Tasty Tasty Tuscan
Tuscan Food Festival @ Infinity, Hilton, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi
If I were to pick a single word to describe the cuisine of Tuscany, it would, without a doubt, be ‘simplicity’. Food from the region is all about a few high-quality ingredients cooked in an unassuming manner.
Theodor Rudiferia, Executive Chef, spent some time with us, explaining the menu he conceived for this festival and the foundations of Tuscan cuisine. Very often, he said, a single herb is paired with a main ingredient to bring out the flavours of each in an uncomplicated way. The food is warm, with no frills, and very home-style. This was obvious with our first course: Pasta e fagioli, or Rigate cooked with black beans and vegetables (350). The thick, soupy broth was full of flavour and the hint of peperonico (a Tuscan pepper) added wonderful warmth and a little heat.
For our second course we tried the Risotto ai asparagi or Risotto with green asparagus (630). The risotto was cooked perfectly and the light green asparagus-studded rice was both fresh and decadent at the same time. There is an option of topping the risotto with crisp Parma ham; pink bits of ham that add a saltiness which complements the creamy risotto beautifully.
Pesce alla Fiorentina or pan-fried fish in a light wine and lemon sauce (680) came next. The fish used here was Basa, but Chef Theo told us that in Italy it would have been one of their innumerable fresh sea fish, perhaps Sea Bass. The fish was fried perfectly and came with bright green, wilted spinach and a side of crisp, buttered baby potatoes. The sauce was so delicate, light and so airy, it was as if it had just been kissed by a bright, yellow (and amorous) lemon.
For dessert we tried Zuccotto (360), a stunning cream cake stuffed with candied fruit and nuts and covered with chocolate. It tasted a little like a traditional Christmas cake, but lighter and infinitely prettier.
Throughout the meal, we chatted with Chef Theo about other famous Tuscan dishes. When I mentioned veal liver pate and tripe, I caught a sudden twinkle in his eyes, which quickly turned to a sad smile. “People here aren’t ready to experiment with those ingredients yet”, he said. Well, here’s to hoping. But until then, there’s enough simple, flavourful, delicious food to go around, and several bottles of ruby-red Chianti to wash it down with.
The Tuscan food festival is on at Infinity in Hilton, Mayur Vihar until 31st January, 2013.
Ed: Cover picture not from this establishment.