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La dolce vita in Puglia, Piedmont & Trieste

OCT 2017 AU $9.95 NZ $10.70 100007736

New spins on the classic Spritz








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Fresh ricotta is an essential ingredient on the Italian table, bringing its milky magic to sweet and savoury dishes alike.


Not all pasta is created equal. For the tastiest results choose the shape that best showcases the sauce.

Sandwiches never go out of fashion – add a dash of Italian style and they’re more tempting than ever.

Osteria Ilaria’s modern take on Italian cooking is showcased here in a snapshot of its winning spring menu.











We forage in the kitchen gardens of three very different people inspired by the Italian approach to produce.

Alessandro Pavoni of Ormeggio in Sydney has made a radical move for the sake of his health: he’s gone vegan.

Italy has more salumi than you can shake a grissino at. Sydney’s guru of cured meats has the low-down.

Leave it to Italy to take sandwiches to new heights. John Irving investigates the regional panino repertoire.


Heading to Italy? Look no further. Italian-Australian chefs share their picks of what and where to eat back in the old country.

Is the bread that defined the ’90s back on the rise? We dip into the country’s bread baskets.








John Irving explores Trieste’s unique blend of Latin, Slavic and Germanic traditions – one buffet at a time.

We take a road trip along the heel of the boot, where every road leads to the sea and every meal ends with digestivi.




Cookery school and café owners Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi share Tuscan specialties from their new book.

The Italian issue

An Australian couple has opened a winery and cellar door in a train station in Piedmont. Climb aboard.



Otranto, on Salento’s Adriatic coast.

Regulars 17 18 20 25



Our favourite plates this month.


ANATOMY OF A DISH Banging the drum for timballo.





The latest from the food and travel scenes.

Colatura di alici.

Bitter leaves aren’t hard to swallow, writes Paulette Whitney.



Midweek meals made in no time.





Dune-top dining, drinking and dipping at the new Longitude 131° in the Red Centre.



















Caffè culture.

The Preatures’ Isabella Manfredi on growing up in restaurant kitchens and eating on the road.

The founder of Jackalope Hotels, Louis Li, on luxury and Steinbeck.





Fresh and bright insalate show off spring produce.



Max Allen on the Spritz.

Arlechin heralds a new era of sophistication in late-night bar culture.

Neil Perry’s Rosetta plays Italian straight, and it’s right on the money.


Chefs and restaurateurs talk industry challenges.


Shop, eat and drink coffee like an Italian in Carlton.

177 178


Bucatini with prawn fra diavolo (recipe p111); casarecce with artichokes, capers, dill, lemon and mozzarella (recipe p110); and farfalle with Gorgonzola fonduta, zucchini, basil and toasted nuts (recipe p110).

Modena brims with age-old customs and exciting new ideas.





Novelist Natasha Pulley on llamas, lost passports and drunken confessions.

Set in gold.

Plus our cook’s notes and privacy notice.

RECIPE INDEX FARE EXCHANGE Chef’s recipes you’ve requested.

Recipes & food styling Lisa Featherby Photography Ben Dearnley Styling Geraldine Muñoz

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Editor’s letter

Where we’ve been

Helen Anderson, travel editor; Uluru, NT Big sky, big desert, big rock. All the things I love about Uluru came together during a wander through the Field of Light. Even better, the season has been extended to 31 March 2018. @handersonglobal

Bucatini with prawn fra diavolo





or Christmas last year I destroyed my family’s Italian heritage. My husband, Pete Giugni, grew up in a family that celebrated their Italian roots with gusto. Roman history and architecture were his father’s favoured topics of conversation. Great Italian composers echoed through the home, pasta was prepared. Cumulatively, hours were spent on the phone spelling out and correcting the pronunciation of “Giugni”, and when the first grandchildren arrived, Pete’s eldest brother went big on Italian names: Paulo, Luca and Hugo. When December 25 rolled around last year, I was excited to present Pete with a DNA test. In exchange for a small test tube of saliva, it promised to reveal his exact genetic make-up. It took just six weeks to deliver the results and crush his family’s very fixed sense of identity. How Italian was he? The survey said about two per cent. What was he mostly? Irish. About 80 per cent. The olive skin, dark curly hair and Roman nose were misleading – the Giugnis began as potato rather than pasta folk. It’s easy to trace the clan back to Italy. The family tree places them in Florence in the 17th and 18th centuries, before they moved to Switzerland and,

a couple of generations later, Australia. Before that, who knows? At some stage they had arrived in Italy and started to identify as Italian. The test was an interesting reminder that for many of us the cultural practices we embrace aren’t necessarily our own but more a mash-up of the travels and traditions of those before us. And when it comes to Italy, it’s easy to imagine why you’d happily switch allegiances. With that in mind, I hope there’s a little something for everyone in this issue: the real Italians, the fake Italians, the non-Italians and especially (with my apologies) all of the Giugnis. Ciao,

Brooke Donaldson, deputy art director; Waikiki, Honolulu My friend Anya and I wanted to escape winter and where better than Hawaii? We spent two weeks in the sun, exploring Oahu and enjoying cocktails on the beach. Mai Tais ahoy. @brookedonaldson1


@ SARAHALICEOAKES Maggie Scardifield, staff writer; northern NSW My partner, Morgan, and I spent a few days exploring Cabarita Beach. Our meal at Fleet in Brunswick Heads, and two nights at Halcyon House, was a fantastic way to welcome spring. @mjscardi




Torre San Giovanni, Puglia




JOHN IRVING, writer, translator


ED ANDERSON, photographer

DAWN TAN, illustrator

Echoes of empire, p140 Despite living all his adult life in Italy, Irving visited Trieste for the first time this year. “I’m well acquainted with the major cities in Italy,” he says, “but Trieste was missing from my list.” He wasn’t disappointed. “I’d always been drawn by its past under Austrian rule, by its contemporary contribution to Italian culture.” But the locals impressed him most. “Outgoing and lively but polite and well-mannered. Picture Neapolitans transplanted to Vienna.”

Unpacking, p168 From inquisitive llamas to Japanese pub stories, historical fiction writer Natasha Pulley finds the best adventures on her research forays are often the smallest. “I never know exactly what I’m looking for when I travel,” she says. “Authenticity, language, better understanding of culture, something strange – it’s embarrassingly vague, and what I need to know changes with each book. But I do trust I’ll know it when it comes galloping across to steal my lunch.”

Postcard from Puglia, p150 California-based photographer Ed Anderson has a soft spot for Italy’s south, where the pace is slower, the summers hotter, the hospitality enthusiastic. “With beautiful coastlines, stunning architecture, and the freshest seafood, Salento, in Puglia, at the tip of the Italian heel, doesn’t disappoint,” he says. “It helps to have a well-considered itinerary, and a willingness to scrap it at a moment’s notice.” And the reward at the end of a day on the road? “Aperitivo hour.”

Bittersweet victory, p48, and Mondo panino, p84 Dawn Tan is an illustrator and teacher with a flair for watercolour. Tan grew up in Singapore, where she says food is an obsession, so painting it was a natural progression. This month she took a break from painting Wagon Wheels and Sara Lee meals, and turned her brushes to GT. Her pitta ripiena and more sit aside John Irving’s history of panini, and Paulette Whitney’s prose is brought to life by her vibrant bitter greens.


Four dishes

What we’re eating Our editors share their favourite plates of the moment. FUSILLI, COZZE E CECI, Fico House-made fusilli, cooked bang-on al dente, served with local mussels and a purée of chickpeas cooked in dashi, finished generously with paprika and finely zested lemon, and lifted with sprigs of wild fennel – and not a skerrick of cheese in sight. Fico, 51A Macquarie St, Hobart, Tas, (03) 6245 3391 SUE DYSON AND ROGER McSHANE, TASMANIA EDITORS

Translation: gorgeous hand-pinched parcels of pork, veal and mortadella tossed with a rich and enormously satisfying parmesan zabaglione seasoned generously with black pepper. It’s typical of the standard of pasta that’s kept this old-school-style Italian joint humming for the past decade. Sosta Cucina, 12 Errol St, North Melbourne, Vic, (03) 9329 2882 MICHAEL HARDEN, VICTORIA EDITOR



On a warm spring afternoon, there’s no better lunch than the spaghetti alla chitarra turned through truffle butter and pecorino Romano at Darlinghurst’s Sagra. A classic Roman dish of few ingredients (served with a bonus scattering of shaved truffles), it requires precision execution, and these guys pull it off deliciously. Pair it with a crisp and refreshing 2015 Casa D’Ambra Ischia Bianco to offset that richness and start the weekend early. Sagra, 62 Stanley St, Darlinghurst, NSW, (02) 9360 5964 KRISHNA

Take the best anchovy fillets you can find, chop them up with parsley and lemon zest, fold them through dough, fry them till they’re puffy and hot, and you have Lulu la Delizia’s anchovy doughnuts. Pair them with lemon mayo and furnish the table with aperitivi and you’re good to go. 5/97 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco, WA, (08) 9381 2466 MAX VEENHUYZEN,







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“We travel… to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anaïs Nin

MEXICO’S DAY OF THE DEAD FESTIVAL AN A&K HOSTED SMALL GROUP JOURNEY Experience Mexico at its vibrant best, in expert hands, as you join the locals to celebrate El Día de los Muertos, one of the world’s most life-affirming festivals, honouring the lives of the most beloved departed. Be swept up in the whole spectacle, colourful pageants, candlelit vigils, mystical shaman ceremonies, village parades and all-night street parties. Shop at markets overflowing with sugar skulls, papier-mâché skeletons and exquisite local produce. Sample Mexico’s finest at a Mezcal distillery. Explore the sacred pre-Columbian sites of Monte Albán and Mitla. And enjoy an exclusive tour of the stunning National Museum of Anthropology after hours. Add to all that the extraordinary cuisine of Oaxaca, and a little more tequila, and this is a journey you’ll never forget. 10 DAYS | 27 OCTOBER - 5 NOVEMBER 2018 MAXIMUM 18 GUESTS | $9,995 TWIN SHARE (SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: $2,995)

Call 1300 851 925 for more information or to order your free copy of the 2017-18 ‘Hosted Small Group Journeys’ brochure or visit



Windows on the world Cape Town’s creative moment, an Italian warehouse party in Sydney, and a gelateria vera in Melbourne.

Opened last month, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.




The wheat-shaped atrium of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa recalls the building’s former life.

Boost the chances of finding lost or stolen gear – from luggage to passports, cars to cameras – with new waterproof Tile Pro Series trackers, with a Bluetooth range of 61 metres. $50 each.


Art of Africa At the heart of the new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, opened last month at Cape Town’s Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, is a spectacular atrium shaped like a grain of wheat, carved from one of 42 concrete silos and lit like an “industrial cathedral” by a glass roof. Built in 1921 and lying empty for the past 27 years, the city’s landmark grain silo complex now houses 80 galleries of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, the first museum of its kind on the continent. Spread over nine floors, the development includes centres for film, photography and art education. Much of the collection is owned by former Puma CEO and entrepreneur Jochen Zeitz. The chief challenge of the $50 million project, says British designer Thomas Heatherwick, whose company Heatherwick Studio managed the conversion, was to find a way to carve space within the 10-storey “tubular honeycomb” without “completely destroying” the heritage-listed building. Guests at The Silo Hotel, opened earlier this year in the complex, have



had a bird’s-eye view of the museum’s development. It’s one of 22 historic landmarks in the 123-hectare V&A Waterfront spanning entertainment venues, and commercial and residential development, flanked by a working harbour and the city centre. Among the launch exhibitions are early-career retrospectives of work by Zimbabwean artist Kudzanai Chiurai and Nandipha Mntambo from Swaziland. Highlights include Isaac Julien’s ninescreen projection Ten Thousand Waves and Togolese artist El Loko’s vertiginous installation of nine huge etched-glass discs on the floor of the rooftop sculpture garden. Visitors can book a table at the rooftop restaurant for fine views of Table Mountain and then plunge into the underground tunnels once used to transport grain between silos. The tunnels house a recreation of the found-object installation that won Angolan photographer Edson Chagas the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2013.


Daily walks of between five and eight kilometres are the ideal foil for the bounty of the southernItalian table on an 11-day hosted small-group walking tour of Puglia and Amalfi (above) by luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent. The focus is on regional specialities, farmhouse cooking classes and country fare during seven days on foot in Puglia and four days on the Amalfi Coast. Tours with a maximum of 14 guests depart 12 April and 23 September 2018.


The latest development on Cape Town’s blossoming V&A Waterfront is the continent’s first museum of modern African art.


The producers

Yuzu and Marrakech cup (left), and Chocolate Coconut Cherries with Burnt Fig. Right: Orange Pomegranate and Banana Coconut Ash, and Mandarino and Forest Berries. Below right: Miinot co-owner Emma Nicholas-Jennings

Cutting shapes Been there, eaten that? Step away from the pappardelle and try this pasta for size.


Neapolitan for “slap” (as in slap you in the face while you eat it), these tubes are wider than rigatoni and fatter than cannelloni. Find them tossed with prawn and Napoli sauce at Osteria Ilaria in Melbourne, or stuffed with octopus at Wyno in Sydney.


Think of tiny gnocchi. Gnochetti, even – which is what they’re called in Sardinia. Locals serve them with rich sauces and pecorino. Acme in Sydney does a spelt version with king brown mushrooms, walnuts and rosemary. Both are winners.

Miinot Gelato This Melbourne gelato-maker’s small-batch operation is big on flavour. WHO Emma NicholasJennings and husband, Gary Jennings, owners of Melbourne gelato shop Miinot, learnt their trade helping Nicholas-Jennings’ parents at their gelateria on the Mornington Peninsula during holiday season. “We got sick of travelling back and forth, so we thought we’d do our own,” she says. The couple took a risk on a derelict strip of shops in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and opened Miinot in 2015. Despite its off-piste location, the gelateria attracts people from all over the city. WHAT Local ingredients are used to make flavours such as honey, yuzu and feijoa. On any given day, the cabinet might hold a

dairy-free banana, coconut and charcoal gelato, or the OMG, which has layers of salted-caramel gelato, Nutella and butterscotch. Recently, Shropshire Blue from Melbourne cheesemonger Harper & Blohm was crumbled on a quince and goat’s milk ice-cream. It was a sell-out. HOW Unlike some gelaterias, Miinot doesn’t own a pasteuriser, often used to speed up the gelato-making process. Instead, Miinot’s gelato thickens naturally overnight in the fridge, allowing the flavours time to steep, and is churned slowly, which makes for a thicker, creamier result. “When we tasted our first batch, we were amazed at the texture,” says Nicholas-Jennings.


“Our customers constantly comment on it.” The final step is coming up with a fun name for each flavour. Sergeant Pepper teams Tasmanian pepperberry with dark chocolate; The Cone of Silence pairs vegan chocolate with waffle-cone pieces; and the Superhero has chocolate swirled with hazelnut and Nutella and layered with wafers. WHY Miinot is truly smallbatch gelato. Without a pasteuriser to whip up more, once a flavour has sold out, that’s it. “People see a post on Instagram and know to get in quick,” she says. WHERE Miinot Gelato, 71 Melville Rd, Pascoe Vale South, Vic, (03) 9383 4258 BY EMMA BREHENY

These ribbons with one or both edges curled are great for holding on to sauce, such as the braised rabbit and pecorino at Tartufo in Brisbane. Pino’s Vino e Cucina in Sydney, meanwhile, tosses them through a wild boar ragù.


Chef Giovanni Pilu knows his lorighittas. And he would – the twisted rings of pasta come from Sardinia, his home island, where they’re called Morgongiori. Pilu suggests eating them Carloforte style with yellowfin tuna, tomato and pesto. Si, signore.

CASARECCE Twisted and rolled, with a name that means homemade, casarecce hold whatever they’re paired with – suckling lamb ragù at Italian & Sons in Canberra, say, or cow’s milk squacquerone cheese and leeks at Adelaide’s Osteria Oggi. BY DAVID MATTHEWS




Must visit

Glacial pace The French hotelier Maisons & Hotels Sibuet has applied the Sibuet family’s customary élan to a remote alpine retreat in the Mont-Blanc range, high above the ski town of Chamonix. Built in 1880 for mountaineers, Terminal Neige Refuge du Montenvers is perched on the edge of Mer de Glace glacier, which is visible from all 19 rooms and suites, a 10-bed dormitory and the two restaurants. The journey here is part of the adventure – guests depart Chamonix on the little red Montenvers train that climbs through pine forest to the lodge, in time for a traditional Savoyard lunch on a terrace beside the mighty glacier. Rooms from €190.


A seven-night cruise on the Mekong is a highlight of a 13-day tour of Cambodia and Vietnam by APT in partnership with Gourmet Traveller. It’s one of a series of journeys scheduled next year in collaboration with GT. Departing Siem Reap on 2 February 2018, the tour takes in the World Heritage-listed treasures of Angkor, city tours of Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City, and leisurely detours to Mekong villages and floating markets aboard the AmaLotus.


Villas con amici For a taste of the high life Italian style, gather friends and family in a villa with a view.

Casa a Noto, south-east Sicily Gather 15 pals for aperitivi on the terrace with views of vineyards and the nearby town of Noto, renowned for its World Heritage-listed Sicilian Baroque architecture. An hour’s drive south of Catania airport and half an hour from the city of Siracusa, the villa is surrounded by groves of olives, citrus, figs and almonds on a wine estate. Too relaxed to fuss in the kitchen? There’s a cook on hand. The closest beach is five minutes’ drive, though guests might find it hard to stray beyond the swimming pool in the garden, and more aperitivi on that terrace.

Villa Il Galero, Asolo, Veneto Though only an hour’s drive from Venice Airport, the hill town of Asolo is charmingly unspoilt. The 17th-century Villa Il Galero is an elegant launchpad for daytrips to La Serenissima or the prosecco vineyards of Valdobbiadene, and an easy passeggiata from the town’s historic centre. Surrounded by olive groves, lawns and gardens, the villa sleeps 13 in style, with an assortment of ornate drawing rooms and shady terraces for dining and lounging. The best views of the valley and the town’s fortress are from the heated swimming pool.

Villa Robilant, Todi, Umbria About 10 minutes’ drive from the peaceful Umbrian town of Todi, this contemporary villa sleeping up to eight teams traditional design with uncommon features: a private cinema, cuttingedge sound system, and a spa with steam bath, plunge pool and gym. Eat in the big family kitchen or in one of several dining rooms and terraces, or throw a party in the garden house, with its own outdoor kitchen, pizza oven and armchairs surrounding a fireplace. The split-level garden has an infinity pool on the lower level with views of the gentle Umbrian countryside.

Commonwealth Street in Surry Hills is shaping up as Sydney’s hottest ’hood. Due to open early next year, the 29-room Paramount House Hotel will have simpatico neighbours including an eatery by the Ester team, Paramount Coffee Project, the basement Golden Age Cinema and co-working hub The Office Space.



For our final Gourmet Institute event of the year (15 November), Bistro Guillaume chef Guillaume Brahimi stages a Gallic soirée to remember. Join us in Sydney for lamb Pithiviers, duck rillettes and crisp little cones of tuna, shiso, apple and avocado. Tickets are $60.

Matteo chef Orazio D’Elia. Left: his linguine with scampi.



MATTEO, SYDNEY Why did you become a chef? Because I was shit at maths – true story. When I was in middle school, my friend suggested we go to chef school (because there would be no maths and we could travel the world) and I was like, yeah, done, sold. And so here I am. You’ve just opened Matteo in Double Bay. Tell us about it. It’s a big Italian restaurant that is still comfortable and cosy. The space used to house the restaurant Limoncello, where I worked about seven years ago, but we stripped the whole place and changed basically everything except the tiles. Matteo is also the name of my five-month-old son – it’s been a busy few months. Standout dishes on the menu? Our linguine with scampi, and the buffalo mozzarella with lemon leaves, a dish from the Amalfi Coast. I also love the family-style lasagne; it’s an Italian interpretation of a Sunday roast and is made to

feed about four people. I think that when you’re sitting at the table with your family, talking and eating, it’s harmonious and beautiful. What’s the key to a perfect pizza? First of all, you need a great pizzaiolo. You also need a good oven (we imported ours from Naples) and the right dough, yeast and proving. We prove our dough twice to make it really light. Today pizze have so many different toppings, but I think a great Margherita made with buffalo mozzarella is still queen. Now that Matteo is up and running, what’s next on the cards? We’ve put a deposit on a site in the city that’s going to be home to our next restaurant, Matteo Downtown. It’s still a bit further down the track, though – we’re planning to open some time in the middle of 2018. Matteo, 29 Bay St, Double Bay, NSW, (02) 9327 8015,

RIVER CAFE MILESTONE Veal shin in Barbaresco. Squid with peas and anchovies. The River Cafe on London’s River Thames has kept diners content with its modern Italian cooking (and chocolate nemesis cake) for an incredible 30 years. To celebrate its anniversary, River Cafe 30 by Ruth Rogers and chefs Joseph Trivelli, Sian Wyn Owen and the late Rose Gray ($55, hbk, Penguin Random House) hits the shelves this month, featuring 30 new recipes, along with photos from personal archives. The book’s edges are emblazoned neon pink to match the famous wood oven.

Officina ProfumoFarmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella – the name alone will leave you in need of a drink. Lucky this Florentine producer makes such fine Italian liqueurs – this spicy, scarlethued Alkermes is a case in point. Try it with lime and ginger beer for an Italian riff on a Moscow Mule, or in place of vermouth in your next Manhattan. $100 for 500ml.




World view

Palm Springs, California, US “Up to 100,000 fans descend on Palm Springs every February for Modernism Week, when the city’s Mid-century architecture and design are admired and discussed. As both an architect and a photographer, this shot encapsulates the week for me. “In the background is the San Jacinto mountain range, and on approach is a Rolls-Royce, evocative of the glamour of Palm Springs in the mid-20th century, when it was a playground for the rich and famous. It’s shot in the Canyon View Estates, built in 1962 and promoted at the time as ‘Prestige homes for people of prestige, who appreciate the very best… for those that enjoy carefree, gracious living among gracious friends.’ “There are probably 10 of these open-top buses cruising around the city’s architectural highlights during Modernism Week. As is so often the case as a photographer, I’m observing the observers.”










A card can be just as memorable as the gift it accompanies. These keepers feature simple recipes so your friend or loved one can whip up a warm artichoke dip, say, or panzanella as an extra gift. Many happy returns. $5.95.

RESTAURANT NEWS Martina chef Nick Anderer

MELBOURNE Three years after it closed for renovation, Lygon Street landmark King & Godfree reopens in November. In addition to the existing, now updated and expanded deli and wine store, the new K&G will include rooftop and cellar bars, an espresso bar and a 120-seat bistro that will focus on “simple and authentic Italian flavours placed in a modern context,” says co-owner Jamie Valmorbida. (See page 62 for more on Carlton.)

BRISBANE Sichuan Bang Bang welcomes younger sibling Bang Bang Bar to the former Pizzeria Violetta site in Paddington. The new digs – also from restaurateur Renata Roberts – specialises in Neapolitanstyle pizze and Sichuan-inspired snacks including oysters with chilli oil and black vinegar, and assorted rou jia mo on wood-fired buns. The cocktails lean herbal, like the Evening Thyme with dark rum, thyme and ginger beer, or a rosemaryinfused Bang Fashioned, and the interior channels a luxe boudoir with plenty of red velvet and gold.

Great overall Worktones kits out staff at smart eateries with effortlessly cool aprons. Now the specialist uniform maker has relaunched an online store for a touch of Japanese linen or stylish cotton twill in your own kitchen. There are lots of options (we like the olive green and rust, below) and they’re all made with natural dyes. From $44.

SYDNEY After closing Zambo just seven months after he opened it at the former Marque site on Crown Street in Surry Hills, Matteo Zamboni has been snatched up by Jonah’s at Whale Beach. Zamboni has taken over from chef Logan Campbell and brings with him a more “Italian-ish” menu, with highlights including gnocchi with ricotta salata and smoked egg yolk, and white chocolate and sage ice-cream with burnt butter and Davidson’s plum.

Spaghetti, tagliolini, fettuccine and now ravioli – Smeg has added a new attachment to the line-up of pasta accessories for its signature stand-mixer. The new attachment is a $299 investment, sure – but can you put a price on homemade pumpkin ravioli with sage and burnt butter, or ravioli alla Caprese spiked with pecorino and marjoram?




NEW YORK A year after opening Marta, Danny Meyer’s Manhattan pizzeria within The Redbury Hotel, chef Nick Anderer has branched out with East Village spin-off Martina. There’s no table service, but while you wait for your pizza you can snack on zucchini with mint and chilli, say, or supplì, Rome’s answer to Sicily’s arancini. Meyer is behind the burger behemoth Shake Shack, but Martina is perhaps more fine casual than fast. Thin-crust pizze are topped with the likes of kale and black olives, Champagne is sold by the half-bottle, Cappelletti Spritzes are on tap and the soft-serve is fior di latte.

Pinbone’s classic hazelnut tiramisù. Left, clockwise from top: white anchovy, chilli and fennel bruschetta; onion and Comté bruschetta; peas, beans and stracciatella bruschetta.


Pinbone’s new pop-up Sydney’s Pinbone loves a good plot twist. Its next adventure? A glorious mash-up of bar, restaurant and dance party. With the dust barely settled on their Chinese Sydney pop-up Good Luck Pinbone, chefs Mike Eggert and Jemma Whiteman are at work on their next shape-shifting venture, this time in partnership with juggernaut Sydney restaurant group Merivale. This month they open Mr Liquor Dirty Italian Disco in the drive-through of the group’s Tennyson Hotel in Mascot. Italianate food and a pick-and-drink system that takes advantage of the ample fridge space at the pub’s bottle shop are the calling cards. “We were thinking of restaurants that are always fun – when it’s more than just a meal and you have a really good time,” Eggert says. “To us, Italian food is always happy.” Eggert and Whiteman have a woodfired oven to work with, which they plan

to use for everything from fish, molten cheeses and whole suckling pigs to focaccia “with all sorts of toppings”, says Eggert. “Basically, whatever we find that looks like it would go well in a big wood-fired oven.” Pasta, such as pappardelle with a green vegetable ragù, and trofie with red pepper, chilli and liverwurst sauce, is likely to appear on the opening menu, along with smoked eel lasagne, and shallots roasted in drippings with Comté and parsley. Fans of Eggert and Whiteman’s hazelnut tiramisù will be able to get their fix and, with some luck, there may be an Italian version of the icy poles served at Good Luck Pinbone. Good times are the goal, with the gang’s influences ranging from the Italo-American restaurants of

Williamsburg to a casual backyard barbecue with the extended family, the tables laden with plates of buttered sardines with tomato, chilli and fennel, say, and raw beef with horseradish and bitter greens. The Tennyson’s drivethrough, detached from the pub proper and more akin to a large shed, will be decked out like a warehouse party, and DJs will spin Donna Summer, punk and more. Unsurprisingly for a bottle shop, there will be a big drinks list, a rare feature for a pop-up and a change of pace from the BYO scenario at Good Luck Pinbone. “When you’ve got a massive cool-room fridge, you can do what you want, even if that’s stocking two bottles of something,” Eggert says. Punters will be able to browse the fridges for natural wines or a six-pack of beer, for example, before settling at a table on the horseshoeshaped driveway. Sydney will have six months to enjoy Mr Liquor Dirty Italian Disco, from early October, Wednesday to Sunday. How does it feel to go from running your own pop-ups to working with a big player such as Merivale? “These guys are seasoned professionals,” Eggert says. “They see things that no one else sees.” Mr Liquor Dirty Italian Disco, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot, NSW, BY EMMA BREHENY



Objects of desire

In the black


Bring a touch of caffè culture to your place with these chic cups and coffee-maker.

7 5


2 4


9 10

1 Wingnut & Co espresso cup and saucer in Shiro, $40, from In Bed. 2 Medium jug in Milk, $36, from Mud Australia. 3 Espresso cup and saucer in Steel, $58, from Mud Australia. 4 Trivet board in oak, $39, from Funkis. 5 Chemex classic 6-cup coffee-maker, 900ml, $75.95, from Alternative Brewing. 6 Chemex 6-cup square filters 100 pk, $19.95, from Alternative Brewing. 7 Hario Buono copper kettle, 900ml, $219.95, from Alternative Brewing. 8 Bamboo tea leaf scoop, $15, from Ginkgo Leaf. 9 Kami shot glass, $60, from Ginkgo Leaf. 10 The Other Hemisphere espresso cup and saucer, $75, by The Fortynine Studio and Sarah K, from The Fortynine Studio. Stockists p175.





“I got my first big job working at a fine-dining restaurant in Sydney. On my first night, I dropped an entire table’s meal onto the floor in front of them.”

How I eat

Isabella Manfredi EATING WITH

The lead singer of The Preatures on growing up in restaurant kitchens and eating on the road.

What’s your earliest food memory? Sitting

on the marble benches in the kitchen at The Restaurant Manfredi in 1991. I’d watch my nonna making pasta and every so often she’d feed me a bit of the raw dough. You’ve grown up spending a lot of time in restaurants. What makes a good one?

That’s a mystery, just like a good song. There’s no formula – it’s about a certain energy coupled with great execution. Your father, Stefano Manfredi, is a wonderful and well-respected chef. What has he taught you about food? Many

things – but above all he taught me that the simplest things are often the hardest to do well.


Do you love or hate to cook? I absolutely

love it. It’s in my blood. When you’re on tour, what does a typical dinner look like for The Preatures? Who

knows? It could be anything. A French dip if we’re in the States. A packet of corn chips, a tin of tuna, or airport sushi, perhaps. But if we’re in Europe, it’ll be a sit-down meal cooked in-house at the venue. Europeans know how to do it right. What about when you’re in the studio – what are your go-to snacks? I don’t

really snack. If I eat something with delicious carbs I’ll be satisfied until the

next meal. Our guitarist Jack [Moffitt] will make a salad for lunch and we’ll eat together. He’s into baking at the moment, too, so lately we’ve been having fresh sourdough. Sometimes Nonna or Dad will cook a big minestrone or osso buco, and I’ll keep it in the fridge or freeze portions. As a back-up I keep Love & Bones Broth soups in the freezer for a quick meal at any time of day, too. What’s your favourite food and drink pairing? Vermouth and dark chocolate. What’s the first thing you do when you travel to a new city? As soon as we touch

down I’ll be looking for a good café or somewhere to get coffee. You spent a gap year in Italy. What do you miss most about that time? The first

month I spent studying Italian at a school in Navigli, in Milan. There was an osteria nearby with an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch for €8. They’d do things like slow-cooked rabbit, coniglio with celery and carrot, and tagliatelle with butter and parmesan. I went there almost every day and they’d let me take leftovers home for dinner.

What’s your favourite kind of Italian? I love

very simple Italian food. I remember the first night I arrived in Rome, Mum and I sat in our little motel having a minestra together with big spoons. It was a light, golden broth with just a few vegetables – and it was just perfect. Before starting The Preatures you worked in hospitality. How did you find it? I got

my first big job working the pass at a fine-dining restaurant in Sydney. On my first night, I dropped an entire table’s meal – three whole plates – clean onto the floor in front of them. Talk about baptism by fire. I learnt quickly after that and took pride in being good at my job. I loved the rhythm of service and making people happy. You’re a big supporter of the Keep Sydney Open campaign. How would you like to see your city’s nightlife improved?

The Keep Sydney Open movement is as much about preserving nightlife culture in Sydney as it is about supporting sensible and sustainable planning for our city. To revitalise Sydney’s nightlife we need to address property prices, overhaul rental laws, invest in public transport and cultivate good drinking culture. This means focusing on small bars and venues in neighbourhoods rather than just large-scale entertainment precincts. Cities are for everyone, not just the people who can afford to live there. You recorded your latest album, Girlhood, in Sydney. What do you miss most about the city when you’re away? The sky, the

gum trees and the colour of the light. Do you ever cook for your dad? Nah, it’s too much pressure. He gets real finicky in the kitchen and likes things to be just so. It’s territorial. Nonna is the same. I’d rather just eat.

And what do you miss least? I dated

this Calabrian guy who used to eat chocolate-chip cookies in milk for breakfast, like you’d eat cereal. He had no comprehension of what toast was. And no toaster. It weirded me out to the max.

What’s the best thing about Italian culture?

Noise at the dinner table. ● ● The Preatures’ new album, Girlhood, is out now. G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R





CULINARY VOYAGES TO ASIA AND BEYOND Uncork your passion for food and wine as you sail the North Pacific Ocean to the Land of the Rising Sun. Sample Dim Sum in Hong Kong, traditional fare in Shanghai, taste some local Sake at a Brewery in Osaka, or experience a Japanese Tea Ceremony in Tokyo. Don’t forget Silversea’s own wine tastings and cooking demonstrations on board in partnership with Relais & Châteaux. The Far East is closer than ever before with our new, all-inclusive voyages with Free Shore Excursions in each port of call. And now you can get there with our free Business Class Air on select 2017/2018 voyages. Early Booking Cruise Packages from $11,340 per person including Business Class air.

