Lobster au gratin with vanilla over a cream of mozzarella and green sauce | Photo: © Giuseppe Saccone
Delicacies of the Palate: the Joys of Products from “0 Kilometres”
Land of legends that still fascinate people from around the world with the myth of the Sirens, the Sorrentine Peninsula is also a land of unique tastes, genuine flavours. These help narrate local history, its inhabitants and its secret lies in tradition and products gathered from a distance of “0 Kilometres”, always a delicacy for the palate. There’s something for everyone: from sweet to salty, even liquors like limoncello with its trademark yellow colour, created exclusively with lemon rinds from certified IGP Sorrentine lemons.
In this land, tradition is synonymous with guarantee. For generations, certain restaurants have added their special charm to one of Italy’s most beautiful landscapes. Among them, the Restaurant Vesuvio boasts of an important culinary tradition thanks to Chef Giuseppe Saccone who, originally from Torre del Greco, has lived for twenty years on the Sorrentine Coast and, for almost ten of those, has cooked for the clients of the restaurant who arrive from all over the world. We asked him for some advice on getting to know his magnificent land through its food, through the best-known plates, but, above all, through his experience in the kitchen.
What are the products from “0 Kilometres” that you use most often in the kitchen?
“For our recipes, we use, most of all, products cultivated in private gardens and from very close by. The same thing for our fish: being near the sea, we have a vast selection. There is also good meat available nearby, particularly buffalo meat. Then there’s Provolone from Monaco DOP, zucchini, eggplant, endive, walnuts, fava beans, artichokes, just to mention some of the products available at 0 kilometres.”
What are your favorite ingredients for your dishes?
“For some recipes, I use buffalo meat, really tender with great nutritional value. It’s one of the few meats that doesn’t call for a long process of preparation. One of my recipes is filet of buffalo with scallions in sweet and sour sauce with Ponte Nuovo potatoes; we also offer this as carpaccio accompanied by field salad, shavings of Monaco provolone, quail egg and Irpinian black truffle. Another principle ingredient is lobster, which we offer au gratin with vanilla over a cream of mozzarella and green sauce. Among the local specialties, you can’t forget the dairy products, like mozzarella, the fior di latte and, above all, the treccia di Sorrento.”
Buffalo carpaccio accompanied by field salad, shavings of Monaco provolone, quail egg and Irpinian black truffle | Photo: © Giuseppe Saccone
And your specialty?
“Each of my creations is born from the passion I have for my work and all the satisfaction it brings me. In the kitchen, I prefer simplicity so that the client can appreciate each ingredient. But if I have to choose a plate, perhaps I would choose squid stuffed with cream of fava beans.”
The squid stuffed with cream of fava beans | Photo: © Giuseppe Saccone
The plate that the clients ask for the most?
“Actually, our menu is pretty well-balanced for every palate. Always on hand, and quite popular, the grilled buffalo filet. Then, baccalà (salted codfish) salad with violet potatoes and aromas from Campania, but also ravioli stuffed with broccoli in clam sauce.”
Which plates do you recommend based on the season?
“It’s difficult to say because we change the menu every three months. My favourite, stuffed squid, is a Spring dish. In the Summer, there’s our eggplant parmigiana which is a must of Campania cuisine and ravioli alla caprese made with a light pasta filled with ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and marjoram. In Autumn, browned lamb loin with Parthenopeus endive and for desert, ricotta cookies with pear.”
Ricotta cookies with pear | Photo: © Giuseppe Saccone
What companies deserve a visit in your opinion, especially for those that are visiting from out of town?
“In our area, there are tiny realities working for private clients and some restaurants. Of all of them, I recommend a visit to the Caseificio Perruso from whom we get our mozzarella and fior di latte. Here there are only DOP products: fundamental for our kitchen and for the respect of local traditions.”