Thursday, November 15, 2012

Delicio - Italian food festival at Bene, Sheraton

Delicio, the Italian food festival at Bene, is the result of Sheraton Bangalore bringing to town Chef Enrico Fiorentini, the Executive Chef at the Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport Hotel. The food being showcased during this fest is the food from the Lombardy region of Italy.

Chef Enrico Fiorentini
Photo credit: Sheraton Bangalore

While the popular notion is that the Lombardy regions cuisine has a lot of Swiss influence, Chef Enrico has a slightly different take on it. He says that Switzerland itself doesn't have a very strong gastronomic tradition, and has taken a lot of influences from France, Germany, and Italy, and so the 'influences' in Lombardy food comes mainly from France. Chef also spoke about how being a slightly hilly, landlocked region meant that the food incorporated almost everything grown in the region. Even the famous Minestrone soup, which usually contains pasta when served in other parts of Italy, has rice in it!

Some of the starters we were served were very reflective of the philosophy of Lombardian cuisine. The use of a lot of vegetables and polenta, which is one of the most prominent starchy foods. Seafood isn't eaten much - obviously, the coast is quite far! - but the consumption of other meats is quite high, with veal and beef making up for a bulk of the proteins and pork coming in closely behind.


The fest at Bene will be an a la carte setup and there's a special menu apart from the regular menu at Bene. One of the starters we had, a timbale of stewed lentils and roasted pumpkin with almond velouté and a Parmesan cheese crisp was very reminiscent of a classic, 'earthy' dish. The flavours were earthy and yet light. I'm not a big fan of a strong Parmesan flavour, so I didn't like the taste of the crisp all that much, but in terms of technique, it was brilliant.

Timbale of stewed lentils and roasted pumpkin with almond cream velouté and Parmesan crisp

We then proceeded onto the next course - not the main course - called the Primi piatti di pasta, or the pasta course. As mentioned before, seafood isn't really big in the Lombardy region, but they do 'import' it from the south, and make a few dishes. The ravioli we had was custom made - stuffed with seafood instead of the usual pumpkin - and was superb. The shell wasn't too thick, and was boiled for just enough time to ensure it's firm and not pasty. The seafood inside wasn't over cooked, and the basil oil on the plate was a nice addition along with the standard balsamic vinegar artistry.

Seafood ravioli with basil oil

For the meat course, we had a butter pan fried lamb chops in a herbed polenta crumbing. The cut of lamb chops that we got was outstanding. I mean, look at the snap below (click the image for a larger, better view) and check out how much meat is present on the bone, and the portion of the bone exposed. Lovely. It was served with a pumpkin risotto. I'm not a big fan of strong cheese in a risotto, so this one didn't get a smile from me, but in terms of being cooked, it was nicely done. The lamb chops were divine. Done medium, these were stacked up proudly on a plate, with a glaze sauce. Personally, I'd have liked to have had one of the traditional beef or veal dishes, like perhaps an ossobuco, or even a rabbit dish that's there on the menu.

Butter pan fried lamb chops in a herbed polenta crumbing

Finally, for dessert, or dolci as they say in Italian, we had a combo of sorts. In the foreground and at the 12 o'clock position is a polenta and dark chocolate timbale, and on the horizontal plane is a Parmesan cheese ice cream (left) and red wine poached pear. The Parmesan ice cream was a pleasant surprise. I thought it was plain vanilla until my nose crossed over the spoon and I got a waft of the Parmesan aroma. It went well with the poached pears as it cut the acidity from the red wine and the general acidic nature of the pear fruit. The dark chocolate was rich and creamy.

Assortment of desserts

The Italian food festival at Bene is a little different in the sense that the menu is not all pastas and pizzas, and certainly not the usual flavours you get, which are typically from the southern half of Italy. However, it is quite an interesting perspective to the food from a country where we usually only get to eat the food from the lower half of the country.

                                               Delicio - Italian food festival
                                         Dates: Till the 18th of November 2012
                                         Venue: Bene, at Sheraton Bangalore
                                         Mode of dining: A la carte


EarnesTaster said...

'twas interesting going through this post. how do you feel this stacks up against The Park's iTalia ?

Shreya at Jumbodium said...

very nice post. The information's are awesome and the snaps of the food items are mouth watery. Thank u for the share...


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