Intimate Ship s Ocean-view Suites s Butler Service s Complimentary Wine, Champagne and Spirits s Menu Inspired by Relais & Châteaux

For more information please contact your Travel Professional, call Silversea on 1300 306 872 or visit Package fares are per guest, in Australian dollars, based on double-occupancy on voyage 3811 and include Early Booking discount and return Business Class Air from select Australian gateways only. If Business Class is not available, Economy Class Air will be offered. Fares are capacity controlled and subject to change at any time without notice. Offer applies to new bookings made until 30 Nov 2017. Promotional air offer is only applicable to specified voyages. Silversea reserves the right to select the air carrier, routing and departure airport from each gateway city. Select free shore excursions will be offered on a complimentary basis. Depending on tour timing, one free shore excursion may be taken per day. Free shore excursions are not offered on voyages 4805/4806. Early Booking Bonus is available on voyages departing 1 Mar 2017 to 31 Mar 2019, and is only applicable when paid in full by 31 Oct 2017. Cancel/re-books do not qualify. All advertised fares, savings, offers, programmes and itineraries are correct at time of printing, are subject to availability and may change at any time. For complete Terms & Conditions, visit

How I travel

where the idea for Jackalope came from. A creature so rare it exists only in myth is the perfect symbol for my hotels. Three years ago I was having lunch at the

Willow Creek vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula and the winemaker told me it was on the market. I thought immediately that was what I wanted – to create a surreal hotel in a rural landscape, a real destination. My family are hotel developers, so I know the formula for creating a good luxury hotel. I wanted to go further, however, to merge my artistic exploration from filmmaking with this formula to create an unexpected product. It was a risk, but Jackalope is a fearless brand. You have to be a dreamer. If you think about the consequences too much you compromise the vision. Travel for me is not a relaxing experience.

I travel for inspiration. I take an intense trip and look for the unfamiliar, to get out of my comfort zone. My favourite hotels all have a daring vision. They’re almost the product of obsession – a summary of the owner’s inner life and lifestyle. I look for a place that’s not copyable, that can exist only at that site.



Louis Li Inspired by the cinematic visions of Stanley Kubrick and Wong Kar Wai, the founder of Jackalope Hotels has fashioned his début hotel on the Mornington Peninsula with more than a touch of the surreal.

Just back from… Los Angeles and Hong Kong, visiting galleries and restaurants.

Next up… Two weeks in Tokyo and the art island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea.

I was brought up in Kunming in southern

China, which is also known as Spring City because of its weather. It’s such a pretty place to live. Lots of film directors, writers and dancers live there. It’s not a major city like Shanghai or Beijing, but it has poetic elegance.

My ideal kind of trip is a combination of food and art. I’ll book 20 restaurants when I’m going somewhere like LA for two weeks, and I will definitely travel just to see an exhibition or a gallery. The most important thing I take with me is a book filled with my personal notes.

When I arrived in Melbourne in 2007 to

Luxury these days has become something

study filmmaking at Swinburne I was struck by how creative and grungy the city is. It’s a very intimate city, with close connections between the worlds of design, architecture and hospitality.

of a meaningless term. People are looking for memories, not just for a two-night stay or a fine-dining restaurant. I always say luxury is defined by rarity. We’re all so technology-obsessed that solitude has become luxury. You know yourself so much better when you can have a conversation with yourself.

The most significant trip I ever took was to

Berlin six years ago. I was there for the film festival, and it was on that trip I encountered a sculpture of a jackalope hanging on the wall of an antique shop. I asked the owner what it was, and he told me about this mythical creature. I became completely obsessed with it. That was

My favourite travel quote is “We don’t

take a trip. A trip takes us.” It’s from John Steinbeck, and to me it sums up the wonderful things that can happen if you leave a day unplanned and just wander. ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


g r n i c i o k t a t a M

Cheesemaker KRISTEN ALLAN gives us the 101 on how to make ricotta from scratch – the result is fresh curds for days.

Knife from Montmartre Store. Silampos saucepan from The Essential Ingredient. Clay Canoe salt bowl from Koskela. Tiles from Earp Brothers All other props, stylist’s own. Stockists p175.



icotta, meaning “recooked” in Italian, is traditionally made from the whey leftover from making cheese. The residual protein in the whey forms the curds with the addition of an acidic element and heat. The fresh ricotta here, however, is made using whole milk and cream, lemon juice and salt. The heat curdles the mixture, separating the curds and whey. When the curds are drained, the result is creamy ricotta that’s unbeatable slathered still warm on bread with jam, crumbled over pasta or salads, or made into cheesecake. “Ricotta is the perfect entry point to cheesemaking,” says Sydney cheesemaker Kristen Allan. “It’s the easiest fresh cheese to make.” For ricotta recipes see page 98.

To o l k i t The milk you choose for making ricotta will effect the result. Allan prefers small-batch milk for its flavour and fat content, preferably homogenised, which doesn’t separate into cream. The higher the fat content of the milk, the greater the protein, yielding creamier curds. Some of Allan’s preferred brands include The Pines ( and Barambah Organics ( Ricotta baskets are available from cheesemaking suppliers such as Cheese Links (




3 Step by step


Fill a large saucepan with water to about 1cm deep; this prevents the milk from scalding. Combine 4 litres of homogenised milk with 300ml pouring cream and add to pan. The extra cream increases the fat content to make the curds extra creamy.


Add 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 tbsp salt, and stir the mixture gently to combine. Lime juice (used to make paneer), apple cider vinegar or buttermilk can also be used as the acidic element in place of lemon juice.


Place the pan over low heat and heat slowly, without stirring, until it reaches 90˚C on a thermometer (about 1.5 hours).

At around 80°C curds will form on the top. Resist the urge to stir – this will cause the curds to release more whey, making the texture chalky. A low heat is best to achieve nice soft curds with moisture in the ricotta.


Once the curds have formed, remove the pan from the heat and stand for 10 minutes for curds to settle. They will still float on the surface during this time. If you notice at 90˚C that the milk hasn’t separated or curdled enough, leave the pan on the heat and add more lemon juice, a tablespoonful at a time, until you can clearly see the separation of curds and whey. Don’t let the mixture exceed 95˚C.


Carefully scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon – do not pour – into a large ricotta basket or a muslin-lined colander. Stand the basket over the pan for 15 minutes to drain excess whey and reserve the whey (see below).


it warm and fresh. Otherwise store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Ricotta can also be stored in the basket covered; the longer it’s left in the basket, the firmer it will become. Fresh ricotta will keep for 10 days to two weeks refrigerated.

Ricotta can stand at room temperature for up to an hour if you want to serve

The whey Don’t throw away the whey after making ricotta – it can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen, and it has many uses. Allan suggests using it in place of water when baking – try it in cheese crackers, flatbread, bread and muffins. She also cooks pasta in whey and serves it scattered with fresh ricotta and olive oil. It’s great for braising and marinating meat, can be used in place of stock in soups or curries, and forms a caramel when heated slowly at a low temperature for a few hours. To find out more about Allan’s cheesemaking or her workshops, visit ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Salad days Fresh and bright insalate show off spring vegetables in style.


hen it comes to Italian food, we’re more likely to think of pizza and pasta than salad. But insalate are an essential part of Italian cuisine, be it panzanella, Caprese or the classic rocket and parmesan combo. Spring vegetables are ideal raw – slice them thinly, toss them in a flavourful dressing and leave them for a few minutes to soften a little. Add heft with legumes or slivers of raw fish. Dandelion leaves, an Italian favourite for their pleasantly bitter flavour, are in season now, and can be bought at farmers’ markets and specialist grocers; wild rocket makes a good substitute. As for dressings, the simpler the better. Extra-virgin olive oil (the best you can afford) is non-negotiable, while citrus juices add perfect acidity. Salad days are here.



Kingfish crudo with white beans, fennel and blood-orange dressing SERVES 4 AS A LIGHT MEAL // PREP TIME 15 MINS

Using canned white beans makes this dish super-quick to whip up, but if you have the time to soak dried white beans a day ahead by all means do so. If the beetroot have any small, tender leaves, toss them in the salad, too, and give the fish a quick toss in the pan or sear it on the grill if you’d oprefer to eat it cooked.

2 blood oranges, peeled 800 gm canned white beans, drained and rinsed 200 gm sashimi-grade kingfish, thinly sliced 2 baby fennel bulbs, shaved on a mandolin and crisped in iced water, fronds reserved ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste 1 garlic clove, finely grated 70 ml extra-virgin olive oil 2 beetroot, trimmed, peeled and cut into julienne, small leaves reserved

1 Segment the blood oranges over a bowl to catch the juices. Remove the segments from the membrane and transfer them to a separate bowl. Add beans, kingfish, drained fennel and onion, season to taste, toss to combine and transfer to a serving platter. 2 Add lemon juice and garlic to the orange juice and stand to soften (4-5 minutes), then whisk in the oil and season to taste. Drizzle dressing over salad, toss to combine and serve scattered with beetroot, beetroot leaves and fennel fronds.

Eating clean

Insalata primavera SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS

Use any combination of spring vegetables in this salad, but aim for a contrast of flavours and textures. New-season broad beans are generally small and tender, meaning they can be served raw. If yours are on the large side, blanch and refresh them before peeling.

No broad beans? Peas at their peak are even better.

3 bunches asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthways on a mandoline 3 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandoline 300 gm small podded broad beans (about 600gm unpodded), shelled 2 spring onions, thinly sliced 1½ cups (loosely packed) young dandelion leaves ¾ cup mint MINT DRESSING


100 ml extra-virgin olive oil ⅓ cup finely chopped mint Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Kingfish crudo & insalata primavera White plate (crudo) and shallow bowl (insalata primavera) both from Città. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.

1 For mint dressing, mix ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. 2 Combine asparagus, zucchini, broad beans and spring onion in a large bowl, drizzle with mint dressing to taste and toss lightly to combine. Scatter with dandelion and mint, drizzle with extra dressing and serve. ●

Discover the Croser story at

Anatomy of a dish


Banging the drum for a party dish from the south that redefines richness.



ho says nothern Italy gets all the fun? While the south is typically more associated with rustic dishes, there are plenty of classics that are easily as rich and complex as anything north of the mezzogiorno. When Naples was ruled by a Spanish branch of the French Bourbons, writes Claudia Roden, the cooks who came with them put pasta into moulds for a more elegant presentation. That tradition lives on in the timballo, a baked “drum” of pastry and/or pasta stuffed with riches served for feasting occasions.

THE MEAT Timballi are unashamedly rich dishes, presented, per The Silver Spoon, “at princely weddings and royal dinners.” Squab is one classic filling, but so too are tiny meatballs, salami, prosciutto, chicken giblets and livers.

THE BINDING Neapolitan ragù is a common base, but so too is béchamel sauce. Béchamel? In the south of Italy? “You think only the Bolognese know how to make egg pasta with white sauce?” huffs a Neapolitan quoted in Naples at Table.

“… the appearance of those monumental dishes of macaroni was worthy of the quivers of admiration they evoked. The burnished gold of the crusts, the fragrance of sugar and cinnamon they exuded, were but preludes to the delights released from the interior when the knife broke the crust.” – The Leopard, Giuseppe di Lampedusa

Find one

THE TREATS Just in case all that meat didn’t make it abundantly clear that this dish is a party for your mouth, many cooks will gild the lily with boiled quail’s eggs, peas, porcini mushrooms, and a variety of cheeses. Nutmeg is a common addition, and saffron is not unknown.

PASTA OR PASTRY? The pie tin or mould that the timballo is baked in can be lined with breadcrumbs, pastry, fresh pasta or, in the timballo di maccheroni alla Napoletana we’ve made here, with al dente dried pasta. It’s not unusual to see a carb-fest of pasta encased in a layer of pastry. Other versions use slices of eggplant.

The timballo is a rare thing in Australian restaurants. There’s no better local example than the version served as a special by Neapolitan-born chef Armando Percuoco at Buon Ricordo in Sydney. G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


The explainer

Colatura di alici

WHAT IS IT? Colatura di alici is a deeply savoury Italian fish sauce; it derives from a sauce called garum that was popular in ancient Rome. It’s produced in Campania from fermented local anchovies caught off the Amalfi Coast, notably at a fishing village called Cetara. The amber liquid is sold in small bottles, an indication of its potency. Colatura di alici is considered a delicacy and priced as such. Thankfully a little goes a long way. WHY DO WE CARE? This sauce adds complexity and depth to many dishes. It’s a natural addition to many a seafood dish, but also excellent for seasoning a simple grilled steak, say, or in a quick pasta dish like the one here. The secret is to add it at the end of cooking to preserve its punch. WHERE CAN I GET IT? Italian delicatessens and specialist food shops such as Simon Johnson ( are your best bet for this essential Italian ingredient. 46


Spaghettini con colatura di alici SERVES 4 Cook 400gm dried spaghettini in a saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (5-6 minutes). Drain and return to the pan with 2 tbsp of the cooking water. Meanwhile, heat 60ml extra-virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, the finely grated rind of ½ lemon and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes and stir until fragrant (20-30 seconds). Add spaghetti and cooking water, and toss over heat to coat well. Season generously to taste with freshly ground black pepper, then add ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 tbsp colatura di alici and the juice of ½ lemon, and toss to combine. Check seasoning and serve hot topped with toasted coarse sourdough breadcrumbs. ●


This potent Italian flavour enhancer will be your new secret kitchen weapon.

Bittersweet victory Bitter leaves are not hard to swallow after all, writes PAULETTE WHITNEY.


grew them first for their beauty. Treviso’s spearshaped, deep-red leaves, and bold, white veins demand admiration, and peeling away the lettuce-like outer leaves of Castelfranco to reveal a heart of white splashed with blood-red stains is more magnificent than unwrapping any gift. Grumolo radicchio, nicknamed gnome cabbage by my daughters (it looks for all the world like a cabbage hit with a shrink ray), proved its worth when I used some in table decorations for a visiting chef’s dinner, where my friend began eating the arrangements while waiting for her meal. Then I grew them for their ease. The long, green leaves of spadona chicory resisted pests and frosts to provide us with greens through a hard winter when many other plants succumbed. Then I grew them for the challenge. Supplying chefs is an endless pursuit of novelty. I’d read about puntarelle, its special slicing apparatus and the unique salad it’s used in, and had to master it, but getting it to produce hearts has, so far, proved impossible. It only goads me into greater effort, seeking the satisfaction 48


of some day laying the perfect puntarelle on a chef’s pass. Finally (and perhaps I have this rather topsy-turvy), I grew them for the flavour. It took a home-killed pig and a fire to get me addicted to bitter leaves. At first taste – if they’re not properly grown or prepared – bitter plants may seem quite awful. Bitter compounds are produced by plants precisely to protect them from being eaten, but that flavour, in many cases, means they’re good for us. Bitter plants stimulate the production of bile, making it easier for our guts to deal with rich foods such as like fatty meats. Which is how I found my gateway chicory. It was the spring of the spadona, the long-leafed, green variety that survived a harsh winter. I’d picked a lot for market and only sold a couple of bunches – one to an elderly Italian man who shouted “Cicoria!” at me before throwing a dollar on my table and making off with a bunch. It was also the spring of pork. We’d killed some pigs and I’d inexpertly separated the “neck” muscles (some say that pigs don’t technically have necks), the larger to cure into coppa, and the smaller pluma for quick dinners on nights

“I can’t imagine anyone feeling for an iceberg lettuce what I feel as I cut into a fat palla rossa radicchio.”

such as these, when we were exhausted from a long market day. Lighting a fire, we grilled our piece of pluma draped with slices of lardo, took it from the pan and wilted the shredded spadona in the meat juices before popping the pluma on top and placing it all by the fire to rest. The combination of fat, salt and smoke on the chicory was a revelation to me. Without the contrast of the sweet, fat-laced meat, the bitterness can be confronting, but in this context it’s magical, creating balance with the richness to leave you feeling satiated rather than overfed. Once through that magical gateway, my addiction reached fever pitch, where it remains today. It makes me question why the flavour we pursue every day in coffee or beer can be seen as challenging to many palates when it’s in vegetable, or even amaro form. Many a disastrous night ensued for me when, in my youth, I’d buy my friends a round of Campari, which they’d refuse to drink and – waste not – I’d be compelled to finish. Now I steep bitter artichoke or olive leaves in syrups of elderberry or rhubarb to have on hand for more responsible after-dinner drinks, and have even been known to drink artichoke-leaf tea after overindulging at dinner time, its bold, unimpeded bitterness both soothing and cleansing. It’s seemingly satisfying to eat sweet, savoury, easy food, but I can’t imagine anyone feeling for an iceberg lettuce what I feel as I cut into a fat palla rossa radicchio or being quite as smug after dinner as I am when I pour pet-nat into a Spritz based on my own amaro infused with bittersweet herbs from my garden. Learning to prepare, or acquiring a taste for something that challenges you? That can inspire real passion. ●




2 017

E VENT 1 0

melbourne 1 1 OC TO B ER

shannon bennett Take it homestyle Bennet-style with salted pineapple and brown sugar tart, and beef shin cooked in aromatic spicy broth.

EVENT 10 DETAILS C H E F  Shannon Bennett TO P I C  Home-Cook Favourites LO C AT I O N  Harvey Norman Chadstone, 699 Warrigal Rd, Chadstone, Vic


DAT E & T I M E  7pm, Wednesday 11 October T I C K E T S  $60 each TO B O O K  gourmetinstitute.


There’s more to the Shannon Bennett story than fine-dining Vue de Monde-style. For one thing he’s a father of six (six!) kids, so while we love his work with the tweezers and foraged micro-greens, we also place plenty of faith in his ability to bring great food to the table at home with minimum fuss and maximum impact when the situation calls for it. In this case, that means a punchy prawn omelette, a gutsy braise of wagyu beef shin cooked in an aromatic broth and a showstopping pineapple and brown sugar tart. Shannon is a favourite of Gourmet Institute regulars, so you’ll want to get in quick for this one.

TO B O O K YO U R T I C K E T S : G O U R M E T I N S T I T U T E . P L E E Z PAY. CO M F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : H A R V E Y N O R M A N . C O M . AU/G O U R M E T- I N S T I T U T E O R C A L L K A R L A K E M P S O N (0 2 ) 9 2 8 2 8 3 8 6 .

Miele Speed Oven, $5,599 (H6800BM). Miele AirClean Oven with Food Probe, $5899 (H6660BP). Miele Gourmet Warming Drawer, $1,999 (ESW6229).

Electrolux 900mm Maxisense Induction Cooktop, $3299 (EHI938BA). Electrolux 900mm Stainless steel Pyrolytic Oven, $3,999 (EVEP916SB).

TO B O O K YO U R T I C K E T S : G O U R M E T I N S T I T U T E . P L E E Z PAY. C O M F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N : H A R V E Y N O R M A N . C O M . AU/G O U R M E T- I N S T I T U T E O R C A L L K A R L A K E M P S O N (0 2 ) 9 2 8 2 8 3 8 6 .

james viles


2 017

The likes of peas, feta and purslane, and chicken with macadamia cream and sprouted grains show you can indeed win friends with salad.

E VENT 1 1

sydney 1 8 OC TO B ER

EVENT 11 DETAILS CHEF James Viles TO P I C Super Salads LO C AT I O N Harvey Norman @ Domayne, 84 O’Riordan St, Alexandria, NSW

DAT E & T I M E Pre-Event 6:15, Event 7pm, Wednesday 18 October TICKETS $60 each TO B O O K gourmetinstitute.




He might have one of the most impressively kitted-out kitchens in the country at Biota, but nature is James Viles’ muse. And whether it’s rambling through the fields and forest of the lush Southern Highlands of New South Wales, or simply rolling up his sleeves and doing his bit in the plots around his Bowral fine-diner, he’s not short of inspiration. Supercharged salads are the theme of his session – James shows us how a few simple twists and paying attention to the basics can take this humble mainstay of the table from mere side dish to centre stage. Get ready to turn over a new leaf.

Prices valid for Sydney metropolitan area. Prices can vary between states due to additional freight costs. See in store for full range. Harvey Norman® stores are operated by independent franchisees. Offer ends 31 October 2017.

Opposite: the Aperol Spritz at Sydney’s 10 William St sticks to the classic formula. 54







drank my first Spritz in a piazza in Venice one golden afternoon in the early 2000s. It was a revelation. This sparkling, incandescent drink seemed the perfect thing for that lazy, liminal hour between work and play. It tasted fantastic with the selection of salty, savoury snacks on the table in front of me. It felt like people had been drinking this glorious concoction in piazzas in Venice for centuries. It felt timelessly Italian. Turns out that the version of the Spritz I was drinking – a blend of sparkling prosecco, bittersweet liqueur and fizzy water, served over ice in a wine glass with a slice of orange and a green olive – was a relatively recent arrival on the Italian drinking scene, albeit one with a long and fascinating prehistory. As Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau reveal in their 2016 book, Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, the practice of pouring a dash of sparkling soda water into still white wine to spritz it up probably began in the early years of the 20th century. When American cocktail culture arrived in the 1920s and ’30s, bartenders across Italy’s north started adding a dash of bitter liqueur such as red Campari (to make what we now call the Bicicletta) or the then newly invented orange Aperol. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that bartenders in the tranquil beach resorts in Venice decided to use bubbly prosecco rather than still white wine as the base of the Spritz, and increase the bitter liqueur content. It’s this recipe that we’ve come to recognise as the “classic”, and we’ve become familiar with it in a relatively short space of time. When I tasted my first Spritz in Venice, it wasn’t a common sight in bars outside Italy; now you’ll find people drinking Spritzes everywhere. Wine giant Jacobs Creek has even jumped on the bandwagon, launching pre-mixed bottles of Prosecco Spritz earlier this year.


A spirit of innovation is making for intriguing iterations of the effervescent Spritz, writes MAX ALLEN.

To p d r o p s o f t h e m o n t h

Putting on the Spritz

Much of the modern popularity of the Spritz is thanks to a concerted marketing campaign by the makers of Aperol, Gruppo Campari, the huge global drinks company that has owned the Aperol brand since 2003. Indeed, thanks to this marketing push, many people both in Italy and outside now assume that ordering a Spritz automatically means you’ll get an Aperol-flavoured sparkling drink. Despite this, Baiocchi and Pariseau report that there are still bartenders across Italy’s north who are maintaining fiercely regional Spritz traditions – and refusing to buy into the Aperol groupthink – by using other liqueurs: Cynar or the local red Select bitter liqueur in Padua; elderflower cordial and mint in Alto Adige; Campari, sweet vermouth and prosecco to make a Negroni Sbagliato – a Negroni-Spritz hybrid – in Milan. You can find a similar spirit of diversity and innovation in bars and restaurants across Australia. Some, such as Sydney’s 10 William St, stick proudly to the classic formula (albeit without the soda water) and do it bloody well. Others, like Embla in Melbourne, swap out the Aperol for more obscure liqueurs such as Rondo, an artisan organic aperitivo from Sud Tirol in northern Italy. Some take the drink on a journey elsewhere, as with the Mirto Spritz at Sydney’s Banksii: a combination of Sardinian myrtle liqueur, prosecco and lemon zest. And some pay tribute to the drink’s colourful northern Italian past by using more than one of that region’s liqueurs. The Have It All Spritz, from The Everleigh bar in Melbourne, incorporates Champagne, Aperol, Cocchi Americano and Cocchi

2013 Campbells The Barkly Durif, Rutherglen, $54 Yes, the durif grape can produce big reds, but the best examples, like this, from one of the region’s most seasoned durif makers, combine power with cellarworthy poise and elegance.

2016 Chatto Isle Pinot Noir, Tasmania, $75 Brilliant pinot, in every sense of the word: gorgeous, bright crimson colour, full of snappy, juicy red berries, but with enough brooding sinewy tannin to keep it alive in the cellar.


“Many people both in Italy and beyond assume that ordering a Spritz means you’ll get an Aperol-flavoured sparkling drink.”

2017 Vigna Cantina Rosato di Sangiovese, Eden Valley, $25 Don’t be fooled by the delicate hue. This is pink wine with plenty of savoury flavour and terrific tangy, mouth-tingling freshness. It pairs wonderfully well with char-grilled fish.

2010 Tedeschi Capitel Monte Olmi, Amarone della Vapolicella, $217 One of the best examples of amarone – vino di meditazione – I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted lots): stunningly rich, pure black cherries, wrapped in layers of chewy tannin. Imported by

2017 Margan Albarino, Hunter Valley, $30 Grown miles from the sea, but exactly the kind of white you want when there’s seafood on the table. Crisp and tangy and refreshing, it has lovely succulent melon fruit flavours that linger on the palate.

2011 Tim Adams Reserve Riesling, Clare Valley, $29 This is an extremely reasonable price to pay for a classic Clare riesling with five years’ bottle age. Still fresh and lime-juicy, but beginning to fill out with toasty, savoury richness.











Rosa – and is garnished with both orange and lemon. And others see the Spritz as more of a concept than a recipe. This Must be the Place in Sydney’s Oxford Street, for instance, is billed as a Spritz bar and always has a few variations on offer – but the Gloss Spritz, for example, with its strawberry, Ketel One Citroen, watermelon riesling and rosewater, is not something you’d be likely to encounter in Italy. Ever since my first Spritz encounter in Venice (it was a Campari Spritz, by the way), I’ve experimented with various ingredients and combinations. I’ve found – as have many others – that the 3-2-1 rule is a good guide to mixing a perfect version of the drink: three parts sparkling wine, two parts bitter liqueur, one part soda water. Some people advocate using a rocks glass, some a large-bowled wine glass. I like to go halfway with a stemless wine glass that’s roomy enough for plenty of ice and a citrus slice. And I know the Spritz is a classic Italian aperitivo, but I find myself mixing an all-Aussie version on warm, golden Australian afternoons, using a good prosecco from Dal Zotto in Victoria’s King Valley, the brilliantly dark, bitter Red Økar riberry-based liqueur made in the Adelaide Hills, Capi soda water, a slice of Mildura-grown blood orange, and a home-cured green olive from my backyard. ●

Leclerc Briant Brut Réserve, Épernay, $90 The Champagnes of Leclerc Briant, now available in Australia, deserve to be widely known. I love the fresh fruit and finesse in this non-vintage; the Brut Rosé and 2007 Millésime are also superb. Imported by G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Read, cook, eat. Taste the world.

M e l b o u r n e r e v i ew

Call to the bar

Laneway resident Arlechin heralds a new era of sophistication in late-night bar culture, writes MICHAEL HARDEN.



elbourne’s bar culture had its Big Bang moment 23 years ago in a CBD laneway site renovated by then-fledgling architecture group Six Degrees. That game-changing bar, Meyers Place, closed recently and to prove, perhaps, that nature abhors a vacuum, a new bar designed by Six Degrees has just opened in a nearby laneway. And, yes, it’s also something of a game-changer. Arlechin shows how far Melbourne’s laneway bars have evolved in two decades. For starters, it’s an irony-free zone. A 40-seater with herringbone parquet timber floors, barrel-vaulted cork ceiling, backlit wine cellar, marble-topped bar, fully equipped kitchen and a young, well-credentialled team, it’s as far as you can get from the punk DIY aesthetic of the early scene. Second, Arlechin comes from the Grossi family, owners of Grossi Florentino, the landmark restaurant that backs onto the same laneway. The bloodline makes the reasoning behind the location (and the money available for the gorgeous fit-out) easier to trace, and it also guarantees that the food is as important here as the booze. The dishes on Arlechin’s menu could still be categorised as

bar snacks (they’re priced that way) but describing a dish like Midnight Spaghetti as a mere snack verges on criminal understatement. Midnight Spaghetti exemplifies Italian food at its best: maximum flavour with minimal ingredients. It’s a snack-sized serve, sure, but the tight tangle of bang-on al dente spaghetti delivers a fat whack of flavour. It’s tossed with a made-toorder sauce of chopped canned tomatoes, chilli, oregano, plump and assertive capers, and a sublime generous dash of colatura di alici, the fish sauce from the Amalfi Coast. That dish alone will get you back through the door, especially

Clockwise from top: Midnight Spaghetti; Arlechin; (from left) chef Fabrizio Amenta, Guy Grossi and manager Adam Roderick.

when you know the bar is open until three in the morning. True to its name, the dish’s siren song in the small hours is irresistible. The singing doesn’t stop there. There’s risoni, cooked risottofashion, perfumed with saffron, studded with bone marrow and finished with pangrattato. Or an Italian take on the Sloppy Joe, the buttermilk bun stuffed with baccalà mantecato and buttered leeks. Or cos, quickly grilled and served with smoky whipped ricotta and topped with bottarga and a crumbed and fried egg yolk waiting to be stabbed. Or surf clams, classic in wine, garlic and ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Melbourne review


The bar at Arlechin. Left: Sloppy Joe with baccalà mantecato and leek. Below: pistachio ice-cream.

PASTA PER FAVORE parsley cooking juices. There are oysters, too, and smoked-eel parfait capped with a dark amber Marsala jelly. Then there are the more solid dishes, seemingly targeted at diners who might’ve enjoyed a few cordials out on the town beforehand. Chopped, crumbed and fried prawn meat on skewers and ox tongue sandwiched in “bread” made from risotto before being crumbed and fried both lose something in translation if you’re sober. But, pie-eyed or not, the ridiculously good Bolognese jaffle is everything you could hope and pray those two words would deliver. Sweet stuff, often neglected in the rush to fat and salt, delivers, too, in the form of adorable, devourable little pistachio or raspberry ice-creams on sticks, and a classic jelly slice, all layers of raspberry jelly, sponge cake and cream. Do not forgo the cocktails. Arlechin is a bar, after all. As with its snack menu, there’s a discernible but not overt Italian influence at play. The Half Way brings mezcal, Cynar, orange bitters and a grapefruit twist together over ice, while the Jungle Bird does greatly refreshing things with rum, Campari, pineapple juice and lime. There’s apt glassware, and subtle and necessary garnishing but then flimsy paper napkins masquerading as coasters crash the party. Sad. For wine lovers, the full weight of the Grossi Florentino cellar is 58


at your fingertips (more or less literally – Arlechin doubles as the wine storage facility for the Grossi restaurants), but there’s also a site-specific list that’s slightly more off-piste than you’d find in the marquee mothership. Playing to its tribe, it’s easier on the wallet, too. Drawing mostly from Italy, France and Australia, the list here includes inky Chalmers Project aglianico from Heathcote in Victoria, golden, politely funky 2011 Montenidoli Vernaccia di San Gimignano from Tuscany and the chardonnay-savagnin blend Côtes du Jura “Les Belemnites” Domaine Buronfosse. There’s no radical boat-rocking, but still plenty to keep you awake. Arlechin adds another layer to late-night Melbourne that immediately feels essential. It’s a place that springs from the understanding that quality food and booze, a civilised, handsome environment and sharp service needn’t stop at midnight. And while it may appear light years from that original bar in Meyers Place, it has landed with a similar sense of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. ●

Osteria la Passione is now Pasta Adagio (above), owner-chef Carmine Constantini’s ode to traditional pasta and antipasti that embraces the organic and the house-made (the cured meats are a must). The bamboo-floored, timber-walled shopfront is the ideal backdrop to a menu of well-executed classics – a brilliant Modena ragù with tagliatelle, cavatelli with braised goat, bollito misto, tiramisù – and an impressive Italian-proud wine list. 486 Bridge Rd, Richmond, (03) 9428 2558



Arlechin Mornane Pl, Melbourne, Vic, Licensed Cards AE DC MC V EFT Open Daily 5pm-3am Prices $4.50-$16 Vegetarian One dish Noise Civilised Wheelchair access No Minus Temptation until three in the morning, seven days Plus Melbourne’s bar scene evolves

Former River Cafe chef Glenn Laurie is keeping Heidelberg locals happy with his skilful Italian cooking at Little Black Pig & Sons. The pasta dishes alone – taglierini with butter, truffles and egg yolk, and wild hare pappardelle – are enough to draw a crowd but meat (slow-roasted goat with lemon and anchovies), antipasti (buffalo mozzarella with broad beans, mint and pecorino) and a short, all-Italian wine list also make the trip worthwhile. 48 Burgundy St, Heidelberg, (03) 9459 9114

REBIRTH IN BRUNSWICK Sporting retro-Euro café-bar duds – Venetian blinds, hand-crafted timber bar – Amarillo has a compact menu of dishes that starts at oysters, anchovy toasts and charcuterie, and works its way to bowls of mussels, and ricotta gnocchi with peas and lemon zest. Light and serene by day, dimly lit and lively by night, Amarillo is proof that Brunswick Street is rediscovering its mojo. 149 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, (03) 9415 9367

Sydney review


Keeping it real


Neil Perry’s Rosetta plays Italian straight, and it’s right on the money, writes PAT NOURSE.

The Rosetta dining room. Above: veal tonnato. Above right: head chef Richard Purdue and Neil Perry.

ere’s a thing: just about every restaurant in Australia does vitello tonnato wrong. Simply slices of veal topped with a tuna mayonnaise? Do not pass Go, do not collect 200 lire. Tonnato doesn’t mean “tuna” – that’s “tonno” – it means tuna-like. It’s a reference to the preserved-tuna texture the poached veal is supposed to have once it’s spent a day or two luxuriating in the sauce. It’s not pretty, which is probably why most chefs think they’re doing you a favour by reinventing it, but in doing so they’re robbing you of the pleasures of its true feel and flavour. But I’ve just found someone who gets it right. Who says “contemporary mores be damned” and serves the veal in all its gloopy, faintly fishy splendour, layered with slivers of lemon and a healthy scattering of capers. A thing of joy. Which tiny backstreet osteria is flying the flag for Piemontese classics? Which nonna is keeping it real? That intimate, 200-seat osteria is called Rosetta, set in the quiet village of Wynyard, and the nonna in question goes by the name of Neil Perry. Straight Italian food done well in a handsome setting is hard to find in Sydney. It’s surprising, really, when you consider that it’s pretty much all half the city wants to eat when it goes out for lunch or dinner. Alessandro Pavoni, Giovanni Pilu and Federico Zanellato, the top-rated Italianborn chefs in the city, remix their traditions with smoke, coconut and kombu. It’s not just the new guard, either. Buon Ricordo, that bastion of cucina vera, scatters raw kingfish with crystals made of dehydrated Campari, and there’s puffed brown rice on the spatchcock at Lucio’s. It’s tasty stuff, to be sure. But what if you don’t feel like “textures of mushroom” or “miso-strone”? What if you don’t want macadamia nuts in your brodo?

