We shopped for food, we asked our local chefs for tips and the menu started taking shape. So after a few trials and a few recipe decisions, the night finally arrived.
We tried to take care of as many details as possible. We used Caputo flour from Campania, Slow Food certified anchovies, fresh tomatoes from Campania as well and finally a brush of DOP Olive oil from Cilento, kindly donated to our event by Torretta. The pizza was made entirely by @Squadrilla75 as I am not really that good with pizza dough! She did a stellar job with it.We had prepared two pasta dishes. Not able to procure fresh fish or meat, we thought pasta dishes offered a great showcase of the region’s tradition. The first one was lagane made with chickpeas from Cicerale, a great variety of pulses which were also Slow Food certified.
The dish was really good, @Squadrilla75 did a great job of bathing the chickpeas early enough to cook them on the day with smoked Italian bacon and London garden rosemary. A warming, filling dish – we probably fed too much of this to our guests!
The second round was fresh fusiddi with sausage ragu’ and cacioricotta. The cacio is a salty, rustic hard cheese which goes so well with rich tomato sauces! It used widely in local restaurants in the area and I personally love it.
As main course we served some of the best mozzarella one can buy – we were lucky to have this donated by Caseificio Barlotti, based in Paestum.
Their mozzarella is certified DOP and absolutely amazing. Nearly 5 kilos of this white cheese made it to London in @Squadrilla75’s suitcase. Thankfully, Heathrow customs did not ask her to open her luggage!
With the mozzarella, we cut up two salami from Villammare (a soprassata and a salsiccia dolce) and served with courgette scapece (a dish common all around Campania) and cianfotta, a mix of aubergines, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. Variations of this dish exist all over the south of Italy.
To give a bit of respite before the dessert, we plated up a smooth sorbet that La Gelatiera has prepared for us using our own homemade limoncello, made using lemons from our garden in Cilento. Could not get more authentic that this!
Finally, our main dessert was served. Chiara, professionally trained as a pastry chef, had prepared a merengue, raspberries and lemon ricotta dish inspired by a famous chef but also inspired by the flavours and the traditions of the region as well. It looked beautiful and it tasted even better. To finish off the meal, we offered a round of teas and coffee (also from Cilento, kindly donated by our friend Terrone who was born in Salerno).
With the drinks, homemade bites with figs and almonds, a recipe from the area, and cantucci made with hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are produced in Giffoni and are of a high quality and famous all over Italy so we wanted to pay homage to yet more of the region’s culinary heritage.
The dinner was over. We raised a huge amount of money again, we told people about another beautiful and not very well known Italian area (providing a ‘goodie bag’ full of useful information) and we had fun.
Having Squadrilla75 and Chiara in the kitchen was great and meant everything went once again very smoothly and on schedule.
Thank you to all our supporters and diners – the dinner’s success is thanks to you too!