This week, Pollenzo’s Academic Tables will host two of Italy’s greatest chefs, from the south and the north of the peninsula: Pino Cuttaia of the two-Michelin-starred La Madia in Licata, in Sicily, and Enrico Cerea from Da Vittorio in Brusaporto, in Lombardy, which has three stars.
Highly experienced, the youthful Pino Cuttaia is a Sicilian native who initially moved north to Piedmont, where he worked in a factory before turning his talents to the kitchen. After apprenticeships at Al Sorriso in Soriso and Patio in Pollone, he returned to his home region, where in 2000 he opened La Madia in Licata with his wife Loredana. Cuttaia takes the classics of Sicilian cuisine as his starting point, reflecting on the culinary memory of his island and interpreting it with an original and unusual touch. He has won plaudits and awards aplenty, making Licata an unmissable destination in southern Sicily, known for its Greek temples and baroque architecture.
Cuttaia will be in Pollenzo on November 24 and 25, where he will be serving some of his iconic dishes: eggplant cannolo, scabbardfish “a beccofico” with vegetable caponata, almond semifreddo, arancini rice balls with sardine ragù and wild fennel, pine-smoked Nebrodi black pork and cornucopia, a dessert with ricotta and Marsala.
The baton will then be passed north, to Enrico Cerea of Da Vittorio, his three-Michelin-starred Relais & Châteaux restaurant in Brusaporto, in the province of Bergamo. Da Vittorio is a family affair: Opened by Enrico’s father Vittorio in 1996, over the years it has become place of pilgrimage for lovers of good food and authentically warm hospitality. A third Michelin star was awarded in 2010.
Enrico inherited his love of gastronomy and professionalism in the kitchen from his parents. After starting out at Da Vittorio, he then worked with some of the world’s best chefs and restaurateurs: Heinz Winkler in Bavaria, Sirio Maccioni in New York, Georges Blanc in France and Ferran Adrià in Spain. Like Cuttaia, he eventually returned home, where he now cooks with great respect for ingredients, refined technical skill and a very personal style.
For Pollenzo, on Thursday November 26, Enrico Cerea will be preparing an enticing menu with a Christmas spin: ricotta and potato gnocchetti with ragù, Vittorio’s salt cod with white polenta (made from durum wheat and corn) and panettone with gianduja chocolate and vanilla foam.