Accursio Craparo in front of his restaurant Accursio in Modica
Carciofo, artichoke, a brilliant dish based on contrasts
Mare & terra is a tourbillon of flavours: lobster, tuna, caviar, oyster and seaweeds with aubergine, tomato, onion, beetroot, chilly pepper, lettuce, ginger and lemon. Freshness, Mediterranean Sea, iodine, spices
A display of a fine knowledge of international cuisine, China su tè: squid ravioli filled with a sauce of squid meat and squid ink and fish stock with Lapsang Souchong tea. Unique elegance, umami nuances and smokiness
Trucioli di pasta: a masterpiece. Durum wheat pasta with toasted cereals, matured whey of Ragusano cheese, capers and lemon
Two delicious takes on meat: lovely porchetta with rosemary, sage, pine nuts, chickpeas, onion and spices and the more interesting beef stuffed with steak tartare, red fruit sauce, broad beans, asparagus and peas. Of great elegance
Aesthetics and intellectual strength in the vegetarian Pane e cipolla: sweet and sour onion, “cosaruciaru” beans, beetroot, Fiore Sicano, black truffle and bread with spices
Uovo a la coque a fun trompe-l'oeil: the egg shell holds a white made with ricotta and an egg yolk of passion fruit and orange, seasoned with powdered almond and sugar
Soft, light, craveable Baco da seta: puff pastry with custard, blackberries, herb sauces, shortbread and candy floss
A luxurious olive tree on board a small wood boat. The logo of restaurant Accursio thus represents the two inspirations for the chef’s cuisine: the sea of Sciacca, his home-town, and the farmers’ tradition of Modica, fascinating town of late-Baroque architecture in the province of Ragusa, part of Unesco’s World Heritage List since 2002, where he now works with the success he deserves. Accursio Craparo is one of the most emblematic chefs in contemporary Sicilian fine dining; few words and lots of substance: in little over a year, in 2016 he got back the star he left in 2012 when he passed the ladle at restaurant La Gazza Ladra.
«Getting back my star in my place, where I can express the most intimate part of me without any hesitation, is incredibly exciting – says the chef born in 1976 – The Red Guide’s macaron confirms you’re working well and leads you to believe even more in what you’re doing. At La Gazza Ladra I had freedom and spent eight fantastic years with the Failla family, but then I felt the need to grow and continue a journey in a place of my own». He runs this place with Oriana Aprile, his partner in life and in business, who’s in care of the hospitality and of the interesting wine list, in collaboration with sommelier Sergio Occhipinti, including some 400 labels.
Significant memories and lessons: «I believe one can easily notice in my style the deep attention for nature and its products on which Leemann’s philosophy is founded; of Alajmo I admired the masterful skill in extracting the soul from each raw material, respecting its identity, using the right techniques, without ever changing its nature with useless excesses. When I returned to Sicily after many years of experience around Italy, Assenza was the master took me by the hand and opened my eyes wide over the richness of elements and potential offered by culinary Sicily».
The creative process comes from deep down: «The idea of a dish can be born at any moment: it’s like a light bulb shining when something hits the heart. It can be the memory of your grandmother’s recipe, of a traditional farmers’ dish or a soup with poor fish, but it can also spring from a discussion with yourself. It can be born from a scent we perceive while walking on the coast, on the hills. It can be the smell of a rainy day. A good chef has the capacity and sensitivity to perceive an emotion and know how to represent it in his food».
Many things have been accomplished, many still need to: «Dreams are our future and in my dream there’s a Sicily with an even more international language and a territory with deeper roots: my goal is to present food in new shapes and more intertwined flavours. Neatness is the evolution: extracting the highest purity from the ingredient by distilling and micro-filtering». The pureness of a very elegant cuisine you must approach without preconceptions, by being yourself and travelling across Sicily, a complex land in terms of aromas and sensations that start from the sea and reach to the sky. At Accursio you travel without moving. Beyond static nature, beyond simplicity... It’s a matter of elegance and pleasure. (In our photo gallery, dishes from a great meal)
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
Born in 1974 near Naples, now living further south, he’s a sommelier and coffee taster convinced that those born in Vico Equense like him have a gourmet imprinting by birth. He lives, writes and organises events in Palermo, but eats and drinks everywhere