Cardoncelli will fly to New York
Campania in Manhattan with Identità, in the name of the mushroom dear to chef Vitantonio Lombardo
Here’s Pizza in black, the black pizza (the colour is given by vegetable charcoal) created by Vitantonio Lombardo as a tribute to Davide Scabin, chef and patron at Combal.zero in Rivoli near Torino. The owner of Locanda Severino in Caggiano, a village on the border between Campania and Basilicata, charms with the scents of the black truffle from his land. Beware: the caviar is not made with sturgeon, it doesn’t come from the sea, in fact
The presentation, on Friday September 12th in Naples, given by Regione Campania for Identità New York was the trampoline that led me to dine that night at Vitantonio Lombardo’s Locanda Severino in Caggiano, a place that is by a few inches still in the province of Salerno since after getting out of a tunnel that goes through the rock on which it is located, one arrives in Basilicata, the region from which the chef comes from.
Between Caggiano and the Tyrrhenian Sea there are the Alburni mountains. Here lived the Titans, as recalled by Greek mythology, and Vitantonio must have their same strength in order to run a restaurant that lives (and survives) only thanks to a Michelin star and the visibility it releases. It’s a challenge against the vacuum on the Salerno-Reggio Calabria motorway, at the Polla exit, to be precise. Lombardo arrived here in 2009, taking over completely only in February 2013.
I was there a short while ago, after a lunch at La Figlia del Presidente, pizzeria and fried food shop in Via del Grande Archivio 23, tel. +39.081.286738. This is the kingdom of Maria Cacialli, the daughter of Ernesto whom everyone started to call Il Presidente when in ’94 Bill Clinton dined here. Pizza is strictly fried, the family’s pride. Here you can find the most passionate and folkloristic Naples. Take it or leave it. Middle roads are not allowed.
Campania during the whole month of October will showcase its quality at Eataly in Manhattan through the products of 39 producers, such as Leopoldo Infante’s taralli which kept me company after the conference. The region will be a protagonist in the programme of Identità New York thanks to Rosanna Marziale’s lecture on Thursday 9th. The chef of Le Colonne in Caserta will duet with Lidia Bastianich thanks to her signature dish, the golden sphere of (buffalo milk) mozzarella filled with taglioni with basil “enclosing three pillars of Campania’s tradition: mozzarella, pasta and frying”.
The same chef will sign the dessert during the gala dinner on Friday 10th, a mozzarella cake that will mimic cheesecake. We will taste and enjoy it, and the same will apply to the moments marked by the presence of Vitantonio Lombardo. From Caggiano to Manhattan, from a small spot welcoming three thousand souls to the centre of the world, presenting flavours that certainly do not belong to the most typical memory that most people have of Neapolitan cuisine.
The lecture on Saturday 11th with April Bloomfield, Best chef New York City according to the James Beard Foundation, will see the Italian presenting his Pizza in black, a tribute to Davide Scabin and his Black is black, spaghetti with squid ink and caviar which, in the passage to pizza, loose the sturgeon eggs and earn the black truffle from Campania, sharing the same origin with the sheep ricotta.
And for the gala dinner on the 10th, Scabin and Lombardo created a pasta with mushrooms that for Vitantonio will be the cardoncelli variety, which are very popular in Apulia but also grow on the Apennines in Basilicata, crossing the border to the Alburni mountains. The same goes for the truffles and the porcini “more famous but put aside for this very reason in favour of the cardoncelli”. Even we, when choosing the speakers from Campania, thought of someone who offers excellent food far away from the most touristic places, the richest ones in opportunities (but also far away from competition, one always needs to remember): Capri and Ischia, the Sorrento Peninsula, the Amalfi Coast. This was for the very reason of making people understand that Italy is always more varied and lively than what one would normally think.
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born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose. twitter @oloapmarchi