Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gelati per Colazione

You scream.
I scream.
We all scream for ice cream!

Imagine a lighter than air, sugar topped, brioche. A thing of perfection in itself. Cut the brioche in half and add a scoop of ricotta gelato and a scoop of dark chocolate gelato inside. You have the best ice cream sandwish you could ever dream up. Italy is the place of dreams and these dreams taste soooo good.

We also enjoyed the best dinner I have ever had in Italy. Exquisite. Our first night in Sicilia was in Ragusa Ibla. Ragusa Ibla is located in the South-East part of the island. We stayed at the Locanda Don Serafina, which was an absolute gem of a hotel. The restaurant is part of the hotel but is located a short walk away through two beautiful piazzas. The restaurant had three tasting menus: for food, for wine, and for olive oil. We weren't feeling really hungry so we didn't opt for any of the tasting menus. But the olive oil they serve for dinner is from Ragusa and has been voted best in the world for 5 years. It was light, fruity, and remarkably bright. A collection of 6 different types of breads were served along side the olive oil.

First the chef sent out a tiny slice of ricotta in a tomato emulsion with a hint of basil and a little peeled cherry tomato. Then I had the most amazing starter. It was grilled vegetables (eggplant, radicchio, potato, zucchini, tomato, and onion) in balsamic vinegar. The vegetables were stacked precisely on top of ricotta cheese and embraced by a parmesan cheese wafer. They called it a waffle in the description but it was thin and crisp and bursting with flavor. If I could eat a vegatable dish this good every night I would be a vegetarian.

Hubby started with a Sicilian specialty, which is spaghetti with cuttle fish ink and clams or something like a clam. He thought it was superb. For me, it is not my cup of tea. I had the pasta with shrimp and salted ricotta and basil. It was very good. The shrimp were so sweet it was closer to lobster in flavor. Hubby also had the involtini of quail with apples and peppers. Very good.

Dessert was heaven. It was ricotta mousse with pralined almonds. WOW! It was the kind of dessert that brings an instant smile to the face and a dreamy sigh. While I had ricotta in every dish for dinner, none of the ricotta was the same in taste or consistency.

To find this type of restaurant in a remote part of Sicily and off the tourist path was very special. The chef came out and introduced himself. He was young and, in my mind, a food genius! After dinner we had a tour of the wine cellar. They have a very extensive wine list and impressive wine cellar. They serve dinner in the cellar. However, it being a beautiful summer night, we ate dinner at a sidewalk table by candle light with ancient walls around us.

An after dinner grappa and off to bed.


MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

The chef was young and a food genius, but was he CUTE?!?!


Sounds perfectly lovely.

Ellen Bloom said...

Can't wait to hear more about your Italian adventures! Sounds like you had a divine time!