The narrow streets and cobbled alleys of Modena. You can wander them for hours. Most days we ended up at the market, snooping for parmigiano, balsamico, prosciutto and pasta.
But this was our final destination, the reason we were in Modena....
Osteria Francescana needs little further introduction. Nor does Chef Massimo Bottura — or his remarkable cuisine. It all starts here…
We were there in early September (2013), shortly after Massimo and his team reopened after their summer break. It was our first visit: to say we were excited to be there was an understatement.
Of course we went for the Sensations menu. a) because we wanted to try as many dishes as possible; and b) we love giving chefs (well, chefs we trust) carte blanche, without knowing what we are going to be served.
This is the visual record of how the meal unfolded. I'll add captions later on. But really the images speak for themselves.
• To open, a refreshing savoury almond granita seasoned with capers, coffee cream and bergamot confit…
…together with a couple of macarons (also savoury, of course)…
• Baccalà mare nostrum: salt cod filet in a broth of Verdute olive and tomato, served with a dried tomato pesto, Noto almonds and fragrances of Pantelleria.
• How to burn sardines in three days – but actually made with fillets of red mullet.
• Risotto where the river meets the sea
• An eel swimming up the Po river
The eel "swims up the Po" from the Adriatic, always against the flow of the river, encounters polenta (the swoosh on the right) in Veneto; then wonderful tart Campanine apples in Mantua (the sauce on the left); and finally arrives at Modena and the delectable sweet grape juice known as saba (the basting sauce on the eel).
• Tribute to Normandy: not in fact an oyster but tartare of salt-marsh lamb, with cider sorbet and some oyster water…
• Think green
• Hunting the Pigeon
• A thousand layer of leaves
• Oops I dropped the tart
• and to close, some mignardises…
What a meal! Stupendous!