Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chef de Cuisine Ezio Gamba Brings New Meaning to Italian Dishes at Cioppino

Taking a trip to Italy this summer may not require a plane ticket or passport at all. Cioppino's new summer menu, at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, will allow your senses to embark on a culinary voyage through Bergamo, a medieval town near Milan. Chef de Cuisine, Ezio Gamba, has put together a series of dishes based on his experiences and memories growing up in this Renaissance-like part of Italy.

Chef de Cuisine Ezio Gamba

Flying in the finest ingredients from various exotic locales and combining them with the freshest local produce, Chef Ezio captures the essence of his authentic dishes; receiving inspiration from his childhood and family moments. While Cioppino traditionally focuses on Tuscan cuisine, the summer additions will deepen the journey through Lo Stivale, or The Boot, as Italy is affectionately referred to; all through the heart of a devoted chef.

The quality of the ingredients is impeccable
Buckle up and let me take you on a sampling of this Storybook Menu, From Tales to Tables, through flights of food and wine...

Florida Grown Heirloom Tomato Marmalade,
Black Olive Powder, Basil Oil

The Burrata is flown in three times a week from Puglia and a myriad of olive oils and aged Balsamic vinegars arrive from Tuscany and Umbria to create an authentic regional flavor in all dishes. Chef Ezio was inspired to create this signature dish (and one of his favorites) because he wanted to marry local ingredients with those from Italy. He chose to add the marmalade, a reference to the days when  he was growing up, and his family created several jams to preserve the summer flavors. This way, they could enjoy them in the winter, when the ingredients were not available to grow and harvest. I have to add I always look forward to the Burrata on every one of my visits.

Fiori di Zucca e Mozzarella
Breaded Zucchini Blossom, Buffalo Mozzarella,
Roasted Pepper
During the summertime, the Chef would plant and pick zucchini blossoms from his farm, alongside his father. His mother would incorporate them into many delicious dishes. The above creation is a tribute to those fun times.
Tagliolini di Zucca e Mozzarella
Maine Lobster, Curry Tomato Cream Sauce
Retracing our steps through the sweet meaning of the zucchini to Chef Ezio, this dish awoke the palate with its variety of tastes and textures.
Papparedelle Carbonara
Pancetta, Poached Egg, Parmesan
Since Chef Ezio's father raised pigs on the farm, the family used to produce their own cold cuts and eggs. This inspired him to create this creamy, completely decadent pasta dish.

Quaglie al Mattone
Brick Pressed, Garlic-Brown Sugar Marinated Semi Boneless Quail,
Arugula, Capers, Heirloom Tomatoes Salad, Aged Balsamic Drizzle
 Chef Ezio's family lived near a river in their hometown of Bergamo. One of his favorite memories was going hunting with his father on Saturdays. It was common there to own a hunting dog and hunt as a hobby. Back then, they would go to a park near the river, pay $10 and the park ranger would release 100 quails. Whichever quails were successfully hunted would be kept and of course, cooked! This dish reminds him of those adventurous moments in his childhood.

Seared Hog Nose Snapper Filet, Grilled Langostines, Puttanesca
For this melody from the sea, the mild, subtle flavors of the fish and seafood combined beautifully with the tangy, somewhat salty puttanesca. 
Italian Seafood Stew consisting of
 Shrimp, Calamari, Mussels, Clams, Branzino, Salmon and Halibut
 The signature staple of the restaurant, this Italian seafood stew is hardy and flavorful, capturing the romance of Old World Italian flavors with a local flair.

Mema's Roasted Apple & Walnut Praline Cake with
Caramelized White Chocolate and Brown Sugar Ice Cream
 This special recipe was created by Chef Ezio's grandmother, Mema, in the 1950's and passed down to him. The main ingredients are walnuts and Granny Smith Apples. The white chocolate is "roasted" until the milk solids are browned and the ganache is made with fresh cream. The result is an amazing, sweet finale to a memorable meal.

Cioppino offers an unparalleled selection of wines to pair with
its dishes, taking the experience to a whole new level.
Sommelier Jorge Mendoza is a master at pairing any wine
with the perfect culinary accompaniment.

Interesting story behind this Bergogno...
Soft guitar playing in the background sets the ambiance

Every dinner experience at Cioppino
ends with this complimentary after
dinner drink.
Of course, when you visit Cioppino, at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne for your own Italian experience, you may want to take advantage of the summer packages they have available and prolong your visit. From the world renowned stellar service, to the beautiful grounds and dining options, the Ritz is in a class of its own. For more information, visit their site at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne.

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