The Mermaids’ Cusine
History and recipes of Antonio and Rita Mellino
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Francesco Aiello tells a chapter of modern Mediterranean gastronomy through the history and recipes of the Quattro Passi restaurant. In...
Francesco Aiello tells a chapter of modern Mediterranean gastronomy through the history and recipes of the Quattro Passi restaurant. In perfect balance between memory of the past and modern sensitivity to the good and the beautiful, the Sorrento Peninsula constitutes a unique laboratory for the definition of contemporary gastronomy. In this context, for a quarter of a century the Quattro Passi, the restaurant of Antonio and Rita Mellino in Nerano di Massa Lubrense, has been the faithful mirror of the evolution of Mediterranean cuisine. The story of this southern restaurant family, committed to creating and spreading gastronomic knowledge, is at the center of Francesco Aiello’s story in which the vicissitudes of food intersect with the historical and naturalistic elements of an environmental context that is unique in the world. Along the pages of the volume, with the preface by Luciano Pignataro, the historiographical contribution by Antonino Siniscalchi and the photographs by Michele Mari, the history of the restaurant intersects with the changes that have occurred in recent decades both in the principles of nutrition and in the motivations of “eating out”. Therefore, the process of evolution and specialization of catering emerges in the foreground which, from a gastronomic fact in the strict sense, takes on an anthropological, sociological, economic and, therefore, cultural connotation. Synthesis between the recovery of the best tradition of Campania and contemporary trends in terms of cooking and presentations, the cuisine of the Quattro Passi appears continuously in search of the great raw materials, from wherever they come, without ever betraying the original vocation of enhancing the products typical of the land and sea of Sorrento. This is why, alongside recipes in which the skills of the chef who creates are exalted, a prominent place is reserved for preparations that more directly refer to tradition, in which the chef-artisan interprets the products of a land that has made biodiversity the element on which to focus to feed the gastronomic “Grand Tour” of the third millennium.
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