Francesco Mazzei at the kitchen pass
Ah, summer in the city. Allow us to rant, but London is not the most attractive place during the summer months. One day is scorching, stuffy, sticky while the next can see the temperatures plummet, the sky turn grey and the heavens open. The streets are full of tourists, especially teenagers on study holidays while the residents who are able to, escape in search of vacation spots.
Corinthia Palace Hotel
The location for this collaboration is truly special: the Corinthia Palace, the first hotel of the well-known Maltese luxury chain, opened here as a restaurant in 1968 and then transformed into one of the most beautiful resorts of the small archipelago and a destination in itself for those visiting. “Spending time in Malta has been a goal of mine for several years, given its rich history, and proximity to Italy. And partnering with the iconic Corinthia Palace is a very exciting project” says Mazzei. With his executive Chef Simone Petulla they have created menus that will reflect the creative and diverse nature of Italian cuisine, to appeal to locals, hotel guests and visitors regardless of their nationality.
And for the chef, who always cooks with sustainability and zero airmiles in mind, part of what attracted him to this initiative is the chance to “explore the abundant produce generated on and around the island, and weaving these ingredients into the daily specials”.
When I catch up with Mazzei, he’s at the Corinthia to set up and kick off his partnership and he mentions he’s already been able to see for himself how the island is similar to our southern regions. How he describes the perfumes of the vegetation, the aromatic herbs growing wild everywhere, the ripening summer fruits, the almonds, it is clear there’s a connection for the chef who is at home in the Mediterranean sunshine: “Malta reminds me of Calabria 20 years ago!” he muses. We also talk about the islands’ heritage, so rich and historic: he confirms that Medina is beautiful and a night time walk through the old town, in the silence of the night, it’s not to be missed.
I also ask him if he’s had a chance to check out his local competition. He mentions two places in particular: British Michelin starred chef Simon Rogan’s ION Harbour and southern Italian restaurant Terrone , by Australian chef Adrian Hili.
Tortelli di 'nduja and burrata
In the meantime, for those planning to visit Malta in the near future, we feel a dinner with Francesco Mazzei at Corinthia Palace is an excellent way to spend an evening. Running through the Autumn, it seems a fitting coincidence that my first trip to Malta is planned for September, and of course, I have already booked a table there!
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A British citizen from Naples, obsessive scuba diver, digital marketing manager Monday to Friday, foodie at any given time