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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Dishes by Chef Alessandro Gilmozzi

On one of the very last days of our Summer Trentino stay, back we are in El Molin in Cavalese, where the recently Michelin starred Chef Alessandro Gilmozzi continues to straddle creativity and tradition.

Among the many great dishes, this one impressed from the start:

It’s Ravioli with cipolla (onion) fondente parmesan cream and liquorice. The liquorice is wild, picked by the chef and his assistants on the surrounding mountains – they obviously need to keep in shape, with all the delicacies tempting them in the kitchen! This wild liquorice is very mild and confers the dish an aura, an atmosphere more than a decisive flavour, like an instrument accompanying the lead. In this case two leads, really, with parmesan and onion delicately competing for your attention.

How many times have we been disappointed by dishes advertised with this herb or that perfume, only to discover that the elusive herb flavour and perfume have forever escaped? Certainly Chef Gilmozzi knows a thing or two about the treatment of herbs and perfumes. Look at this:

Here we have (in an interesting feat of equilibrium) a lamb shank lacquered with rhododendrum honey and lavender. The tender lamb is lovingly enveloped with the aromatic honey, and the lavender here really holds centre stage. The presentation is wonderful as ever, with the colourful dried vegetables enlivening the dish in many dimensions.

Gilmozzi likes to encase perfumes and liberate them at the moment of serving, when they are still in their full vigour, as in the pigeon we had in a previous visit, and as this time:

Venison with extravergin olive oil, pink moscato sauce and small vegetables in a thyme perfumed pot (at the back in the photo).

But, as far as herbs are concerned, this was where a pinnacle was reached:

This variation of crème brulees’ with ‘perfumes from Lagorai’ (a mountain chain in the region), beside being technically perfect as far as the basic dessert is concerned, offers an admirable escalation of strong, clear flavours: lavender, mint, lemon balm (melissa officinalis) and mountain pine (pinus mugo), the last one really hitting your senses with its resinous punch. What a brilliant endpoint to a great dinner.



jujumiro said...

Their price has gone up from 47 euro to 65 euro for exactly the same 'classic' menu (40 percent of increase in 2 years). If they go public, I'm definitely buying their stock!! :P

Couple annoying things: 1)if ordering a menu, the whole table has to take exactly the same menu. 2) no photo is allowed.

Man-Woman said...

Thanks for your comments and update (we are no longer updating this blog ourselves so contributions from readers are even more welcome).

It was probably the prices before the increase which were out of line with the market - you will not find another starred restaurants in Italy that offers a tasting menu for much less than that, and indeed most restaurants of similar quality will charge more. Trentino has particularly low prices (already in neighbouring Alto Adige they are higher).

In Italy, as well as in the UK, it is not too uncommon to request that a tasting menu is served for the whole table. HOWEVER, most restaurants will be happy to accommodate reasonable alterations if you ask the manager. Just ask!

The really annoying thing is the no-photo rule!

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