An engagement of the senses, a caress of the palate, a delight to the eyes and a bouquet of flavours.
That are unmistakeably Made in Italy. Memories of being exceptionally spoiled. And a passion for all things exceptional.
If there is one certainty in this world, it is that luxury starts with the raw materials. If by luxury we mean something that is intended only for those who can truly enjoy it and who have the time, means and culture to appreciate that even before it was bought or sold, it was selected according to a set of standards that allow no exceptions.
No exceptions, only excellence. Excellence from a country that is not lacking in hospitality, cultural influences or gastronomic exploration and with a strong tradition of associating food, good food that is, with love.
It’s hard to imagine that in a country overflowing with food history, there could be a third generation system that works like a time machine tracing the connection between what comes out of the ground and what can only be understood by those who can appreciate the intangible.
Against such a backdrop of refinement and gourmet experience comes Excellence Delights scent of Italy, a contemporary, discerning and demanding authority which examines the topic through the lens of the dictates of modern dining. It covers snacks (and what snacks they are!), unforgettable occasions and food that transcends nutrition to become food for the soul. It seduces the palate in a way that automatically elicits a ‘Wow’. Because even excellence has its high points and, for those who don’t know, this is the pinnacle.
When we say caviar, we immediately think of the East or the closer but still distant Russia, but say Italian Caviar and it fills the mouth with authenticity, pride and perfume. The flavour is delicate but distinctive, mild yet original. In appearance and aroma, it borrows from all the shades of grey but refrains from edging over into aggression; it retains character without being overpowering.
On to the salmon. The house introduced me to the salmon cube made from Scottish salmon, Norwegian salmon, wild salmon and salmon from the Volga, borrowed from an old Russian recipe which in its union with the Italian, has discovered a new raison d’être.
Good etiquette advocates that one ingredient be carried through from starter to dessert and here it is the majestic truffle. You can imagine repeating any ingredient except this one. And you don’t have to, if you have the artistry to combine it with complementary ingredients to enhance flavour and aroma. It is an experience to be enjoyed with the eyes, the nose, the mouth and then the heart. I started with the 100% pure truffle served with a breadstick, before moving on to rice with pearls of truffle and then finishing with honey and truffle shavings.
Please forgive my repetition of truffle but every time I say it, I experience another wave of absolute pleasure. And if there is anyone who can’t forgive when it comes to good food, it’s me.
Nicola Santini is a journalist and television presenter.
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By Nicola Santini
He is regarded as one of the leading experts on good manners and international etiquette. A genuine food authority, he is the author of several books on cooking and living well.