As the holidays approach, our culture leads us to have one and only one thought: food in all its forms. There will be Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas lunch, Boxing Day lunch, then a short break and you will get to the classic New Year's Eve dinner, the glamorous evening par excellence.
Alas, this year we will have to put the glitter back in the drawer and give up the classic party champagne, cotechini and lentils and stay home, probably in pajamas, and slowly wait for the end of this endless year. For those who work in hospitality and restaurants, the concept of a feast day is a little different and they give up celebrating with friends and relatives to guarantee service to those who choose to spend Christmas in restaurants.
On Christmas Eve, therefore, we want to publish a mini interview with Roberto Ame ’, Head of F&B at La Castellana Restaurant who this year, however, will be able to spend some time at home. For those who don't know, La Castellana offers a 100% Piedmont menu with traditional dishes ranging from tajarin, to tartare with Alba truffle. Here you can find the authentic flavors of our dear (as well as far) Italy and, at the same time, you can savor the exceptional wines of this wonderful region.
Roberto tell us a little about your professional career and how you arrived in Hong Kong and La Castellana.
Hi everyone, I'm Roberto, I work in Food and Beverage; I arrived in Hong Kong in 2012 and became a Permanent Resident this year. I am a lover of wine and food, I work at La Castellana in Causeway Bay and I also take care of the restaurant's wine list. This year, a little special for everyone, will give us the opportunity to work but also to spend time with the family. In fact, as you know, for those who work in the world of F&B it is almost impossible to spend the holidays with the family. This year, as always, we have created a Christmas menu with typical traditional dishes including vitello tonnato, agnolotto "al tovagliolo" served with blonde hen consomme and white truffle, accompanied by an excellent white wine from PIedmont, such as Timorasso. Currently, in fact, PIedmont white wines are acquiring a very good reputation. Then, we will have some Barbarescos and Barolos. We will make an exceptional wine paring with a 4/7 course menu.
Truffle from Alba
Unfortunately for you too, it won't be a family Christmas ...
No, my family is in Italy, near Turin, in the countryside; my sister lives in the center of Turin and I have another sister living in the south. We will make a video call in which Panettone will not be missing. This year we took two: one marinated with Moscato and one natural with raisins and candied fruits.
You have pay attention to our diet these days ...
... We go on a diet after holidays, I would say!
Is there a traditional dish from your childhood that is closest to your heart?
In the menu we have studied for Christmas there is the famous mountain egg that you like very much, there is the thistle soup with foie gras and we have prepared carnaroli rice with castelmagno and inserted a fillet of venison with creme fraiche with doe milk. Finally, an ice cream that is marinated with white truffle from Alba. This is an incredible dessert because, as you know, Turin is the city of chocolate and, moreover, we will finish with a gianduiotto, our traditional chocolate [editor's note: Gianduiotto comes from Gianduja who is the mask of Piedmont and, for carnival tradition, it joins those of other cities, such as Balanzone for Bologna, Pantalone for Venice or Pulcinella for Naples]. For cheese lovers at the end of the meal, we have also included typical cheeses from PIedmont!
Barbero Gianduiotti and after dinner cocktail
As for the table, is there an object that fascinates you the most and which you would not know how to give up?
Wine is something that cannot be given up. So I'd start with bubbles paired with Zafferano glasses like the ones we have here. As dishes I love Ginori, which is a must of the elegant table; in fact, we also use it here at the restaurant. Currently at home I do not have many dishes of this type because my daughter started a pottery course 3 years ago and therefore we will use her plates and glasses.
Roberto's daughter making ceramic plates
The interview ends with Roberto who, as a proud father of his daughter, shows us all the pictures of her at work while creating colorful ceramic plates. The memory goes back in time to the 80s and 90s when, in a Milan of faded colors, the writer delighted in the production of paintings and drawings. We cannot help thinking about how much more carefree and cheerful we were as children, how special creativity is and how precious the will to cultivate it over time.
And, with a smile and with the wish for a better year, first of all for children and youngers, that we greet you, wishing you a Merry Christmas!
See you in 2021 and, in the meantime, keep following us on social networks and, as always, #staysafe #stayhome