Perry has the answer. Having been road-tested thoroughly in Melbourne, Rosetta has landed in Sydney as an instant hit. The business crowd, so in thrall to Rockpool Bar & Grill, pack it out, devouring cacciatora-style duck, chicken cooked under a brick, and a polished eggplant parm at lunch, clinking Spritzes on the terrace over plates of burrata with grilled treviso, then stepping back inside to split a nice big veal cotoletta on the bone and punch another bottle of Barbaresco for dinner. This is food about satisfaction rather than surprises. Poached artichokes are scattered with almonds, olives and mercifully little else. Baby snapper is grilled whole, coming to the table beautifully juicy and dressed with oregano-fragrant salmoriglio, the salsa Sicilians love to pair with seafood. Pasta, made in-house, is generally impressive, whether it’s twists of strozzapreti swimming in a pungent, powerfully salty sauce of pecorino and pepper, butter-bathed agnolotti plump with roast pheasant, veal and pork, or curls of garganelli and squid in a sauce vibrant with bottarga and tomato. It’s easy to spend money at Rosetta. Those pasta dishes mostly hover around the $30 mark for ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Sydney review


Roast pheasant, veal and pork agnolotti del plin. Below right: torta di Verona.

what the waiters describe as an entrée portion. The veal cutlet, served with a cheek of lemon, a tuft of rocket and a smile is $49. The wine list offers plenty of choice in the $100 a bottle and up department, and I’ve been charged $21 for a glass of Lucido catarratto, an eminently drinkable and versatile white from Sicilian producer Marco De Bartoli. It retails for $35 a bottle. But it’s mostly money well spent. The place looks a million dollars – a modern, boisterous, glamorous beast, glinting with gold highlights, marble and timber, staggered over three levels thrown open to plenty of glass. There’s roughly 36,000 staff on the floor and the Rockpool veterans among them actually know what they’re doing. Jade Temple, Perry’s first restaurant opening following his move into the hedge fund-backed Rockpool Dining Group, was fairly wobbly off the blocks, both in terms of service and food, but Rosetta has hit the ground running. And some of the best things on the menu are the least expensive. The trippa alla Romana surrenders to the fork, a little more tomatoacidic than would be ideal, but nicely framed by the taste of pecorino and mint. It’s $19. Pizzette may seem a bit naff and off-brand – like the company is doing R&D on a Rosetta-lite spin-off (Rosetta-ette? Nonna Neil’s?). But the toppings are smart: 60


CHINA SYNDROME Everything’s coming up Sichuan, but could Yunnanese be the next big Chinatown thing? One promising indicator is the appearance of Guixin Yunnan Style Cuisine, a hole-in-thewall at Eating World offering the flavour-packed likes of stir-fried wheat and pork, spicy bean-curd salad, and Dai-style hot and sour agaric salad, plus Yunnan-style chips and spicy wings. Don’t miss the rice noodles with braised pork, pickles and roasted peanuts (pictured). Shop 212, Eating World 25-59 Dixon St, Haymarket, 0406 389 390

a bianca-style with broad beans, say, or another done with smoked garlic sausage from master butcher Pino Tomini Foresti. Sink your teeth into the Inferno, a spicy eight-incher with chilli salumi, a puffy crust and rounds of pickled yellow pepper scattered across it, and your scepticism evaporates. And it’s $12. If you’re watching your purse, you could have the $5 cannolo for dessert – a small, crisp shell of chocolate pastry piped with mascarpone mousse. But that would mean forgoing the torta di Verona, the thinking person’s tiramisù, served here as a creamy wodge of pandoro soaked in amaretto and Marsala with blueberry compote. Barely weeks old, Rosetta already feels like a fixture of the Sydney dining scene – in the best of ways. The size of its menu invites exploration, but its plating is confident enough in its simplicity that it never wants for comfort. The corporate heart of the city might be the last place you’d expect to find a touch of soul, but Rosetta gets it right. ●


Rosetta 117 Harrington Street, Sydney, (02) 8099 7089, rosettarestaurant. Licensed Cards AE DC MC V EFT Open Daily noon-3pm. Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-11pm, Sun 6pm-10pm. Prices entrées $11-$35, main courses $19-$49, desserts $19-$21 Vegetarian Seven entrées, two pasta, one main course Noise Noisy Wheelchair access Yes Minus Wine mark-ups Plus Unfussy, upmarket Italian

FITTING IN The name might suggest rebellion but the vibe at Redfern newcomer Misfits leans more classically-trainedexecutive-chef-writes-menu-forlarge-hotel-group than New Jersey punk rock. And indeed chef James Privett comes to the group-chef gig at the W Short Hotel Group with a pedigree that includes The Cut, Bistro CBD and Bistro Moncur. Expect croquettes and terrines, oysters and mignonette, $19 burgers, steak frites with anchovy butter. 106 George St, Redfern, (02) 9318 1497 GO WEST It’s been a while between ambitious restaurant projects in Parramatta. Husk & Vine adjusts the record favourably. Stephen Seckold, latterly seen at Salaryman and Flying Fish, consults on a menu that runs from bowls of biodynamic brown rice with fried eggs, mushrooms, chilli and greens at breakfast through lamb ragù pappardelle at lunch to striploin with charred sugarloaf cabbage at dinner. Shop 7, 45 Macquarie St, Parramatta, (02) 7803 2323

Melbourne’s Vue de Monde. Right, from top: a selection from Nespresso’s coffee and dessert buffet; Port Phillip Bay scallops with salted desert lime; chefs David Moyle, formerly of Franklin, Alberto Fava of Tipo 00, and Martin Benn of Sepia.


Signs of the times Leading chefs and restaurateurs joined Gourmet Traveller to talk industry challenges, writes MICHAEL HARDEN.



hirty top chefs and restaurateurs gathered at Melbourne’s Vue de Monde recently for the latest Gourmet Traveller Food Forum, a discussion of the key issues facing the hospitality scene in Australia. Over lunch created by Vue de Monde executive chef Justin James, culinary powerbrokers and key creatives discussed how the business is changing and what innovations are necessary right now for a restaurant to survive in a crowded and sometimes cut-throat market. After a meal that included Port Phillip Bay scallops with salted desert lime, duck roasted with leatherwood honey served with truffles and celeriac, and a coffee and dessert buffet that tipped the hat to the forum’s presenting partner, Nespresso, GT managing editor Pat Nourse led the discussion, assuring everyone that “this isn’t a safe space – there are no holds barred”. It was quickly established that it’s not the quality of food in Australia that’s a challenge, but how to make businesses viable amid difficulties such as staffing. Guillaume Brahimi of Bistro Guillaume cited the overwhelmingly positive response by visiting media and industry figures during this year’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards – but what’s needed, he says, is “more people to come”.

“Melbourne restaurants do really well on the weekends, but early in the week it’s very quiet; to be a truly successful business we need to be full every night,” he said. So how to encourage people to come out early in the week or more often? Shaun Quade has been trialling the Tock booking system (which sells meals in the same way as theatre tickets) at Lûmé, and suggested charging less for dinner on evenings early in the week or more at peak times. Alla Wolf-Tasker from Lake House in regional Victoria said becoming part of the community through charity work and by using local producers has been integral to her restaurant’s success, a point seconded by fellow regional chef Matt Stone from the Yarra Valley’s Oakridge. Mike McEnearney of Sydney restaurant No 1 Bent Street said there should be greater transparency in pricing – including name-checking suppliers – so customers can more readily see where their dollars are going, while Peter Gunn of Ides said he opened his restaurant “starting with the idea of making it viable and then building the menu and the style around that” rather than “starting with a fixed idea”. One of the components Gunn had to factor in was that people no longer want to work the punishing hours that have been traditional in restaurant kitchens. Aaron

Turner of Geelong’s Igni agreed, saying that “we talk a lot about the sustainability of our produce, but we also have to think about the sustainability of our staff”. Guy Grossi of Grossi Florentino said the question of vocational training needs to be addressed. “We need a clearer career path for those leaving secondary school so the skills shortage we’re experiencing now doesn’t become chronic in 10 years’ time.” Vue de Monde’s Shannon Bennett said the regulatory system of Work Choices makes it almost impossible for the industry to attract young chefs wanting to start their own business, though Chris Lucas (Kisumé, Chin Chin) says you have to go in with “structural impediments in mind”. “And I think we’re getting pretty good at it,” he added. Distress over the recent death of chef Jeremy Strode was palpable in a room full of his friends and colleagues; questions of health and hospitality work and achieving a balance in the lives of chefs and their staff were discussed at length. Attica’s Ben Shewry, for one, said it’s been “a year of self-reflection” for him, and if the thoughtful and passionate responses in the room are any indication, it’s been the same for everyone. It was encouraging to hear how much attendees care about the industry and those who work in it. ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Eat out



BAKER Baker D Chirico Undulating joinery makes this one of the ’hood’s most beautiful shops, but there’s beauty, too, in Daniel Chirico’s range of sourdough bread (from wholemeal to fruit loaf), custard-filled bomboloni and queue-attracting seasonal fare such as panettone. 178 Faraday St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9349 3445,

The spiritual home of Melbourne’s Italian community is still one of the best places in the country to shop for food and drink coffee like an Italian, writes MICHAEL HARDEN.

BUTCHER Donati’s Fine Meats The strains of Italian opera, owner Leo Donati’s bracingly frank manner and some of the finest rabbit, veal, pork and pork products in Melbourne make this butcher shop, here since the 1960s, a Carlton landmark. 402 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 4948

COFFEE Brunetti There are other artisanal coffee makers in Carlton (Faraday Street’s Market Lane Coffee, for example), but nothing beats the marble-and-brass Roman style of Brunetti. The coffee’s solid – kind of like you’d find in Italy – the experience unforgettable. 380 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 2801,


Two forthcoming Carlton ventures are quickening pulses: the reopening later this year of the refurbished and expanded King & Godfree deli and wine store, and a new Sicilian 100-seater called Mr Pietro by Kaprica’s Pietro Barbagallo. 62


PIZZA Kaprica Pietro Barbagallo makes Sicilian-style pizza with care and skill in this rustic former garage. There’s pasta, too, and Americanos, but the pizze are non-negotiable, from simple Margheritas to fancier pies such as salmone with mascarpone and roe. 19 Lincoln Sq, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 1138 ●


DELI DOC Delicatessen Any business with a glass-walled, climate-controlled room for keeping its prosciutto and other salumi in tip-top condition and that treats its equally impressive array of cheese – from aged parmesan to fresh mozzarella – with similar care is a friend of ours. 330 Lygon St, Carlton, (03) 9347 8482,

Pidapipò Owner and gelato-maker Lisa Valmorbida went to Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna and returned with a purist approach – nothing frozen, whole milk and only fresh fruit for flavouring. The result is gorgeously textured gelato scooped from lidded pozzetti. The pistachio is remarkable and there’s also a Nutella fountain. Generous servings, too. 299 Lygon St, Carlton, Vic, (03) 9347 4596,


USM offers timeless, classic design with a contemporary edge. I created a kitchen island bench configuration with practical deep drawers and storage shelves on both sides, lending energy, drama and contrast to a period-style kitchen. The addition of a reconstituted marble top allows the island to be used as a work and preparation surface. JUSTI N E H UGH-JONES Justine Hugh-Jones Design


Custom USM island bench in Steel Blue from ECC Lighting + Furniture, designed by Justine Hugh-Jones. ‘Neolith’ stone benchtop from CDK Stone. Bleached oak dresser from Parterre. Bowls and dinnerware from The Country Trader and Studio Enti. Cookbooks and olive jars from Simon Johnson. Artwork by Felix Forest from Becker Minty. Side table, lamp and stools from The Country Trader. Linen from Hale Mercantile Co. Pots and pans from Eco Outdoor. Herb cutter and wooden bowl from 1803. Vases and plates from The Country Trader. Flowers by Mr Cook. Wall painted in Porter’s Paints ‘Polo’. Flooring from Tongue n Groove.

Like Justine Hugh-Jones, who created this functional and aesthetic kitchen bench, design your own piece of furniture. Make It Yours by using the online configurator. Available at









Sicilian snapper with zucchini, mint and pistachio nuts



Roast chicken thighs with sourdough panzanella SERVES 4 Use whatever stale sourdough you have on hand for the panzanella – dark rye, for instance, will add extra complexity to this simple Tuscan tomato and bread salad.

80 2 1½ 3 8 2 400 ½ ½ 100 1 1

ml (⅓ cup) olive oil tbsp thyme tsp dried chilli flakes garlic cloves, chopped chicken thighs, bone in, skin on ripe red or yellow oxheart tomatoes, cut into 4cm pieces gm mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges small Spanish onion, thinly sliced tsp caster sugar gm crustless day-old sourdough, torn Lebanese cucumber, coarsely chopped cup (firmly packed) basil, plus extra to serve ANCHOVY AND GARLIC DRESSING

125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1½ tbsp aged red wine vinegar 1 tbsp lemon juice 4 anchovy fillets 2 tsp thyme 1 small garlic clove, crushed 66


1 Preheat oven to 220°C. Blitz oil, thyme, chilli and garlic in a food processor until combined and season to taste. Transfer to a bowl, add chicken, massage to coat well, then place skin-side up on an oven tray lined with baking paper and roast until golden brown and juices run clear when thighs are pierced with a skewer (15-18 minutes). 2 Meanwhile, toss tomatoes, onion and sugar in a bowl and stand for 5 minutes to marinate. Add bread, cucumber and basil, toss to combine and season to taste. Set aside for flavours to combine (10 minutes). 3 For anchovy and garlic dressing, process all ingredients in a blender until thick and season to taste. Toss with panzanella to coat and season to taste. Drizzle chicken with pan juices, scatter with extra basil and serve with panzanella.

Grilled pork sausages with fennel, radicchio and roasted capsicum SERVES 4 Use a mix of red and yellow capsicum for the salad if you have them. If you’re super-short on time, roasted capsicum from the deli would also work well.

8 thick pork and fennel sausages 150 ml extra-virgin olive oil ¾ cup (firmly packed) oregano 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves 2 anchovy fillets 1 small garlic clove, crushed FENNEL, RADICCHIO AND ROASTED CAPSICUM SALAD

2 capsicum, quartered, seeds and membrane removed 2 tbsp olive oil 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline, fronds reserved 1 small head radicchio, leaves torn 1 golden shallot, thinly sliced into rounds on a mandoline 80 gm (½ cup) small black olives, such as Ligurian ½ cup (firmly packed) oregano

1 For fennel, radicchio and roasted capsicum salad, preheat oven grill to high, place capsicum skin-side up in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil and grill until skin is blackened (8-10 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand to soften (5 minutes). Peel, tear into large pieces, and combine with remaining ingredients in a bowl. 2 Meanwhile, heat a char-grill pan over medium heat. Drizzle sausages with 1 tbsp olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through (5-7minutes). 3 Meanwhile, to make a salsa, process remaining ingredients in a food processor until finely chopped, then season to taste. 4 Toss salad with half the salsa, season to taste and top with fennel fronds. Serve with sausages and remaining salsa.

Quick meals

Orecchiette with cauliflower and walnut brown-butter pesto SERVES 4-6 This is far from the traditional basil pesto, but it has nuts and parmesan in the mix. The name derives from the Italian word “pestare”, to pound. We’ve sped things up with a food processor.

350 gm (½ small) cauliflower, cut into florets 2 tbsp olive oil 500 gm dried orecchiette Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of ½, plus lemon wedges (optional) to serve Finely grated parmesan, to serve WALNUT BROWN-BUTTER PESTO

185 gm cold butter, diced ¼ cup (firmly packed) sage leaves 80 gm roasted walnuts 30 gm grated parmesan 1 long red chilli, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Preheat oven to 250°C. Place cauliflower on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste. Roast until golden and edges are slightly charred (8-10 minutes). 2 Meanwhile, for walnut brown-butter pesto, cook butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming and nut brown (4-5 minutes), then add sage and stir until crisp. Set aside a few leaves for garnish, then transfer sage butter to a food processor, add remaining ingredients,

blitz to a coarse purée and season to taste. 3 Cook orecchiette in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (10-12 minutes). Drain, reserving about 80ml pasta water, and return pasta to pan. Add pesto, cauliflower, lemon rind and juice, toss to combine, adding a little pasta water to loosen, and season to taste. Top with parmesan and reserved sage leaves and serve with lemon wedges. ➤

Orecchiette Phendai white bowl from The Design Hunter. Tara Dennis tin plate from David Jones. Chicken Studio.W Osaka bowl from David Jones. All other props stylist’s own. Sausages All props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.



Sicilian snapper with zucchini, mint and pistachio nuts SERVES 4 The key to beautifully crisp skin on the fish is to weight the fish in the pan with a heavy saucepan – place a sheet of baking paper on the fillet before placing the saucepan on top.

4 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandoline 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for frying 1 cup (firmly packed) mint 1 golden shallot, thinly sliced on a mandoline 35 gm (¼ cup) pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped, plus extra to serve 4 snapper fillets, such as ruby snapper (about 180gm each), skin on CURRANT AND ANCHOVY DRESSING

2 tbsp currants 80 ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp baby salted capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped 3 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 1 small garlic clove, crushed ½ tsp dried chilli flakes Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve



1 For currant and anchovy dressing, soak currants in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain, coarsely chop and combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients and season to taste. 2 Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Drizzle half the zucchini with the 2 tbsp olive oil, season to taste and grill in batches until charred on one side (1 minute). Transfer to a bowl, cool briefly, then add mint, shallot, pistachio nuts and remaining zucchini. 3 Heat a splash of oil in a large frying pan over high heat, add snapper skin-side down, top with baking paper, weight with a heavy pan, and fry until skin is browned and crisp (2-3 minutes). Turn and fry until just cooked (1 minute). Remove from pan and rest for a minute. 4 Toss salad with half the dressing, season and arrange on plates with snapper. Drizzle with remaining dressing, scatter with extra pistachio nuts and serve with lemon wedges.

Blanched asparagus makes a no-fuss accompaniment to this steak, but you could toss it on the grill for a nuttier flavour.

Quick meals

Bistecca with asparagus and salsa dragoncello SERVES 4 Simple blanched asparagus makes a no-fuss accompaniment to this steak, but for a smokier, nuttier flavour, toss the spears on the grill while the T-bones are cooking.

4 T-bone steaks (about 250gm each), at room temperature 2 garlic cloves, halved 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 bunches asparagus, trimmed Finely grated parmesan (optional) and lemon wedges, to serve SALSA DRAGONCELLO

2 slices sourdough or ciabatta, crusts removed 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, or to taste 1½ cups (firmly packed) rocket ½ cup (loosely packed) tarragon 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 2 small garlic cloves 1 Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Rub steak all over with cut side of garlic, season well, then drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and grill, turning occasionally, until cooked to your liking (6-7 minutes for medium-rare). Leave to rest for 3-4 minutes. 2 Meanwhile, for salsa dragoncello, soak bread in vinegar in a small bowl until all absorbed, then pulse in a food processor with remaining ingredients to a coarse paste. Season to taste. 3 Blanch asparagus until bright green and just tender (1-2 minutes; see cook's notes p175), drain well, toss in remaining oil and parmesan and season to taste. Divide steaks and asparagus among plates, drizzle with salsa dragoncello and serve with lemon and remaining salsa. ➤

Bistecca White dish (with salsa) from Mud Australia. All other props stylist’s own. Snapper All props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Sage frittata and fried sopressa panini MAKES 4 Cooking the leek in the sopressa oil adds extra flavour to this Italianate spin on a bacon and egg roll. If spice isn’t your thing, use flat pancetta in place of sopressa.

Charred prawns, eggplant and chickpeas with roast tomato vinaigrette SERVES 4

Here, roasting the tomatoes first brings out their sweetness. Calamari or baby octopus would work well in place of the prawns.

2 tbsp olive oil 16 large slices spicy sopressa 1 leek, halved lengthways and thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely grated 10 eggs 2 tbsp finely chopped sage ⅓ cup (20gm) finely grated parmesan 4 ciabatta rolls, halved and toasted Aïoli, rocket and pickled green chillies, to serve



1 Preheat oven to 160°C. Heat oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over medium-high heat, add sopressa and fry, turning occasionally, until crisp (1-2 minutes). Drain on paper towels. 2 Reduce heat to medium, add leek and garlic, season to taste, and fry until translucent (3-4 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sage and parmesan in a bowl and season to taste. Pour into pan and cook without stirring until starting to set around edges (2-3 minutes). Transfer pan to oven and bake until set (2-3 minutes). Cool briefly, invert or slide onto a board and cut into 8 wedges. 3 Spread ciabatta bases with aïoli, top with frittata, sopressa, and rocket, season to taste, and sandwich with ciabatta tops. Serve with pickled chillies.

2 eggplant (about 600gm), cut into 2cm dice 2 garlic cloves, finely crushed 1 tbsp dried oregano 160 ml olive oil 800 gm canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed ¾ cup (firmly packed) oregano, plus extra to serve 600 gm peeled uncooked prawns, deveined, tails intact 2 tsp dried chilli flakes ROASTED TOMATO VINAIGRETTE

300 1 ½ 80

gm cherry tomatoes garlic clove, thinly sliced tsp caster sugar ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 2 long red chillies, coarsely chopped Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, 1½ tbsp juice 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, or to taste

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. For vinaigrette, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar and half the oil in an oven dish, season to taste, and roast until slightly caramelised (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a food processor, add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Season to taste. 2 Meanwhile, toss eggplant, garlic, dried oregano and 120ml oil in a separate oven dish to combine, season, and roast until eggplant is golden and tender (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a bowl, add chickpeas, oregano and half the vinaigrette, toss to combine and season to taste. 3 Heat a char-grill pan over high heat. Combine prawns in a bowl with chilli flakes and remaining olive oil and season to taste. Grill, turning once, until charred (2-3 minutes). 4 Top eggplant mixture with prawns, drizzle with a little remaining vinaigrette, top with extra oregano and serve with remaining vinaigrette.

Quick meals

Almond and muscovado tiramisù MAKES 4 These individual serves of tiramisù with a twist are ready to eat straight away, but are also good a day or two later when the flavours have melded.

12 500 200 55

savoiardi biscuits gm (2 cups) mascarpone gm crème fraîche gm (¼ cup) dark muscovado or dark brown sugar Crushed amaretti, Dutch-process cocoa and chocolate shavings, to serve COFFEE SYRUP

50 gm dark muscovado or dark brown sugar 200 ml espresso 80 ml (⅓ cup) Marsala or brandy 1 tbsp Galliano or amaretto

1 For coffee syrup, stir sugar and half the espresso in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, add remaining ingredients and refrigerate for 5 minutes to cool a little. 2 Arrange savoiardi in a deep tray, spoon coffee syrup over them and leave until liquid is absorbed (about 2 minutes). 3 Whisk mascarpone, crème fraîche and sugar in an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Divide half the soaked savoiardi among small serving bowls or

glasses, breaking into smaller pieces if necessary. Top with a little whipped mascarpone mixture and crushed amaretti and dust with cocoa, then repeat layering. Scatter with extra crushed amaretti and chocolate shavings to serve. ●

Tiramisù All props stylist’s own. Panini All props stylist’s own. Prawns Tara Dennis tin platter from David Jones. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.



BEST PRACTICE For Shannon Bennett and James Viles, ingredients must not just be the best – they must also be sustainable. The chefs explain how what’s good for the planet is good for the plate. COMMON GROUND

SHANNON BENNETT Creative Director, Vue de monde

Nespresso affogato.

Shannon at a Nespresso coffee farm in Brazil

AAA SUSTAINABILITY Nespresso builds environmentally sustainable farming practices while fostering long-term relationships with 70,000 coffee farming families across 12 countries.

His name is a byword for fine dining in Australia but Shannon Bennett knows that serving up unsustainable produce, no matter how delicious, is a no-go. “Chefs have a responsibility,” says Shannon Bennett, Creative Director at Vue de monde. “If chefs don’t buy a particular product doing harm to the environment, then that practice will stop. So chefs have to wake up and realise their responsibilities, and I think that if they start talking to partners like Nespresso, they’ll learn a hell of a lot.” Bennett, who uses a Nespresso Professional machine at Vue de monde, is referring to Nespresso’s sustainable farming relationships. The company reduced the carbon footprint of a Nespresso cup of coffee by 20% between 2009 and 2013 and has a strategy in place to source 100% of its coffee sustainably through the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, use 100% responsibly sourced aluminium (through the Aluminium Standard Initiative) and have 100% carbon efficient operations by 2020. “I think Nespresso are ahead of their time and they were talking about land management back then. When I visited the farms [that Nespresso works with in Brazil] a number of years ago, it was pretty amazing to see no sprays – everything was natural. Yields and weather patterns were talked about. They have studied the conditions and climate.” For Bennett, sustainability is all about finding the right produce and asking his suppliers questions. “I have learnt from my suppliers about sustainability and I tried to transfer a lot of those principles back into the restaurant.”


Shannon’s approach to a greener plate NARRATIVE Impressed by how ingredients in Japan all have a complete “narrative”, Bennett replicates the philosophy in his kitchens – for instance, baking bread in house with organic flour. SOURCING Bennett makes a commitment in his kitchen to use — wherever possible — natural produce grown without chemicals. SEAFOOD He uses Sydney rock oysters and angasi oysters that are native to Australia and therefore adapted to the environment rather than Pacific oysters, which are from Asia. NESPRESSO COFFEE One of the reasons Bennett chooses Nespresso for Vue de monde is because of its sustainable management of coffee farms and use of recyclable aluminium.

“[The farmers in Brazil told me] they were producing ordinary coffee then Nespresso came along and said look, let’s show you how to get the best out of your coffee plants.” SHANNON BENNETT Creative Director, Vue de monde


“I like to know where the food is from om and the process by b That s very important. important.” t” which it was made, or how it grew. That’s JAMES VILES Biota Dining

LO C A L LY G R O W N The importance of sustainability in fine dining first occurred to James Viles when he was setting up his restaurant Biota in Bowral some six years ago, complete with kitchen garden, chicken coop, greenhouse and on-site composting. “Sustainability’s one of those things where one thing leads to another,” he says. “So recycling, composting and all of that is good for the garden. You feed the soil and you get nice plants, you use what you want and [the waste] goes back into the garden. Sustainability’s just about processes that link.” At Biota, the gardens are fed by natural springs and the constantly changing menu is dictated by the different seasonal


THE GREAT AND SMALL Nespresso coffee farm partner in Brazil and below the kitchen garden at Biota.

Biota kitchen garden where James farms his own wn produce.


James’ approach to a greener plate

JAMES VILES Biota Dining

ingredients brought each week by trusted local suppliers. Sustainability is also about the long term, stresses Viles. In this he’s aligned with Nespresso’s commitment to building and assisting the communities and farmers who grow its coffee, as well as the company’s commitment to using aluminium, a material which is infinitely recyclable while protecting the freshness and aromas of the coffee inside the capsule. The important last step of the sustainability journey for Nespresso is the recycling process, not only of the aluminium, but also transforming the coffee grounds into compost. “That’s a big thing. It happens from start to finish,” says Viles. “It’s about committing to that way of life and building on it over the years. That’s what sustainability is.”

SEASONALITY Biota’s degustation is based on what local suppliers have brought that week; diners don’t even know what they’re getting until it lands on the table. LOCAL PRODUCE As an extension of Viles’ commitment to local food, three years ago Biota began serving Australian wine exclusively. GROW YOUR OWN Even if you are just growing your own lettuces, Viles says it’s a good start towards sustainability: “They’re easy to grow.” WASTE REDUCTION The Nespresso machine at Biota obviates the need for tamping which wastes coffee. “Benefits for a restaurant like this [are less] wastage, less cleaning, consistency, and speed.”

THE GREAT AND SMALL Above: Biota’s kitchen garden and right: the green hills of a coffee farm, one of Nespresso’s AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program partners in Brazil.


We forage through the kitchen gardens of three very different enthusiasts, all of whom are inspired by the Italian approach to home-grown produce.


FABIAN CAPOMOLLA Sandringham, Vic “I’ve been interested in gardening since I was a teenager, but my true obsession for growing edibles started when my nonno brought around some tomato seedlings as a house-warming present when I first moved out of home. My dad was born in Ciano, a small town in the hills of Calabria, and my mum’s side originates from a place called Montagnareale in Sicily. My choice of which plants to grow at home is a reflection of my cultural background. “I live in a small house with a beachside garden. My name, Fabian, means ‘bean grower’, so with that in mind I grow a lot of broad beans – they’re great for providing produce at the start of spring, as well as feeding the soil for summer crops of tasty tomatoes, capsicums,

zucchini, leafy greens and runner beans (remember: you’re growing soil before you’re growing plants). I love to grow peperoncini and cucumbers. The chillies remind me of my Calabrian heritage and can easily be grown in pots and preserved, and I love eating the cucumbers straight off the vine on a hot summer’s night while watering my garden. “Gardening is never the same and every day is different. My garden reminds me to take each day as it comes. Enjoy it for what it looks like today – it will never look like that again. My main advice would be to grow what you love, for who you love. And don’t talk at your plants; let them talk to you.” ➤ Fabian Capomolla’s book Growing Food the Italian Way (Pan Macmillan Australia, $44.99) is out now. G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R




“I was born in Gizzeria, in the province of Catanzaro. I remember learning gardening by helping my mother in our orto, or small garden, when I was a little child. We had a small garden near our home and another piece of land about an hour from the town where we grew wheat, olives, figs, potatoes, tomatoes – what we grew was what we ate. “When I came to Australia I kept gardening because I liked it. I taught my husband, and whenever I plant seeds or trim trees in my garden I watch the moon. “The same things that are beautiful to cook are beautiful to grow. I grow eggplants, tomatoes, beans and basil and then I cook them. The taste of home-grown is completely different. “I grow lots of things: broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, spinach, broad beans and herbs – everything I put in the garden grows but never zucchini. Then I have my fruit trees: prickly pear, avocado, fig, mango, mulberry, mandarin, orange, plum, persimmon, coffee, lemons and grapes. “I love my mangoes, I have two trees and each year I take more than 50 mangoes. I have a very special avocado tree, too. It makes avocados that weigh more than 600 grams, sometimes even 900 grams. It’s been in my garden for more than 50 years. My coffee plants grow so much coffee. I dry the beans in the sun, then take off the skins and roast the beans myself.”



MICKEY ROBERTSON Razorback Range, NSW “I’d always wanted a garden. When my husband, Larry, and I bought a collection of dilapidated farm buildings I was given the opportunity to create one much earlier than I’d imagined. As we restored each building, the garden evolved to surround it. I was only 27 when we began here – how time flies when you’re having fun. “As well as our ornamental garden, with everything from roses to frangipani, succulents to perennials, we have our kitchen garden, which has spilled beyond its original boundaries. For me, honest planting for the very best seasonal produce is what makes a great Italian garden. Our fruit trees are coming into leaf bud or blossom: we have apricots, peaches, plums, cherries, pears and quince, but my favourite are the figs.

“We’ve just finished the winter Jerusalem artichokes and we’re eating the first peas and broad beans. I’m seeking out last season’s garlic, too – although no longer shiny and new, it’s edible – and hopefully it won’t be too long before this year’s crop can be eaten green. “This area is fabulous for rosemary and I use it in the ornamental garden to add solid clumps and for low hedging. One of my favourite herbs is lovage. It has a distinct celery flavour and pops up just as the peas hit their final stride, which means I get to make my favourite pea and lovage soup. “One plant I have yet to master is celeriac. I love the taste of that knobbly root vegetable. I’ve grown small ones but I’m determined to grow a decent-sized one.” ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


THE I TA L I A N PARADOX Alessandro Pavoni came within two hours of death. Then the Italian chef made a move that would change his life but shock his family and friends: he went vegan. Piece of cake, writes LEE TRAN LAM.


he heart attack took two days. It was a slow-motion realisation that even Alessandro Pavoni’s doctor missed. No one saw the signs. Or rather, there were no signs to see. The experience was nothing like what heart attacks on TV might have you expect – no clutching of the chest or gasping for breath. Pavoni was 36 years old, a surfer and yoga devotee, and a hotshot executive chef at the Park Hyatt Sydney. And he was very nearly a dead man. It was a blood test that the doctor ordered, “just in case”, that saved Pavoni’s life. There had been a painful lump in his throat that he couldn’t quite shake. “You’re having a heart attack,” the doctor said when the results came through, urging the chef to call an ambulance straight away. “They put two stents in and I went back to work,” he says. “But I always had this feeling of the stents moving in my arteries. It was weird.” Pavoni was considered “the next big thing” within the Asia-Pacific wing of Park Hyatt and was on track to a significant posting overseas. But his heart attack shook him up – and moving to a more stressful job at a bigger hotel complex in Asia didn’t seem like the healthiest idea. So he quit his job and opened his own restaurant, Ormeggio, on the water at The Spit in Mosman – now the top-ranked Italian restaurant in the country. There was no confusion when the second heart attack hit. Surfing Long Reef on Sydney’s northern beaches nine months later, he was suddenly shattered by the pain stabbing brutally through his chest. Pavoni thought he was going to die. He stumbled from the shore and, with help from a friend, got to the hospital. His stents had broken, coming loose from his atrophied arteries, and blood was barely flowing through his heart. “I had two hours to live.” What he remembers most strongly is the rising sense of panic in the intensive care unit as his chest began to fill with blood. He woke to find his mother and his wife, Anna, beside him.

