California dreaming

Three Italian chefs make the West Coast dream thanks to a great truffle-inspired menu

Left to right, Eugenio Boer (chef at Fishbar de Mi

Left to right, Eugenio Boer (chef at Fishbar de Milan in Milan), owner Mollie Ahlstrand (Trattoria da Mollie in Montecito, in California), Christian Milone (Trattoria Zappatori in Pinerolo, Torino) and Giuseppe Iannotti (Kresios in Telese Terme, Benevento) in a shot taken during the Californian stop of Aria di Alba, a world tour organised to make great dishes and products known

Find yourself here. This was probably the motto that inspired Mollie Ahlstrand when, after having travelled around the world and having lived and worked in various towns in Italy, she decided to open her Trattoria da Mollie in Montecito, an unsettlingly beautiful town on the road that from Santa Barbara leads to Los Angeles. Surrounded by natural parks and forests, Barak Obama and Oprah Winfrey’s buen retiro, it is located in front of the Pacific Ocean and offers a breath-taking view.

Mollie is a minute yet volcanic lady. She lightens up when speaking of Italy, its beauties and wine and food richness. Thanks to her meeting with Paolo Montanaro, during a trip to Alba when she visited Tartuflanghe in search for raw materials from Italy, she met the chefs of Aria di AlbaChristian Milone, Giuseppe Iannotti and Eugenio Boer – and the idea was born to create a three-day-event dedicated to young creativity, the aroma of truffle, and a story of Italian essence on the other side of the ocean.

Montecito, California

Montecito, California

For three days, the classic cuisine offered at Trattoria da Mollie, based on local raw materials from the hills in South California, on the fish from the port of Santa Barbara and on dairy products from local dairy farms, confronted itself with the freshness and the virtuosos of three unconventional chefs. Besides being renowned for technological brains, walnuts and prunes, California is also the state in which the philosophy of bien vivre is part of the DNA. The attention to the psychological and physical well being is also a matter of a healthy and correct diet, the reason why, when dining at Mollie’s the audience of good cuisine lovers was very well prepared on the topic of “Italian excellences” and eager to experiment the creations of our three chefs.

The menu was perfectly created so as to arouse the curiosity of the participants and making the tuber magnatum pico stand out. Of this, the young chefs have recently become the “world ambassadors”. In a fluid way, from the cold pasta salad to the mixed green salad served with batter and truffle caviar, continuing with the cabbage and bagnacaoda, up to the marinated egg with truffle and potato cream, Christian Milone opened the doors of the mind in the direction of the hills of the Langhe. Iannotti, with his Risotto with Grana Padano and white truffle and Cappelletti with mozzarella and lobster, continued the journey by adding a touch of Sannio. The result was a meeting of Northern and Southern cuisine. With his Veal with (South California) kitchen garden roots, Eugenio Boer transformed truffle into an incredible extension of flavours and inspirations, up to the dessert – Milone’s panna cotta -, a flavourful climax.

Truffle superstar

Truffle superstar

Each dish told a story, unveiled distant memories and recent journeys, it was an invitation to discover the world, to go beyond what is known. The divertissement of reinventing traditional Italian dishes by making them modern – but without any useless frills – led to the discovery of new horizons, ready to surprise. Together with the 3 chefs, in front of an audience thrilled while handling the precious white truffle from Alba, Paolo Montanaro and his wife Veronica left many people speechless when they told the behind-the-scenes of such a simple gesture. Territory, intelligence and sharing.


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