Pop-up Feast of Italian at Stelle di Stelle, Harrods
At the basement floor of London’s Harrods and for just a few months only until January 2015, you will find Stelle di Stelle – a modern pop-up dining room that brings in five highly acclaimed chefs from Italy’s best restaurants to take up residency in the prestigious Knightsbridge store.
With a whopping 13 Michelin Stars between them, these celebrated Italian chefs are headlining with their specially created contemporary menu for one month each at a time to showcase their signature dishes using the finest seasonal produce, with Grana Padano cheese as the star ingredient.
We were lucky enough to be invited to try out the four-course Italian menu complete with wine and beer pairings during the time of prime cheese maker Grana Padano working with Enrico and Roberto Cerea from three Michelin star restaurant Da Vittorio in Brusaporto, Lombardy.
We began our transportation to gourmet Italy with an aperitivo plate of two fresh, quality ingredients: finely sliced prosciutto with deliciously crumbly, crystallised flakes of Grana Padano RISERVA (a fine vintage of cheese that has been matured for over 20 months to evolve its aroma and flavour). Produced only in the Padana Valley for nearly 1,000 years, Grana Padano is inseparable from the climate, culture and the know-how of the people that create it. This ensures the ultimate in quality, authenticity and traceability.
A number of creamy, melt-in-the-mouth dishes soon followed, starting with a canapé-style amuse-bouche of Cantabrico anchovies, neatly placed on thin crispy bread with tuna sauce with Piedmont hazlenuts. We then moved on to my favourite, a small plate of langoustines in an almond cream with Roveja wild peas and next tucked into a polenta dish with soft Roccaverano robiola cheese, white truffle and a rich Grana Padano sauce. After another plate of potato gnocco filled with a white cheese fondue, we enjoyed a final savoury plate of Mediterranean-style sea bass served with yellow tomatoes.
To finish, we tucked in to a beautifully presented dessert on a long dark slate plate with avocado cream with caramelized macadamia nuts and a yoghurt sorbet. To add a little taste of theatre to the dessert, our waitress poured liquid over dry ice cubes topped with lime leaves (non-edible) to create a theatrical smoke effect around our table and release a citrus vapor that floated around us and uplifted up our senses.
In December, Stelle di Stelle will be graced by Chef Patron Annie Féolde whose cuisine is inspired by Tuscan culture, blending local ingredients and traditional Italian cooking with modern techniques and flavours. Annie leads the kitchen as the first female chef in Italy to have earned three Michelin stars, while co-owner, partner and Tuscan sommelier Giorgio Pinchiorri guides diners through one of the world’s largest collections of wine.
The pop-up collection is presented in association with Identità Golose, a culinary organisation with a mission to promote the best of modern Italian cuisine and showcase regional culinary excellence worldwide.
So if you’re in London and you can’t get to taste Michelin-star cooking in Italy, simply let it come to you. Book now to avoid disappointment. To book a table at Stelle di Stelle, Harrods, call 020 7893 8700 or visit www.harrods.com. Table requests can be emailed to [email protected] when the booking line is closed.
By Reena Patel