A cena con i grandi chef – in the hands of Executive chef Augusto Tombolato and visiting chef Fabio Cucchelli
Monday 10th October I was lucky enough to be invited back to Il Gusto Gribaudo ” A cena con i grandi chef” where visiting chef Fabio Cucchelli cooked up an ambitious menu together with Executive chef at the Westin Palace Augusto Tombolato.
The theme of the evening was all about celebrating cuisine and wines from Alto Adige in tribute to and as part of the build up to the 20th edition of the Merano Wine Festival,with Fabio Cucchelli presenting his restaurant La Siriola from Bolzano and wines supplied by producers in the region.
We were treated first of all to an aperitivo of sparkling Trento DOC Perle di Ferrari one of the regions best known sparkling wine producers before being seated for our tasting menu. First on the list was an antipasto of pumpkin vellutata served with goose parfait and truffle oil which set the tone for a rich and complex menu combining many interesting flavours and textures.
We were then served uova di seppia (cuttlefish) with mushroom and apricots as a second antipasto alongside an Alto Adige Chardonnay Lowengang 2001 by Alois Lageder which was the stand out white wine of the evening for me. The classic Chardonnay notes gave way to a refined flavour and rounded taste which superbly complemented the dish.
Our primo was a classic risotto with a french twist of Normandy butter which gave an intensely rich and creamy texture to the rice. This richness was then compensated with fresh lemon peel and sugar peas to lighten the palate and add texture. We drank an Alto Adige Gerwurztraminer Lyra 2010 by Nals Margreid which once again provided the perfect accompaniment to the dish with its sharp notes.
The menu was predominantly fish-driven and as a main the chef served Baccala cod aromatised in an unusual and distinctive ginger broth. The fish, one of my favourite white fish, was exquisite and perfectly cooked and the broth was decidely innovative although possibly a little polarising with its strong flavour. Interestingly we were served a red Toscana IGT Castiglioni 2009 by Marchesi De’Frescobaldi in accompaniment which worked very well and off-set the fish.
Dessert was an absolute delight of creamy white chocolate with an apricot centre served on a bed of crunchy sesame biscuit and a side of almond dacquoise. I’m not usually a dessert kind of girl but this was a mini masterpiece that could not be missed and which I thoroughly recommend should you ever find yourself within stopping distance of La Siriola restaurant.
The evening was a fantastic opportunity for chef Fabio Cucchelli to show-case his talents, which he did very well, and provided the perfect precursor to the Merano Wine Festival with the wines setting the tone for what will inevitably be an interesting event and one worth attending if you’re a wine lover (Merano Wine Festival 5-7th November 2011).
The evening also served as a great place to meet other industry experts from food, wine and communications backgrounds who are all passionate about food and are working to promote Italian cuisine and viticulture. I was joined at my table by blogger Laura from Theoldnow who covers not only food events but also fashion and lifestyle and has enjoyed immense success over the past year. Also attending was journalist Alex Guzzi, blogger Anna Maria Simonini, blogger Ilaria Mazzarotta from duecuorieunfornello, Cristina Vigge, Elisabetta Ferrari plus representatives from all of the aforementioned wine suppliers.
A great night, with great food and great wine!
Thanks once again to Carlo Vischi for the invitation.