It was two months before he was back at work, and a year before he felt like he was functioning again. But though his double bypass had been a success, he was still struggling to feel well. “I couldn’t walk for more than 50 metres for several weeks. I had blood clots all over my body, then blood-pressure problems.” Something had to change.


avoni grew up in Brescia, in Lombardy, in the north of Italy. Good ingredients were abundant – blueberries, raspberries, mountain strawberries, hazelnuts and chestnuts were there for the picking. When his mother wanted salad leaves, she stepped outside to cut chicory or dandelion greens, ready to pile onto plates. And the power of good food to bring people together was clear to him from an early age. “My grandmother used to cook every Sunday for the whole family, from six o’clock in the morning,” says Pavoni. He admired her ability to unite people around a table. “I wanted to have that power to make people sit down and laugh,” he says. Nonna’s food was good enough to render a crowd silent in admiration.

needles in, I’d throw up. It was tough. It was heavy shit,” he says. Pavoni recovered – but his body only allowed him a two-year probation before cancer was found in his T7 vertebra. He underwent more drastic surgery: an 18-hour operation where the vertebra was removed and replaced. “I recovered, then I got on a motorbike and broke all the screws, so they put longer rods from the top to the bottom and it was all good.” All good, that is, for three years. “They said, ‘The cancer is back in your lungs’.” At 24, Pavoni had a third of his lungs removed. It saved his life, but he wonders today if it was those same operations – those intense procedures so close to his heart – that led to the heart condition that plagued him in later life. In November 2016, his ankle and knees blew up with inflammatory pain. As if multiple instances of cancer and a matching set of heart attacks weren’t enough, he was diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. The pills prescribed to fight it were devastating to his liver. On a combination of heart medication as well as warfarin for the 32 blood clots in his left calf,

There was no confusion when the second heart attack hit. He was suddenly shattered by the pain stabbing through his chest. Pavoni thought he was going to die. He joined the nearby scuola alberghiera Caterina de’ Medici, and it was here, as an 18-year-old chef in training, that he experienced mysterious back pain that knocked him out so badly, he couldn’t attend school. An initial scan came up clear, but the follow-up three months later revealed a tumour as big as a tennis ball. “It hit three vertebrae, a big part of T7, T6 and T8,” Pavoni recalls, gesturing to the part of his spine between his shoulder blades. He had bone cancer. “I cried for two months,” he says. “I just broke down. I was dead.” The year passed in new definitions of pain: 13 cycles of chemotherapy and complete hair loss. “They put

Pavoni began to wonder if there was a better – and less drug-intensive – way to stay well. He thought of Pierre Dell’Orto, a naturopath from his home town. “I really trust this doctor, who has been a friend of my mum’s for 40 years now.” His mother was a nurse and, when she had an eye problem, Dell’Orto helped her address it – over many years – with dietary changes. So he contacted him. Dell’Orto’s advice was straightforward: he recommended he become vegan. Veganism was a radical idea for Pavoni. He runs four restaurants in Sydney: Ormeggio, famed for its signature veal tartare; Chiosco, which does its gnocchi in a rich wagyu shank ragù with pecorino; ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Clockwise, from below: Alessandro Pavoni as a child; Pavoni on the pass; vitello tonnato at Ormeggio; a young Pavoni with his nonna.

Via Alta, where the lamb shoulder is big enough to feed a couple; and Sotto Sopra, where chicken livers adorn the crostini, smoked cheddar bubbles atop eggplant, and even the caramelised radicchio tart is slathered with Gorgonzola fonduta. He’d grown up eating just about every animal that flapped, flew or fed in the Lombardian alps. He’d foraged for snails and frogs, and his friends fed pigs with chestnuts, fattening them up to produce salami. Whenever his grandmother made her slow-cooked chicken, she’d cook Pavoni a whole hen for himself, and use the broth to make “the best risotto that you can have”. 80



o say Pavoni’s family were surprised by his decision to stop eating animals is something of an understatement. “They fucking hated it,” he says. His mother had followed a similar diet for 10 years and everyone thought she was crazy. Then his aunt became sick and when her doctor couldn’t do anything, she approached Pavoni’s mother for help, and the family became more open-minded about Dell’Orto’s approach. Now Pavoni has enjoyed the first long-term relief from his inflammation in years. While his diet is largely plant-based, it’s best to think of it as “Italian-vegan”. Eggwhite is apparently okay because it’s

mainly protein and amino acids. Sheep and goat’s milk are allowed because they’re “very similar to human milk”, and aged cheese is permissible because “the enzymes eat all the bad parts of the dairy – they’re not there any more”. Even so, Pavoni finds dining out tough, so he mostly avoids it. “But if I want to go to a restaurant that night, fuck the diet.” If he goes to Sepia once a year, he says, he wants to eat what chef Martin Benn eats, and there’s no way he’d skip the signature dry-aged rib-eye at Firedoor. “I might do four meals like that, six meals a year.” These feast days are now a relative rarity, and they’re always followed by a day of fasting. He might miss eating a big T-bone on a regular basis, “but I can live without it”. There’s still meat on Pavoni’s menus, but at his flagship Ormeggio, for instance, it’s not a large component. He still tastes the wagyu beef all’olio and the other non-vegan dishes that pass through his kitchens, but he thinks his diet of starch and vegetables is quite Italian and suits the lighter, more simplified approach to food he now takes at Ormeggio. It also means he’s more imaginative in how he achieves rich flavours. The cooking liquor he decocts from roasted red peppers, for instance, gives surprising oomph to roasted rice purée and royal red potato. As for his own meals, Pavoni is well served by a northern-Italian inclination for pasta and potatoes: gnocchi and spaghetti aglio e olio make him happy. He also tinkers with curries – sweet potato is often the star ingredient of these extravagantly spiced experiments. And his health has never been better. “I’m taking really good and conscious care of myself – I train, I eat properly,” he says. “I need to think about what I’m doing with my body; it has gone through so much. To be honest, I’m often on edge, waiting for the next random health thing to come at me from left-field.” In hospitality, Pavoni says, it’s often the norm to push through pain and neglect your well-being. It’s a mentality he no longer has any time for, especially as a father. He doesn’t want his kids to say their dad’s too tired to play, or that he can’t. “I want them to grow up excited to come surf with me.” ●

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A cure for all P occasions

Italy has more salumi than you can shake a grissino at. Sydney’s guru of cured meats has the low-down on the essentials.


ino Tomini Foresti opened Dolce Vita Fine Foods with his wife, Pia, in Sydney’s Kogarah in 1978, after migrating from Calabria in 1972. Almost 40 years later, the seventh-generation butcher knows his culatello from his capocollo (not to mention every cure and cut in between). But do you? Tomini Foresti has the low-down on 10 of Italy’s most essential cured meats. Pino’s Dolce Vita Fine Foods, unit 1, 423 The Boulevarde, Kirrawee, NSW, (02) 9587 4818,




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“Made from pig legs, prosciutto is ham dry-cured on the bone for three months. The legs are then boned and the meat pressed into a heart shape. They’re rubbed with salt, lard and pepper, then hung for 18 to 24 months (or 36 for a special reserve cure). A great prosciutto should be supple, sweet and pink-red in colour. The most famous examples are from Parma and San Daniele.”



“This spicy salami paste originated in Spilinga in Calabria. I grew up spreading it on bread, and I’ve tried it almost every way you can think of, except in my coffee. We make it by mincing pork meat and fat into a paste with salt, pepper and dried chilli. That goes into natural casings that are hung for up to six months. Chefs are getting very creative with ’nduja. Some use it in risotto, while Pizzaperta in Sydney use it on a Calabrese pizza.”



“Making guanciale, cured pork cheek, is quite simple, but the cheeks should be whole, large and thick to get the best result. They’re coated with salt, and black and white pepper, and left for 10 days, before being hung for at least two to three months. The white ribbons of fat and strips of meat, together with the peppery coating, create an amazing scent. If you love guanciale you eat it by the slice, but it’s renowned for its use in carbonara.”



“Without a doubt, the most popular salume made from beef. The texture and grain of girello, or silverside, is perfect for bresaola, which is salted and rubbed with spices before it’s hung for at least four months. During this time, and with the formation of natural mould, the beef develops a deep flavour, with rich, earthy notes and a slight sweetness. The outside is very dark and it’s not until it’s cut that a bright red colour is revealed. I love to have bresaola thinly sliced with a drizzle of olive oil and some Parmigiano-Reggiano.”

C A P O C O L L O ( C O P PA )

“Capocollo, also known as coppa, is made with trimmed and boned pig’s neck. These are then covered with sea salt, pepper, and the likes of cloves and nutmeg and left for about 10 days. Our capocollo is hung to dry and cure for a minimum of four months: that gives it enough time to develop perfume – a little bit musky, a little bit spicy – and a beautiful natural marbling, which makes for a creamy texture on the tongue.”



“Lardo is cured pork back-fat. Don’t let that scare you, though – you’ll fall in love with its creamy texture and buttery taste. Trimmed and squared

off, the fat is rubbed with salt and aromatic herbs and spices, such as rosemary, then left to infuse (we leave ours for six months). Place thin slices on toasted bread and watch it melt like butter.”



“Unfortunately mortadella’s reputation has been undermined by large processors, but the good stuff is made simply using quality pork. The meat is ground into a paste and thick handdiced pieces of pork fat are added, along with salt, pepper and spices. This is then put into casings, tied off, and baked at a low temperature. Best sliced paper thin and eaten with provolone and bread.”



“Various cuts of pork meat, rind and fat make up this larger-style sausage, commonly made and eaten during the cold months. We like pork rind in our mix, too – it gives the cotechino a lovely coarse texture and stickiness. The mix is put in casings and left in the fridge for a couple of days to set. To serve, it’s always boiled slowly and often served with lentils. We used to have cotechino with lentils on New Year’s Day – my mum said it’d bring us luck for the whole year ahead.”



“You can find pancetta – or Italianstyle bacon – rolled or as pancetta stessa, which is the traditional flat pancetta. To make it, pork belly is salted, rubbed with herbs, then hung to cure for a minimum of two to three months. Unlike most bacon it’s not smoked, so is much milder. It can be enjoyed sliced on its own, diced and fried in pasta, or, my favourite way, with a ton of bread and endless stracchino cheese.”



“Culatello, also known as the king of prosciutto, is made from the best section of a boned pig’s leg – the rump. The care and slow-curing gives this cold cut its combination of sweetness and salt. We hang ours for a minimum of 24 to 36 months, and move it between controlled temperatures and humidity to replicate the town of Zibello, in Parma, where culatello originated.” ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


M O PA N I N D Pitta ripiena


n our post-truth world, food history isn’t immune from the fake news phenomenon. Take the story of the humble sandwich, filled with mumbo jumbo, spread with phoney “facts”. According to legend – and I use the word advisedly – the bread plus filling combo was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, in the 18th century. Apparently his valet served him meat between two slices of bread so he could eat with one hand and play cribbage with the other. ‘The same as Sandwich!’ ordered his fellow card players and the name stuck. I find the story hard to swallow. Then there’s the Italian tramezzino, a dainty little sandwich made with two slices of white bread, crusts removed. I’d take its history with a pinch of salt, too. In 1925, after emigrating to Detroit, Angela Nebiolo and her husband

Panino con la porzina Pani ca’ meusa


Onorino Demichelis returned to their native Turin and used their savings to buy the pretty little rococo Caffè Mulassano on the city’s central Piazza Castello. With them they brought back an electric toaster and used it to serve punters toasted sandwiches. They then had the brainwave of not toasting the bread at all and using it just as it was. The tramezzino was born! Inside the Caffè Mulassano, there’s even a plaque to commemorate the masterstroke. “Here in 1926 Signora Angela Demichelis Nebiolo invented the tramezzino,” it says. It all seems like a roundabout way of replicating the British tea sandwich, a bit like inventing the cart before the wheel. At a time when the order was to Italianise English words, it was Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, a founding father of Fascism, who coined the name tramezzino to replace “sandwich”. It’s the

Mozzarella in carrozza

Leave it to Italy to elevate the humble sandwich to glorious heights. JOHN IRVING investigates the evolution and diverse region-by-region repertoire of the panino. Illustrations DAWN TAN

diminutive of tramezzo, “in between”, and it denoted the “new” sandwich’s function as a snack to nibble at between meals. In modern Italian, any sandwich made with any bread – be it a roll or a bun or ready-sliced from the supermarket – is a panino, in turn the diminutive of pane, bread. There’s also an older word, “companatico”, from the medieval Latin “companaticum”, “that which one eats with bread”. The question is, when did human beings start eating companatico between slices of pane as opposed to with it? Around the Italian regions there are proto-panini that evoke a remoter, pre-Earl of Sandwich past. The pitta ripiena of Calabria is what it says on the label – “filled pitta bread” – and is likely a throwback to the Middle Ages, when the region was frequently raided and briefly occupied by the

Saracens. It’s run through the middle by a squelchy seam of soppressata, pecorino and hard-boiled eggs. The Saracens would have frowned on the soppressata, salamilike ground pork, whose presence also belies another myth. Namely that Italians adhere to a healthy Mediterranean diet, all cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil, fresh fish and fruit and vegetables. Salubrious panino-like concoctions do exist: pizza con i tanni, for instance, typical of the Ciociaria district of Lazio – two discs of focaccia filled with broccoli rabe, garlic and peperoncino; or pani cun tamatica, typical of Sardinia – leftover bread dough stuffed with fresh tomato and baked in the oven; or the Sicilian pani cunzato, a long bread roll stuffed with tomato, sardines, and grated pecorino. But, save for a few virtuous pockets, mostly along the coast or on the islands, ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Panino al lampredotto

his teeth. But those were the post-war years of poverty and hardship and today mozzarella in carrozza is just another item in the seemingly endless Neapolitan street-food repertoire, available not only in the city itself but also in eateries up and down the peninsula.

S the Italian diet is heavy on pork fat and offal and, in the north, butter and lard. This applies to the panino panorama, too. On a recent visit to Trieste, I came across the panino con la porzina, a bread roll filled with boiled shoulder pork, mustard and sauerkraut, a specialty of the city’s buffets, nose-to-tail pork trattorias, and a testimony to its Habsburg past. It’s not recommended for the cholesterol-conscious but it’s irresistibly, unctuously delicious. In Florence, the trippai, or tripe sellers, have been plying their trade since the 16th century, when tripe was a cheap and nutritious alternative to starvation. At their stalls and kiosks, they cook and sell all manner of cuts. Some of the stuff goes into panini, the connoisseurs’ favourite being the one with lampredotto, or abomasum. For readers not au fait with the esoteric world of tripe, the abomasum, reed tripe in butchers’ parlance, is the fourth stomach of any ruminant, the place where it digests its food. For the panino, the lampredotto is boiled with vegetables, anointed with olive oil, seasoned with black pepper and ladled into rolls called semelle. The gently chewy texture of the frilly tripe contrasts with the softness of the bread. Heaven for offal lovers, with the proviso that a little goes a long way. Then there’s pani ca’ meusa, which consists of a bread roll, or muffoletta, cut in half and filled with slices of boiled calf’s lungs and spleen turned in lard. It’s a street classic of Palermo – a distinctly un-Mediterranean snack in a very Mediterranean city. There are two versions: schiettu, “single”, with a squirt of lemon juice, and maritatu, “married”, with slivers of caciocavallo cheese. 86


A friend of mine, a food and wine writer and an old Sicily hand, reckons pani ca’ meusa have a whiff of drains, though the Palermitani seem happy enough to queue up to buy them. It’s true that the grey innards and entrails bubbling away in the vendors’ cauldrons are not a sight for the squeamish, but once the pani are served – greasy on greaseproof paper – I find them palatable enough. Let’s say they’re an acquired taste, a test of character. In Naples, mozzarella in carrozza, “mozzarella in a carriage”, consists of a slice of mozzarella pressed between two slices of white bread, crusts removed, dipped in beaten egg yolk and deep-fried. It leapt to world fame in 1948, when it guest-starred in Vittorio De Sica’s neorealist movie Bicycle Thieves. In one famous scene, to ease the prevailing air of misery, the man whose bicycle has been stolen treats his young son to a meal in a restaurant. He orders mozzarella in carrozza as if it were a special treat, and the boy takes obvious delight at tugging at the strings of sizzling, melting mozzarella with


ince the war, affluence and modernity have spawned more sophisticated inventions. From 1977 until last year, when he wasn’t travelling the country expounding his theories, self-styled maestro paninaro Giancarlo Rubaldi of the Bar Schiavoni in Modena turned the panino into an art form, elaborating concepts such as harmony of fillings, quality and traceability of ingredients and balance of flavour. Michelin-starred chefs are in on the act, too. In 2013, Davide Scabin of the Michelin-starred Combal.Zero restaurant in Rivoli Castle near Turin designed the McCombal Burger, a soft sesame-seed roll laden with tofu burger, tomato, onion, cucumber, lettuce, wasabi mayo and potatoes as a playful riposte to ongoing McDonaldisation. The fact is that the forces of plenty, in the form of the standardised offerings of McDonald’s and the paninoteche, sandwich bars, that are springing up everywhere, appeal more to the young generation than the more gruesome contrivances, now an endangered species, of a hungry past. But as panini continue to evolve, there’s no escaping the innate truth of the old Victoria Wood gag: “Sandwich recipe: take two bits of bread. Put them together, now eat it.” ●

When in Rome Heading to Italy? Italian-Australian chefs share their picks of what and where to eat back in the old country.

Calabria Pasquale Trimboli, chef-owner, Italian & Sons, Bacaro, Mezzalira and Da Rosario, Canberra INTERVIEWS MAGGIE SCARDIFIELD. PHOTOGRAPHY STOCKSY

I’m from a small village called Platì in Calabria, on the slopes of the Aspromonte mountains. Platì has a population of about 4000. They keep things simple: there’s one road in, one road out, and a small bar in the main piazza where all the men gather after lunch and discuss life, sport and women. My relatives who have remained in the village are farmers and either grow or hunt. They rarely go to the supermarket. They rear their own pigs and cows, make cheese, cure meats, make wine and olive oil from their groves. Our meals together are a celebration of their hard work and this close connection with the land. You must eat ’nduja when you visit Calabria, our traditional and very distinctive spreadable chilli sausage. Chilli is prevalent in Calabrian dishes, being our native ingredient. Some say it matches our fiery and passionate personalities. We’re also fond of a cheese native to our region known as caciocavallo. It’s a salty, semi-hard cheese, which, where I’m from, is made from a mixture of cow’s and goat’s milk, and aged for 18 weeks. It’s in the same vein as pecorino, but each region in Calabria has its own version. That’s the beauty of Italian food: we all think we do it better than the next village or region. Calabria isn’t as commercialised as some regions, and its cuisine is on the way up. What makes it special is the combination of the mountains and the sea. Recipes use local ingredients such as eggplant, peppers, fava beans with swordfish, and simplicity is key. As we all know, however, the more simple it is, the easier it is to get wrong. While it’s not Calabrian, in Sydney you can always get a great home-style dish at Quattro Passi in Darlinghurst. Da Noi in South Yarra, Melbourne, specialises in Sardinian cuisine, which in most parts shares the same philosophy as Calabrian food. Ask for extra chilli on the side and you can turn anything Calabrese.

Campania Tony Percuoco, chef, Tartufo, Brisbane I’m from Napoli in Campania. Whenever I go back I always stay on the seaside and around Lungomare di Napoli, either at Eurostars Hotel Excelsior or at the Grand Hotel Vesuvio. Both are great bases for waking up to Vesuvius. That view still takes my breath away. Everything seems to be within 50 kilometres of my town. The two main things I eat when I’m in Campania are mozzarella with tomato and basil and the famous spaghetti alle vongole, a dish that is a true reflection of how the region works. The spaghetti is from Gragnano, surrounded by hills on the Amalfi Coast. The air comes from the sea and dries the pasta to perfection. The tomatoes, grown on the foothills of Vesuvius, are ripened by dry sun

and volcanic soil; the vongole are from Sorrento. The biggest difference from Australian vongole is that the vongole from Sorrento have a much thinner shell. Italy’s buffalo mozzarella, meanwhile, doesn’t ever see the inside of a fridge and is never more than three days old. You can eat these dishes anywhere in Napoli. I’ve not had a bad one. Along with the food, what I miss most about home is being able to walk down the street at 11 o’clock at night and find a restaurant open that isn’t fast food. You could sit down to a three-course meal if you wanted to. Don’t be scared by the amount of people on the road or the fact that their hands seem permanently glued to the horn. Welcome to Italy.

Federica Andrisani, chef and co-owner, Fico, Hobart The last time I was in Napoli, my hometown, was two years ago. Campania is a region with a rich cultural fabric of Spanish, French, Turkish and Italian influences. And it’s the home of mozzarella di bufala. When you drive from the north of Italy and cross over the border into the region, the first thing you notice is the caseificio: the roadside shops that make and sell fresh mozzarella and scamorza affumicata every morning. You must stop and buy the still-warm fresh mozzarella and eat it by the roadside with all the milk running down your cheeks. Napoli is also famous for the morning ritual of eating baba and sfogliatella. The best I’ve found are at Scognamiglio or Mary in the Galleria Umberto shopping centre.

Napoli is chaotic and full of energy. The first place I go is a little restaurant called Il Grottino in Pomigliano d’Arco. Nino, the chef and owner, is a long-time family friend famous for cooking the best fish over open charcoal. He’s almost 70 now, but still mans the stoves, and every day he drives two hours to Formia to get fish. A couple of his specialties are raw tartufi di mare, large clams, and gamberi rossi alla griglia, grilled red prawns. His risotto with squid ink, al nero di seppia, and salad of baby fish are also phenomenal, and his wife, Rosaria, makes the best pizza chiena in Napoli. Two of the most important things in Neapolitan culture are food and family. The people in Naples don’t need an excuse to celebrate – every day is Christmas or Easter; every day is a good day to stay together, with family or friends, and to eat good food and drink good wine. ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R



I’m Australianborn, but my parents are from a town called Palmoli, in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I was there last year meeting the winemakers who supply my restaurants. National parks and nature reserves cover much of Abruzzo, along with hilltop towns dating back to the Medieval and Renaissance periods. It’s extremely beautiful in winter, with snow-peaked mountains, and then in half an hour you can be at the sandy coves of Costa dei Trabocchi. The first thing I do when I’m back in my parents’ village is go to the local pasticciera for a tray of traditional biscotti to take to my zia’s house. It’s always a big family gathering with lots of cousins and even neighbours. I’m overwhelmed with their eagerness for me to try their homemade prosciutto, ventricina and pork liver, fennel and orange sausages cooked over hot coals, as well as olives (only just ready to be eaten) and soft pecorino. This is just a prelude to an explosion of some of the best food one will ever eat. Maccheroni alla chitarra is a style of egg pasta very typical of my region. The name comes from the tool used to make it, the chitarra, which means guitar, and looks like a stringed instrument. The pasta dough is rolled into sheets and then pushed through the strings of the chitarra with a rolling pin, which cuts it into strips. It makes a unique shape of maccheroni – similar to a square-edged spaghetti – and is the perfect shape and texture for ragù. I like it with ragù di agnello e peperoni: slow-cooked local lamb, with red peppers grown in the garden and pecorino. I’m always overwhelmed with how self-sufficient the people of Abruzzo are, and what a simple and happy life they lead. You can’t ignore the slower pace of life, the breathtaking scenery and the sense of freedom that engulfs you on arrival. To the Abruzzese, food is life and life is food – a mantra that I hold close to my heart, too.


Enrico Tomelleri, chef, 10 William St, Sydney

I’m from Verona, which is pretty close to Venice. Verona sits close to the Lessinia mountains and Lake Garda, the biggest lake in Italy. In a few hours by car you can reach the Adriatic Sea or Austria and Croatia. It’s busy in summer with tourists, but because it’s a historical city it still tends to keep pretty quiet. After six in the evening you can visit a public square to drink your Negroni or beer under a statue of Dante Alighieri. It’s guaranteed good vibes and a good way to socialise. My favourite thing to do back home is go carp and trout fishing with my father and friends – or in the winter I go snowboarding on Monte Baldo. Living in Australia I really miss a proper winter: proper jackets, a scarf and beanie, the snow. What makes me homesick is the smell of cinnamon, juniper and cloves. And I miss the Christmas markets. Sydney has a great choice of proper Italian food, but there’s no place like home. I was recently in Adelaide and the Barossa Valley reminded me of the hills in Valpolicella, Verona’s wine region. If you visit Verona, you must go in search of some horse meat. Not the most popular choice for an Australian, but a straight horse-meat tartare is incredible – and if the weather is cold, enjoy a nice glass (or two) of mulled wine with a donkey stew and sauce pearà by a fireplace somewhere. Federico Zanellato, chef-owner, LuMi, Sydney My hometown is Este, not far from Padua, in the Veneto region. It has a beautiful castle that’s nearly a thousand years old, and a little river running through the town. It’s lively in summer with a lot of people having aperitivo around the main piazza, and lots of kids running around and old people chatting. Whenever I go back I try all the new restaurants – both fine dining and more casual, traditional food. I usually go to Osteria l’Anfora, a trattoria where they serve all the classic dishes such as bigoli made with chicken-liver ragù or sarde in saor, sweet and sour sardines. They serve excellent horse meat. My wife and I usually visit a few winemakers every year in the Veneto region and Friuli, close to the Slovenian border. Recently, we’ve been to a couple of really good restaurants worth visiting. Ristorante Aga, near Cortina d’Ampezzo, and the Michelin-starred el Coq and la Peca, both in Vicenza, are very special. And for a new style of gourmet pizza, I Tigli, near Verona, is not to be missed. We always make time to go to Venice, which is less than an hour’s drive from Este. For cicchetti, Osteria Alla Ciurma, Al Merca and I Rusteghi are some of my favourites. I really miss all the artisanal local produce in Veneto. Things like goose, donkey meat, wild asparagus, baccalà that’s made with Ragno stockfish, the heirloom tardivo radicchio, and cheeses from the north of my region.


Eugenio Maiale, chef-owner, A Tavola and Flour Eggs Water, Sydney


Ve n e t o

Catania Rosa Mitchell, chef-co-owner, Rosa’s Canteen, Melbourne

Joel Valvasori-Pereza, chef-co-owner, Lulu La Delizia, Perth

F r i u l i -Ve n e z i a G i u l i a

“The fish market in Catania is probably one of the best in Italy. On my last visit a fish jumped from one end of the market to the other.”

I was born in Catania, in Sicily, and migrated to Australia when I was seven. I had a quick trip this year for Slow Fish, a sustainable seafood festival in Genoa, then went to Sicily for two weeks. I’d forgotten how much I missed seeing Mount Etna. Now when I travel to Catania I’m always looking out for her. The thing I love to do when I first arrive is visit the produce market and the fish market, which is probably one of the best in Italy. I love the thought of living and shopping day to day. On my last visit a fish jumped from one end of the market to the other, and the pipis and other shellfish are still alive. We don’t see that in Australia. You’ll also find lots of offal, live snails, and obscure vegetables sold by the person who

grew them. It’s a great atmosphere: noisy, busy and quite theatrical. Some of Sicily’s best restaurants are here, too. They’re not necessarily high-end, but have good honest food. Seafood is the specialty of the area. Also seek out arancini, spaghetti alla Norma, cannoli, gelato – the list goes on. If you’re game, another food that’s a must is horse. Lots of little restaurants in the backstreets have barbecues on the footpath. They’ll grill a piece of horse meat for you, place it in a roll, and away you go. In Australia, I hold onto home by spending time with family. Having a meal, making salami, pickling, or our tomato sauce day – these things are what we did in Catania, and we continue these traditions. They bring people together.

My family hails from the Pordenone province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, in the north-east of Italy. They’re great people with great spirit. Time moves so fast – it’s now been 10 years since I was there last. Something that always sticks in my mind are the prosciutto bars of the beautiful hilltop town of San Daniele. I was there in the late afternoon in the middle of winter, looking out over vineyards, with the sun starting to dip behind the misty fields. The hilly streets have several old-school bars that specialise in the town’s most famous export: the soft and sweet prosciutto San Daniele DOP. You can buy plates of prosciutto crudo and also speck wrapped around thick grissini, and pay per stick. Another dish that sticks in my mind is boiled muset sausage (similar to cotecchino) served with braised fermented turnips and horseradish. The name refers to the traditional use of snout, head meat and skin. It’s simmered in water for hours to render down the collagen, which creates a very sticky and unctuous texture. The area where my family lives is on the main plain near the Tagliamento river. It’s a grape-growing area so there are vineyards for as far as the eye can see, and the Friulane Alps provide the backdrop. Finding a taste of Friuli in Australia is a rarity. I went to Beppi’s in Sydney once and the little back cellar room was probably the closest I’ve come. ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Focaccia Focaccia is dead. Long live focaccia.

Is the decade-defining bread of the ’90s back on the rise? DAVID MATTHEWS checks the country’s bread baskets.





he question rings out into cyberspace: “What are your favourite focaccia fillings – either those you buy or make yourself?” I’m deep in archived Vogue Australia forums. I expect no responses, or maybe some light ridicule. But the answers fly back: pesto and lemon; chicken, avocado and Swiss cheese; char-grilled eggplant, sundried tomatoes, feta. Four pages, all positive. Then, on 20 April 2005, it goes silent. And I think to myself, I’ve pinpointed when focaccia died in Australia. Died? Maybe not. You can still have it the way you used to: at Tropicana Caffe in Sydney’s Darlinghurst focaccia service runs till four; Brunetti in Melbourne still kicks it how it always has. Take a turn through little Italy and focaccia won’t be very far. We know focaccia. We’re familiar with its Roman roots, its pitted surface, the liberal use of olive oil. We know it because it was everywhere, packed with char-grilled vegetables and grilled in sandwich presses. For a time it represented the height of cosmopolitan café culture here, but for something that was at every corner café, somehow it went wrong. Was it Atkins? Sourdough? And why, over a decade after the trail went dead, is it back on menus?


The focaccia at Sydney’s Wyno.

“People are reclaiming things that were ruined by mass production,” says Mike Eggert of Sydney’s Pinbone team, who is about to open a focaccia-forward Italianate pop-up in Mascot with Jemma Whiteman, his Pinbone partner. “We love focaccia,” he says. “But it still makes me think of this fluffy, white, bullshit version. That’s everything focaccia shouldn’t be.” Eggert and Whiteman first made the bread at 10 William St, and they’ll be baking it again when Mr Liquor Dirty Italian Disco opens this month. They might enrich the dough with lard and potato, treat it like bruschetta, serve slices with ’nduja, or straight-up to tear apart and load with butter that’s been whipped with drippings from the wood-fired oven. “Focaccia fills a niche – it’s got an amazing texture without being too chewy, an amazing flavour without being sour,” says Eggert. “We use a mixture of soft ‘00’ flour, and strong flours – which help the water absorption – loads and loads of olive oil on top, which stays in the dough so you get this chewy, crusty, salty, oily, fucking sick bread.” If it sounds bold to open a place focused on a bread that fell out of favour, then Fugazza is the boldest, having opened in 2011 in Melbourne with the aim of reintroducing the bread to the city. Their Tuscan-style version is baked crisp, and not pressed or toasted before being made into sandwiches. But they’re not alone. In Adelaide, How the Focaccia opened last year in Hindmarsh. Back in Sydney, Dust Bakery sells schiacciata slick with olive oil and crusted with salt The team at Porteño launched their latest venue, Wyno, with a dark loaf that

sits on the counter, ready to be sliced and swiped through whipped lard. Chef and co-owner Elvis Abrahanowicz, who’s done versions since Bodega opened, thinks a resurgence is overdue. “I ate plenty of it in the ’90s, but then you couldn’t get it for ages,” he says. Wyno’s version is puffed and thick, an influence from Argentina. “It’s a bit like a sponge cake,” says Abrahanowicz. “We cook it quite hard – it’s got so much fat in it that it never burns, just goes delicious.” Focaccia is also in the bread basket at Neil Perry’s new Sydney outpost of Melbourne’s Rosetta. Head chef Richard Purdue tested different flours and oils before settling on the dough, which is laced with hojiblanca olive oil and proved for almost 24 hours: “We knock it back by prodding it with our fingers, let it come up again, and then before it goes in the oven it gets another big dose of olive oil over the top.” Salt and rosemary are in the mix, and it’s topped with oil once more before heading out to customers. “It’s funny, when I was talking to people about the restaurant opening up, and the focaccia, so many were like ‘Oh, what are you, lost in the ’90s?’” says Purdue. “Everyone didn’t realise it was coming back.” “I think it’s been long enough that people are willing to give it a go as a bit of a novelty, and then they go ‘oh, I see, I see’,” he says. “It’s like flared pants – it’s been just long enough.” Mr Liquor Dirty Italian Disco, 952 Botany Rd, Mascot, NSW; Fugazza, 31 Equitable Pl, Melbourne, Vic; Wyno, 4/50 Holt St (enter via Gladstone St), Surry Hills, NSW; Rosetta, Grosvenor Place, 118 Harrington St, Sydney, NSW ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R



t should be no surprise that Gourmet Traveller knows a thing or two about how to throw a good party. And true to form, it was a night to remember when Australia’s food heroes and hot talents gathered in Sydney in August for the annual Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards and the launch of the GT 2018 Australian Restaurant Guide. The gala dinner was held at Chin Chin in Surry Hills, the new restaurant from Melbourne restaurateur Chris Lucas. The Sydney outpost of Melbourne’s favourite South East Asian hotspot has been a long time coming, and the Oscars of the Australian food world were the perfect excuse to throw open the doors early. Guests including Andrew McConnell, Dan Hunter and Kate Reid flew in for the awards, enjoying cocktails, laughs and plenty of high-fives with other leading hospitality figures such as Kylie Kwong, Justin Hemmes, Matt Moran, Dan Hong, Peter Gilmore and Neil Perry. Adelaide’s Orana was named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year – the first restaurant outside Sydney and Melbourne in two decades to take home the award. Owner-chef Jock Zonfrillo accepted the top gong.



