Tag: haute

Mamma VS chef: the two faces of Italian haute cuisine – Italian Cuisine

Double review at Le Monzù and Mammà restaurants in Capri: two starred, two high-level kitchens and two chefs who really know how to do it, for two faces of Mediterranean cuisine

Haute cuisine means quality raw materials, the best technique to enhance ingredients and recipes, let's say a generic search for excellence for a refined result. On what is refined, or fine dining to put it in English, an infinite debate can be opened. What matters only to the insiders until they look for a nice restaurant for a dinner and have to choose where to go. Better home cooking or that of a great chef? Tradition or creativity? The two perfect restaurants to make this reflection are the two starred restaurants in Capri, the Monzù and Mammà: two schools of thought starting from the name.

Declaration of intent

Le Monzù is a deformation of the French "monsieur" which is the name by which the chef was addressed in the families of the Neapolitan aristocracy between the 13th and 19th centuries. The wealthiest at the time could afford a true French cook (others only their students or presumed such), but Frenchism represents by definition the gourmet influence that is found in the sumptuous recipes of Neapolitan cuisine such as rice sartù, cassata , the highly decorated desserts and the preparations that mimicked those of the Versaille model, but in a local version. Mammà is the Neapolitan deformation of the word mamma. Mamma VS chef, casa VS restaurant, regional cuisine VS creative cuisine: two sides of the medal star of high-level Italian cuisine.

Better home cooking or that of a great chef? Tradition or creativity?

Le Monzù, Capri fine dining

Luigi Lionetti, born in 1984, is a genuine Caprese: born, raised and today chef of the starred Le Monzù, the restaurant of the Hotel Punta Tragara, an icon of Capri hospitality overlooking the Faraglioni. He worked his way up on the island and returned in 2008, as a simple match cook under the wing of Gennarino Esposito, to stay until today his kitchen and earn a Michelin star in 2019. The goal is to maintain "the substance of our traditional cuisine", as the chef himself defines it, but lighten it, make it contemporary, creating dishes with few ingredients and where the product is not stressed, but rather the high quality of the raw material is absolutely enhanced. His cuisine is therefore Mediterranean, with a strong flavor, but with contemporary and creative variations «Monzù because the language of Naples reinvents everything. As in the kitchen . No Asian-international-fashion drift or use of trendy ingredients such as yuzu "here we have fantastic lemons, other than yuzu!", And the awareness that Capri is dense in flavors, ingredients and inspirations and you don't need to go far "but traveling opens the mind". And in fact Lionetti is someone who loves to shoot. If you wanted to represent his cuisine and a journey in Le Monzù, three dishes are enough: Bon Bon di prawns, Nocellara olive soup, almond and candied lemon; Cappelletti stuffed with red cow Parmesan cheese, black truffle, lobster medallions and its cold broth and the Milanese of amberjack, citrus fruits and married escarole. Two tasting menus (only those in 2020), one devoted to fish and one also to meat with other chef classics such as the Rotolino di rabbit, celeriac and chard; Lemon risotto with scampi, burrata, seaweed and capers and the Laticauda lamb variation, Jerusalem artichoke and wild garlic. All perfectly served and with dessert a nest containing a fake mango egg, passion fruit and fresh cream cheese. As spectacular as the spatial view of the sea of ​​Marina Piccola.

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Mammà, the great traditional restaurant

Mom is another thing entirely. We are a stone's throw from the Piazzetta, between the alleys of the greengrocers and the shops of the historic center. A beautiful terrace overlooking Marina Grande and the neighbors' rooftops, a room full of tables and chattering, on the walls the history of Capri through black and white photographs of the island and its international jet set. On the blackboard, the rules of Mammà leave no room for misunderstanding: at Mammà there are no cold rooms or refrigerators, at Mammà it starts again every morning with fresh products, and at Mammà there is only one. The execution of the dishes, the aromas and flavors in their simplicity refer to childhood memories and good food just as "mom" would do. Mammà has the mission to give maximum enjoyment every day, a project born in 2013 with the advice of Gennarino Esposito and today with the guidance of Salvatore La Ragione, 1 Michelin star, his longtime collaborator and friend. Sautéed clams, Luciana-style octopus, eggplant meatballs, ziti with Neapolitan ragù, creamed paccheri with shellfish and seafood: a menu that is understood at first glance and where creativity is all about the impeccable execution of traditional dishes, thanks to the knowledge and techniques of chef La Ragione. Because if the recipes are those of the mother, the "hand" is that of a ten-year experience of those who study cooking as well as practice it and then deal with it with competence, improving it every day.
Don't call it a trattoria, though: the Mammà restaurant is part of the Punta Tragara Small Luxury Hotel group and the Monzù restaurant, and is therefore certainly not a low cost solution or a "good" place. It is simply another side of haute cuisine.

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On Lake Orta: haute cuisine, relaxation and excursions – Italian Cuisine

On Lake Orta: haute cuisine, relaxation and excursions

A romantic getaway to the lake that becomes a food and wine discovery of the area

Italians have always preferred the sea or the mountains for holidays, not considering lakes as a destination for excursions.
In Piedmont there is a small pearl, which many envy us, Lake Orta. A little over an hour's drive from Milan and Turin, a favorite destination more for foreign tourists (French and Swiss in the lead) than for our own. Here, the Swiss and Germans have purchased many of the beautiful villas that we see on the shores of the lake, second homes overlooking one of the most romantic bodies of water in the world, with the island of San Giulio in the center.


