UPDATE: Vincenzo Guarino in the spring of 2019 he left the restaurant The parish priest of Gaiole in Chianti to assume the role of executive chef of the Mandarin Oriental in Blevio. At the restaurant of the Spaltenna Castle will Stelios Sakalis, greek of birth and training and Tuscan adoption, Down chef of Castel Monastero in the Chianti region.
It might seem an unlikely marriage between the Campanian cuisine and Tuscan: one o'clock exuberant, colorful, extraordinarily varied, the austere other, essential, tummy. Both, though, mediterranee. Vincenzo Guarino, instead, He celebrated this wedding with great, great naturalness and today, The parish priest in the restaurant, inside the Castello di Spaltenna in Gaiole in Chianti, Campania offers a credible-Tuscan cuisine, interesting research. Guarino, It starred chef but inexplicably undervalued by Italian guides, It enjoys a very charming environment: the Castello di Spaltenna, born in 1040 as a convent, then converted into a fortified citadel and unique today of 12 castles of Chianti to be dedicated 100% to the restoration and hotellerie.
Today the Castello di Spaltenna is a resort with 36 rooms, two swimming pools, a spa, a wonderful Mediterranean garden, buildings and stone courtyards, frescoed halls. An obvious but discreet luxury (the structure is open from April to October) This is also reflected in the dining room service, led by Fabio Santilli, accurately and on time like clockwork, Maybe a little’ too tight to perfection at the beginning of the meal but then it humanizes gradually deepens the relationship with the customer. The property also has 14 hectares of land, that give rise to both wines (with 4 hectares of vines) both extra virgin olive oil (180 olive trees). Oil and wine are produced exclusively for the hotel restaurant. In the kitchen, in addition to raw materials at zero distance, typically Tuscan (The refiner's cheese Andrea Magi of Arezzo, Pecorino di Pienza, black rooster and pigeon Laura Peri, the truffles Savini), it leaves sufficient room for the bells: pasta Vicidomini, that of the pasta factory of Nola and Pasta Leonessa, the mozzarella and milk cooked Casa Turillo, buffalo mozzarella cheese Costanzo, the Datterino tomato 'As it is'.
In addition to the a la carte menu, Pievano offers a tasting menu 'tradition’ 75 € per person, and a menu “chef” a 95 euro. While waiting to order, He comes to the table a selection of breads: White whole wheat bread and semolina, tarallini almond, breadsticks with extra virgin olive oil, music paper fleur de sel, breadsticks algae, goat butter mousse and ghee. Then, the babà salty tomato with mousse of cooked milk and tomato confit: a soft and delicious homage to traditional bell, it makes sense immediately as continue the evening, in a path that runs between the two regions, the one of origin and the adoption.
Guarino, who leads a brigade composed of seven persons, just 40 and already in 2009 he won a Michelin star restaurant in the hotel closed Salotti The Patriarch, then confirmed at the restaurant The Next Grand Hotel Angiolieri Vico Equense and again at Castello di Spaltenna, where he won a Michelin star in just seven months. Behind, after the hotel, several internships in starry kitchens like those of Fredy Girardet, André Jaeger and Davide Oldani, junior chef alongside Gualtiero Marchesi in Capri (Quisisana hotel. Important, Guarino, The training course on pastry, that leaves a keen sense of aesthetics of the dish but also a care and special attention to the sweet part of the menu. In addition to the gourmet restaurant, Pievano also has a bistro traditional Tuscan mold to the underlying floor. From 2017, with advice from Gennaro Nasti, It was born a pizzeria offering gourmet pizza or 'cooked', with long leavening dough (48 ore) and major raw materials Tuscan-bells for decoration.
Welcome Chef reflects the strong attitude of Vincenzo Guarino pastry: in a cutting board dominated by an olive bonsai, Arrive foie gras chocolates with hazelnuts and raspberries, fried montanarina (a symbol of regional cuisine for every chef), a small and balanced reconstruction of caprese, with a Bavarian of mozzarella and tomato. And then, returns to the Tuscan cuisine with bon bon restricted water cooked (the typical soup of the region) glazed carrots, bon bon goat glazed with Vin Santo. In combination, a Antinori Marchesi Franciacorta, Montenisa Tenuta, Cuvée Royale.
