Last night we attended Fabio Trabocchi's 'Culinary Expedition of Le Marche' and had a marvelous - and extremely filling time. The evening featured dishes from F's forthcoming cook book featuring artisanal ingredients from the region such as wine, olive oil and pasta which were also available for tasting earlier in the day. When we arrived in the evening we were almost capsized by the starter - a large dish of local prosciutti, cheeses, and the best mortadella (thick cut) I've ever encountered - this was almost a meal in itself. Then the cooking which was rumoured to be more rustic than the usual Maestro fare, but you wouldn't have known it. A crawfish soup with that amazing depth and density of flavor that Fabio delights in, then some of the Marche pasta with garlic ramps and some pieces of 'Scorfano' fish, once again in an extraordinary sauce. By this time the fact that the next dish, Turbot, came with a black truffle sauce seemed the most natural thing in the world...what else would one have? We were briefly in a new kind of reality. The accompaniment a small mound of smoked potato crushed with parsley??? This is how life should be.
Everyone was wilting a bit when Fabio's father's Pork Chop appeared with attendant artichoke romana and crispy zucchini blossoms. Trabocchi Sr. certainly had a way with pork chops - it was good enough to make you weep. Apparently it was pork from a Berkshire pig or descendant thereof and not something available at the meat counter at Giant.
The succulence! The succulence!
Vanilla Cream pie and pear sorbet pretty well wrapped things up (not to mention us) and the sorbet was particularly welcome.
If one had not been driving one would have been in parlous shape today - I believe we each had eight or nine wine glasses in front of us at the off; several of the red wines we drank were made from an ancient grape from the Marche region - 'Lacrima di Morro d'Alba' and they were superb - there was also some Verdicchio that was vastly superior to what I've bought locally. A rather odd and not very desserty dessert wine was the only quibble.
Oh and we all went home with bags containing a packet of pasta, a bottle of Anise liqueur and a bottle of the best olive oil I've ever tasted.
The guys at Maestro are full of surprises - I can't wait for the next one...