Clockwise from top left: chilli-fragrant mussels on rice cakes; the Chin Chin dining room; restaurant guide editor Pat Nourse and GT editor Sarah Oakes. Above: Yuzu-Me cocktails with Four Pillars x Kisumé Bartenders Series Pure Gin.

Mat Lindsay of Ester in Sydney took out the Chef of the Year award, while 28-year-old Josh Niland of Saint Peter in Paddington was named Best New Talent. It wouldn’t be a celebration of the best of Australian dining without a feast to match, and the Chin Chin team did a stellar job. Louis Roederer Champagne and wines from Murdoch Hill flowed as chefs, sommeliers, restaurateurs and maîtres d’ mingled over crab, curry and coconut sandwiches, and chilli-fragrant mussels on rice cakes, before a fiery banquet landed with lobster and crab jungle curry and beef short-rib with coconut salad among the highlights. “Whatever you like about good food, there’s something here for you,” said chief critic and editor of the restaurant guide Pat Nourse as he launched the new edition, presented in association with Vittoria Coffee and Santa Vittoria, and supporting sponsor Ilve. “It’s never been a better time to be a diner in Australia. However you like to enjoy yourself at the table, at the bar or in the kitchen.” It was a sensational evening with plenty of laughs, music and cocktails flowing well into the night. ●


For our annual night of nights, the leading lights of Australia’s culinary scene gathered in Sydney to celebrate the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards.


Party People


Clockwise from top left: Chris Lucas (left) of the Lucas Group and Chin Chin executive chef Benjamin Cooper; Sommelier of the Year Caitlyn Rees (left) and chef Danielle Alvarez, both of New Restaurant of the Year, Fred’s; Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality winner Ronni Kahn; Allie Webb and Anton Forte of Swillhouse group; Jock Zonfrillo (left) of Restaurant of the Year, Orana, and Vittoria Coffee CEO Les Schirato AM; twice-cooked beef short-rib with coconut salad and prik nahm pla; Zonfrillo takes the stage; (left to right) Attica co-owner Tad Lombardo, Vue de Monde’s Justin James, Momofuku Seiobo’s Kylie Javier Ashton, Zonfrillo and Greta Wohlstadt of Orana, Quay’s Peter Gilmore, and Ross and Sunny Lusted of The Bridge Room; sparkling from our sponsors Santa Vittoria; Best New Talent winner, Josh Niland.



New Australian Drama

Sunshine Wednesdays and Thursdays 8.30pm Premieres 18 October


Farfalle with Gorgonzola fonduta, zucchini, basil and toasted nuts




A tavola!

The magic of fresh ricotta, pasta in all shapes and sizes, stylish Italian sandwiches, spring dishes from Melbourne’s Osteria Ilaria, and la cucina vera Tuscan style.


So simple and versatile, fresh ricotta is an essential ingredient on the Italian table, bringing its milky magic to sweet and savoury dishes alike.

Asparagus and ricotta pizza bianche







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Y T W E E D Drink

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Chocolate cannoli

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Classic versions of cassata involve a covering of marzipan or tinted royal icing, or both. For a lighter version we’ve skipped that extra sweetness and opted instead for a coating of grated bitter chocolate.

1 tbsp Marsala, plus extra for brushing 750 gm firm ricotta Coarsely grated dark chocolate, pure icing sugar and raspberries, to serve SPONGE CAKE

6 eggs 220 gm (1 cup) caster sugar 220 gm (1½ cups) plain flour Finely grated rind of ½ lemon Pinch of ground cinnamon RICOTTA FILLING

500 gm firm ricotta 80 gm caster sugar 80 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped 80 gm mixed glacé fruits, such as cedro, glacé clementine, and glacé orange, diced 45 gm (⅓ cup) coarsely chopped pistachio nuts 1 tbsp Marsala 1 tsp vanilla bean paste Finely grated rind of ½ orange

1 For sponge cake, preheat oven to 180°C and butter a 21cm-diameter cake tin and a 27cm x 37cm Swiss roll tin and line each with baking paper. Whisk eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer until pale and tripled in volume (4-5 minutes). Sift in flour in two batches and fold to combine, then fold in lemon rind and cinnamon. Divide batter evenly between tins, smooth tops, and bake until golden brown and centres spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip (12-15 minutes for Swiss roll; 15-20 minutes for round cake). Cool cakes completely. 2 For the ricotta filling, mix ingredients in a bowl and chill until required. 3 Trim top of round cake flush, halve horizontally and place a cake round in the base of a

clean 21cm-diameter cake tin lined with baking paper. Cut two 4cm x 30cm strips from the rectangular cake and use to line the sides of the tin to form a hollow (there will be some cake left over), then brush cake lightly with Marsala. Spoon in ricotta mixture and smooth so it’s flush with the sides. Brush cut-side of remaining cake round lightly with Marsala and place Marsala-side down on ricotta filling. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for flavours to develop (1-2 hours or overnight), then unmould. 4 Stir ricotta and Marsala in a bowl until smooth, spread over sides of cake and press grated chocolate onto sides. Dust top with icing sugar and serve topped with raspberries. Wine suggestion Sherbety moscato.

PREVIOUS PAGES Pizza All props stylist’s own. Cannoli Small plate from MH Ceramics. Plate and jug from Ghost Wares. Cassata Plate from Ghost Wares. All other props stylist’s own. Salad Platter from MH Ceramics. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. 100


Tomato, ricotta and fregola salad SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 20 MINS (PLUS COOLING)

We’ve baked some of the ricotta in this salad to add texture, and kept the remaining fresh for its beautiful creaminess. This is certainly a meal in its own right, but it would also be excellent served alongside grilled bistecca.

400 gm firm ricotta 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil ½ tsp dried chilli flakes Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, juice of ½, or to taste 200 gm fregola (see note) 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 heirloom tomatoes, cut into wedges 200 gm mixed cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered ½ cup (loosely packed) mint ½ cup (loosely packed) basil ½ cup (loosely packed) baby rocket

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Crumble half the ricotta over a baking tray, drizzle with 2 tbsp oil, scatter with chilli and half the lemon rind, season to taste and bake until golden on the edges (10-12 minutes). Cool. 2 Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add fregola to a large frying pan over medium-high heat and dry-roast, stirring occasionally, until golden (8-10 minutes). Transfer to saucepan and boil until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain well and transfer to a bowl, stir in 2 tsp oil and cool to room temperature.

3 Combine garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and remaining rind and remaining oil in a jar, season to taste and stand for 5 minutes for garlic to soften and mellow. Just before serving, seal jar and shake well. 4 Add tomatoes, herbs, rocket and baked ricotta to fregola, drizzle with dressing, season and toss to coat. Serve scattered with remaining fresh ricotta. Note Fregola is available from select delicatessens and Italian grocers. If it’s not available, substitute risoni or freekeh (cooking time may vary). Wine suggestion Pale, dry rosato. ➤

Chocolate cannoli MAKES 12 // PREP TIME 30 MINS // COOK 20 MINS (PLUS RESTING)

Crisp-shelled cannoli are the perfect afternoon pick-me-up, especially with an espresso. Fillings range from pastry cream to spiced ricotta, and this chocolate ricotta version is irresistible. Pictured p99.

150 gm (1 cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting 30 gm caster sugar 1½ tsp Dutch-process cocoa ½ tsp ground cinnamon 20 gm melted butter 1 egg, lightly beaten 1 eggwhite, lightly beaten Vegetable oil, for deep-frying Pure icing sugar and grated dark chocolate, to serve CHOCOLATE FILLING

600 gm firm ricotta 120 gm dark chocolate (54%-58% cocoa solids), melted, plus extra melted for drizzling 2 tbsp sweet Marsala or chocolate liqueur Finely grated rind of ½ orange 2 tbsp cacao nibs

1 Pulse flour, sugar, cocoa and cinnamon in a food processor to combine, then add butter and whole beaten egg and process until a soft dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes), then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour to rest. 2 Cut dough into 4, dust lightly with flour, then, working with a piece at a time, feed through a pasta machine, starting on the widest setting, rolling and folding and reducing settings a notch at a time until dough is 2mm thick. Cut into 9cm squares, place on a lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel.

3 Place a pastry square in the palm of your hand with a corner at 12 o’clock, then place a cannoli tube (see note) on top so it lays from 12 o’clock to six o’clock. Fold pastry corners around the tube so the corners overlap, brush lightly with eggwhite (be careful not to brush eggwhite on the tube, or the cannoli shells will be hard to remove) and press to seal. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. 4 Heat oil in a deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180°C. Deep-fry cannoli in batches, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil will spit). Drain on paper towels, cool slightly,

then slide cannoli shells off tubes. Shells will keep in an airtight container for a week. 5 For chocolate filling, process ricotta, chocolate, Marsala and orange rind in a food processor to combine, then stir in cacao nibs. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle and refrigerate until firm (30 minutes), then pipe ricotta mixture into each end of cannoli tubes to fill. Dust with icing sugar, scatter with grated chocolate and serve with extra melted chocolate for drizzling. Note Cannoli tubes are available from kitchenware shops; otherwise use dried cannelloni pasta tubes. Wine suggestion Golden passito.

Asparagus and ricotta pizze bianche SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 20 MINS (PLUS PROVING)

The simpler the better is our motto when it comes to pizza. Here it’s all about milky ricotta and new-season asparagus. Pictured p98.

80 ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil 1 tbsp chopped thyme 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped Finely grated rind of 1 lemon 24 thick asparagus spears (about 3 bunches), shaved lengthways on a mandoline 1 buffalo mozzarella ball (about 200gm), drained and coarsely chopped 200 gm firm ricotta, plus extra to serve PIZZA DOUGH

2 7 1 450

tbsp olive oil gm (1 sachet) dried yeast tsp caster sugar gm (3 cups) plain flour

1 For pizza dough, combine olive oil, yeast, sugar, ½ tsp salt and 320ml lukewarm water in a bowl and set aside until foamy (2-3 minutes). Gradually add flour, mix until a rough dough forms, then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes; the dough will be quite soft and sticky). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until doubled in size (1-1½ hours). Knock back dough, knead briefly, then cover and leave until doubled in size (45 minutes to 1 hour). 2 Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250°C and place 2 heavy-based oven trays in oven to heat. Combine olive oil, thyme, garlic and lemon rind in a bowl and season to taste.

3 Divide dough into quarters, then form each into a 30cm round with the palm of your hand or a rolling pin and place each on a piece of baking paper. Brush with a little oil mixture and scatter with even amounts of asparagus, then mozzarella. Spoon dollops of ricotta on top, drizzle with a little extra oil mixture and season to taste. Bake in batches on heated trays, using baking paper to slide them on and swapping trays halfway through cooking, until golden brown and cooked through (6-8 minutes). Serve pizze hot with extra ricotta spooned in the centre of each and drizzled with extra oil mixture. Wine suggestion Dry fiano.

Pea and ricotta frittelle SERVES 4-6 AS A SNACK // PREP TIME 10 MINS // COOK 15 MINS

These bite-sized bundles flecked with sweet peas and creamy ricotta are as light and fluffy as you could wish for. We guarantee you’ll be going back for more.

To make your own ricotta, see our masterclass on page 40.

Frittelle & text page All props stylist’s own.

Vegetable oil, for deep-frying eggs gm firm ricotta gm (½ cup) plain flour tsp baking powder gm frozen peas, defrosted and coarsely crushed 2 tbsp coarsely chopped mint Finely grated rind of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges to serve Aïoli, to serve

2 250 75 1½ 200

1 Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 180°C. Beat eggs and 200gm ricotta in a bowl until smooth, then stir in flour and baking powder and season generously. Stir in peas, mint, lemon rind and remaining ricotta, trying to keep small chunks of ricotta throughout the batter. 2 Carefully add heaped tablespoonfuls of batter to the oil in batches (hot oil will spit) and fry until golden brown; the fritters will drop to the bottom of the oil but will puff up and rise to the surface as they cook (3-4 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon, drain briefly on paper towels, season to taste and serve hot with aïoli and lemon wedges. Drink suggestion Classic Venetian Spritz, or a fragrant, hoppy ale. ➤

Ricotta-polenta cake with lemon-rosemary syrup SERVES 8-10 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 50 MINS (PLUS COOLING)

This tangy lemon-scented cake is just as good served a day or two after baking as it is served warm, although once you smell it cooking, it might not last that long.

150 gm softened butter, plus extra for greasing 120 gm honey Finely grated rind and juice of 3 lemons 6 eggs, separated 400 gm firm ricotta 200 gm almond meal 180 gm fine polenta 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary, plus 3 extra sprigs 330 gm (1½ cups) caster sugar Flaked almonds, for scattering 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped



1 Preheat oven to 150°C and butter the base of a 26cmdiameter cake tin (we used a fluted tin) and line it with baking paper. Beat butter, honey and lemon rind in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl, then add yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. Transfer to a large bowl, fold in ricotta, then almond meal, polenta, rosemary and a pinch of salt. 2 Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer to soft peaks, then gradually whisk in 110gm sugar and whisk until glossy (1-2 minutes). Fold into ricotta mixture, then spoon batter into tin, smooth top and

scatter with almonds. Bake until golden and a skewer withdraws clean (45-50 minutes). Remove from oven and pierce all over with a skewer. 3 Stir lemon juice, remaining sugar and 80ml water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla bean and seeds, bring to the boil and cook until a light syrup forms (4-5 minutes). Discard vanilla bean, add rosemary sprigs and pour half over cake. Chill remaining. 4 Serve cake warm or at room temperature drizzled with remaining syrup. Wine suggestion Fruity prosecco.

Ricotta-polenta cake Small jug from Ghost Wares. Platter from MH Ceramics. Ricotta gelato Oval plate from MH Ceramics. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.

Ricotta gelato with espresso praline SERVES 4-6 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 20 MINS (PLUS CHILLING, FREEZING)

This delicate gelato is given a beautiful creaminess by the ricotta. Serve it in cones or bowls and be generous with the praline.

500 ml (2 cups) milk 200 ml pouring cream Finely grated rind of ½ lemon Pinch of finely grated nutmeg 5 egg yolks 200 gm caster sugar 500 gm firm ricotta Wafer cones, to serve ESPRESSO PRALINE

50 gm hazelnuts 150 gm caster sugar 50 ml espresso-strength coffee 1 Bring milk, cream, lemon rind and nutmeg to a simmer in a saucepan. Meanwhile, whisk yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale (4-5 minutes), then gradually whisk in milk mixture. Return to pan and simmer, stirring continuously, until it thickly coats the back of the spoon (4-5 minutes). Strain into a bowl, then blend in ricotta with a hand-held blender. Chill, then churn in an ice-cream machine and freeze until required. Makes about 1 litre. 2 For praline, preheat oven to 180°C. Spread hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast until golden (5-7 minutes). Cool briefly, then rub in a tea towel to remove skins and chop coarsely. Stir sugar and coffee in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to dissolve sugar, bring to the boil and cook until dark caramel (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in hazelnuts. Pour praline onto a lightly oiled baking tray and stand until set. Crush and store in an airtight container until required. Praline will keep for a week. 3 Serve gelato in wafer cones or bowls and top with espresso praline. Drink suggestion Short black ●

True to form Recipes & food styling LISA FEATHERBY Photography BEN DEARNLEY Styling GERALDINE MUÑOZ Wine suggestions MAX ALLEN

Not all pasta is created equal. For the tastiest results choose the shape that best showcases the sauce.

Bucatini with prawn fra diavolo



Casarecce with artichokes, capers, dill, lemon and mozzarella


110 Farfalle with Gorgonzola fonduta, zucchini, basil and toasted nuts



Prosciutto and parmesan cappellacci with brown butter and asparagus SERVES 4-6 // PREP TIME 30 MINS // COOK 10 MINS (PLUS RESTING)

A simple filling of fancy ham and cheese for this hat-shaped pasta is complemented here by a nutty brown-butter sauce.

150 2 2 2

gm chilled butter, diced tsp fresh thyme tsp fresh oregano bunches asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped 2 tsp lemon juice Finely grated parmesan (optional), to serve SEMOLINA PASTA DOUGH

300 gm (2 cups) semolina flour, plus extra for dusting 75 gm (½ cup) plain flour, plus extra for dusting 4 eggs PROSCIUTTO AND PARMESAN FILLING

80 gm prosciutto, finely chopped 60 gm coarsely grated parmesan 40 gm breadcrumbs from a crusty white loaf, crusts removed 2-3 tbsp milk

PREVIOUS PAGE White plate and Brett Stone bowl (bottom) from Elph Store. Bowl (centre) from Cherie Peyton. Stanley Rogers forks from Peter’s of Kensington. Cappellacci All props stylist’s own. Busiate Bowl from Batch Ceramics. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. 108


1 For pasta dough, process ingredients and a pinch of salt in a food processor until a dough forms. Add a couple of teaspoons of water if necessary to bring it together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and rest for 30-40 minutes. 2 For prosciutto and parmesan filling, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

3 Divide pasta dough into 6 and, working with a piece at a time (keep remaining covered), roll through a pasta machine on the widest setting a few times, folding as you go, to laminate the dough, then dust if necessary with a little flour to prevent sticking. Continue rolling and folding, reducing settings notch by notch until pasta is a long thin sheet about 9cm wide. Cut sheets into 8cm-9cm squares and place a teaspoonful of filing in the centre of each. Working with a square at a time, brush edges with a little water and fold into a triangle, gently pushing out air and pressing around filling to seal. Brush tips with a little water, then bring to the centre, and press together to seal.

Place on a tray dusted with semolina flour and repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cappellacci can be made up to a day ahead, covered and refrigerated before cooking. 4 Heat a wide deep frying pan over high heat. Add butter and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is nut-brown and foaming (3-5 minutes). Add herbs and season to taste. 5 Cook cappellacci and asparagus in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until pasta is al dente and asparagus is bright green (2-3 minutes). Drain, then add to brown butter along with lemon juice and toss to coat well. Serve scattered with parmesan. Wine suggestion Light, juicy dolcetto.

Busiate with crab, ginger, and pangrattato SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 30 MINS // COOK 25 MINS (PLUS RESTING)

These little twists are best made the day before you serve them – they hold their shape better when they’ve dried out. As for the sauce, we’ve kept it simple with a flavoured oil, crab and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs for the perfect textural contrast.

400 gm (2⅔ cups) “00” flour 100 gm day-old crustless sourdough bread, processed to fine breadcrumbs 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 1 garlic clove, crushed 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve CRAB AND GINGER SAUCE

125 ml (½ cup) mild-flavoured extra-virgin olive oil 20 gm peeled ginger, cut into julienne 4 small garlic cloves, very finely chopped 2-4 red birdseye chillies, or to taste, seeds removed (optional), finely chopped 400 gm cooked spanner crab meat, drained

1 Process flour and 200ml water in a food processor until a dough forms. If necessary add a couple of teaspoons extra water to bring it together. Knead on a lightly floured surface to a smooth ball (2-3 minutes), then wrap in plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30-40 minutes. Roll pieces of dough about the size of a large pea to a thin rope, dusting with flour to prevent sticking, then twirl around a small craft rod or chopstick (a knitting needle is traditional) to form a corkscrew shape. Slide off and set aside on a lightly floured tray to dry (at least 3 hours or overnight). 2 To make pangrattato, preheat oven to 200°C. Toss breadcrumbs, oil, garlic and parsley in a bowl and season.

Spread on an oven tray and bake until golden brown and crisp (10-15 minutes). 3 For crab and ginger sauce, heat oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat. Add ginger, garlic and chilli and sauté until fragrant and softened (5-6 minutes). Stir in crab and warm through, then season to taste. 4 Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (2-4 minutes). Drain well, reserving 60ml pasta water, then add busiate to crab sauce with extra parsley and toss gently to combine, adding a little pasta water if needed to coat well. Serve scattered with pangrattato. Wine suggestion Crisp, fragrant traminer. ➤

Casarecce with artichokes, capers, dill, lemon and mozzarella SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 25 MINS

The rolls of casarecce are ideal for lighter sauces or cheeses, such as the mozzarella here, which melts into them as it warms. Strozzapreti makes a great substitute. Pictured p107.

4 1 400 60 2 1 20 1 2 ¼

globe artichokes lemon, halved gm dried casarecce ml (¼ cup) extra-virgin olive oil golden shallots, thinly sliced on a mandoline small garlic clove, thinly sliced on a mandoline gm salted capers, rinsed tbsp lemon juice, plus finely grated rind, to serve buffalo mozzarella balls, torn cup torn dill, plus extra to serve Crème fraîche or finely grated parmesan, to serve

1 Trim artichoke stems and peel away tough outer leaves until you reach the pale inner hearts, and rub with lemon to prevent discolouration. Halve hearts, remove hairy choke with a teaspoon, then rub cut sides with lemon. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add artichoke and boil for 2 minutes to par-cook. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving water in pan on the heat, and cut artichokes into wedges. 2 Add casarecce to artichoke water and cook until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain well, reserving 2 tbsp pasta water.

3 Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat, add shallots and garlic and sauté until just softened (2-3 minutes). Add artichokes to pan along with capers, lemon juice and rind, and 2 tbsp pasta water, and stir until artichokes are tender (5-7 minutes). Add pasta, mozzarella and dill, and toss to combine and warm mozzarella (1-2 minutes). Season to taste and serve topped with crème fraîche or parmesan and scattered with extra dill. Wine suggestion Savoury, lemony Pecorino.

Farfalle with Gorgonzola fonduta, zucchini, basil and toasted nuts SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 30 MINS // COOK 5 MINS (PLUS RESTING)

No time to make the farfalle? No problem. Choose a dried pasta with a rough, almost dusty-looking surface to better hold the sauce. Pictured p107.

2 tbsp olive oil 2 zucchini, thinly sliced into rounds 4 zucchini flowers, baby zucchini thinly sliced and flowers torn, stamens discarded 2 tbsp coarsely chopped roasted hazelnuts 2 tbsp coarsely chopped roasted pistachio nuts Basil, torn, to serve Finely grated parmesan, to serve SEMOLINA PASTA DOUGH

300 gm (2 cups) “00” flour, plus extra for dusting 75 gm (½ cup) semolina 4 eggs GORGONZOLA FONDUTA

200 ml milk 300 gm Gorgonzola dolcelatte, crumbled



1 For pasta dough, process ingredients and a pinch of salt in a food processor until a dough forms. Add a couple of teaspoons of water if necessary to bring it together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (2-3 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 30-40 minutes. 2 Divide pasta dough into 6 and, working with a piece at a time (keep remaining covered), roll through a pasta machine on the widest setting a few times, folding as you go, to laminate the dough, then dust with a little flour to prevent sticking. Continue rolling and folding, reducing settings notch by notch until pasta is a long thin sheet. Cut sheet lengthways into 3 strips about 2.5cm wide, then cut strips into 5cm pieces. Pinch each piece in the middle to form a bow and set aside on

a lightly floured tray. Repeat with remaining pasta dough. 3 For Gorgonzola fonduta, bring milk to the boil, then stir in Gorgonzola until melted (1-2 minutes). Blend with a hand-held blender until smooth, season to taste and keep warm. 4 Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add sliced zucchini, including baby zucchini, and fry until golden (2-4 minutes). 5 Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (3-4 minutes). Drain, reserving some pasta water. Add pasta and 1 tbsp reserved water to zucchini. Serve topped with fonduta, zucchini flowers, nuts, basil and parmesan. Wine suggestion Orange skin-contact malvasia.

Bucatini with prawn fra diavolo SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 45 MINS

The long strands of bucatini are pierced, which helps them absorb the sauce. The classic pairing is with all’Amatriciana. We’ve added prawns to a tomato sauce spiked with the chilli.

400 gm dried bucatini 1 tbsp olive oil 300 gm peeled and cleaned uncooked prawns, halved lengthways 2 tsp tomato paste 2 tsp oregano Dried chilli flakes, to serve FRA DIAVOLO SAUCE

800 gm mixed cherry tomatoes, halved if large 4 garlic cloves, bruised 3 red birdseye chillies, coarsely chopped 200 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 oregano sprig

Bucatini White plate from Elph Store. Text page Bowl (bottom in stack) from Brett Stone, black bowl (middle in stack) from Peter’s of Kensington. Stanley Rogers cutlery from Peter’s of Kensington. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175.

1 For fra diavolo sauce, preheat oven to 200°C. Toss ingredients together in a roasting pan and roast until tender and starting to caramelise at the edges (40-45 minutes). Transfer a large spoonful of tomatoes to a plate and discard oregano sprig. Pulse remaining mixture in a food processor to your preferred consistency. Season to taste and keep warm. 2 Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (7-9 minutes). Drain, reserving

a little pasta water, then return pasta to pan with sauce and 1-2 tbsp reserved water to loosen. Add the reserved tomatoes, season to taste, toss to combine and keep warm. 3 Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add prawns, tomato paste and oregano, and stir occasionally until prawns are just cooked (2-3 minutes). Add to pasta, adjust seasoning and serve scattered with a pinch of chilli flakes. Wine suggestion Full-bodied Sicilian nero d’Avola. ➤

Conchiglione with ragù bianco, anchovies and wilted kale SERVES 6 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 2½ HRS

These large shells are often stuffed with meat, baked and served with a butter or tomato sauce. They’re also great vehicles for a chunky ragù. Here they cradle a white ragù – that is, with no tomato – of veal enriched with anchovies and white wine.

500 gm dried conchiglione 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 bunches kale, leaves coarsely chopped (stalks discarded) 4 anchovy fillets, torn Finely grated parmesan, to serve RAGÙ BIANCO

80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil 1 kg boneless veal shoulder, cut into 10cm chunks 2 tbsp plain flour, for dusting 1 small onion, finely chopped 4 anchovy fillets, crushed 4 small garlic cloves, crushed 300 ml dry white wine 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock

1 For ragù bianco, heat 2 tbsp oil in a wide saucepan over medium heat. Dust half the veal in flour, shake off excess and fry until lightly browned and crisp on the edges (9-10 minutes). Set aside and repeat with another 1 tbsp of oil and remaining veal. Set aside and add remaining oil and the onion to the pan and fry, scraping browned pieces from base of pan, until onion is translucent (5-7 minutes). Add

anchovies and garlic and stir to just combine (20-30 seconds). Deglaze pan with wine, add stock and veal and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low-medium, cover and simmer until veal is very tender (2 hours). Remove veal and, when cool enough to handle, shred veal, then return to sauce, season to taste and keep warm. 2 Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water

until al dente (8-10 minutes). Drain, reserving 1 tbsp pasta water, and keep pasta warm. Return reserved water to pan, add oil, kale and anchovies, and stir over high heat until kale wilts (3-4 minutes). 3 Divide pasta among serving plates, top with ragù and kale and serve scattered with parmesan. Wine suggestion Rich, textural Friulano.

Conchiglione Shallow bowl and small bowl from Elph Store. Gigli Cutipol spoon from Peter’s of Kensington. Other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. 112


Gigli with borlotti beans and pancetta in mint salsa SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 15 MINS

Gigli, meaning lilies, resemble a small calla lily. According to Oretta Zanini de Vita in her Encyclopedia of Pasta, “The shape is both pleasing to the eye and functional: it must not break during cooking and, above all, must collect the sauce.�

300 gm dried gigli 400 gm fresh podded borlotti beans, from 1kg unpodded (see note) 120 gm slab fatty mild pancetta or lardo, cut into lardons Finely grated pecorino, to serve MINT SALSA

100 ml mild extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup (firmly packed) mint, finely chopped 1 small garlic clove, crushed 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Mint is a foil for the salty, rich pancetta, but parsley, tarragon and basil would also work beautifully.

1 For mint salsa, stir ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. 2 Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until almost al dente (5-6 minutes). Add borlotti beans and cook until beans are tender and pasta is al dente (3-5 minutes). Drain well, reserving 60ml pasta water, then return pasta, beans and water to pan. 3 Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over high heat, add pancetta and fry until crisp (4-5 minutes). Add to the pasta along with the mint salsa and toss to combine. Season to taste and serve topped with plenty of pecorino. Note Fresh borlotti beans are available from select greengrocers. Rinsed canned borlotti beans will also work well. Wine suggestion Perfumed, snappy lagrein. â—?

I N I N A O P T N O R P f ho s a a d ver. d d – a than e n o i ash pting f f ut o re tem o o o er g ’re m v e n ey hes nd th c i dw tyle a n a S an s i l a It

Chicken cotoletta panino



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Preserved tuna and tomato open-faced panini



Prosciutto, peperonata and provolone rolls MAKES 4 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 15 MINS (PLUS COOLING)

A good condiment lifts any panino to another level. Here we’ve made a peperonata to add a piquant punch to an otherwise simple sandwich. It’s worth having on hand in the fridge, so we recommend making a double batch.



4 sourdough torpedo rolls, halved (or a sourdough baguette, cut into lengths) Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling 8 thin slices prosciutto 12 thin slices provolone piccante (see note) Basil, to serve PEPERONATA

1½ tbsp olive oil 1 small onion, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 red capsicum, cored and thinly sliced 3 thyme sprigs 2 tbsp red wine vinegar 2 tbsp red wine 2 tsp caster sugar

1 For peperonata, heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add capsicum and thyme and sauté until capsicum starts to soften (4-5 minutes). Add vinegar, wine and sugar, season to taste, and simmer until liquid is almost completely absorbed (4-5 minutes). Cool to room temperature. Peperonata will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for a week. 2 To serve, drizzle cut side of rolls with oil, layer with prosciutto and provolone, top with peperonata, scatter with basil and season generously. Note Provolone piccante is from select delicatessens.

PREVIOUS PAGE Cotoletta Cutipol knife from Francalia. Black marble tile (used throughout) from Teranova. Tuna panini Cutipol teaspoon from Francalia. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. Prosciutto rolls & Tramezzini All props stylist’s own.

Asparagus and egg tramezzini with lemon aïoli SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 10 MINS // COOK 10 MINS (PLUS COOLING)

These little pillowy sandwiches, said to hail from Turin (see our feature on page 84), make the most of spring asparagus. They’re best eaten almost as soon as they’re made.

4 eggs, at room temperature 16 asparagus spears (about 3 bunches), trimmed 8 slices soft white bread, crusts removed LEMON AÏOLI

1 egg yolk 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 garlic clove, finely grated Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil 125 ml (½ cup) extra-virgin olive oil

A homemade lemon aïoli adds flavour and helps to hold the soft white bread together at the edges.

1 For lemon aïoli, whisk yolk, mustard, garlic, lemon rind and half the juice in a bowl to combine. Combine oils and gradually add to bowl, drop by drop to begin with and then in a thin steady stream, whisking continuously until thick and emulsified. Season to taste, then add remaining lemon juice to taste. Aïoli will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 2 Cook eggs in a saucepan of boiling water until cooked with just firm yolks (8 minutes). Drain, refresh under cold running water, then peel.

3 Blanch asparagus until bright green and just tender (1-2 minutes; see cook’s notes p175). Drain and refresh, then drain well. Trim asparagus so it’s just a little shorter than the bread. 4 Lay out bread slices and spread thinly with lemon aïoli right to the edges. Thickly slice eggs and place down the centre of half the bread slices, leaving a 1cm gap at the top and bottom. Arrange 2 asparagus spears each side of egg, season to taste, then sandwich with remaining bread, aïoli-side down. Press slices together at the sides, then halve diagonally and serve. ➤

Chicken cotoletta panini

Broccoli, lemon, anchovy and stracchino ciabatta rolls


Crumbed chicken and crisp slaw tucked into a bun – what’s not to love? Dress the slaw just before serving for maximum crunch. Pictured p114.

100 gm coarse breadcrumbs, made from day-old white bread 30 gm parmesan, finely grated Finely grated rind of ½ lemon, plus lemon wedges (optional), to serve 2 skinless chicken breasts Seasoned plain flour, for dusting 1 egg, lightly beaten Olive oil, for shallow-frying 4 small panini rolls, halved Aïoli or mayonnaise and mint, to serve PARMESAN SLAW

300 50 1 1 2

gm shaved white cabbage gm parmesan, finely grated golden shallot, thinly sliced garlic clove, finely chopped tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Juice of ½ lemon, or to taste

1 Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan and lemon rind in a shallow bowl and season. Pound chicken breasts between 2 sheets of baking paper to 6mm-7mm thick. Dust with seasoned flour, dip in egg, then coat in breadcrumb mixture, shaking off excess after each. Place on a tray lined with baking paper, cover and refrigerate until required. Cotoletta can be prepared a day ahead. 2 For parmesan slaw, combine cabbage, parmesan and shallot in a bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, season and toss with cabbage mixture just before serving.

