The first Tiglio opens on Valentine’s Day

After closing in Montemonaco because of the 2016 earthquake, Mazzaroni and Silvestri return to their first love without disavowing Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

06-02-2019
A detail of the dining room of Il Tiglio in Mont

A detail of the dining room of Il Tiglio in Montemonaco, Ascoli Piceno, tel. +39.0736.856441. The restaurant, closed after the earthquake of October 30th 2016, will open again on February 14th, on Valentine’s day. For patrons Enrico Mazzaroni and Pier Luigi Silvestri it’s a great act of love 

Three earthquakes shook Central Italy between the summer and the autumn of 2016, in Abruzzo and Marche, Lazio and Umbria. Il Tiglio in Montemonaco, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, was spared by the first two, but the third was lethal. It was a Sunday morning, on October 30th. There were no casualties, and not just there, but only because statistics do not consider animals. In Isola di San Biagio, under the cave of Sibilla, Enrico Mazzaroni, chef and patron with Gian Luigi Silvestri, lost Oliver, a mongrel full of intelligence and love who died underneath the stones and beams. Apart from the dog, whom they loved as a child, they also lost the trattoria. But this has changed now.

On Wednesday 14th of February, a day they chose specifically because it’s dedicated to lovers, Mazzaroni and Silvestri will open Il Tiglio once again, almost 28 months after the earthquake, call +39.0736.856441. And 20 months after opening Tiglio in vita, a beautiful alternative, in a completely different part of the Marche. There are no mountains there, and the province is not that of Ascoli Piceno: there’s the sea, near Ancona, in Porto Recanati. The province is be in fact Macerata, but from the windows of the restroom you can see Loreto’s basilica and the Conero beyond, so Ancona comes to mind.

A souvenir photo from early in January 2019 at Tiglio in Vita in Porto Recanati. Left to right: Nicola Coccia, Gian Luigi Silvestri, Enrico Mazzaroni and Massimiliano Santini. After reopening Il Tiglio in Montemonaco, Coccia will move there to direct the dining room 

A souvenir photo from early in January 2019 at Tiglio in Vita in Porto Recanati. Left to right: Nicola CocciaGian Luigi SilvestriEnrico Mazzaroni and Massimiliano Santini. After reopening Il Tiglio in Montemonaco, Coccia will move there to direct the dining room 

In any case, Valentine’s Day was chosen on purpose. Enrico will celebrate his eternal love for the mountains, which he would have never left. His heart stayed there, for multiple reasons that go beyond the fact that we are all born and raised with a specific visual and mental horizon. This is where Oliverdied, this is where the Mazzaronifamily is from - Enricowas born in Amandola in February 1970 – and this is where his parents opened a bar that later became a grocery and then a trattoria whose reputation, thanks to Enrico, started to grow in restaurant guides until many said “you know you’d deserve a star? This is a restaurant, not a trattoria”. And being shy, when hearing this, he blushed and always said: «If Bottura chose to call an osteria Francescana, why should I be ashamed to consider Il Tiglio a trattoria?». Pure intelligence.

Now that they’re about to open, it’s good to know that the restaurant was built only a few metres away, so basically in the same place where it once was, with pieces recuperated from the house destroyed by the earthquake. In the kitchen, there’s 27-year-old Andrea Cingolani who takes care of a special and very contemporary menu – in Italy, think of Paolo Lopriore. «There won’t be much choice», admonishes Mazzaroni. Guests will be presented with some ingredients, five or six, everyone will choose one, say lamb or potatoes, and they will be presented in multiple ways.

The bread basket at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

The bread basket at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

It won’t be easy to meet Mazzaroni here, partly because coming here opens up deep wounds, partly because the return of Il Tiglio does not mean that Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati will close. It’s a matter of respect for the word given and the agreements signed with Luigi Guazzotti, an entrepreneur from Recanati who early in 2017 offered Enrico a place on Lungomare Scarfiotti from which he could start with his old partner, Gian Luigi Silvestri. They both know it would be like showing they don’t appreciate their luck and the work of a sponsor who is very different from the many improvised – and often dishonest – people you find in the restaurant industry.

Before returning to Montemonaco, early in January I had a particularly nice lunch at Tiglio in vita (by the way, the name of course refers to the fact that at the time the other Tiglio was destroyed). Brilliant dishes, sometimes rather daring, but never silly, real ingredients and pairings that were sometimes difficult perhaps but always reasonable once you tasted the dish. 

Spaghetti juniper and caviar from Enrico Mazzaroni at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

Spaghetti juniper and caviar from Enrico Mazzaroni at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

The list of delicacies they served is long: Apetaizer 1: Black sphere filled with egg yolk and sea urchin; Ball of bread, butter and anchovies, covered with passion fruit; Tartufino made with 70% white truffle and Mio spread cheese [a trip down memory lane].

«Apetaizer 2: Orange cooked in the embers with black salt and zafferanella; Fake olive all’ascolana; Lardo from Montemonaco with toasted almond; Bignè di Ragusa; Polenta wafer with mature chestnut cheese.

Mojito, green apple sorbet and head of red prawn, a 2019 winter dessert at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

Mojito, green apple sorbet and head of red prawn, a 2019 winter dessert at Tiglio in vita in Porto Recanati

«Starters: Monkfish; Girella; Tonno come un Ramen; Bread; Squid with rabbit kidney and cream of garlic; Canestrello with lamb’s eye and cream of brain; Langoustine and prosciutto. Il nostro quinto quarto: diaphragm, patchouli oil and grilled salad; Fasolare with bone marrow, almonds preserved in vinegar and cream of fasolari; Spleen and winter radicchio; Bread and onion.

«First courses: Fregnaccia with rabbit, lime and ginger; Spaghetto juniper and caviar. Main courses: Hare Royal with white truffle; Pigeon in the pig’s net with its liver and lemon.

Sunset behind Loreto and the Basilica della Santa Casa

Sunset behind Loreto and the Basilica della Santa Casa

«Desserts: Pumpkin with lard from Montemonaco; Mojito, green apple sorbet and head of red prawn; La Sibilla innevata; Lamb’s brain with fermented cherries, chilli pepper tea and coconut snow; Omaggio ad Alinea (the balloon). Petit fours: Dark chocolate with bay leave extract and salted toffee; Soft apricot jelly; White chocolate with coconut».

To put it simply: happiness.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Sections

Primo piano

The events you cannot miss and all the news of topical interest from the food planet