We chose the traditional menu: the appetizer the chef has called “The evolution of my pappa al pomodoro” It is an interesting interpretation of tomato soup, served in different amounts and at different temperatures, on a plate designed by the same chef and realized by potter Nicoletta Penco, which it has a ceramic workshop inside the Castello di Spaltenna and which achieves all the most 'special dishes’ for the chef's recipes. In sequence, in the plate, They are proposed small mignon suspended between Tuscany and Campania: Argentario sardines fried and stuffed with pecorino cheese and tomato soup, yellow tomato Vesuvius rebuilt, with inside the tomato soup; the panzerotto stuffed tomato soup, the creamy pecorino cheese with tomato soup, sorbet tomato soup to crumble bread with drops of basil coulis.
Then comes a surprise dish: Guarino Vincenza, a good Campanian, He has a passion for fish, who knows and treats with mastery. Particularly happy hand on Fusilloni cooked in bouilla-basse, with raw shrimp, buffalo mozzarella and basil powder. A clean plate, simple but technical (such technique is the whole restaurant The Pievano) and especially a cooked pasta al dente, we like.
The first dish of the traditional menu is not traditional, even if the inspiration is clear Maremma: Coffee is pappardelle with boar stew, black truffle scorzone, crispy asparagus and pecorino cheese, braised wild boar and truffles. A dish slightly too oily, but well balanced flavors, very full and intense. A perfect recipe together with the Chianti Classico The Pievano (Vintage 2016), produced with the grapes of the estate.
The second dish is a tribute to Campania, in every small detail: a soft pork cheek “Fracassi selection” (the well-known butcher ) cooked for 5 hours, with a Neapolitan sauce mousse, creamy buffalo mozzarella, crispy rice wafer and spinach. Dense taste, intense, with all the flavors of the extraordinary Neapolitan ragù, so unique for that acidity which remains even after hours of cooking.
But it is in the sweets that Michelin star becomes obvious, almost obvious, Maybe a little’ hold. The desserts of the restaurant Pievano are made and designed by Guarino together with the pastry chef Florence Breda (that is about to leave the parish priest to open his own bakery in the US). A dish that is a courageous tribute to Mona Lisa (the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci), one of the most famous paintings in the world. A sweet that is served in a plate-frame encased in a wooden frame (designed by Chef). Great aesthetic impact and great technique. The cake is made with seven different types of Valrhona chocolate and consists of a silkscreen of the Mona Lisa of chocolate pastry, a creamy chocolate Guanaja, a flexible ganache passion fruit, a sponge gianduja, a mandarin sauce to give a light touch sour and citrusy, sorbet Ivoire chocolate and oranges, Orelys chocolate mousse and chocolate sauce. I know that the description is long, but I assure you that the cake is eaten in an instant.
The second dessert we tried revolves around the Tuscan tradition of nooks and Vin Santo, classic fine tavern meal chiantigiana. In dish called “OPS, how it changed the nook”, we find an ice cream corner (cookie Tuscan tradition) and Vin Santo, a ball of sugar stuffed with mousse vin santo, a turbillon of nooks with almonds and crumble, drops of Vin Santo sour at the right point), a chocolate filling vin santo to break in the mouth to close the path of a really tasty dish.
Pre desserts and pastries again perfect: creamy white chocolate pistachio nappa (too soft wire, we felt the need of a sour note that was missing), and then basil mousse with tomato gel, bon bon chocolate and passion fruit, fake chocolate donuts, almond pastries, marshmellow vanilla.
The wine list is extensive, Representative of the leading Italian names, European and other continents. Structured to an international clientele cutting, It might be more daring on the choice of sparkling wines: too many labels that belong to the main stream is between Italians, both between the French Champagne. You might be more daring by conveying to customers new products and new combinations. The manufacturers are not lacking. The markups are correct, considering the very elegant surroundings of Castello di Spaltenna and the level of the proposed food.
As he says the same Guarino, The parish priest is not a restaurant in passing: Gaiole in Chianti is a place for niche tourism, Florence is not. Therefore, here you must be specially. If the area was not already so beautiful, so rich in history, culture, Wine and traditions I assure you that it would be worth it come to taste the cuisine of Vincenzo Guarino.
(visited in November 2018)
Restaurant of the rector – via Spaltenna 13, 53013, Gaiole in Chianti (Siena)
Phone 0577 749483