3 Heat 2cm oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add chicken and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through (4-5 minutes). Drain on paper towels, season to taste then halve. 4 Spread panini with aïoli or mayonnaise to taste, top with cotoletta and slaw, scatter with mint, sandwich and serve.

Preserved tuna and tomato open-faced panini SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 10 MINS // COOK 10 MINS (PLUS COOLING)

Tuna cooked slowly in oil has an incredible texture and it flakes apart in beautiful large pieces. The tuna here will be more than you need, but it’s excellent flaked through salads or pasta. As an alternative, buy good canned tuna in oil. Pictured p115.

8 thick slices olive bread 1 garlic clove, halved 2 ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced Basil and flat-leaf parsley, to serve PRESERVED TUNA

400 gm tuna fillet 300 ml extra-virgin olive oil 3 garlic cloves, halved Thinly peeled rind of ½ lemon 3 thyme sprigs BASIL OIL

200 ml extra-virgin olive oil ⅓ cup finely chopped basil ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon



1 For preserved tuna, place tuna in a saucepan that fits it with just a little room around the sides. Add oil, garlic, lemon rind and thyme, bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer tuna and oil to a container, ensuring tuna is completely submerged, cover and refrigerate until needed (tuna will keep in oil for a week). Drain before using and break into coarse flakes. 2 For basil oil, combine ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.

3 Heat an oven grill to high. Drizzle bread with a little oil from the tuna, season to taste and toast both sides under the grill (1-2 minutes). Rub with the cut sides of garlic, then top with tomato slices and tuna, drizzle with basil oil, scatter with herbs and serve.


At their best, panini are all about pared-back ingredients. Here, success lies in using the best of anchovies for their salty, pungent kick. If you can’t find stracchino, a creamy young cheese, spread the ciabatta with a generous amount of mascarpone instead.

300 gm broccoli florets (from about ½ small broccoli) 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling Finely grated rind and juice of 1 small lemon, or to taste 4 anchovy fillets, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, finely chopped ½ tsp dried chilli flakes 4 ciabatta rolls, halved 200 gm stracchino (see note) Lemon wedges (optional), to serve 1 Blanch broccoli until bright green and just tender (1-2 minutes; see cook’s notes p175). Drain, refresh, then drain again and pat dry with paper towels. Transfer to a bowl, add oil, lemon rind and juice, anchovies, garlic and chilli flakes, season to taste and toss to combine. 2 Preheat a sandwich press. Drizzle cut sides of rolls with olive oil, then pile broccoli mixture onto bases. Top with stracchino, season to taste, sandwich with tops and toast in sandwich press until golden and cheese melts (3-4 minutes). Serve hot with lemon wedges. Note Stracchino is a soft, fresh cheese made of cow’s milk or buffalo milk; it’s available from delicatessens and select supermarkets. ➤

At their best, panini are all about pared-back ingredients. Here, melting cheese meets broccoli sharpened with the piquancy of anchovies, lemon and chilli.

Ciabatta rolls All props stylist’s own.

Mozzarella in carrozza SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 10 MINS // COOK 10 MINS

Fried cheese sandwiches, or mozzarella in a carriage – simple and simply the best.



8 soft white bread slices, crusts removed 2 buffalo mozzarella balls (about 200gm each), drained and thickly sliced 125 ml (½ cup) milk 75 gm (½ cup) seasoned plain flour mixed with 1 tsp chopped thyme 2 eggs, lightly beaten Olive oil, for shallow-frying Lemon wedges, to serve

1 Place bread slices on a work surface and arrange mozzarella on half, leaving a small border. Season to taste, sandwich with remaining bread, then press the edges to seal. 2 Place milk, seasoned flour and beaten egg in separate bowls. Heat 1.5cm oil in a large

frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Dip panini in milk, dust in flour and dip in egg, shaking off excess each time, then fry until golden brown on both sides (4-5 minutes). Drain on paper towels, season and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Porchetta panini with fennel and mustard fruits SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 1 HOUR (PLUS RESTING)

With crunchy crackling and melt-in-the-mouth meat, porchetta is irresistible. Even more so when sandwiched in a ciabatta roll along with crunchy fennel and mustard fruit to cut through the richness.

1 kg boneless pork belly, skin scored at 1cm intervals with a very sharp knife 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling and tossing 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 2 tsp roasted fennel seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary Finely grated rind and juice of ½ lemon 4 ciabatta rolls, halved Mayonnaise and chopped mustard fruit (see note), to serve 1 baby fennel bulb, thinly shaved on a mandoline, fronds reserved Wild rocket, to serve

Porchetta panini Brass Post Box pepper grinder from The DEA Store. All other props stylist’s own. Stockists p175. Mozzarella in carrozza All props stylist’s own.

1 Preheat oven to 220°C. Place pork skin-side up on a wire rack in the sink, carefully pour boiling kettle over skin to help the score marks open, then stand for 10 minutes to dry out. Pat dry with paper towels. 2 Stir oil, garlic, crushed fennel seeds, rosemary and lemon rind in a bowl, season to taste, then rub mixture over pork flesh. Place skin-side up in a small roasting pan lined with baking paper, scatter skin generously with sea salt flakes and roast until skin starts to crackle and brown (30-35 minutes). Reduce oven to 180°C and roast until tender when pierced with a sharp knife (25-30 minutes).

Leave to rest for 20 minutes, then thinly slice meat and crackling. 3 Drizzle the cut sides of ciabatta rolls with olive oil, then spread with mayonnaise. Top bases with porchetta, crackling and mustard fruit, and season to taste. Toss fennel in a bowl with lemon juice and olive oil to taste, season to taste and pile on top of filling, scatter with rocket, sandwich with ciabatta tops and serve. Note Mustard fruit, or mostarda di frutta, is an Italian condiment of fruit preserved in mustardflavoured syrup and is from select delicatessens and supermarkets. ●

With crunchy crackling and melt-in-the-mouth meat, porchetta is irresistible.

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Roast duck breast with hazelnut sauce




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Grilled fennel and asparagus salad


Viva Ilaria Osteria Ilaria, the new sibling of Melbourne’s much-loved Tipo 00, has been an instant hit with its modern take on Italian cooking, showcased here in a snapshot of its winning spring menu.




Grilled fennel and asparagus salad SERVES 6 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 5 MINS

“Fennel’s flavour changes dramatically as you grill it, and it gives it more depth,” says Andreas Papadakis. “The honey dressing marries all the ingredients really well and makes this salad a great side dish for a roast. You can add or substitute fresh peas instead of the broad beans.” Pictured page 110.

2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, sliced lengthways (about 4mm thick), fronds reserved 3 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed 120 gm podded broad beans (from about 500gm unpodded) Olive oil, for brushing HONEY-MUSTARD DRESSING

1 3 2 150

tbsp sherry vinegar tsp Dijon mustard tsp honey ml olive oil

1 Blanch fennel and asparagus until not quite tender but just softened (1-2 minute). Drain well and cool. 2 Blanch broad beans until tender (1-2 minutes), then drain and refresh in iced water, drain again and peel. 3 Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Brush fennel with a little oil and grill until lightly charred (30-45 seconds each side). 4 For dressing, whisk vinegar, mustard, and honey in a bowl to combine. While whisking, gradually add olive oil in a thin stream until thick and emulsified. 5 Dress fennel, asparagus and broad beans generously, season to taste and transfer to a platter. Top with fennel fronds and serve. Wine suggestion 2016 Tenuta Terre Nere “Etna Bianco”, Sicily. This wine, from the northern slopes of Mount Etna, is a blend of local varieties, the dominant grape being carricante. It’s a pure expression of terroir, with white flowers, scorched lemon, high acid and a salty-savoury palate reminiscent of a great Chablis.



poiler alert: you won’t find any pasta in this feature. That might come as a shock to fans of immensely popular pasta bar Tipo 00, but Osteria Ilaria, which opened to fevered interest next door to its sibling in Melbourne’s CBD earlier this year, is almost (but not quite) a pasta-free zone. Of course, there’s still plenty to like, but for a team who built their success on rolling out pasta dough, it’s a surprise move. “What we wanted to do here was a wine-driven modern Italian restaurant,” says chef and co-owner Andreas Papadakis. “Sort of like the new-style osterias you’d find in Milan where tradition is mixed with modern technique and varied ingredients and influences.” The chef admits it was tricky (and slightly stressful) trying to ensure the two restaurants were separate entities without losing the essence of Tipo’s success. “The weight of expectation was pretty intense because we weren’t going to replicate Tipo,” he says. “But we did want to stay with the same ethic – a place where we’d go, serving food we want to eat that’s recognisably Italian. The most obvious difference is that there’s less emphasis on pasta at Ilaria. And the dishes are perhaps more elegant and modern, and we like to use different ingredients. If they’re using veal at Tipo, we might go with lamb.” The recipes here provide a good snapshot of how Osteria Ilaria rolls. The octopus with ’nduja dressing already has something of a cult following, and others are a preview of what Papadakis will be dishing up on Ilaria’s first spring menu. “We haven’t served the mascarpone dish, but thought that it was perfect with the great berries you can get at this time of year, and though we’ve done zucchini flowers before, the almond purée is something that we’ll also be using on our spring menu,” says Papadakis. The seafood and vegetable emphasis here is, according to Papadakis, “a reflection of the way I like to eat mostly”. “It’s not that we don’t serve meat,” he says. “But with spring I like the menus to be lighter, fresher and simpler. It’s the way I eat when I go to Italy and it’s the way I like to feed people when they come to Ilaria.” Osteria Ilaria, 367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, Vic (03) 9642 2287,

Zucchini flowers stuffed with almond purée and aïoli SERVES 6 // PREP TIME 10 MINS // COOK 3 MINS

“This tempura batter gets really crisp and works really well with the garlic-scented soft almond purée in the flowers,” says Papadakis. “It’s the perfect snack for a dinner party.”

18 zucchini flowers with stem attached, stamens removed, ends trimmed Vegetable oil, for deep-frying 150 gm rice flour Pinch of baking powder 225 ml chilled sparkling mineral water Seasoned plain flour, for dusting AÏOLI

3 1 1 500

eggs tbsp white wine vinegar garlic clove, crushed ml (2 cups) vegetable oil ALMOND PURÉE

125 gm day-old sourdough, crusts removed 150 ml olive oil 125 gm almond meal 1 small garlic clove, finely grated Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste

1 For aïoli, blend eggs, vinegar, garlic and 1 tsp sea salt in a blender on high for a minute. Add oil very slowly while the blender is running and whisk until thick and emulsified. Season to taste and refrigerate until required. 2 For almond purée, soak bread in 250ml water for 30 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid, reserving 2 tbsp. Process olive oil, almond meal, garlic and soaked bread in a blender until smooth, adding reserved soaking liquid to loosen if necessary. Season to taste with lemon juice and salt. 3 Gently open zucchini flowers and place a heaped teaspoonful of almond purée in each. Gently twist the tops of petals together to close. 4 Heat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C. Combine rice flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl and gradually whisk in sparkling water until smooth. Batter should be made just before frying – it will thicken if it sits. 5 Place seasoned flour in a bowl. Lightly dust flowers in flour and dip into the batter, shaking off excess. Fry in batches until golden and crisp (2-3 minutes; be careful, hot oil may spit). Drain on paper towels and serve hot with aïoli. Wine suggestion 2011 Gembrook Hill “Blanc de Blanc”, Yarra Valley. Coming from one of the cooler sites in the Yarra, this sparkling wine made with a 100 per cent chardonnay spends six years on lees before being disgorged with very little dosage. It’s dry, shows great acid, fine mousse and lovely yeasty characters from the lees contact. ➤

Baby octopus with ’nduja dressing SERVES 6 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 10 MINS (PLUS PRESSING)

“Spicy ’nduja and octopus are a great match,” says Papadakis. “We make the ’nduja into a dressing for the perfect balance of spicy and salty; if you have any left over it’s a great snack on grilled sourdough.” Begin this recipe a day ahead to press the octopus.

1 kg baby octopus (about 6) 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil Crusty bread, to serve (optional) ’NDUJA DRESSING

200 125 2 8

ml olive oil gm ’nduja (see note) tbsp sherry vinegar anchovy fillets

1 For ’nduja dressing, process all ingredients in a blender until smooth. 2 Remove heads from octopus by cutting below the eyes and above the tentacles, then discard. Remove beak from centre of tentacles by pushing through from the cut side with your finger and discard, then wash and dry octopus well. 3 Gently warm olive oil in a wide saucepan to 45°C, or lukewarm (2-3 minutes). Remove from the heat, add octopus and stand in the warm oil until opaque (6-8 minutes). Drain oil and discard. Place octopus on a flat tray, ensuring tentacles are resting flat. Place another flat tray on top, pressing to flatten, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Weigh down with food cans and refrigerate overnight. 4 The next day, heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat. Grill octopus, turning once, until charred and warmed through (1-2 minutes each side). 5 To serve, spread ’nduja dressing on serving plates. Top with octopus and serve warm with crusty bread. Note ’Nduja is a spreadable salami available from select butchers and Italian smallgoods producers – look for ’nduja with bright red colouring for the best result. Wine suggestion 2016 Unico Zelo “Slate Farm” Fiano, Clare Valley. A great example by Brendan Carter of an Italian variety done well in Australia. This Fiano showcases classic Clare Valley minerality, searing acid line and a ripe citrus palate, creating a great wine for seafood and spice. 126


Mackerel tartare, pickled cucumber and crème fraîche



Andreas Papadakis

Corn and broccolini

Corn and broccolini SERVES 6 AS A SIDE // PREP TIME 15 MINS // COOK 1 HR 20 MINS

“This is inspired by a very simple Roman pasta dish, cacio e pepe, meaning cheese and pepper,” says Papadakis. “We use pecorino Romano in the corn purée to give it the creaminess of a risotto.”

4 corn cobs, husks and silk removed 50 gm butter, diced 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil 2 golden shallots, thinly sliced 3 bunches (about 175gm each) broccolini, trimmed 100 gm pecorino Romano, finely grated, plus extra to serve 1 Slice the kernels from 3 corn cobs, then halve the remaining corn cob. 2 Heat butter and 1 tbsp oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add shallot and sauté until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add corn kernels and 500ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (40-45 minutes). Process in a blender and until

smooth. Keep warm until ready to serve. 3 Blanch broccolini until tender (2-3 minutes; see cook’s notes p175). Drain and pat dry. 4 Heat a char-grill pan or barbecue to high heat and grill broccolini and remaining corn, turning occasionally until charred (6-8 minutes for broccolini; 10-12 minutes for corn). Season with remaining olive oil and salt. 5 Slice kernels from charred corn in slabs. Stir pecorino into corn purée, season to taste and spread on plates. Top with broccolini, charred corn and extra pecorino and serve. Wine suggestion 2015 Campi di Fonterenza “Rosso di Montalcino” Sangiovese, Tuscany. Smoky, with dark fruits, balsamic and spice, this is stunning with the charred broccolini and sweetcorn. ➤

Roast duck breast with hazelnut sauce SERVES 6 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 2½ HRS

“Hazelnuts make this dish unique with their fragrance,” says Papadakis. “It’s a simple dish and making the base sauce in advance makes things a lot simpler.” At Osteria Ilaria Papadakis uses Italian hazelnuts from Piedmont, which, he says, have the best flavour. Pictured p122.

2 tbsp butter 3 small radicchio heads, outer leaves removed, halved 6 duck breasts (about 200gm each), fat scored in a cross-hatch 100 gm roasted hazelnuts, crushed 50 ml hazelnut oil 2 tbsp sherry vinegar DUCK SAUCE

2 duck carcasses, or duck bones, coarsely chopped (see note) 2 golden shallots, sliced 1 thyme sprig 1 fresh bay leaf 50 gm butter 150 ml Marsala 2 litres (8 cups) chicken stock

1 For duck sauce, preheat oven to 180°C. Roast duck bones in a roasting pan until browned (1½ hours). Meanwhile, sauté shallot, thyme and bay leaf in butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until caramelised (6-8 minutes). Deglaze pan with Marsala and reduce until almost evaporated (2-3 minutes). Add chicken stock and roasted duck bones, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 500ml (1 hour). Pass through a fine sieve into a clean saucepan and season to taste. 2 Melt butter in a large frying pan over low-medium heat, add radicchio cut-side down and cook, turning once until golden

(5-6 minutes each side). Reduce heat to low and cook until wilted and tender (5 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm. 3 Cook duck breasts skin-side down in a large non-stick ovenproof frying pan over low-medium heat until fat is rendered and skin is crisp (10-15 minutes). Drain fat into a container and reserve for another use (fat will keep refrigerated in a jar for a month; it’s great for roasting potatoes). Transfer pan to oven, keeping duck breasts skin-side down, and roast until medium-rare (3-4 minutes; if your pan is not ovenproof, transfer duck to a heated ovenproof tray). Rest and keep warm.

4 Wipe pan clean, then add hazelnuts and oil. Stir continuously over high heat to lightly toast (1 minute), deglaze pan with vinegar, then add reserved duck sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes. 6 Thickly slice duck breasts and transfer to plates, pour sauce over and serve with raddichio. Note Duck carcasses will need to be ordered from your butcher. Wine suggestion 2016 Patrick Sullivan ‘Amazon’ Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Vic. One of the best wines Patrick has made, it has a generous palate of raspberry and strawberry, savoury spice, tomato leaf and a lively acidity.

Mackerel tartare, pickled cucumber and crème fraîche SERVES 8 // PREP TIME 20 MINS (PLUS CHILLING, PICKLING)

“Like with any fish tartare, the freshness of the fish is very important,” says Papadakis. “Spanish mackerel is an oily fish and requires a little acidity, which comes from the pickles. We like cucumbers for their freshness but other pickled vegetables could also be used.” At Osteria Ilaria, Papadakis uses wild garlic rather than herbs in the sauce. Pictured p127.

1 kg Spanish mackerel, skinned and pin-boned Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime Baby sorrel leaves, to serve Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve BRINE

100 gm fine salt 50 gm caster sugar PICKLED CUCUMBER

100 ml white wine vinegar 50 gm caster sugar 4 Lebanese cucumbers, peeled CRÈME FRAÎCHE SAUCE

250 gm crème fraîche 50 gm mixed soft herbs, such as chervil, flat-leaf parsley and dill, finely chopped 128


1 For brine, place salt, sugar and 200ml in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Add 800ml cold water, transfer to a non-reactive container that will fit the mackerel and refrigerate to cool (1 hour). Add mackerel and refrigerate for 1 hour. 2 For pickled cucumber, bring vinegar, sugar and 200ml water to the boil in a saucepan, then cool to room temperature. Halve 3 cucumbers, remove seeds and dice (about 5mm). Slice remaining cucumber into very thin rounds. Add both to liquid and chill to lightly pickle (at least 1 hour; pickle can be made a day in advance).

3 Remove mackerel from brine (discard brine), pat dry and dice (about 5mm). Chill until required. 4 For crème fraîche sauce, blend ingredients in a food processor until smooth (1-2 minutes). Season to taste with sea salt. 5 Drain cucumber and combine with mackerel in a bowl. Add lime rind and juice, and season to taste. Divide crème fraîche sauce among plates, top with tartare and pickled cucumber, sprinkle with sorrel leaves, drizzle with olive oil and serve. Wine suggestion 2015 Pieropan “Calvarino” Garganega/ Trebbiano, Soave. Calvarino is famous for being a leaner

mineral-driven vineyard of the Pieropan Estate. The 2015 vintage was warm, allowing the grapes to achieve great ripeness. This wine has notes of ripe green apples, stone fruits, honey and a savoury finish. A great combination with the earthy Spanish mackerel.

Mascarpone mousse, berries and caramelised white chocolate SERVES 8 // PREP TIME 20 MINS // COOK 25 MINS (PLUS COOLING, SETTING)

“This is our take on berries and cream, with the addition of a simple and delicious spice cake and caramelised white chocolate,” says Papadakis.

250 gm (2 punnets) raspberries, halved widthways 250 gm (2 punnets) blueberries 250 gm (1 punnet) strawberries, hulled and sliced into rounds SPICE CAKE

140 gm butter, at room temperature 140 gm pure icing sugar 6 eggs 70 gm almond meal 100 gm panko crumbs 1 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon CARAMELISED WHITE CHOCOLATE

125 gm white couverture chocolate, finely chopped MASCARPONE CREAM

250 gm (1 cup) mascarpone 75 gm pure icing sugar 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream

1 For spice cake, preheat oven to 180°C. Butter a 20cmdiameter cake tin and line with baking paper. Beat butter and icing sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Beat in eggs one at time, beating well between additions. Add remaining ingredients and beat to combine. Pour batter into tin and smooth top with a spatula, then bake until a skewer inserted withdraws clean (25 minutes). Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 2 For caramelised white chocolate, stir chocolate continuously in a small saucepan over low heat until melted, golden and caramelised (20-25 minutes). Pour onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and chill until set (30 minutes to 1 hour). Coarsely chop or grate. 3 For mascarpone cream, process mascarpone and icing sugar in a food processor until smooth. With motor running, gradually add cream, whisking until just incorporated. Do not overwork or cream will split. 4 To serve, break cake into 16 pieces and divide among plates, spoon mascarpone cream over, top with berries and sprinkle with caramelised white chocolate. Wine suggestion Serragghia Moscato DOC di Pantelleria, Sicily. This is a unique and exceptional wine if you’re able to get your hands on it. It’s a classic-style dessert wine, displaying orange-blossom characters, candied fruit and honey. It provides contrast to the berries and is great with the white chocolate. ●

“This is our take on berries and cream, with the addition of a simple and delicious spice cake and caramelised white chocolate.”

TUS C A N Ravioli filled with tomato and bread in a mozzarella cream



In their new cookbook, Tuscany, London cookery school and café owners Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi share specialties of the region and favourites from Giancarlo’s Tuscan childhood. Recipes & words KATIE & GIANCARLO CALDESI Photography HELEN CATHCART




Zucchini and tomato ragĂš





e’ve travelled all over Tuscany during the past 20 years. It’s Giancarlo’s homeland. He was born and raised in Montepulciano Stazione, a tiny village near the Umbrian border. He remembers a happy yet tough childhood living on his family smallholding, helping his mother with the cooking and his father on the land. They had little money and grew most of what they ate. Giancarlo’s mother, Marietta, was sadly very ill when I met her. I would have relished learning from her first-hand and often imagine I hear her whispering advice in my ear. I’m fascinated by the way she, and her mother before her, used to cook. Both cooked over an open fire using a grill positioned over the embers and had a tripod for a cauldron (which we still have) for one-pot dishes. Baking happened once a fortnight in the outdoor oven.

Pici with anchovy breadcrumbs SERVES 8

“Our friend Fabrizio, and his wife, Antonella, and daughter, Ilaria, invited us to their house to make pici,” says Katie Caldesi. “The family squabbled happily about who rolled the best pici and, after a hectic few days, I felt myself finally slow down to the Tuscan pace of life. What a joy it was. Not just lunch, but an invitation to partake in the skills of the Tuscan kitchen – a wonderful way to spend the day.”

200 gm coarse breadcrumbs, from a day-old loaf 10 salt-cured anchovy fillets 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp dried chilli flakes 8 tbsp olive oil Grated parmesan, to serve PICI ALLA FABRIZIO

1 kg “00” flour 1 tbsp olive oil 1 For the pici, place the flour in a bowl with oil and ½ tsp salt. Add cold water, a splash at a time, and mix with a wooden spoon until dough starts to come together. Turn out onto a large 132


wooden board and knead until smooth and elastic (2-3 minutes). Put any dry crumbs in a bowl, add a splash of water and bring together into a dough with your hands, then combine the two. Add a little more flour and knead until smooth (10 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes (in the fridge in summer; leave it out in winter.) 2 Cut off a palm-sized piece of dough and roll out to a thickness of 3mm (keep the remainder wrapped so it doesn’t dry out). It should be like thick lengths of spaghetti. Use a pizza cutter to cut the piece into 5mm-wide strips. Roll the strips into long strands, stretching them as you roll by spreading your fingers out. Leave pici separated on a floured board. They can rest here for a few hours or overnight. Repeat with remaining dough. Cook in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (4-5 minutes; 8-10 minutes if left overnight to dry). Drain. 3 Fry breadcrumbs, anchovies, garlic and chilli flakes in olive oil over medium heat until crunchy (5 minutes). Toss with pici and serve scattered with grated parmesan.

Before the 1950s, life in Italy hadn’t changed for generations, and I believe old Tuscan cooking (with some exceptions) was healthier than it is now. Everything the Caldesi family ate was organic, seasonal and fresh. And that was the norm. I want to adopt all Marietta’s ideas of fresh home cooking – the lovely herb-filled Tuscan dishes, the slowcooked meat stews, the hearty soups and the light, just-picked salads – but I want to translate them for today’s cooks. When Giancarlo talked about how his mother ran her kitchen, we thought this might not be possible today, but in fact it seems increasingly relevant as we become more conscious of what we eat and what we waste. Marietta’s food is what we should be eating now: good food cooked from scratch, from field to fork. La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School, 4 Cross Keys Close, London; Caffè Caldesi, 118 Marylebone La, London,

Fresh pasta “This is the pasta recipe we always use and recommend,” says Katie. “Ideally, roll the pasta on a wooden surface to add texture, helping the pasta to absorb the sauce that will eventually coat it. Many Italian cooks use a tablecloth for the same purpose. To save time, the pasta dough can be made in a food processor.”

200 gm “00” flour, plus a little extra if necessary 2 medium eggs 1 Pour flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack eggs into well. Using a table knife, gradually mix flour into eggs and mix until a thick paste forms. Use your fingertips to incorporate the rest of the flour and form a ball of dough. Discard any dry little crumbs. Dough should form a soft but firm, flexible ball. If it’s still sticking to your palm, add a little more flour, but be sure to stop adding flour as soon as the dough stops sticking. If it’s really dry and has many cracks, add a drop or two of water. 2 Knead the dough until it springs back to the touch, the colour is uniform and, when cut open, the ball of dough is full of small air bubbles; this means you have kneaded it for long enough (5-10 minutes). Rest the dough for at least 20 minutes or up to a day, lightly dusted with flour and wrapped in plastic wrap.

Wild boar stew SERVES 8 “Tuscan chef Antonella Secciani, who showed us this recipe, cooks stews long and slow, adjusting the heat so the stew just quivers on the surface,” says Katie. “When she was growing up she lived in a village and there was a mattatoio (a rudimentary butcher), where the wild boar were brought to be cleaned, cut and distributed after a hunt. The best bit went to the person who shot it. It took around 20 men to kill one, maybe due to the grappa served frequently throughout the day.” Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the meat.

4 garlic cloves 1 cup (firmly packed) rosemary 180 ml extra-virgin olive oil 500 ml (2 cups) red wine 120 gm tomato paste 1½ litres (6 cups) beef broth, vegetable stock, or boiling water Soft polenta or mashed potato, to serve MARINATED WILD BOAR

1 1 1 2 1 1 750 1.6

onion, coarsely chopped long rosemary sprig carrot, coarsely chopped garlic cloves, chopped tsp whole black peppercorns tsp juniper berries ml (3 cups) red wine kg wild boar stewing steak, cut into 3cm cubes (see note)

1 For marinated wild boar, combine ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, remove meat from marinade and discard everything else. 2 Process garlic, rosemary, oil, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper in a food processor to a coarse paste; this is called a battuto. Add battuto to a heavy-based saucepan over low heat, then add boar and stir to combine. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated (30-40 minutes), then add wine, bring to the boil and cook until the scent of wine has disappeared (10 minutes). Dissolve tomato paste in the stock or water and add to pan.

Cover and cook until meat is very tender, adding a little more stock or water if it looks dry; remove lid for the last hour of cooking to concentrate the sauce (2½-3 hours). Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with soft polenta or mashed potato. Note Wild boar is available from the following suppliers: in Victoria, Yarra Valley Game Meats (, in Adelaide, Something Wild (, in Sydney, (, in Brisbane, Gold Coast Organic Meats ( If it’s unavailable, use braising venison or pork instead. ➤

Kale and ricotta gnocchi in sage and bacon butter SERVES 4-6 “In Florence, these are called gnocchi gnudi, meaning naked gnocchi, because they’re like ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta only without their pasta clothes,” says Katie. “If you don’t have kale, use 200 grams cooked and well-squeezed spinach or silverbeet leaves instead. For a vegetarian version of this dish, omit the bacon from the sauce.”

300 gm curly kale or cavolo nero, leaves coarsely chopped, stems discarded 250 gm firm ricotta, drained 100 gm parmesan or pecorino, grated, plus extra to serve 1 egg 30 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting ¼ tsp finely grated nutmeg BACON, BUTTER AND SAGE SAUCE 100 gm unsalted butter 150 gm pancetta or bacon, cut into small strips 10 sage leaves 30 gm pine nuts, toasted

1 Boil kale or cavolo nero in salted water for 10 minutes, drain well and set aside. When cool enough to handle, thoroughly squeeze out excess water and finely chop in a food processor or by hand, then transfer to a bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan, egg, flour and nutmeg, season to taste and stir to combine. The mixture should be firm enough to handle and not wet and sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour to the mix. Roll mixture into walnut-sized balls, ensuring they’re tightly packed so they don’t break up during cooking, and place on a floured tray. If you’re not cooking them

straight away, loosely cover them and refrigerate for up to a day. 2 For bacon, butter and sage sauce, melt butter in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and sage, and season to taste. Fry until bacon and sage are lightly browned (4-5 minutes). Add a ladleful of hot water and stir well. Leave sauce over a very low heat while you cook the gnocchi. 3 Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil. Reduce heat to medium – unlike when cooking pasta, you want a slow rolling boil, not a rapid boil. Drop gnocchi carefully into boiling water.

Let the water come back up to the boil and cook until gnocchi rise to the surface (3-4 minutes). Let them bob around for a further minute, then carefully remove with a slotted spoon and lower them gently into butter sauce. Fry gnocchi in sauce for a few minutes until lightly browned. Stir in pine nuts and serve scattered with grated parmesan.

3 Take half the fresh pasta (keep remaining covered) and halve again. Flour the work surface but don’t flour top side of pasta or it will be hard to seal. Working with a piece at a time, roll with a rolling pin or pasta machine until you can see your hand through it. If using a pasta machine, set it on the second-to-last setting – the very last setting makes the thinnest pasta, but this is too fragile for ravioli. Roll both pieces of dough into equal-sized sheets. Dot heaped teaspoonfuls of filling at even intervals (two fingers’ width apart is ideal) on one sheet and place the other sheet over the top. Press down around filling to expel air and seal. Using a pasta wheel or a sharp knife, cut ravioli into 5cm squares, then place on a surface dusted with flour or semolina (semolina is good – it doesn’t stick to the pasta). Repeat with remaining pasta until all the filling is used.

4 For mozzarella cream, stir mozzarella and its liquid, cream and butter in a saucepan over high heat until cheese melts (4-5 minutes). Pass through a sieve to remove any small lumps of cheese and season with salt to taste. Return to pan and keep sauce warm over gentle heat. 5 Meanwhile, cook ravioli in well-salted boiling water for just 2-3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a warm dish, add butter and toss to combine – this stops pasta sticking together. Pour a ladleful of mozzarella cream into each serving bowl and place pasta on top. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with grated parmesan, season with black pepper and serve. ➤

Ravioli filled with tomato and bread in a mozzarella cream SERVES 6 “This is one of Daniele Sera’s signature dishes at hotel Castello di Casole in central Tuscany,” says Katie. “He has taken a typical Tuscan recipe for tomato, basil and bread soup and made it into a filling for fresh pasta. These tangy parcels are served in a warm bath of melted mozzarella and cream.” Pictured p130.

120 ml extra-virgin olive oil 1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed 400 gm canned plum tomatoes ¾ cup day-old crustless country-style bread, torn ⅔ cup (loosely packed) basil, coarsely chopped 1 quantity of fresh pasta (see recipe p133) Coarse semolina or “00” flour, for dusting 25 gm butter, diced Extra-virgin olive oil and grated parmesan, to serve MOZZARELLA CREAM 125 gm mozzarella, coarsely chopped, liquid reserved 125 ml (½ cup) double cream 125 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped 134


1 Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, season to taste and sauté until onion has softened (5-7 minutes). Add tomatoes and crush with a potato masher. Fill tomato can to a quarter with cold water to rinse, then add to pan. Simmer uncovered until pulpy (40 minutes) and season to taste. Transfer 150ml to a saucepan (reserve remaining for another use). 2 Soak bread in a small bowl of cold water until soaked through. Squeeze out excess water, then add to tomato sauce and stir over medium heat to combine. Stir in basil and simmer over low heat until bread has broken down and thickened the sauce (15 minutes). Cool.

Kale and ricotta gnocchi in sage and bacon butter

“These are called gnocchi gnudi, meaning naked gnocchi, because they’re like ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta only without their pasta clothes.�

Zucchini and tomato ragù SERVES 6

“This delicately flavoured dish is a little like a French ratatouille,” says Katie. “I like to eat it in a bowl for a quick lunch or serve it as a side dish for grilled meat. If you leave out the cheese it’s lovely with grilled fish, too. Add a poached egg and call it breakfast, or stir in some hot pasta shells and it will be a perfect pasta sauce. It keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge.” Pictured p131.

