By K.S. RAMKUMAR | ARAB NEWS
Published: Mar 17, 2010 14:47 Updated: Mar 17, 2010 22:19
Aromi chefs offer the Taste of Venice at Qasr Al Sharq’s BiCE
Molino Stucky, one of the most beautiful mills in Europe, has been brought back to life after 50 years of neglect. It has been reborn as a five-star luxury hotel, Molino Stucky Hilton Venice on the island of Giudecca.
Since the opening of the Molino Stucky on June 1, 2007, the hotel has launched its own “Bars & Restaurants Collection” enriching Venetian culinary offerings by proposing menus for the most demanding and refined palates.
Its flagship restaurant, the Aromi Restaurant & Bar, is an intimate sophisticated choice where one can experience contemporary Mediterranean cuisine either indoors or on the beautiful terrace overlooking Venice and the Giudecca Canal.
An Aromi-like ambiance is being created at the Jeddah Hilton where Aromi chefs are offering Venetian dishes during the 10-day “La Serenissima — The Taste of Venice” festival at Qasr Al Sharq’s BiCE restaurant from March 18 to 27. To ensure the menu is authentic, Executive Chef Franco Luise, the guest chef, will use fresh seasonal and high quality ingredients while respecting Italian gastronomic culture. The results are creative Venetian dishes, maintaining the right balance between tradition and innovation and preserving the flavor of each ingredient, Qasr Al Sharq Palace Manager Thomas Huber, says.
Franco and his team have selected various signature dishes from the Aromi Restaurant, which are being featured in set menus comprising six courses as well as for the a’la carte menu. Franco’s philosophy is to balance Italian tradition with innovation, using the freshest available ingredients and this is reflected in each dish on the authentic regional menu.
A city such as Venice, that has always maintained contacts both with the mainland and with diverse and faraway countries, presents in its culinary tradition a variety of dishes linked to the different origins of ingredients. Thus we see on our tables baccalà (dried salted cod) from the Baltic, precious spices from the caravans of Asia and also fresh vegetables from islands of the estuary, fish from the lagoon and game shot in sandbanks. The use of spices is the fundamental characteristic of Veneto cuisine, which unifies multiplicity of the gastronomic traditions linked to the territory. Venetian cuisine, made with poor ingredients, becomes nothing short of refined with use of spices.
A veteran chef, Franco is the chief of the Aromi Restaurant & Bar. “It’s an elegant and sophisticated restaurant of the Molino Stucky Hilton Venice,” said Luise who began his professional career in Italy, working in a number of restaurants including the five-star Villa San Michele in Florence and the Gritti Palace in Venice. He also worked in the three-star Michelin Restaurant Antica Osteria del Ponte in Milan. He is perhaps most known for his role as executive chef of the legendary Cip’s at the Hotel Cipriani in Venice and for opening the Cipriani Restaurant at the Lapa Palace in Lisbon. Prior to coming to the Hilton, Franco was in charge of the opening of the Hotel Caruso in Ravello, Italy.
Traditional grains which have been in use since Roman times, such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, millet are placed side by side or replaced with American corn or potatoes. Other new foods, which get inserted bringing innovation of the cuisine, are tomatoes, beans, peppers, aubergines and turkey.
Rice is also presented and becomes necessary for Veneto dishes. Having arrived from the Arabic world, quite soon it became a key ingredient of Venetian cuisine. The most famous of the Venetian soups is risi e bisi (rice and peas). Among the characteristic first courses, there is pasta e fasioi (pasta and beans), a peasant dish which is very much-appreciated in Venice.
In contrast to the popular idea of Italians as eaters of pasta and spaghetti, in Venice, the only pasta is bigoli (thick and coarse spaghetti), whose preparation was traditionally entrusted to men, given the hardness of dough. Among the most typical and well-known main courses, there is the famous fegato alla veneziana (Venetian style liver). The Romans used to cook it with figs to sweeten the bitterish aftertaste but the Venetians have done the same with onions.
Next to main courses, vegetable side dishes like the famous fondi di carciofo (artichokes ends), fasioi in salsa (beans in sauce) or radicchio alla trevigiana (Trevisian style chicory) adorn the Venetian table in a harmony of colors and flavors.
Sugar was introduced as a main ingredient in Veneto cakes as a substitute for age-old honey, olive oil and butter, instead of lard, bacon and goose fat. But in the present-day daily routines, the most diffused and appreciated by all meal is Venetian sandwich. Two slices of bread without crust, that contain anything filled with mayonnaise — eggs, tuna, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh vegetables, olives, artichokes… an absolute expression of “the Venetian way of life.
Non mi sento ne Di giudicare e ne tantomeno scriverci, voglio solo rivolgere ai signori padroni del GVCI una domanda; chi ha copiato?