Italian food is not just about pizzas and pastas, after all. Now, it is the regional Italian food that the Mumbaikars are slowly exposed to. Thanks to restaurants like STAX in Hyatt Regency Mumbai, the food festival called “Flavours of Italy” brings to us an interesting array of magical Italian dishes from Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily. Starting from 2nd June and till 4th June, on each day STAX had a new menu from one of these regions. Tomorrow, the festival ends with a grand Sunday brunch buffet with dishes from all the three regions of Italy.
Each region in Italy sports a distinct style of cooking with its unique ingredients. For example, Piedmont (in Northwestern Italy) is known for its dishes that are very rich in eggs, or made with truffles and creamy sauces. On the other hand, Tuscan food is simple and inexpensive, and that’s the reason they call it Cucina Povera (poor man’s food)! These are the dishes that are highly comforting and can feed a crowd. Tuscans are known for their soups, and one of their popular soups is the hearty Ribollita, a comforting potage made with leftover vegetables and bread. Did you know that it was originally made by reheating the Minestrone soup? At STAX, we tried this amazing zuppe (soup). The Ribollita was made with spinach, potato, beans, carrots, celery and fresh tomatoes.
We had a great time tasting a few of these flavourful Italian dishes at STAX. We had an amazing antipasti (appetiser) which was basically a potato cake with fried Mozzarella. It was garnished with tomatoes and basil. The Torta di Patate, Mozzarella Fritta con Pomodoro e Basilico (Tuscany) is a good example of “foodgasm” when two unique ingredients—potato and cheese—come together!
When it comes to tasting truffles, I am sure that I would have loved tasting the signature Tuscan Cheese Soufflé with Pine Nut, Black Olive Tapenade & Truffle Sauce, which was there in the menu. Do taste some, in case this dish appears in today’s dinner menu or in the extravagant Sunday brunch tomorrow at STAX.
What was insanely delicious with truffles was the Taglierini or the Tarjin al Tartufo (in the above picture): a pasta that originated in Piedmont and made with 30 egg yolks! This creamy and rich pasta was served with butter and black truffles. Hands down, it is one of the best pasta dishes that I have had in Mumbai!
The Pollo e Risotto Aspargicon Morbido uovo Bracconaggio was a Tuscan risotto having chicken and asparagus as ingredients. Although I liked the fact that it was light, the flavour was just average, until I worked my spoon through the poached egg and let the egg yolk flow over the risotto. The egg was cooked perfectly, and this humble risotto tasted good with it.
In the Secondi (main course), the Sicilian Tortini di Semolino e Verdure, Piselli, Funghi e Caponata looked pretty and tasted yum! It was a vegetable-added semolina cake, and on each cake sat two small Portabello mushrooms that were topped with Sicilian Caponata. The dish was served with a green pea council. Dishes like Arancini, Caponato, Sfincione and Cassata are some of the well-known dishes from Sicily. Even their pesto is quite different: they use almonds and tomatoes! The sweet and sour Caponata is a warm salad of slow-cooked vegetables, olives, raisins and pine nuts. Another dish which screams Sicily is the Insalata Pantesca: a classic summer salad from this region. Although we didn’t try this one, it was a part of the menu in the “Flavours of Italy” this year at STAX, Hyatt Regency, Mumbai.
That evening, we also tasted the Salmone al Forno con Peperoni Brasati, Lenticchie, Funghi e Pomodorini. This Sicilian baked salmon dish was served with braised pepper confit, lentils, mushroom and cherry tomatoes. The dish was unique because of the flavour combinations and techniques used. The confit was delicious, and so were the lentils, mushrooms and the tomatoes. The dish was well-seasoned too! But the salmon was a bit overcooked and so, tasted dry and tough.
The Dolce (desserts) were sinful. We were served a big scoop of Tiramisu. This traditional Italian dessert made with Mascarpone and flavoured with Espresso was an instant melt-in-the-mouth wonder. We all loved this, although I did feel that presentation-wise, it was too basic.
The other dessert, the Crostata di Mele e Mandorle con Gelato alla Vaniglia, was presented very well. The vanilla bean icecream on the Apple Pie was a perfect match to this lovely dessert.
The “Flavours of Italy” is a good experience for those food connoisseurs in Mumbai who want to try dishes beyond the monotonous. The Italian dishes promise great flavours and are made with fresh ingredients. So head over to STAX at the Glasshouse, Hyatt Regency, to enjoy the carefully chosen recipes from Piedmont, Tuscany and Italy, right here in Mumbai. For reservations, call 022-66961624 or log on to the Hyatt Regency website to enjoy flat 20% discount on your meals. A grand Italian Sunday brunch experience awaits tomorrow. Don’t miss this one!
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