6 1 2 350

200 125 1 1

Silverbeet and egg soup

Silverbeet and egg soup SERVES 6 “Glorious, spicy acquacotta is from southern Tuscany,” says Katie. “When it was made in times of hardship it was little more than its name suggests – ‘cooked water’. The traditional way to make it is in a terracotta pot with layers of bread, soup and beaten egg. It’s covered and wrapped in cloth so the residual warmth of the soup cooks the egg. This is our simple version.”

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced ½ cup (loosely packed) basil 1 litre (4 cups) warm chicken or vegetable stock, or hot water 90 gm tomato paste 1 kg silverbeet or spinach leaves, coarsely chopped ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes, or to taste 6 small slices thick crusty bread, toasted 1 garlic clove, halved 6 eggs 136


1 Heat oil in a large saucepan covered with a lid over low heat. Add onion, celery, basil and a splash of stock or water, and cook until onions and celery are translucent (15 minutes). Stir tomato paste into remaining stock and add to pan, then add greens, chilli flakes and 1 tsp salt. Stir until spinach wilts and soup bubbles. Loosely cover pan and cook until soup is well combined (30-40 minutes). Adjust seasoning and add chilli flakes to taste. Remove from heat.

2 Ladle a layer of soup about 1cm deep into a wide saucepan or casserole. Lightly rub one side of toasts with cut side of garlic and place in pan garlicside up. Spoon in remaining soup and crack eggs on top. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat until eggs have just set (4-6 minutes). Remove from heat and leave still covered in a warm place so bread can absorb the liquid (5-10 minutes). Serve in warm bowls with an egg for everyone.

tbsp extra-virgin olive oil onion, coarsely chopped garlic cloves, bruised gm (about 2) zucchini, sliced into rounds, a mixture of green and yellow, if available gm ripe tomatoes, cut into 1cm dice gm mozzarella, torn cup (loosely packed) parsley, coarsely chopped cup (loosely packed) basil, torn

1 Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and fry until onion is translucent (10 minutes). Add zucchini, season and toss to combine. Stir until zucchini start to turn golden (2-3 minutes), then stir in tomatoes and cook until just beginning to soften (2-3 minutes) and zucchini are al dente. Serve hot topped with mozzarella and herbs.

This extract from Tuscany by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi, published on 2 November (Hardie Grant, hbk, $49.99), has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.

Florentine cake SERVES 6 “These dramatic orange-scented cakes dominate the pastry shops of Florence at the time of Carnevale towards the end of January and through February,” says Katie. “They’re usually made in a large square or rectangular tin and decorated with the Giglio symbol of Florence. They’re often served plain for breakfast, but I prefer mine stuffed full of sweetened whipped cream.”

2 large eggs 200 gm caster sugar 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Finely grated rind of 1 orange 150 ml milk 250 gm “00” or plain flour 2 tsp baking powder 350 ml whipping cream 25 gm icing sugar, plus extra to serve

1 Preheat oven to 180°C. Generously butter a rectangular 35cm x 12cm x 3cm loosebottomed tart tin or a round 22cm-diameter springform cake tin. Whisk eggs and sugar in a bowl or electric mixer until pale and fluffy (5 minutes). Add oil, orange rind and milk, and whisk briefly until blended. Sift in flour and baking powder, add a pinch of salt and whisk again. 2 Pour batter into tin and bake until sponge is firm to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean (20-25 minutes). Cool for 10 minutes in tin. Run a knife around edge of tin, remove cake and cool on a wire rack.

2 Whip cream and icing sugar in a bowl until soft peaks form. Cut cake in half horizontally with a large serrated knife. Spread bottom half with a thick layer of cream, then top with the other half. Run a clean finger or palette knife around the side of the cake to smooth away any cream spilling out and neaten the edges. Dust with sifted icing sugar and serve. Florentine cake will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. ●

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Palazzo del Governo in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, Trieste.




Giro d’Italia On the edge in Italy’s far east, Old World hospitality meets the sea in Puglia, and winemaking in Piedmont.

Echoes of


Mitteleuropa meets the Med in the Italian port city of Trieste. JOHN IRVING explores its unique blend of Latin, Slavic and Germanic traditions – one buffet at a time. Photography SIMON BAJADA






ut on a limb in the extreme north-east corner of Italy, far closer to Vienna than to Rome, Trieste was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire for centuries. And you can tell. On arrival, during a brief reconnaissance drive around the centre, I see the Habsburg presence everywhere. Piazza by piazza, what seems like the entire dynasty appears in a succession of solemn statues – from Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor from 1604-1705, to Empress Elizabeth, “Sisi”, the consort of Emperor Franz Joseph, who came to a sticky end when she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist in Geneva. No wonder the city was once nicknamed “Vienna by the Sea”. Down on the promenade, from the Canal Grande where small boats rest at their moorings to the Savoia Excelsior Palace, Mitteleuropa meets the Med. On one side are grandiose 18th- and 19th-century buildings, on the other piers and jetties stretch into the water like fingers. Halfway along, the city’s pièce de résistance, the Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia, is lined on three sides by the Neoclassical and Baroque-influenced façades of grand civic and commercial palazzi. At the eastern end, the immense Palazzo del Comune, or town hall, looms over the waterless Fountain of the Four Continents, an homage to Trieste’s penchant for international trade. The point is reiterated by the western end, the feature that gives the piazza its wow factor. It opens directly onto the sea, hence onto the world. To turn their empire from continental to maritime, the Habsburgs developed the city into a commercial seaport. The Imperial Maritime Government was based here from 1850, and by the end of the 19th century Trieste was being dubbed the “third entrance of the Suez Canal”. A local nobleman, Barone Pasquale Revoltella – whose sumptuous town house on Piazza Venezia is now a museum and well worth a visit – was once the largest private shareholder in the Suez Canal Company. “A colossal emporium and a prodigious trading centre” is how Jules Verne described Trieste in 1874, and the bill of lading “Via Trieste” was familiar on docksides the world over. After World War I, the city became Italian and Mussolini laced it with more overblown architecture, this time in the Fascist style. During World War II, it was first commandeered by the Germans, then carved up by the Allies. Contested by the former Yugoslavia at the start of the Cold War, Trieste was eventually handed back to Italy in 1954. It now found itself amputated from its hinterland, hanging from the rest of the ➤



Slovenia Trieste



PREVIOUS PAGES Left: Yacht Club Adriatico in Trieste, founded in 1903. Right: the entrance to Palazzo del Comune in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia. THIS PAGE Ponte Rosso, over the Canal Grande.

country by a fine thread of coastline, hemmed in by Yugoslavia. A poll carried out a few years ago claimed 70 per cent of Italians didn’t realise Trieste was part of Italy at all. “We are at the eastern limit of Latinity and the southern extremity of Germanness,” said a former mayor. In a city with an Austrian past, I’m lucky to have a couple of Viennese friends as guides: writer Georges Desrues, who lives in Trieste, and his partner, stage actor Karin Kofler, who commutes from Vienna, a five-hour drive away.


n my first evening, they take me to the Carso Plateau, atop the cliffs that rear steeply above the dusty San Giusto quarter, the Old City. We follow the route of the tramway that climbs to the Slavic village of Opicina. The tram is an attraction in itself: at some points, the gradient is so steep it has to be shunted by a funicular engine. The plateau is a place of pliable limestone that has produced a dramatic landscape dotted with depressions, crevasses and gorges. It’s German name, Karst, and the adjective “karstic” have been adopted by geologists to describe this phenomenon tout court. Our destination, halfway up, is an osmiza, a sort of country inn characteristic of the Carso since 1784, when Emperor Joseph II issued a decree allowing peasants to sell their produce at their cottages for eight days a year (osmiza derives from the Slovenian “osem”, meaning eight). Today osmize serve charcuterie, hard-boiled eggs,



Clockwise, from left: Gran Malabar wine bar; the charcuterie and cheese platter at Osmiza Zidarich in Prepotto; view to Trieste from the Carso Plateau; buffet restaurant Trattoria da Giovanni; Palazzo del Governo in Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia.

cheese, bread and wine, and are marked by a frasca, a leafy branch, hanging at the gate or on the roadside, where the signs are bilingual, in Italian and Slovene. We settle on a terrace with a few tables and benches under a pergola. Georges tells me that his countrymen are buying property in Trieste, seeking a residence on the sea just as the Habsburgs used to do. One such is his friend Erich, an architect, who joins us with his wife, Barbara, and their teenage daughter, Nina. They’re renovating a house in the city and are here on a weekend break from Vienna. Erich tells me they’ve been visiting the city for at least 20 years, that they’re in love with the place. “You watch, it’ll grow on you too,” he says. I walk to the balustrade and take in the view: the Istrian peninsula to the south, the cranes and warehouses down at the docks, the ferry setting sail for Istanbul, the grid pattern of the city piazze and avenues, the purple sunset over the Adriatic to the west, the backdrop of the Carso. I’ve been here only a couple of hours but Erich is right – Trieste is growing on me already. At the next table, a bunch of boisterous Istrians are drinking white wine and talking loudly about cattle breeds and beef. I catch the attention of one, a dapper man with a grey goatee. He’s called Fabio, and I ask him if meat is all they eat. “No, no,” he says. “We eat lots of vegetables, too. Bobici, for example.” “What’s that?” I ask.

“Corn on the cob in Istrian dialect. We mix it with potatoes and beans and sausage to make a soup, minestra di bobici. It’s a great delicacy of ours.” “Interesting. Maybe I’ll try some tomorrow.” “No, it’s a hearty dish. Not for eating in summer.” The folk of Trieste evidently don’t share Fabio’s notion of where winter food ends and summer food begins, as I discover the next day when Georges takes me on a buffet crawl. Banish all thoughts of dainty finger food. In Trieste “buffet” is the name of a gastronomic institution, referring to a trattoria specialising in nose-to-tail pork cooking – another remnant of the city’s Austro-Hungarian past. At the counter of every buffet is a caldaia, an encased stainless-steel boiler that bubbles away all day long, replenished from time to time according to necessity. In it simmer salsicce Vienna, the local name for frankfurters; cotechino, boiling sausage; Kaiserfleisch, or smoked pork loin; porzina, pork neck; and more besides. If Fergus Henderson had been born a Triestino, he would certainly have run a buffet. We begin at the oldest of all, Buffet da Pepi, open since 1897, just off Piazza dell’Unità. The air is thick with the smell of pork and cabbage, and the bespectacled caldaia operative is busy slicing and cutting with the precision of a heart surgeon. Some customers are grabbing porzina or Prague ham sandwiches to take away. We sit down to an oval dish of corned tongue and pig’s cheek, served ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R




with the essential accompaniment of crauti, or sauerkraut, and cren, grated horseradish. Not exactly summer fare, but irresistibly, unctuously delicious. Who cares if the temperature today hovers around 30 degrees and the sea beckons just 100 metres away? Next stop is Trattoria da Giovanni in Via San Lazzaro. Here the blackboard menu also offers tripe, goulash, jota, a bean and cabbage soup, and fish dishes, including baccalà, every Friday. The steam of cooking gets the gastric juices flowing again, but business is hotting up as lunchtime approaches, and it’s hard to find a seat inside or out. We limit ourselves to a glass of Terrano, a red wine from the Carso, before moving on for more porcine delights at L’Approdo, a five-minute walk away. Between buffets, we also visit a couple of cafés: Caffè degli Specchi on Piazza dell’Unità, where the list of coffee styles is encyclopaedic, and Caffè San Marco, where students play chess, professors read, and writers write. Café culture is another Viennese legacy and the scent of coffee – especially Illy coffee, a linchpin of the local economy – lingers ubiquitously. Our last buffet stop, Buffet da Siora Rosa, is on the corner of Piazza Attilio Hortis and Via Torino, a pedestrian precinct of wine bars and restaurants, the hub of Trieste’s movida. Having overshot our cholesterol count for the day, we settle for a glass of Vitoska, another Carso wine, this time white. The waiter is about to serve it with a bowl of crisps, but the caldaia man intervenes. “Che tristezza!”

he says, “how sad”, offering us a slice of hot smoked ham on the tip of his formidable carving knife instead. Running a buffet, open from dawn to dusk for meals and snacks, must be hard work, yet the staff smile and chat throughout. Bonhomie seems to be a trait of the Triestini. That morning, for example, not content with giving me directions, a waitress in a bar had insisted on accompanying me personally to the baker’s to buy bread and to the newsagent’s to buy Il Piccolo, the city’s daily newspaper.

I Above, from left: sunbathing at Barcola; swimming at Barcola harbour. Opposite: misto marinato at Tavernetta al Molo in Grignano.

n the evening we meet at Sapore di Vino, a trim little wine bar in the Borgo Giuseppino where locals gather. It’s run by the amiable Guerrino, a dead ringer for the Italian spaghetti western actor Gian Maria Volontè. A regular comes in with a pram in which a tiny baby is fast asleep. “This is my granddaughter,” he says proudly. “It’s time to wean her off my daughter’s milk and onto red wine,” he laughs. A thin, ginger-haired man called Paolo, a former dockworker, starts telling me about shipbuilding in Trieste and how the harbour is one of the deepest on the Adriatic. He’s interrupted by Don Luigi, a balding pensioner who used to be in charge of logistics at the port. He takes up the story with an authoritative air, launching into a long explanation about the technicalities of loading and unloading cargo on ships and trains: boxes of oranges, sacks of coffee, drums of oil, cars. ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


All this talk of shipping makes me reflect on the comings and goings of people. Trieste has been a magnet for migrants and exiles for centuries. Armenians, Jews, Germans and Slavs have all passed through or stayed, and businessmen from all over the Habsburg Empire used to come to conduct their affairs here. The transit of different cultures is reflected in the city’s places of worship: the San Giusto Cathedral; the Greek community’s San Nicolò dei Greci; the synagogue, the Serbian Orthodox San Spiridone; the Waldensian, Methodist and Anglican churches. Intellectuals have always been drawn to the city, too. Richard Burton finished his translation of The Arabian Nights in nearby Opicina; James Joyce wrote A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man here and encouraged local novelist Italo Svevo with his writing; Sigmund Freud came as a young researcher to study eel copulation (no, really); Albert Einstein emigrated to the States from the docks. On the way home that night, the large seafront buildings stand silent. I read the names on the entry-phones. Bartoli, Billanovich, Zecchin, Tudor, Kostoris, Quarantotto, Maier. They tell the story of the city: part Slav, part Latin, part Germanic.


t would be inexcusable to leave Trieste without tasting the famed fish of the Adriatic. Everyone has been recommending a place called La Tavernetta al Molo in Grignano, a short drive along the coast, and that’s where we’re headed on my last day. Driving north we pass through the suburb of Barcola, where the city doubles as a seaside resort. Every hundred metres or so along the promenade is a topolino, a round platform that serves as a solarium, and chioschi selling sandwiches, ice-creams and drinks. This is where the Triestini sunbathe and swim in summer. Then, on a promontory ahead, the solitary white castle of Miramare appears, built in the 1850s for Austrian Archduke Maximilian and his wife, Carlota, the King of Belgium’s daughter. Maximilian was as tragic a figure as his sister-in-law Empress Sisi. Sponsored by Napoleon III, in 1864 he sailed off to become Emperor of Mexico, only to be executed by a government firing squad three years later. Surrounded by parkland, decorated opulently and housing countless treasures, the castle is Trieste’s most-visited attraction. Grignano is a fishing village in the adjacent bay, and La Tavernetta turns out to be a trattoria with tables on the marina. It’s not high season and it’s a weekday, yet the place is packed. Karin turns on her thespian charm and manages to secure a corner table. The handwritten menu is an embarras de richesses. The standout for me is bis di polentine, two piles of polenta, one topped with cuttlefish in its ink, hence black, the other with baccalà alla vicentina, creamed stockfish, hence white. Toothsome,



too, is the communal pot of bigoli in cassopipa, an old Venetian dish of homemade pasta and mixed seafood. It’s straightforward fare but cooked with care and skill, and very fresh. One thing other Italians do know about Trieste is that here blows the Bora, the rasping cold wind that whips down from the Carso in winter. On my last evening we’re back in town, eating more fish at Salvagente, a homely osteria just off the promenade. Chef and owner Marco Munari is sitting at our table, chatting and explaining how violent the bora can be. When it clears the air you can see as far as the dome of Basilica San Marco in Venice, he says. Suddenly, as he’s speaking, rain starts lashing the window and we hear ominous groaning from outside. The table umbrellas are about to be blown away. “Il Neverin!” exclaims Marco as if he’s seen a ghost. He rushes out with Georges hot on his heels. They return, drenched and bruised, but they’ve saved the umbrellas. “What’s this neverin?” I ask. “The summer version of the Bora,” replies Marco. During the night, the Neverin does its work and I leave Trieste on a sparkling summer morning, the Alps sharply defined on the horizon. As the train, the Frecciarossa, or Red Arrow, speeds along the coast, the city recedes, then disappears. But not forever. When I get home to Turin, I send a message to my niece in Newcastle, with a photo of Piazza dell’Unità. “Just back from here. Trieste,” I write. “Beautiful,” she messages back. “Where is it?” ●

Tr i p notes

Getting there Venice and Ljubljana international airports are both less than two hours’ drive. There are regular flights to Trieste from Milan, Rome, Naples and Munich. Stay Grand Hotel Duchi d’Aosta Guests at this hotel have included Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton, emperors Joseph II and Leopold II, and Giacomo Casanova (as well as Ray Charles and Bob Dylan). Piazza dell’Unità d’Italia 2/1, Savoia Excelsior Palace This Belle Époque hotel has magnificent views of the Gulf of Trieste, and a restaurant to match. Riva del Mandracchio 4, Residence Liberty Self-catered apartments in a centrally located Art Deco palazzo. Via Armando Diaz 14,

Bagno Ausonia, a public bath south of the city centre. Above: seafood antipasti at Osteria Salvagente.

Eat Buffets Buffet da Pepi Via della Cassa di Risparmio 3, Trattoria da Giovanni Via S Lazzaro 14, Buffet L’Approdo Via Giosuè Carducci 34, Da Siora Rosa Piazza Attilio Hortis 3, Osmize These inns are all over the Carso plateau. In and around the winemaking village of Prepotto, the osmize at Zidarich and Skerk are more upmarket. Trattorias La Tavernetta al Molo Riva Massimiliano e Carlotta 11, Grignano, Ristorante Slauko The décor and service at this fish restaurant in Contovello are unpretentious, basic even, but the fare is fresh and well prepared. And the vista is stunning. 453 Contovello, +39 040 225393 Osteria Salvagente Via dei Burlo 1, +39 040 2606699 Drink Caffè degli Specchi Piazza Unità d’Italia 7, Caffè San Marco Via Cesare Battisti 18, Gran Malabar Piazza San Giovanni 6 Sapore di Vino Via del Lazzaretto Vecchio 13/D



Every road leads to a seaside town, every meal ends with digestivi. KATIE PARLA is warmed by Old World hospitality on a road trip along the heel of Italy’s boot.

Photography ED ANDERSON



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Naples Basilicata

Brindisi Salento Lecce



Reggio Calabria

he hottest place in Italy that sweltering August night was our train carriage. It was crowded, of course, on Ferragosto, the annual holiday celebrating the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and the start of the Italian summer-holiday season. We were heading south overnight from Rome to Salento, the sun-bleached region in Puglia that forms the stiletto on the Italian boot, and anywhere else in the world the windows would be open on such a night. But not here. A draft on a sweaty neck causes colpo di vento, or a stiff neck, which Italians avoid at all costs, even in August. So by the time Giampiero and I arrived in Salento after nine hours in a sealed carriage, we were thirsty and dishevelled. His father picked us up at the station in Lecce, the capital of Salento, in his four-wheel drive and we headed to a café for freshly baked pastries and coffee with almond milk. Risking a colpo di vento, we sat near open windows with a warm, fig-scented breeze wafting in. Giampiero’s father, a psychologist, wore a gold watch and an expensive suit, but he was also an inveterate forager, equally at home in the pasture as the office. In the next week he rarely drove more than a kilometre without pulling over to pluck a dozen figs from a stranger’s field or some prickly pears from a cluster of cacti – how did he do that with bare hands? When we went to the beach he dived for sea urchins, slicing them open with a curved blade to extract the roe. At the lunch or dinner table he’d diligently peel the fruit he’d stolen, distributing plump figs or prickly pears to everyone at the table before heading to the freezer for a bottle of Petrus, a digestivo that concluded every meal. Giampi’s dad sort of sums up Salento and the Salentini for me: undeniably elegant, but with a wild edge, a reverence for communal meals, and an insatiable appetite for local flavours. This was my impression of Salento on that first holiday 12 years ago with my now former boyfriend, and it’s one that’s confirmed with every visit. I’ve made a habit of returning at least once a year, especially in summer



PREVIOUS PAGE La Grotta della Poesia, north of Torre dell’Orso in Puglia’s Salento region. Above: Sant’Oronzo, Lecce’s patron saint, overlooks the city.

when hot days are cooled by breezes carrying the sweet scent of ripening fruit. Salento lies at the southernmost tip of the long coastal peninsula of Puglia, at the confluence of the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. Hot and dry, it’s known for its olive groves, forest-clad plateaus and towns embellished with intricately carved stone façades. The region’s proximity to Greece and the Balkans has made it coveted territory since classical antiquity. The Mycenaean Greeks were followed by the Romans, then a long line of invaders: Lombards, Byzantines, Saracens, Normans, Swabians, Angevins, Turks and Venetians. They all left their mark, much of it at the table, and this makes shopping for food and dining in the towns and villages of Salento something of an adventure in time travel. Even now Salento isn’t home to just one culture; the interior, for instance, is inhabited by the Griko, who speak a dialect more closely related to Byzantine Greek than Italian or Salentinu.

Among the most enduring tastes came from the 9th-century conquest by Saracen Arabs, who brought refined cane sugar and almonds, which were mashed into a paste to produce marzipan, or pasta di mandorla, which is a specialty of many Salentine pastry shops. Eggplant, known to the Greeks and Romans, was reintroduced to Salento by Arabs and a huge range of species flourish to this day, appearing sliced, layered and baked with tomato in a summer dish called parmigiana di melanzane, or simmered with tomato and herbs in marangiane ’mbuttunate. Most citrus, with the exception of lemons, had vanished from the peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire, but bitter oranges were most likely returned to southern Italy by the Saracens more than a thousand years ago. Today candied orange peel is sold on its own or encased in dark chocolate. The Spanish, too, left their mark before being expelled by the most recent conquerors, the Italians, in 1861. They introduced New World produce such ➤

Clockwise from top: fishing trawlers at Torre San Giovanni; Aperol Spritz at Caffè Parisi, Nardo; chef Andrea Capoti from Capitoni Coraggiosi, Gallipoli; a catch at Pescheria del Porto fishmongers. G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R




as tomatoes, capsicum, zucchini and potatoes, while prickly pears and the custom of transforming cocoa beans into chocolate are part of the sweet Spanish legacy. Most Italians visit the region to bathe at sandy bays and limestone coves; I come for fresh fish caught by men I know by name, pasta made in distinctive regional shapes, and homemade digestivi produced according to century-old family recipes. The openness of Salentini and their devotion to hospitality make these essential features of daily life accessible even to first-time visitors. We arrive in Lecce by train (mercifully airconditioned this time) and make a beeline for Piazza Sant’Oronzo, the city’s main square of pietra Leccese, the honey-coloured limestone, wrapped around the partially excavated ruins of a Roman amphitheatre and a monument to the local patron, Saint Orontius. My first snack in Lecce is always a rustico at Alvino, an historic café beloved for its discs of puff pastry stuffed with béchamel, mozzarella, black pepper and a touch of tangy tomato sauce. The café’s display case offers a crash course in Salento’s sweet and savoury snacks – almond-paste biscuits, mostaccioli (biscuits flavoured with cinnamon and cacao), cream-filled bignè and pasticciotti, the classic local breakfast tart filled with thick custard – but we stick to savoury rustici here. Then we follow the cobbled promenade to another historic café, Cotognata Leccese, near the 16th-century fortress of Castello Carlo V, for its signature cotognata, a quince paste similar to Spain’s membrillo. We buy a couple of thick slices – you never know when you’ll need to return some Salentine hospitality – then pick up a hire car for a 200-kilometre clockwise loop around

Left: caffè in ghiaccio (coffee with almond extract), caffè macchiato and pasticciotti at Alvino in Lecce. Opposite: Otranto, midway along Salento’s Adriatic coast.

Italy’s heel. Long-distance train services in the south have been scaled back in the past decade, making a driving holiday the best way to see this part of Puglia. Leccesi treat their city like an open-air theatre, and their nightly performance of seeing-and-being-seen begins with aperitivo. Before dinner we stop at Quanto Basta, where barmen Diego Melorio and Andrea Carlucci serve craft cocktails from a corner shopfront. With chrome lights illuminating a bar packed with rare imported spirits, Quanto Basta breaks the mould in a city that loves tradition, but the pair champion local flavours in a way that locals embrace. “We make a lot of our syrups with fruits from this region, so many ingredients aren’t so unusual,” Carlucci tells me as he mixes mezcal, Carpano Antica Formula vermouth, Choya umeshu and amarena. His Smoky Taboo symbolises the historical crossroad that Salento occupies: indigenous cherries and Italian vermouth meet Japanese umeshu and New World agave.


he view next morning on the eastern outskirts of Lecce is sobering. For two consecutive harvests Salento’s centuries-old olive trees have been ravaged by a deadly bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa, which leaves the trees barren and looking as though they’ve been burned by fire. There’s no known cure, and it’s spreading. We head east through dying olive groves to the coastal road, timing breakfast with our arrival at an old-school pastry shop called Nobile in the humble seaside town of San Cataldo. Half of my Salentino friends name Nobile as their favourite place for pasticciotti, served on gold-foil platters at plastic tables (the other half nominate Pasticceria Ascalone in Galatina). We take our pasticciotti with Salento’s summer drink of choice: caffè in ghiaccio, chilled espresso flavoured with latte di mandorla, a sweet almond extract. From here we drive south, past the rugged coves of San Foca, Torre dell’Orso, and Sant’Andrea. The currents have chiselled the limestone cliffs of these villages into a moonscape of crescent-shaped grottoes. In more adventurous times I’d park on the side of the road north of Torre dell’Orso, deposit my towel on the rough limestone platform overlooking the sea and join a queue of local daredevils to dive 15 metres into the turquoise waters of Grotta della Poesia. These days I stick to a rock-hewn staircase descending to the beach near Tricase. After a dip in the Adriatic, we cut across the peninsula to Salento’s Ionian coast, where seaside towns bear names of the torri, the defensive towers that protected their inhabitants for centuries. At Torre San Giovanni, a fishing village and popular summerhome enclave for landlocked Salentines, we meet Enzo Bruno on his trawler. He leads the Padre Pio fishing cooperative, named for a recently canonised ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


Franciscan saint, and he and a dozen or so fellow fishermen are dedicated to sustainable practices in the hope of fixing the damage caused by long-term overfishing. “We have special nets,” he says, gesturing at the one hauled onto the deck, dotted with wriggling fish caught at dawn in the Secche di Ugento, a once-decimated shallow nature reserve. “They’re designed to catch fish only once they are a certain length so we know they have reached reproductive age.” Today he has caught mullets, Atlantic stargazers and sea bream, as well as a few cuttlefish, which he sells at a shop near his moored boat. “It has taken time to educate people that the sea won’t always give us fish if we demand too much, so we have to limit what we catch. But slowly, we are helping people understand. If we want to keep doing this job, this is the only way.”


ext stop is the sprawling town of Gallipoli. In an otherwise nondescript apartment block in the new quarter is the modest headquarters of a family business that produces a true taste of the south. In 2001 Angela Margapoti and her parents, Fernando and Antonietta, founded Amaro Margapoti, an artisanal liquor company producing an amaro and other herbal digestivi according to family recipes using Salentine herbs. Fernando and Antonietta, retired teachers, had made amaro for themselves for decades. “Since we had the summers off and loved to travel, we would pack up our roulotte [caravan] and drive off to some part of Italy with provisions, including our bottles of amaro,” Antonietta says, sitting in the kitchen where the family macerates cinchona bark, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves and other natural flavourings with spirit. “When the bottles were empty, we knew it was time to come back.” Most of Amaro Margapoti’s customers are in the north, in Rome and Milan, but Angela takes us to meet one of her local clients, chef Andrea Capoti, of Capitoni Coraggiosi, a harbourside restaurant in the old quarter. Our lunch of local seafood – raw red prawns, marinated cuttlefish and roasted octopus – is paired with a rosato made from an indigenous grape called negroamaro, a common coupling with fish in Salento, and finished, of course, with Amaro Margapoti’s sweet and sour citrus flavours with a pleasantly bitter finish. About half an hour’s drive east of Gallipoli, fourth-generation winemakers Paolo and Gabriele Nutricato grow negroamaro, malvasia nera di Lecce, primitivo and a few little-known white varieties for their winery, Cantina Supersanum. Greeks introduced grapes to the peninsula during the Iron Age and the vines have flourished ever since; the region’s high-alcohol reds have been used in blends since the 19th century to impart colour and structure. Cantina Supersanum is among a growing group



Above: Orecchiette being made at L’Orecchietta in Guagnano. Opposite: Barocco Leccese-style architecture in Galatina; prawns, cuttlefish and crudo at Capitoni Coraggiosi in Gallipoli.

of small producers focused on low-yield organic and minimal-intervention winemaking. The brothers climb aboard and together we drive from their cantina – a converted garage in the village of Supersano – to their vineyards. Standing among the vines, Paolo gestures across the road to a desolate olive grove afflicted with Xylella fastidiosa. “In the post-war era, subsidies were offered to farmers to pull out their vines to plant olive trees, so you had this whole trend towards monoculture,” he says, adding sadly, “Nature rebelled.” With their dark ruby colour, Supersanum’s rosato wines would pass for reds elsewhere, but they have pleasant acidity that renders them light and drinkable, perfectly suited to Salento’s fish and vegetable dishes. I buy a few bottles at the cantina to share with my friends at L’Orecchietta, a shop and trattoria in Guagnano, about an hour’s drive north. L’Orecchietta is named for the region’s signature durum-wheat pasta, ear-shaped orecchiette made from scraps of dough dragged across a wooden surface with a knife. Lisetta Scarciglia started selling fresh pasta to busy cooks at her shop in Guagnano in 1991 and soon the business grew to include a full menu of dishes to take away or enjoy at an adjacent trattoria. Now her whole family works here. “Everyone in Guagnano used to make pasta at home – vendors would go around

Tr i p notes

Getting there Lecce is about half an hour’s drive south of Brindisi Airport, which is served by regular flights from Milan, Rome, Bologna, Barcelona, London and Paris. Direct trains from Rome to Lecce take about five and half hours. Stay Casa dei Mercanti The nine self-catering suites in a Fascist-era building on Lecce’s largest square are ideal for those who want to make the most of Salento’s produce markets. Piazza Sant’Oronzo 44, Lecce, +39 0832 279819, Don Totu Near the coastal towns of Castro and Santa Cesarea Terme, this six-room B&B features gardens, a pool, gym, library and Turkish bath. Via Crocefisso 10, San Cassiano, +39 0836 992374, La Fiermontina This “urban resort” of 16 rooms occupies a refurbished 17th-century villa at the edge of Lecce’s historic centre. Piazzetta de Summa Scipione 4, Lecce, +39 0832 302481, Masseria Trapanà On the outskirts of Lecce, this rural retreat occupies a former fortified farmhouse. Strada Provinciale 236, Surbo-Casalabate, +39 0832 1832101,

town selling iron tools for special shapes – but things have changed,” Lisetta tells me as she rolls sagne ’ncannulate, twisted pasta ribbons. L’Orecchietta is packed by early evening. Lisetta is busy in the shop, but her children, Simona and Mino, join us at our patio table beneath a magnolia tree for one of the region’s signature dish, pezzetti di cavallo, cubes of lean horsemeat simmered in tomato sauce. Around us appear slices of airy focaccia studded with cherry tomatoes, and plates of orecchiette dressed in passata and dusted with ricotta salata. The wine list is impressive for such a casual venue, but our BYO Supersanum “Sinergico” rosato is the first our hosts have tasted. Wait, I urge, and race down to the car to fetch the cotognata. With the quince jelly, a wedge of pecorino and glasses of negroamaro, we toast old friendship and southern hospitality. ●

Eat Farmacia dei Sani The innovative dishes at this restaurant deep in Salento’s interior are inspired by regional flavours and elevated using modern techniques. Piazza del Popolo 14, Ruffano, +39 339 833 2514 La Succursale This busy pizzeria serves thick-rimmed pizze with craft beer, as well as salads, legume dishes and cheese plates. Viale dell’Università 15, Lecce, +39 391 497 7749 Le Macàre This trattoria serves Salentino specialities such as eggplant stuffed with mozzarella and ragù misto, pork and beef simmered overnight in puréed tomatoes. Via Mariana Albina 140, Alezio, +39 0833 282192,

