Italian Road Trip
Italian cuisine is distinguished by its simplicity with many dishes having only a handful of ingredients. The chef has to rely on the quality of the ingredients rather than an elaborate preparation. My acquaintance with this diverse cuisine has been nothing but superficial. There is so much to experience since this cuisine has developed over centuries of social and political changes. Ingredients and dishes vary by region but at the same time certain regional dishes gained acceptance across the country.
I was invited to an Italian food festival at Alba- JW Marriott’s in-house restaurant that specialised in Italian cuisine. Well, they had famed Chef Matteo Arvonio visit ‘Namma Bengaluru’ and take us all on a culinary road trip through regions such as Tuscany, Sicily and Piedmont. Chef Matteo hails from Piedmont and has travelled the lengths of Italy researching, understanding and perfecting dishes from six different regions of Italy.
In a tête-à-tête with us he spoke about how he has been bringing modern techniques of cooking into traditional dishes but ensuring the core ingredients remain the same. In Antipasti (or appetiser), I enjoyed the Capesante e gamberi con rigatino lenticchie e ristretto di crostacei (too long ?) which was pan seared scallop, shrimp, lentil with shellfish reduction. For Primi (or first course) we could opt between a Ravioli or a Pappardelle with smoked duck and duck ragout (ragout is a stew).
In Secondi (or second course), we were introduced to a new kind of poultry- Guineafowl- tastes a lot like chicken but softer. In the dish, the boneless chunks of Guineafowl was stuffed with black rice and laid on a bed of late harvest wine jus and chick pea. Needless to say the dish was mind-blowing and the quality of the produce was top notch. But the best was saved for last- the Dolci (or dessert)- absolutely heightened the overall experience. The fruit Cannolo with Pistachios, passion fruit with a hit of cinnamon and the Cacao-amaretti caramel pudding left us all wanting for more. Not to forget, the way the food was plated was exemplary and made for inviting food-pornography.
I can tell you for a fact that this is by far the best Italian food that I have experienced. Without a doubt, Chef Matteo clearly knows how to tantalize your taste buds; which is why you need to head to JW Marriott before the ‘Italian Road Trip’ concludes on the 12th of March.
Grazie Chef Matteo.