If Orta San Giulio is the most famous and well-known town, the most lively is Pella with its village, which offers moments of true tranquility: the birdsong at dawn, the view of the sailboats sailing peacefully on the most peaceful shore and silent of the lake, the one to the west.
In Pella we find a small hotel that is a real favor, awarded in 2019 by Condé Nast Johansens as Best WaterSide Hotel 2020, Fantini house: only 11 rooms, a mix of period and high tech objects, a luxuriant garden and a swimming pool with waterfall make Fantini house the perfect destination for a stay of relaxation, well-being and haute cuisine.

The resident chef Paolo Bullone, originally from Vercelli, was born into a family of farmers: both the grandmother and the great-grandmother raised farmyard animals and managed the garden. The chef grew up with the idea of ​​raw material, care and quality in each product. The naturalness that marked his cooking, something that he didn't have to learn, but that is in his DNA.
He is a very curious person, he loves to go in search of excellence, he always tastes a product before proposing it, he loves comparison with colleagues. For this reason, during the restaurant's closing periods, he travels in search of ever new techniques and dishes and new stimuli.

Technique, knowledge of the raw material and deep study of tradition are the secrets of Paolo Bullone.
Although he prefers to think of the kitchen – and restaurant – of Casa Fantini as an exclusive cocoon corner, where guests must first of all feel at ease, like at home. Very often the menus and dishes are created following the needs of customers, satisfying their tastes. A tailor made service in all respects. This also happens for the 7-course tasting menu. You can have lunch or dinner à la carte, in the large lounge located on the ground floor of the structure, or by the pool or next to the garden.

On the Casa Fantini website are listed the offers and some special stay packages, adaptable to your needs.

The excursions

Visit to the Island of San Giulio and the basilica, which contains frescoes and works of art from different eras. Do not miss the ancient Romanesque ambo (pulpit for the proclamation of the Gospel, XII century) one of the few, all over the world, to have remained intact; for this reason it is the subject of research for many scholars who arrive on the island from all over the globe.

A walk along the whole island it will allow you to admire the shores of the lake from a different angle.
During the year, the island is inhabited by the Sisters of the Convent of San Giulio Island and by two people residing here. In the summer months it is populated by tourists and the owners of the villas.
In one of the villas on the island of San Giulio, in 2016, they shot the film "The correspondence" by Giuseppe Tornatore, with Jeremy Irons among the protagonists.

The monastic products of the Germagno Monastery (VB), construction located on the slopes of Mount Massone and which protrudes like a natural balcony on Lake Orta. Here they produce honey, jams, jams and some spirits, all handmade by the monks.
The monks have recovered and reclaimed ancient terraces, where they grow brushwood and fruit.
To contact the Monastery: Monastero@monasterogermagno.it


Boca D.o.c
It is the most northeastern and highest wine-growing area in Piedmont (420-520 m).
It is located in the province of Novara, between Valsesia and Lake Orta.
To discover this rare wine and its terroir, book a visit to the cellar with tasting.
Among the producers: Silvia Barbaglia, Cantine del Castello and Le Piane, which offer excellent products in the area, Boca Doc but not only.

Haute cuisine on a budget: the JRE initiative after the lockdown – Italian Cuisine

Haute cuisine on a budget: the JRE initiative after the lockdown

Eat well in high-end restaurants at affordable prices: it is the desire of all lovers of good food.

And, to invite them to enjoy lunches and dinners in top restaurants again after the lockdown, JRE Italia launches the #TavolaJRE initiative.

Until 30 November 2020 thehaute cuisine is served with a tasting menu at a cost of 50 euros per person.

About forty JRE restaurants scattered throughout Italy therefore welcome their guests, offering tasting menus, consisting of 4 courses and wine pairing.

You have met many JRE chefs by discovering their recipes in our magazine, through our videos and articles shared on social networks. This can be an opportunity to organize a gourmet trip and taste the dishes of Francesco Sposito, Luca Marchini, Luigi Pomata, Daniele Canzian, Aurora Mazzucchelli, Dario Guidi, Piero D'Agostino, Paolo Trippini, Roberto Tonola, Emanuele Donalisio and Nikita Sergeev many others…

"These closing months have not only represented for all of us restaurateurs a moment of great difficulty and doubts for the present and future of our activities, but they have proved to be a watershed that has inevitably changed or altered the concept of sharing and socialization that finds one of the his maximum expressions in the experience at the table and in the restaurant " explains Filippo Saporito, President of JRE Italy.

"Con the #TavolaJRE initiative, and thanks to the precious support of our Partners, the desire is to mark a restart that is not only ours, but also for those who will have the desire to return to appreciate and discover how pleasant and engaging it can still be a meal outside the home, pampered in complete safety and according to the new protocols. And the democratic price it is an important signal that we wanted to launch, that of being able to give the opportunity to a wider public to get to know our cuisine ".

These months of lockdown have put a strain on the restaurant sector, many chefs have taken advantage to experiment and deepen their knowledge: the passion and energy of all time have been channeled into new projects.

Now the time has come to share them with guests again, opening the doors of restaurants to make people live gourmet moments to remember.

Alongside JRE Italia, in partnership in support of the new #TavolaJRE project: Guido Berlucchi, Tenute Marchesi Antinori, Olitalia, Nespresso, Bonaventura Maschio and RCH wineries.

All information is available on the website www.tavolajre.it, which collects names and addresses of participating restaurants.

The reservation must be made exclusively online, by sending an email to the selected restaurant.

Barbara Roncarolo
July 2020

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