evening ladies and gentlemen! This is the story of an Italo-Canadian chick who fells in love with Brazil. How? By savoring the best cuisine of two young accomplished Brazilian chefs in a gourmet night in Milan.
During the famous culinary Italian congress Identita’ Golose, I had the chance to spend a lovely night at one of my favorite restaurants in Milan, Rebelot del Pont, right in the Navigli hood.
Hi babies, how are you? I’ve been spending all day packing up, on my way to the airport soon :) seriously cannot believe those Xmas holidays have finally arrived! BRAZIL for ten days, hot sunny beaches, Amazon forest and good friends that’t the motto!
A contemporary sober design, with flashy yellow chairs that catch your eye from the first minute you get in the restaurant.
But what’s more impressive is the stunning open kitchen, and by opened I mean full open! You can smell all the aromas, spy the intrepid life of those little hardworking chefs in an open space where, believe it or not, none screams. Shall we call them skinny peaceful Buddhas? I don’t know how but it works, and damn it works well.
I would not define myself as a pescatarian, although, I almost always avoid eating meat. I’m not a fan of it, however when I find myself sitting at my grandparent’s table at the countryside in Altavilla Monferrato I become the perfect carnivore. My grandad Carlo is the best meat chef in the world: he cooks soft agnolotti del plin, slow cooked tender and juicy roasted meat, extremely fresh meat tartare with celery and grated Parmesan cheese and many other tasty dishes. Each time I come to his house during weekends I automatically gain one or two kilos! This week end we celebrated my first week at my new job- yes, I moved back to Milan working for a French champagne company woop woop, new life!- and went to Guido restaurant in Serralunga d’Alba, Piedmont.
Chef Ugo Alciati and his brother Piero, a highly skilled restaurant manager, moved their restaurant from Pollenzo- the home of the University of Gastronomic - to Villa Contessa Rosa, within the land of the Fontanafredda winery estate.
Expect a stunning lake, white swans and a lot of fresh air. The renewed villa of the king Vittorio Emanuele II features frescoed ceilings, elegant pale gray walls, and incredibly comfortable Eero Sarinen chairs. The impressive chandelier in the old ballroom says it all: antiques perfectly blend with modern objects of design, elements of traditional regional cuisine dictate what should be a modern healthy way of dining.
Forget about the freezer, because at Guido it does not exsist! The philosophy of the restaurant follows the Slow Food motto good, clean and fair: only using top high quality Italia products, km0 when possible, fresh and seasonal. It was priceless seeing my grandfather delightment when tasting the 8hour slow cooked roasted meat, the arrosto, saying that it reminded him of the cuisine of 50 years ago, simple and perfect. We started our gourmet journey with a vitello tonnato, tender slices of hand cut veal with tuna and caper sauce. I could not believe myself when I ate my first pepper and actually loved it! Piero brought us a stuffed yellow pepper from the area, it was so tasty I could not resist. Bring it on!
The traditional menu was interrupted by a little surprise: agnolotti al tovagliolo, agnolotti served in a white napkin, without sauce, just eated with your hands for fun. Chef Ugo kept bringing out flavors and perfumes of his land, memories of his mother cooking regional delicacies.
After a creamy broth with black summer truffles I smiled: the best thing was I felt home, I could recognize every single ingredient that was entering my curious mouth. My cousin Emma ate the agnolotti del plin in two seconds, and even stole others from our plates… I was indignant!
The arrosto was exactly how I expected it to be: I was already used to my grandfather’s one, so juicy and meaty, but this one was heavenly. The meat cooked slowly for eight hours, with only a little bit of salt and pepper. This is the new way of cooking: gathering the best ingredients your territory can offer and exalting the taste of tradition.
We are so used to eat all fruits, vegetables, meat and fishes every month without caring of seasonality. As my friend Oscar Farinetti once said to me, “make sure you remember that the only thing that you put into your body is not a fancy car, an expensive bag or jewelry, it’s food, and you need to be conscious of which kind of food you eat. Respect yourself, eat less but better”.
Elegant purple handbag box from venerable London chocolatier Charbonnel et Walker @ Dean & DeLuca… simply adorable <3
On the 29th of June The Diner celebrated the London LGBT community with the proudest rainbow bun of all times! The stylish restaurant chain that brings the authentic taste of NY to London painted the iconic colorful flag on more than 3.000 eye catching juicy hamburgers at all of its six London sites.
1£ of each sale was donated to the LGBT Stonewall charity. Well done guys!
My research for non-Italian food in Rome has been going great so far. Most of Romans are complaining that they can’t fine any incredible ethnic restaurants, however they are so wrong. And I have something else to add: I fell in love. I totally fell in love with a Korean restaurant near Termini called Gainn.
First impression: elegant and clean restaurant. Second impression: it’s 7:30 pm and every single person is Korean. Awesome! Apparently after 9:30pm the kitchen shuts and everyone goes to sleep, so you need to hurry up!
The waiter gives me an old plastic menu with all the names,prices and detailed descriptions of every single dish… i feel like an English tourist in a cheesy Italian trattoria! Still loving it ;)
The courtesy of the owners, Chung and Bae is disarming. They are always making sure you are eating properly, and that nothing is missing on your table. I start my dinner with friends with some small appetizers at the center of the table called banchan… be careful, they are quite spicy, there’s a lot of kimchi in there!
One of my favorite dishes at Gainn is Japchae, sweet potato starch noodles with mixed veggies and meat. I remember my Korean friend Jj cooking it for me in London a few years ago. The noodles are soft and irresistible. Then we had a tender beef marinated in soy and sesame oil called Bulgogi, served with some crunchy salad leaves.
I couldn’t resist to Bibimbap, one of top mouthwatering dishes in Korea, a mixed rice bown with white rice, thinly cut zucchini. carrots and mushrooms, and a few drops of red chili pepper paste gochujang.
My precious advice is to go with as many friends as you can, so you will be able to try every single dish on the menu and get a cheap bill.
You are welcome to try the desserts… I always eat so much that I have no more space for it in my poor foodie stomach!
Via dei Mille 18
Hi guys, just a quick comment on why I hate take-away, at least in Rome. When I was living in Harlem everything was easier, my flatmate had a wonderful collection of take-away flyers, plus in New York every single citizen orders food at home at least twice a week: it’s affordable and easy, plus the food is good. And surprisingly tasty!
I’ve ordered food here in Rome a few times, and each time it happens… I’m so so so disappointed. Tonight I got some sushi and some pad Thai from a really cool Asan Fusion restaurant next home… The pad Thai was a serious joke, it tasted old and crappy. I can’t even explain it, it just doesn’t taste the same as at the restaurant. And it’s not even the atmosphere that is missing, or the service, the problem is the food. I know you don’t care and you can’t stand me ranting, I just wanted to know whyyyyyy, why in Rome take-away food is so shit! When it’s 11 pm, you come back from work so late and you can’t stand another Cheerios bowl for dinner you need some foodie satisfaction, that’s all! X
I met Alex Atala last year at Identità Golose, and I instantly fell in love with him: he looked so casual, smiling at me from the beginning. I didn’t even have the chance to introduce myself, he was already pouring some strange colorful sauce on my finger asking me “do you like it?”. WOW! What an incredible personality… plus a lot of sexy tattoos ;)
He is now publishing his new book D.O.M.- Redescovering Brazilian ingredients, and I firmly believe this is THE perrrrfect summer present!
Atala is on a constant mission, he is like an anthropologue, recognizing the strong presence of native ingredients in his country, Brazil, raising awareness on the fragility of the rain forest eco-system, and constantly studying Amazonian lifestyles.