Cartamom cartoccio, cream knife, babà butter, coffee cream, anise, chocolate and banana, yogurt almond, anchovy chocolate, zabaglione cigarette, mugo pine teaspoon, after 8, krapfen with ginger and licorice, pasta coconut shortbread, rainbow egg, gianduiotto, toasted almond milk with caramelized spice cream, tiramisu, cocalandre granita and rhubarb granita, mint fishing rod. This is enough to understand the capacity of Massimiliano Alajmo in to play on a single element – chocolate – to create a single course. The dessert that best concludes the experience at Le Calandre, the restaurant a Sarmeola di Rubano ("Better yet, our energy point for the whole group", emphasizes the chef from Padua) who has been part of the Italian and world elite for years. Tristellato Michelin since 2003, five Cappelli dell'Espresso, Tre Forchette by Gambero Rosso but above all 31st in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. But this is not the fundamental thing for us.
Every Italian tristellato is a world apart, nobody looks like another ("And it's a crazy fortune, you know how much you can enjoy shooting them all," says Max) and Le Calandre best represents the Alajmo style, what led to work with the genius Philippe Starck in creating Amo and Amor (Venetian bistrot and fast casual dining in Milan) as in asking him for help – and what a hand – in bringing back the Paintings in Piazza San Marco to the ancient splendor. A refined style – see the restaurant room – and informal in the service that helps you get involved peacefully in the experience. We could define it sartorial because beyond the choice between the two tasting menus (Classic, Max and Raf: they cost 225 euros), you can also freely choose among the various dishes by creating a personal tailor-made itinerary of 2, 3 or 4 courses. There is a studied script, but you can also act as a subject. «If someone wants a tomato spaghetti, why not cook it. I like the idea that here I can sit and find what I want: it is the message that the parents transferred to me .
A perfect machine
Of course, to succeed in the business, various elements are needed. The beauty of the place – for us among the most evocative of the circuit – and the value of the room that follows the principle of Raffaele Alajmo . "It treats every customer as you were yourself, without neglecting any detail", and is followed in this by Andrea Coppetta Calzavara, maître for almost a decade, supported by the sommelier Matteo Bernardi who runs one of the best wineries on the peninsula. Then there is an excellent brigade he has in Diego Magro a young sous-chef of value. «For me it is fundamental that in respect of roles and times, in the kitchen we have fun. A lot of young people arrive afraid of previous experiences: I say that we have to go back to smiling, the dishes will certainly benefit and the customers even more, "underlines Max. To taste them, there is the feeling that in the kitchen they are all well. And perhaps you can understand it even before tasting them, when they come to the table.
A stellar aesthetic
In all the Italian Three Stars it is impossible for the wrong dishes to arrive on the table, more difficult than they are all beautiful. In this Le Calandre has a level of crazy aesthetics that sometimes becomes taste, in the sense that the wonder at the sight ends up positively conditioning the palate, making a dish even better. Max Alajmo he was not a pupil of Marchesi (basically he grew up in the family starry and this also makes one think), but seeing the dishes one immediately thinks of one of his basic concepts – «The beauty is good – even if in several cases of Le Calandre they are far from the Marquisian essentiality and certainly more complex in the ingredients. And therefore even more fascinating for us, played on intense colors and almost mysterious textures but always with a spatial gluttony rate. Very Italian in the raw material, but with a touch of internationality. Renaissance and very modern.
Technique and talent
We do not exaggerate to define theatrical – but off, certainly not classic – an experience at Le Calandre because the representation follows a precise rhythm, a sequence of acts where the common thread must be surprise, as well as goodness of course. With Massimiliano dressed more as an illusionist (and back to the opening, with that dessert that goes beyond the concept of the signature dish) which deus ex machina, animated by an eternal child's enthusiasm and the subtle pleasure of seeing the customer amazed before jumping into the pot. In each dish, there is a crazy technique (obviously mysterious, Alajmo does not like to tell recipes, fortunately we add), but above all an incredible talent. Moreover, at the age of 22 he was small-eyed and 28-starred: a world record.