In the heart of summer, eating is one of the pleasures you can’t do without. There are those who cannot go without fruit and vegetables, those who can't say no to baked goods or pizza and those who, even at the seaside, want the best quality meat. Three big names that represent the best of Italian food: Caterina Ceraudo with a Michelin Green Starvfor his restaurant Dattilo in Strongoli (Crotone); Giovanni Santarpia pizzaiolo awarded Three Slices by Gambero Rosso and special guest for summer 2023 at the Trattoria Al Fresco at the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence; and Massimo Minutelli, entrepreneur behind the grill La Griglia di Varrone, which this July opened another 'meaty' restaurant in Pietrasanta (Lucca). We learn which dishes to pick on their themed menus; excellence and flavors that are a total sell-out.
Peas, fennel, wild herbs, pistachio and flowers are the star ingredients of Caterina Ceraudo's green dishes. A symphony of vegetables emblematic of the power of the sun, which brings flavor and color to summer gardens.
A symphony of vegetables emblematic of the power of the sun, which brings flavor and color to summer gardens
The success of this Michelin green-starred chef's menu lies entirely in her ability to calibrate these delicacies on the plate. The peas used at Dattilo, are grown amid the vineyards, while the fennel grows wild in the countryside. You simply cannot miss the filled pasta, which has always been a must for the chef who trained under the wing of Niko Romito; so, order the artichoke tortello made with roasted artichokes, artichoke extract and scraps, to ensure every last ounce of flavor is used. The desserts are also straight from the farm, such as Sulla e agrumi (Sulla and citrus). Sulla is a wild herbaceous plant that grows in the countryside around the farm and features a fuchsia-colored flower whose honey is used to create an ice cream with a delicate flavor and a faint aroma of wild herbs. This magical ice cream is served with Dattilo's homegrown citrus fruits in different forms.
It’s hard to say no to a pizza. Even more so if made by one of Italy’s finest pizza makers, Giovanni Santarpia, who for this summer is a special guest at the Trattoria Al Fresco at the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence. “For me, creativity in baking is part of the routine,” Santarpia says, “there is no challenge too daring, no limits that cannot be surpassed. For a Neapolitan, pineapple on pizza may seem like heresy, but once prejudices are overcome, I'm sure even the most traditionalist palates will be forced to reconsider.” And thus we have the Brasile Andata e Ritorno (Brazil Round Trip): pizza with smoked buffalo, Fracassi selection Tuscan ham, pineapple carpaccio marinated in cachaça and lime Bloody Mary. “This pizza,” continues Paolo Lavezzini, Executive Chef at Al Fresco, “started as a bit of fun and provocation. We have a lot of American guests who are used to trying anything on pizza, and we wanted to give them the perspective of two Italians on how to balance seemingly very distant tastes.
This meat eater’s paradise that began in Milan is now traveling to the heart of Versilia in Marina di Pietrasanta, where Varrone Pietrasanta opens in July.
The result is a tribute to my beloved years in Brazil, but also in praise of Giovanni, who despite ‘challenging’ him to go beyond all acceptable limits, supported me in creating a truly interesting pizza. At the start of the season, I made a bet with the team on how many ‘pineapple pizzas’ we would sell; if I win, they have to buy me a meal in a Michelin-starred restaurant. I'd say I can get on with making the booking!”
Even if it is hot outside, the grill is never turned off. She is the queen of the Varrone Pietrasanta restaurant, where meat hand-selected by Massimo Minutelli is skilfully cooked over glowing embers and a perfect fire. This meat eater’s paradise that began in Milan is now traveling to the heart of Versilia in Marina di Pietrasanta, where Varrone Pietrasanta opens in July.
The most popular dishes include the Pastrami di puro Black Angus USA (Pastrami of pedigree American Black Angus). “It is chosen by most customers for its unique and full flavor. It is served in Barcelona Pan de Cristal, which is super crispy and light,” adds Massimo Minutelli, who is a fixed presence at the Versilia venue, selecting every type and cut of meat that his guests could ask for. Each has its own cooking method and its own space on the grill. Respect for the ingredient is essential to enhance quality and flavor. Wagyu, Fassona Piemontese, Black Angus USA.
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