A cheese filled with emotion

There’s a meeting of nostalgia and taste in the story and execution of the dessert by Iannotti

Con... ciato: conciato romano mousse with a lemon

Con... ciato: conciato romano mousse with a lemon balm heart by Giuseppe Iannotti of the Kresios restaurant in Telese Terme (Benevento), a splendid dessert presented during the Strade della mozzarella event in Paestum (Salerno). The only Slow Food “presidium” in the province of Caserta, conciato romano cheese owes its fame also to the Lombardi family with Fabio, who tragically passed away, and his brother Manuel, who today is in charge of the Le Campestre in Castel Sasso (Caserta), +39.0823.878277

Behind this dish there’s a story made of human and territorial connections that inspires great things. Manuel Lombardi’s conciato romano cheese, from Le Campestre was the product of a great and young man I used to meet with his mother on my first visits to the Salone del Gusto. Fabio was there, with his pots filled with aromas, next to the stand of Pietraroja’s prosciutto and other excellent products from the territory of Campania.

His conciato was breath-taking, so was the news of his untimely death. He passed way because of a bad accident while working. It took me years to accept this event. The products from his business – which was then run by his brother, Manuel – passed in front of my eyes without me noticing that even with Manuel, who also studied computer sciences, we had in common the desire to valorise the territory and make its raw materials stand out.

One day, by chance, moved by the desire to catch up and taste that product of which people were beginning to speak eagerly once again, I called him. Manuel turned out to be a great surprise. This is how I managed to come full circle with the relationship I had built with his brother, a small, great and unlucky artisan whose death did not allow me to accept such a cruel destiny. After some study, tastings and comparisons, Con...ciato, was born. It’s a rich dessert with many ingredients. None of my other recipes has as many. This is because conciato needs to be supported, it needs contrast, it needs to be accompanied by all the elements you find in the recipe below. On top of the creamy conciato, without sugar, with a heart made with lemon balm infusion in a syrup of water and sugar, we find some smoked paprika which, despite evoking the spiciness, is sweet.

The cedar, on the other hand, recalls the acidity, the bitterness and the salt contained in it before it is dehydrated prior to the candying process. The balsamic liquorish gives a touch of bitterness to which one adds the hibiscus sauce, which is also bitter and tannic. The round Sauternes’ jelly gives an indication that to me, territory means the whole world, together with the sablés au chocolat and the fleur de sel, the candied ginger and the sunflower seeds... A complex dish, just like conciato.

Con... ciato: conciato romano mousse with lemon balm heart

Once opened, here's the lemon balm heart

Once opened, here's the lemon balm heart

for the Mousse
70 g crème fraîche
15 g conciato romano
20 g meringue
3 g oro gelatine sheet
20 g semi-whipped cream

Put the crème fraîche, conciato romano, meringue and previously soaked and melted gelatine sheet into a steel bowl. Add the semi-whipped cream and pour half of the mixture in some cube shape moulds. Add the lemon balm heart and fill with the rest of the mixture.

for the lemon balm heart
100 ml water
50 g sugar
lemon balm

Bring the water and sugar to the boil, put the lemon balm in infusion and vacuum seal. Leave to rest for 24 hours then pour it into a silpat with some semi-spherical moulds, smaller than the ones used for the mousse. Put into a chiller.

for the Sablés au chocolat
46 g 70% dark chocolate
46 g sweet butter
9 g cocoa powder
52 g “00” flour
2 g baking soda
35 g brown sugar
15 g white sugar
5 g salt flakes

Put the two sugars and the butter into a planetary mixer so as to soften the butter. Add the cocoa, the flour, baking soda the salt and finally the powdered chocolate. Crumble on a plaque and bake at 170°C for 12 minutes.

for the jelly
76 ml Sauternes
40 g baumè syrup
2 g oro gelatine sheet

Manuel and Liliana Lombardi, conciato romano producers of Le Campestre

Manuel and Liliana Lombardi, conciato romano producers of Le Campestre

Warm up the syrup and Sauternes, add the gelatine sheet and make the mixture grow together. Once all the preparations are done, put the conciato cube with the lemon balm heart on a large plate. Add the candied cedar on top, the chocolate praline, the ginger and the paprika. Draw a line of hibiscus next to the cube and place on top of it, in this order, the sablés au chocolate, the Sauternes jelly, the ginger and the sunflower seeds.


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