L’Orecchietta This pasta shop and trattoria in Guagnano sells fresh pasta made in local shapes and traditional dishes to take away or dine in. Via Vittorio Veneto 49, Guagnano, +39 334 722 0264, Lu Pescatore This family-run trattoria specialises in fish caught in the nearby nature reserve. Corso Annibale 1, Torre San Giovanni di Ugento, +39 0833 937018 Rua de Li Travaj Expect earthy regional specialties such as pittule (fried dough fritters) and ceci e tria (chickpeas with boiled and fried pasta). Via Felice Cavallotti 44, Patù, +39 349 058 4531 Drink Quanto Basta This craft cocktail bar is Salento’s first foray into the world of global spirits, combining foreign and domestic flavours. Via Marco Basseo 29, Lecce, +39 347 008 3176 Cubi A new craft cocktail bar from the team behind Quanto Basta, mixing classic cocktails in southern Salento. Via S. Giuseppe 12, Maglie Alvino Its location in Lecce’s busiest square makes this café a point of reference for locals, for pastries, coffee and aperitivi. Piazza Sant’Oronzo 30, Lecce, +39 0832 246748, Bar Cotognata Leccese Renowned for sweet specialties and cotognata, Lecce’s quince paste. Viale Marconi 51 Lecce, +39 0832 302800, Pasticceria Ascalone Founded in 1740, this institution in its 10th generation of family ownership attracts pasticciotti lovers from across Salento. Via Vittorio Emanuele 17, Galatina, +39 0836 566009 Pasticceria Nobile Pasticciotti are served hot out of the oven at this café near the sea in San Cataldo. Via Marco Polo 9, San Cataldo, +39 0832 650595 Caffè Parisi Come for its large aperitivo snack spread and stay for its prime position in Nardò’s elegant historic centre. Piazza Antonio Salandra 38, Nardò, +39 0833 182 3223



N ext s t o p

An Australian couple enamoured with nebbiolo has opened a winery and cellar door in a century-old train station in Piedmont. ALECIA WOOD climbs aboard. Photography PAUL BARBERA

PREVIOUS PAGE Nebbiolo vineyards blanket the hilltops of Barbaresco. Clockwise from this page: La Stazione winery and cellar door; Dave Fletcher at the cellar door; the town of Barbaresco.




heavy haze drapes the hill overlooking Barbaresco’s old train station. It’s a warm, misty morning – such mornings are common during spring and summer in the Langhe wine district of the Piedmont region, in Italy’s north-west. By autumn the mist transforms into lingering, blanketing fogs. So distinctive is this fog – “nebbia” in Italian – that the area’s most prized wine grape, nebbiolo, is said to be named after it. South Australian winemaker Dave Fletcher recalls his first taste of Italian nebbiolo, back in 2000. He was studying oenology at the University of Adelaide at the time. “It was the first time that a wine really hit me,” he says. “It really invigorated an interest in something new.” Curiosity about the native Piedmontese grape turned into fascination, and a new life. Dave and his wife, Eleanor, opened their own winery and cellar door, La Stazione, this year in the derelict train station that served the town of Barbaresco for nearly 75 years. Grown commercially in the region as early as the 15th century, the nebbiolo grape produces wines with high acidity and tannins, the ability to age well over many years, and a complex nose often featuring cherry, tar and rose. The coveted DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) Barbaresco and Barolo wines are made from 100 per cent nebbiolo – aged for a minimum of two and three years, respectively – and grown and produced exclusively in the Piedmontese zones of the same names. Others, such as Langhe Nebbiolo and Ghemme, must be made with mostly nebbiolo and can be blended with other local grapes such as barbera, dolcetto or vespolina. Beyond Piedmont, nebbiolo has reached vineyards in California, Argentina, South Africa and Chile; Australian wineries have also adopted the grape as their own, mostly in the Yarra Valley, the Hilltops region in southern New South Wales, the Victorian Murray Darling and the Adelaide Hills. Dave’s fascination with nebbiolo led him to this foggy valley in Barbaresco. With more than six years’ experience making wine at Tinlins Wines in McLaren Vale, O’Leary Walker Wines in the Clare Valley and, in the Yarra Valley, at Treasury Wine Estates, Maddens Rise and Sticks, he rewound to the beginning, starting an apprenticeship in 2007 at Ceretto Wines, a renowned Langhe producer of biodynamically grown Barolo and Barbaresco. “After the 2007 vintage, it was like, this is where I want to concentrate, on nebbiolo,” he recalls. “I felt to be a successful producer of nebbiolo, you really need to prove yourself here [in Piedmont].” In 2009, he launched Fletcher Wines as a virtual winery. Without his own land or equipment, he bought grapes from Piedmontese growers and negotiated the use of winemaking equipment at Ceretto, allowing Fletcher Wines to produce strictly ➤ G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R




Clockwise from above: tasting area at La Stazione; cheeses and prosciutto; Fletcher Barbaresco “Recta Pete”; Dave Fletcher with his C15 Langhe Chardonnay; Eleanor Fletcher taking a private tasting; agnolotti del plin from a cooking class.


controlled Barolo and Barbaresco, as well as a Langhe Rosso blend (equal parts nebbiolo, cabernet sauvignon and merlot). At the same time, he started making two nebbiolo wines in Australia from single-vineyard grapes grown in South Australia and Victoria. “I chose to make an expression of nebbiolo that’s in that youthful phase, with a fruit-driven style, because it complements the expression of terroir,” he explains. In 2012, Dave was appointed as an assistant winemaker at Ceretto. He and Eleanor moved to Piedmont with their baby daughter, Georgina; their second child, Emily, was born in Alba in 2013. “Landing where I have, I’m incredibly lucky,” he says. “The opportunity to take on a winemaking role in such a historical, family-oriented wine production area is one in a gazillion.” One afternoon over drinks, a local winemaker mentioned that Barbaresco’s old train station was on the market. “He’d said it half in jest,” says Eleanor, “but we went down to have a look and instantly fell in love with it.” The couple bought the station in 2014. Built in 1917 and unused for some 20 years, the building was structurally sound but in need of extensive renovation. “It’s in an amazing location among the best vineyards of Barbaresco,” Dave says. “Elle fell in love with the façade and the way it was structured inside. I fell in love with the idea of how I could turn it into a winery.” Wineries in Piedmont typically require advance bookings for visits, and tastings and tours aren’t always available in English. The Fletchers wanted to introduce a more casual, traveller-friendly wine and food experience at the station. “We had this vision of the station being a hub, encouraging people to enjoy wine tastings while also experiencing the region generally,” says Eleanor.

The restoration of the heritage-listed building took longer than they’d expected. “I’d say we were highly naïve, but I would also say we were both born optimists,” Eleanor says with a laugh. Excavating the cellar, for example, entailed painstaking removal, storage and checking of piles of dirt and rubble. The Fletchers opened La Stazione in May this year. They’re now in the middle of the vendemmia, the harvest, from which they’ll make their first wines on the site – a chardonnay, a Barbera, a Barbaresco and the Langhe Rosso blend – unfiltered and limited to 15,000 bottles. (Fletcher Wines’ Barolo will continue to be produced at Ceretto to comply with zoning regulations.) Five wine tanks are housed in the station’s former waiting room, while oak botti (barrels) and barriques are stored in the underground cellar. The old station master’s office has become a light-filled tasting area bordered by the original wooden ticket booths, and storage rooms have been converted into a bar and a kitchen. The couple offers visitors guided flights of up to five wines and tastings, and charcuterie and cheeseboards to enjoy along with a bottle or wines by the glass. Eleanor will expand the truffle tours she’s been running for the past few years with a local hunter, and La Stazione is now hosting laid-back cooking lessons on Sunday afternoons, run by two Piedmontese women who own the nearby butcher and pasta shop. There are also plans to turn the upper level of the station into a bed and breakfast. Meanwhile, Dave’s love affair with nebbiolo continues. “It’s such a complex variety to work with,” he says. “It’s probably not going to be something I’ll ever get my head around in my lifetime.” ●



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Milan Turin Piedmont Barbaresco

Local knowledge


Alba Genoa

Ligurian Sea


Dave and Eleanor Fletcher’s hitlist for eating and drinking in the Langhe district of Piedmont. Eat “Trattoria dai Bercau is where we go for really traditional food – it’s quite a big lunch,” says Eleanor. “There will be a stream of antipasti, then a choice of pasta – normally that includes agnolotti del plin and tajarin. For dessert, they bring out a string of choices, but the best one is always the bonet, the traditional Piedmontese chocolate pudding made with crushed amaretti biscuits.” Via Beato Valfrè, 13, 12060 Verduno, +39 0172 470 243, “La Ciau del Tornavento has an amazing view of the rolling hills of the nearby towns of Treiso and Barbaresco,” says Dave. “They have great wine, too. You can visit the cellar underneath the restaurant – it’s incredible. It has a collection from every top producer in this zone.” Piazza Leopoldo Baracco, 7, 12050 Treiso, +39 0173 638 333, “Ristorante Rabaya is a quintessential Barbaresco dining experience – elegant yet traditional dishes, a beautiful outdoor terrace with a view over the vineyards and great attention to detail,” says Eleanor. “The menu is seasonal and constantly changes.” Strada della Stazione, 12, 12050 Barbaresco, +39 0173 635 223 Drink “Le Case della Saracca is a wine bar, restaurant and hotel in a restored medieval castle in the historical centre of Monforte d’Alba, at the top of the hill in the town – it’s really beautiful,” she says. “It’s the most picturesque town in this zone. They’ve got a massive list of

all the great wines, a huge spread of nibbles for aperitivo, and you can taste Barolo by the glass.” Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 5, 12065 Monforte d’Alba, +39 0173 789 222, “Barolo Bar is a lively wine bar that’s frequented by wine producers, locals and tourists alike, with a beautiful outdoor terrace for the warmer months. You can enjoy many local wines by the glass,” says Eleanor. Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 11, 12065 Monforte d’Alba, +39 0173 789 243 “Vinoteca Centro Storico is located at the foot of a [14th-century] castle in the village of Serralunga d’Alba,” she says. “All the local wine producers go there to drink Champagne and eat great food. There’s a mix of Italian wines as well, and they do prosciutto carved off the bone.” Via Roma, 6, 12050 Serralunga d’Alba, +39 0173 613 203 Stay Villa d’Amelia is a boutique hotel with 37 rooms and a Michelin-starred restaurant, about 20 minutes’ drive from La Stazione near the town of Benevello, overlooking the vineyards of Barolo. Rooms from €180. Località Manera, 1, 12050 Benevello, +39 0173 529 225, Getting there La Stazione, in Barbaresco, is about an hour’s drive south of the nearest major airport, in Turin. The cellar door is open for walk-ins Thursday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm. Group cooking classes are held on Sunday afternoons during truffle season (10 September to 26 November; bookings required); private classes can be arranged on request. Truffle hunts can be organised during hunting season (21 September to 31 January). Strada della Stazione, 29, 12050 Barbaresco, +39 0173 380 211,



Rock-star appeal Dune-top dining, drinking and dipping are on the menu at the new Longitude 131° in the Red Centre, writes HELEN ANDERSON.

AT A GLANCE Longitude 131° has 15 guest tents (from $1,400 per person per night, twin share) and a new two-bedroom pavilion (from $2,400). This includes all meals, drinks and signature experiences.




will cross Australia or perish in the attempt,” declared Robert O’Hara Burke. The boast he made before leading his transcontinental expedition in 1860 hangs among other Burke and Wills memorabilia on a wall of my tent at Longitude 131°, a reminder to be careful what you wish for (Burke ended up achieving both pledges) and

of the singular characters and remarkable stories forged in central Australia. One of these is about Longitude 131°, the luxury outback camp with dress-circle views of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Opened in 2002 and devastated by bushfire the following year, it was rebuilt and then reborn when luxe-lodge operators James and Hayley Baillie



Longitude 131°’s new two-bedroom Dune Pavilion has dress-circle views of Uluru.

Clockwise from top: the new bar in The Dune House; inside the Dune Pavilion; aerial view of the Dune Top outdoor bar and pool; Adelaide designer Jon Goulder’s Settler’s Chair; the deck and plunge pool at the Dune Pavilion.

took on a 30-year operating lease in November 2013. They’ve invested around $11 million in the lodge since then, including $8 million in the latest redesign revealed in August. Almost all elements of the lodge, apart from the awe-inspiring views of the rock-star formations themselves, have been restyled and upgraded since the Baillies arrived. “The destination has really come of age,” says James, “and we wanted Longitude to set a new standard of world-class experiential luxury.” The project was undertaken with architect Max Pritchard, also responsible for Baillie Lodges’ Southern Ocean Lodge on Kangaroo Island. His work includes the wide balconies fitted to guest tents in 2015, each with an EcoSmart “campfire” and double daybed laid with a luxe swag for nights under the stars.

A new high-walled entrance delivers guests to the central Dune House for their first full-frontal view of Uluru after winding past collections of ceramics and paintings by Indigenous artists, commissioned by Hayley in tandem with art centres in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands. A new bar features 500 tiles hand-painted in spinifex patterns by artists from the Ernabella community, and a new two-room spa, its design inspired by a wiltja, a traditional Indigenous shelter, features spears handcrafted by Ernabella men and birds woven from spinifex by the Tjanpi Weavers. The swimming pool has been reimagined as a “contemporary billabong”, with self-serve bar and an awning that spritzes daybed dwellers with a cooling mist in summer. The outdoor dining

experience, called Table 131°, has been restyled around a central campfire. And The Dune Top, the highest point on the property, has been remodelled with decks, a circular plunge pool, a quartzitetopped bar (“I love a help-yourself outdoor bar,” says James) and four private dining alcoves. The height of outback luxe is the new Dune Pavilion, a twobedroom suite wrapped around a deck with daybeds, EcoSmart campfires and a circular plunge pool, reminiscent of an outback homestead water tank. Inside there’s custom-designed furniture and Australian blackwood joinery, a drinks cabinet tailored to guest tastes, striking works by artists from the Tjala Arts Centre, and deep tubs with views. Bedroom allocation will be tricky: one faces Uluru, the other Kata Tjuta. ● G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R


City guide


Don’t miss

Acetaia Giusti For pure-produce euphoria, go to Mercato Albinelli, Modena’s covered market ( To delve deeper into local gastronomic traditions, visit Acetaia Giusti, the birthplace of balsamic vinegar, circa 1605. Some barrels haven’t been empty since the 18th century; the vintages of the oldest vinegars can be traced back to the 1600s. Hourlong tours conclude with tastings. Strada delle Quattro Ville, 155,

The historic centre of Modena, featuring the bell tower of the Modena Cathedral, built in the 12th century.



This ancient town in Italy’s Po Valley brims with age-old customs and exciting new ideas, KENDALL HILL discovers.

STAY Vittorio Veneto 25 This century-old three-storey villa bordering the old city has a classic Modenese façade – balcony, shuttered windows – and textured, modern interiors thanks to a 2015 renovation. Wi-fi and espresso machines are standard; the two suites offer more relaxation space. CIty sights are a stroll or short drive away, and parking is free. Viale Vittorio Veneto, 25,

SHOP La Vacchetta Grassa La Vacchetta Grassa (“the fat cowhide”) crafts supple leathergoods – a medieval Modena tradition – from belts and bags to tiny tortellini keyrings. Snakeskin, crocodile and stingray leathers are also available. Visit the atmospheric workshop upstairs and admire its 500-year-old painted ceiling. Corso Canalchiaro 42/44,

Getting there Qatar Airways flies daily from select Australian cities to Milan via Doha, Qatar. From there, Trenitalia highspeed trains connect to Modena in two hours.

Franceschetta58 Modern Italian gastronomy’s holy grail is Modena’s three Michelin-starred Osteria Francescana, Massimo Bottura’s avant-garde paean to the food of Emilia-Romagna and the 2016 World’s Best Restaurant. Don’t despair if you miss a prized seat at one of Francescana’s 12 tables; its “little cousin” osteria Franceschetta58 (above) offers an alternative taste of Bottura magic. Local produce shines in plates such as tortellini in Parmigiano-Reggiano fondue and Bottura’s signature Emilia burger with balsamic mayo and salsa verde. Via Vignolese, 58, Da Panino Francescana’s DNA now pervades the city. In a laneway just steps from the mothership, Beppe Palmieri – Francescana’s maître d’ and sommelier – runs this sandwich shop and deli specialising in cured meats and cheeses, gourmet produce, great wines and pasta. Eat in, then take away. Rua Freda, 21, L’Erba del Re The white-clothed tables, sharp-suited staff and hushed, gallery-like space set the fine-dining tone at this Michelinstarred restaurant by chef Luca Marchini. Menu standouts include an appetiser of cuttlefish burger in a squid-ink bun and a silky carpaccio of Sicilian shrimps. The weighty wine list is heavily biased towards (often great) Italian and French producers. Via Castel Maraldo, 45, l

End the evening with a nightcap at laneway enoteca Ristretto, a former breakfast bar transformed into a convivial, 400-label cellar bar that’s a favourite spot for knock-off drinks among Osteria Francescana staff. Vicolo Coccapani, 5, +39 059 839 6497 G O U R M E T T R AV E L L E R



Out of the ordinary Hungry llamas, lost passports and drunken confessions in Japanese pubs – sometimes adventure comes looking for you, writes NATASHA PULLEY.


’m terrible at adventures. I like verb tables; I’ve never tried ayahuasca and, despite the hints of my Peruvian landlady, I never did spontaneously marry someone from Cusco. I sort of bring ordinariness with me wherever I go. That seems inimical to having much fun when travelling, but I’ve learnt adventures grow from more basic circumstances than I’m prone to imagine. Much more necessary than a fearless spirit or zip wires is an apple. Last year I was halfway up Machu Picchu trying to research Inca attitudes towards stone. My guide was telling me about the ruins and I was really trying to listen because I was there to work, not on holiday, but I was wheezing in the altitude (pathetic: it’s only 2400 metres; everyone



else was fine) and my concentration was shot. Then a herd of llamas danced past. I wheezed along in pursuit but lost them – they’re pretty nippy, and springy, and not oxygen-deprived. Then there was a yell behind me and when I turned I got a faceful of happy llama looking for my apple. Apples: important. It’s important as well not to leave your passport in the loos at Beijing airport, but even if that happens, things might still turn out well. I realised what I’d done only after getting on the train that takes you across the airport. I didn’t speak any Mandarin and the staff didn’t understand my accent (I’m British) and I ended up stranded in the arrival hall wondering how the hell to contact the

embassy. But then along came the man I’d sat beside on the plane — he was a Beijing local who’d been teaching in Yorkshire the previous year — and he collared me cheerfully and did what no English person in their right mind would ever do: he took me to lost property. In London that would earn you nothing more than a scornful look. I did get a scornful look from the lady behind the Beijing desk, but she also had my passport. The cleaners had handed it in about five minutes after I’d lost it. It had beaten me across the airport. While I’m on the joy of ordinary things, I need to say that one of the best aspects of living in Japan has nothing to do with temples or samurai history; it’s pubs. Bureikou means putting aside rank. It’s an old idea, and these days it involves a bunch of people who work together going to the pub and getting drunk, with one rule: whatever is said in the pub, stays there. It’s especially important in Tokyo, where working life is dominated by big corporations and their punishing standards of behaviour. A session at the pub is a chance to loosen up, and it works. People of usually flinty austerity confess to affairs, mad things done abroad, secret PhDs, but even when nothing spectacular gets aired it’s still very funny. My favourite pub story was from a man who worked for the army. The English word “attack” has been absorbed into Japanese as attack o suru, but rather than meaning an assault, it’s slang for trying to pull a girl. This means it’s rather a false friend; Japanese men often assume “attack” in standard English means to pull or to score. Which causes confusion and alarm if you’re a Japanese soldier speaking English to foreigners, and you mention you’re about to attack a woman. I get nervous travelling, but I have a mantra now: check lost property, go to the pub, and always bring an apple. ● Natasha Pulley’s second novel, The Bedlam Stacks, follows the trials of a 19th-century expedition to find quinine in the Peruvian Amazon (Bloomsbury, $29.99).


Tr a v e l m e m o i r s




Enjoy two of the most engaging regions of the boot on ‘Italy: Food & Walks in Puglia and Amalfi’ with luxury tour specialist Abercrombie & Kent.


uglia is one of Italy’s most appealing and unspoiled regions, where life passes by at an unhurried pace. It has extraordinary Baroque and Renaissance architecture plus the World Heritage-listed conically roofed white stone huts called trulli. Accommodation is often found in masserias – restored farmhouses – while the region’s sunny climate produces fine-flavoured ingredients showcased in highly regarded rustic cuisine. Some call it the new Tuscany, minus the crowds. Between walks of five to eight kilometres, guests in the intimate group of no more than 14 will visit Puglia’s architectural hotspots such as the 15th-century town of Alberobello, learn secrets of the local cuisine with an Apulian mamma in Lecce, and visit Matera, famous for its ancient cave dwellings and as the setting for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. The stunning Amalfi Coast, meanwhile, long a magnet for the more jetsetting crowd, has breathtaking cliffside landscapes best enjoyed on hilltop trails. Lunch on the slopes of Monte Pertuso, for instance, will afford guests views of the island of Capri while enjoying the fêted Caprese cuisine. Offering in-depth experience of two of Italy’s most appealing regions, this hosted journey (2018 departures in April and September) is made for active, inquisitive travellers, who will benefit from the unique insight of Abercrombie & Kent’s expert local guides.

As well as the hosted small-group journey above, Abercrombie & Kent also designs exquisite private journeys in Puglia and elsewhere in Italy. Call your local travel specialist or A&K on 1300 851 800 or visit

LA VITA È BELLA Clockwise from top left: hiking through Atrani on the Amalfi Coast; Basilica di Santa Croce in Lecce’s historic centre; sea urchins for sale by the harbour in Bari, Puglia; the amphitheatre in Lecce; trulli in Alberobello; orecchiette with turnip greens, an Apulian specialty.



2 1




Valentino A/W ’17




Buonconvento, Tuscany

Tuscan sun Go sunny-side up this spring and paint your wardrobe yellow.

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Gourmet shopping

They’re the flavours of the month, so put these items at the top of your wish list. 1

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Outdoor Travel Explore Europe’s scenery, history and culture on a hotel barge cruise. Six-night cruises take in Burgundy’s vineyards, Canal du Midi in Venice, the Scottish Highlands or River Thames. Priced from $4,910.


USM Design your own credenza using the USM Haller modular system, $7,599. Play with different sizes and door styles, and choose from 14 colours. USM Haller furniture offers timeless design and the highest Swiss quality.


Lurpak Made using 100 per cent fresh milk with a pinch of salt, Lurpak is the perfect butter for cooking, baking and spreading, enriching just about any dish. Available from supermarkets nationally. Priced $6.


Smeg The new Smeg 90cm Thermoseal freestanding cooker now features Thermoseal engineering, Venturi atmospheric control and dynamic airflow for unrivalled cooking performance.


Vintec The compact new Vintec Noir V20 wine cabinet and beverage centre, $1,325 each, makes the perfect drinks storage solution for kitchens or home bars with limited space – and an ideal combination for entertaining in style.


Gaggenau The 90cm-wide EB 333 wall oven, $14,999, is the latest version of Gaggenau’s 300 Series oven, updated to celebrate the company’s 333rd anniversary, yet staying true to the original’s design and capabilities.


Captain’s Choice Join MoVida’s Frank Camorra on an all-inclusive journey through Spain. Enjoy traditional food and learn Spanish cooking secrets. Priced $33,550 per person twin share including flights from Australia.


Parisi The stylish form of the Sharp 42 round bench basin, $560, references both the pottery wheel and the latest production techniques, enabling its soft and light three-millimetre edges.




Trieste and Friuli guided walking tour ( 1 to 13 September, 2017). Surprisingly, Italy doesn’t stop at Venice: between La Serenissima and the Slovenian border lies one of Italy’s most fascinating and least known regions, Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG). With five languages, four national park, three borders, beaches and Alpine mountains, exceptional walking, gorgeous towns and fabulous food, the region of FVG has all the ingredients for a very special two-week visit. Plenty of places available, please join us! “The Fruili trip was terrific, and I loved everything about it: the walks; the Via dei Sapori restaurants; the mountain huts; Antonio talking about the history of the area; Lake Bled; and always feeling I was a very long way from other tourists.” Anastasia B.

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DINING Beach Almond – Palm Cove Modern Asian Seafood Restaurant

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Chocolate cannoli

Cook’s notes Measures & equipment • All cup and spoon measures are level and based on Australian metric measures. • Eggs have an average weight of 59gm unless otherwise specified. • Fruit and vegetables are washed, peeled and medium-sized unless otherwise specified. • Oven temperatures are for conventional ovens and need to be adjusted for fan-forced ovens. • Pans are medium-sized and heavy-based; cake tins are stainless steel, unless otherwise specified.


Cooking tips • When seasoning food to taste, we use sea salt and freshly ground pepper unless otherwise specified. • To blanch an ingredient, cook it briefly in boiling water, then drain it. To refresh it, plunge it in plenty of iced water (this stops the cooking process), then drain it. • We recommend using free-range eggs, chicken and pork. We use female pork for preference. • To dry-roast spices, cook the spices in a dry pan, stirring continuously over medium-high heat until they’re fragrant. The cooking time varies depending on the spices used. • RSPCA Australia’s recommendations for killing crustaceans humanely are to first render the animals insensible by placing them in the freezer (under 4°C – signs of insensibility are when the tail or outer mouth parts can be moved without resistance); crustaceans must then be killed quickly by cutting through the centreline of the head and thorax with a knife. For crabs, insert a knife into the head. This splitting and spiking destroys the nerve centres of the animal. • All herbs are fresh, and both leaves and tender stems are used, unless otherwise specified.

• Non-reactive bowls are made from glass, ceramic or plastic. Use them in preference to metal bowls when marinating to prevent the acid in marinades reacting with metal and imparting a metallic taste. • Eggwash is lightly beaten egg unless otherwise specified, used for glazing or sealing. • Sugar syrup is made of equal parts caster sugar and water, unless otherwise specified. Bring the mixture to the boil to dissolve the sugar, remove it from the heat and cool it before use. • Acidulated water is a mixture of water and lemon juice; it prevents discolouration. • To sterilise jars and lids, run them through the hot rinse cycle in a dishwasher, or wash them in hot soapy water, rinse well, place on a tray in a cold oven and heat at 120°C for 30 minutes. • To blind bake, line a pastry-lined tart tin with baking paper, then fill it with weights (ceramic weights, rice and dried beans work best). • To test whether marmalade, jam or jelly is at setting point, you’ll need a chilled saucer (place a couple in the freezer before you start cooking). Remove the pan from the heat, spoon a little mixture onto the saucer and return it to the freezer for 30 seconds, then draw your finger through the mixture – it should leave a trail, indicating that the mixture has reached setting point. If not, cook for another few minutes before testing again. If you prefer, use a sugar thermometer to measure when the mixture reaches 105°C; once it does, start testing for the setting point. • To clarify butter, cook it over low heat until the fat and the milk solids separate. Strain off the clear butter and discard the milk solids. You will lose about 20 per cent of the volume in milk solids.

Stockists Alternative Brewing Batch Ceramics Brett Stone Città Cherie Peyton Country Road 1800 801 911, David Jones 1800 354 663, The DEA Store (02) 9698 8150, The Design Hunter (02) 9369 3322, Di Lorenzo (02) 9698 8737, Earp Bros Elph Store The Essential Ingredient The Fortynine Studio Francalia (02) 9948 4977, Funkis (02) 9358 3093, Ghost Wares Ginkgo Leaf Hermès (02) 9287 3200, In Bed Store Koskela (02) 9280 0999, Matches Fashion MH Ceramics Montmartre Store (02) 9969 5456 Mud Australia (02) 9569 8181, Net-a-Porter Peter’s of Kensington (02) 9662 1099, Teranova (02) 9386 0063, Tuchuzy (02) 9365 7775, Witchery 1800 640 249, FARE EXCHANGE (p178) Fico 151 Macquarie St, Hobart, (03) 6245 3391,

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Fare exchange

Pea risotto with buffalo mozzarella and spring herbs SERVES 4 // PREP TIME 40 MINS // COOK 20 MINS


Use the best herbs you can find – the key to success here is variety and freshness. At Fico, the chefs use a beer vinegar from Emilia-Romagna; we’ve used Champagne vinegar. Pictured p178.

1 kg peas, podded, shells reserved 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 100 gm carnaroli rice 150 ml dry white wine 600 ml mozzarella whey (see note), heated 40 gm chilled butter, diced 40 gm Parmigiano-Reggiano (preferably 36 months old), finely grated plus extra to serve ⅓ buffalo mozzarella ball, blended until smooth, plus extra torn to serve (optional) 2 tsp Champagne vinegar, or to taste 1 cup mixed spring herbs, such as thinly sliced sorrel, fennel fronds, flowering chives, flat-leaf parsley, chervil and pea shoots Finely grated lemon rind and extra-virgin olive oil, to serve Fennel pollen (optional; see note), for dusting


Zucchini and tomato ragù ●●● ...136 Zucchini flowers stuffed with

Asparagus and egg tramezzini

almond purée and aïoli ● ........ 125


pizze bianche ●● ...................... 102 Broccoli, lemon, anchovy and stracchino ciabatta rolls ● ........ 118 Corn and broccolini ●●● .............127 Grilled fennel and asparagus salad ●●● ....................................124 Insalata primavera ●●● ................ 43 Mackerel tartare, pickled cucumber

Busiate with crab, ginger,

capers, dill, lemon and mozzarella ●● ............................. 110 Conchiglione with ragù bianco, anchovies and wilted kale ● .... 112

Mozzarella in carrozza ●● .......... 120

fonduta, zucchini, basil

and spring herbs ●●● ..............175

and toasted nuts ● ..................... 110 Fresh pasta dough ●● ..................133 Gigli with borlotti beans and pancetta in mint salsa ● .............113

Sage frittata and fried sopressa panini ● ........................ 70

Kale and ricotta gnocchi in sage and bacon butter ● ..........134

Swiss chard and egg soup ●● ...............................136 Tomato, ricotta and fregola salad ●● ....................................... 101



breadcrumbs ● ............................132 Prosciutto and parmesan cappellacci with brown butter and asparagus ● ........... 108 Ravioli filled with tomato

Spaghettini con colatura di alici ● ..........................................46

and pangrattato ●...................... 109 Casarecce with artichokes,

Farfalle with Gorgonzola

Pea risotto with buffalo mozzarella

Pici with anchovy

cream ● .........................................134

Bucatini with prawn fra diavolo ● ...111

and crème fraîche ●.................. 128 Pea and ricotta frittelle ●● .......... 103

and pea purée. Add mozzarella cream and stir vigorously to until creamy (1 minute), then season to taste with vinegar, salt and pepper. 3 To serve, spread a generous spoonful of risotto on plates, scatter with herbs, lemon rind, extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and torn mozzarella, drizzle with extra pea juice and extra-virgin olive oil and dust with fennel pollen. Note Buy mozzarella from a delicatessen and ask for as much whey as they can give you; if necessary top up with extra water. Fennel pollen is available from Herbie’s Spices ( If you don’t have a juicer, blend the pea shells with a little water, then strain the juice. ●

and bread in a mozzarella

with lemon aïoli ●● .....................117 Asparagus and ricotta

1 Juice pea shells (see note) and refrigerate juice to chill. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat and sauté peas and garlic until tender (2-3 minutes). Cool, refrigerate to chill, then blend pea mixture with 100ml pea juice to a loose purée in a blender. Reserve remaining juice to serve. 2 Heat remaining oil in a casserole over medium-high heat. Add rice and a pinch of salt, and stir occasionally until translucent and only just too hot to touch (1-1½ minutes). Add wine and simmer until you no longer smell alcohol (1-2 minutes). Add hot whey a ladle at a time, stirring continuously until stock is absorbed before adding the next, until risotto is al dente but still wet (10-12 minutes; add extra water if necessary). Stir in butter, Parmigiano-Reggiano

Orecchiette with cauliflower and walnut brown-butter pesto ●● ........................................ 67


Baby octopus with ’nduja dressing ●.................................... 126 Charred prawns, eggplant and chickpeas with roast tomato vinaigrette ●● .............................. 70 Kingfish crudo with white beans, fennel and blood-orange dressing ●● ..................................42 Preserved tuna and tomato open-faced panini ●● ............... 118

MEAT AND POULTRY Bistecca with asparagus and

Sicilian snapper with zucchini, mint and pistachio nuts ●●.......68

salsa dragoncello ●.....................69 Chicken cotoletta panini ●●........ 118


Grilled pork sausages with fennel,

Almond and muscovado

radicchio and roasted capsicum ● ....................................66 Porchetta panini with fennel and mustard fruits ....................... 121 Prosciutto, peperonata and provolone rolls ● ................ 116 Roast chicken thighs with sourdough panzanella ●............66 Roast duck breast with hazelnut sauce ............................ 128 Wild boar stew .................................133


tiramisù ●●● ................................. 71 Cassata ●● ..................................... 100 Chocolate cannoli ● ...................... 102 Florentine cake ●●●.....................137 Mascarpone mousse, berries and caramelised white chocolate ● ................................. 129 Ricotta gelato with espresso praline ●● ................................... 105 Ricotta-polenta cake with lemonrosemary syrup ●●●● ............ 104



Chefs’ recipes

Fare exchange Recipes you’ve requested from Australia’s leading restaurants.

Pea risotto with buffalo mozzarella and spring herbs “The pea risotto at Fico in Hobart is the best I’ve had. Could you please print the recipe?” Alasdair Lyne, Battery Point, Tas




Risotto Glass from Montmartre Store. Plate (main) from The DEA Store. Surface from Di Lorenzo. All other props, stylist’s own. Stockists p175.



delizioso since 1956


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