Franzin flies high with Tarabusino

A great display of talent for the chef at boutique hotel Oche Selvatiche in Grado. Also presenting a sustainable grape flour...

31-05-2017

Architect Adriana Paolini, patron of boutique hotel Oche Selvatiche in Grado, with Roberto Franzin and his sous chef. The two prepared a great dinner at Tarabusino, the restaurant of the hotel in Grado

Photogallery

A great dinner at Tarabusino, in the photos by Tanio Liotta. We start with a high quality bread basket: please note the delicious crackers made with Macino flour from marcs of organic grapes
The chef immediately hits the target with Gelato di mare: scampi gelato, yogurt with lime, gò caviar (it’s not for sale, it comes from a fish from the Venetian lagoon) and wild asparagus. It’s served on burnt artichoke leaves
Another great dish, simple and balanced: Wild garlic frittata with asparagus from Fossalon and dried seaweeds
Anchovies from Le Isolane in Grado, broccoli, mozzarella from Fossalon, on squares of Macino bread

The placid and beautiful lagoon of Grado, with the oasis of Val Cavanata and the mouth of river Isonzo lies ahead: a paradise for wild geese, pink flamingos and majestic swans... We look at it from the terraces, which make it look like we’re about to dive into this secluded and silent Eden. This used to be the old station of the Guardia di Finanza. The state property administration then put it on sale. «As soon as I saw it, I fell in love» says architect Adriana Paolini from Udine. She thought she’d transform it into a B&B or something like that, but then she got carried away: she took care of the interior, her husband Giancarlo Tavano, an engineer and expert in sustainable buildings and bio-architecture redesigned the structure. The result is beautiful: 7 suites de charme, a boutique hotel surrounded by nature, «we went to the Sovrintendenza for the project’s approval. They congratulated themselves with us», and so do we.

There was only one piece missing in order to complete the picture: a high quality restaurant. So as of April 5th they called a great professional to guide the kitchen of restaurant Tarabusino inside hotel Oche Selvatiche in Grado (via Luseo 1, località Villaggio Primero. Tel. +39.0431.878918), namely Roberto Franzin. He was born in 1959 but faced the new challenge with the enthusiasm of a child, the wisdom of an expert, the creativity of someone who never stopped using his head properly.

A nice character: he speaks little, but explains his projects, innovations, his patents with calm and humbleness – without parading his humbleness, like a real man from Friuli, though he’s originally from Noventa di Piave, in Veneto. A fertile mind even when it came to immediately understanding how to work at Tarabusino: «I want to support the territory, enhance its products. In the menu, I include dishes made almost exclusively with local raw materials: bestowed by the sea (mullet, octopus, squid...), offered by local farmers, such as asparagus from Fossalon, peaches from Fiumicello, strawberries». Mozzarella too comes from a local dairy factory.

Then there’s the flour. It comes directly from Franzin’s creativity. It’s called Macino, it’s patented, made with a simple yet brilliant production process: the idea comes from the desire to promote the use of noble biomolecules inside grape wastes. «This way I tried to create a local network for a new economy of products with a high added and technological value. Every year in Italy we produce between 1 and 2 million tons of solid waste from transforming grapes into wine, which means more or less 20% of dry substances from grape production».

There’s always been a production chain using by-products of vinification, fresh or fermented marcs and dregs: grappa is the clearest example. The need to reduce the impact of wine production and the volume of waste and their cost of disposal suggests we can give value to a very rich waste and use it to extract substances of the highest value. The egg of Columbus: make flour from what is thrown away of grapes – in this case organic Ribolla gialla from Il Carpino, in nearby San Floriano del Collio. The marcs are dried, then milled into a flour taking care of keeping the grains rather irregular, without making the powder too thin, so as to keep a pleasant chewable texture. The flour is used in a variable proportion – let’s say around 30% on average – to make bread, polenta, crackers, pasta, even gluten free.

We tasted them: truly excellent, with a special mention going to the pasta, which has surprising quality both in terms of flavour and texture. Then there’s the Tarabusino biscuit, made with withered Verduzzo grapes, hazelnuts from San Daniele and flour from Friulian red wheat... A world disclosing itself. «The advantage of using marcs is a lower cost, as they’re a by-product of a higher value product; plus there’s the important aspect of not using land for non-food reasons»: sustainability meets pleasure for the palate.

A good idea, which will bring great developments, and perfectly meets the eco-friendly logic of Tarabusino and Oche SelvaticheFranzin is a chef with a long experience, born in the business – his mother was a cook at trattoria Guaiane in Noventa, and his brother Franco also followed her steps. Stars shine on his career, Villa Abbazia in Follina (Tv), Sanlorenzo and Ceppo in Roma, then three years at Taverna di Colloredo, left in early 2016 to have some time to reflect and teach: «I promised myself I wouldn’t return to the kitchen unless I found a place where I could fully express my cooking». The meeting with Tarabusino forced him to stop hesitating.

He presents a really nice cuisine, both territorial and modern, based on ingredients and technique. There’s a perfect symbiosis with the surrounding environment, a good feeling with the owners. A new place for Italian fine dining, with the attention to sustainability as an extra element worth stressing. Bravo to everyone. (In the photo gallery, by Tanio Liotta, the beautiful dinner we had in a beautiful place, surrounded by splendid people).
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Sections

Carlo Mangio

An outdoor trip or a journey to the other side of the planet?
One thing is for sure: the destination is delicious, by Carlo Passera


Photogallery

A great dinner at Tarabusino, in the photos by Tanio Liotta. We start with a high quality bread basket: please note the delicious crackers made with Macino flour from marcs of organic grapes
The chef immediately hits the target with Gelato di mare: scampi gelato, yogurt with lime, gò caviar (it’s not for sale, it comes from a fish from the Venetian lagoon) and wild asparagus. It’s served on burnt artichoke leaves
Another great dish, simple and balanced: Wild garlic frittata with asparagus from Fossalon and dried seaweeds
Anchovies from Le Isolane in Grado, broccoli, mozzarella from Fossalon, on squares of Macino bread
«Even in the north of the Adriatic Sea you can find oysters: they’re not so beautiful, less meaty, but they add excellent sapidity». The same happens in this dish in which oysters are matched with a butter «we make ourselves with the day’s milk», a granita of local red onion from Cavasso, Slovenian oil Trasparenza, wild fennel, pepper and Sirk vinegar. Pure pleasure, contemporary
«Do colours have a flavour?» wonders Franzin. Hence he created a dish which, by resetting every chromatic certainty, only hands judgement to the taste buds: Green strawberries, asparagus, egg, powdered green asparagus and celery fibre, white caviar from Friultrota turbot
Squilla mantis, pea pods, French beans and broad beans: a play on minerality
«Squilla mantis is hard to cook: when you cut it, it breaks easily so you loose the external part, which is the best». The chef thus shows us how to handle it: you first freeze it, then clean it and cook it between two sheets of cooking paper, but only for 8 seconds
Here’s the perfect result
Franzin’s cuisine is very elegant and suave. He allows himself to show more muscles in this take on a traditional Slovenian dish, ělikrofi, dumplings filled with potatoes and pancetta typical of Idria. The chef presents gnocchi (made with Macino flour) with potatoes and pork jowl from Mangalica, onion, octopus and a thin layer of lard
A delicious dish: Tagliolini with Macino flour, zotoeti (baby calamari), wild garlic, «a sort of seafood aglio olio e peperoncino pasta»
Squid in mozzarella: the discarded elements of the squid (bone, liver, ink...) cooked in the Venetian stile and blended. With melting mozzarella on top