Leave it to The Ritz-Carlton’s one-Michelin-starred Tosca to deliver something truly spectacular for discerning Hong Kongers. Over a 12-month period (beginning in November 2019), Chef Angelo Agliano will invite five of Italy’s most prominent female chefs (the “Gems”) to visit our own little Pearl of the Orient to collaborate with him on some exclusive menus.
Here’s the schedule for Gems & Pearl – An Italian Culinary Journey ($1,998/dinner):
- November 2019: Valeria Picini (Caino, Montemerano)
- January 2020: Antonia Klugmann (L’argine a Vencò, Dolegna del Collio)
- March 2020: Isa Mazzocchi (La Palta, Borgonovo Val Tidone)
- June 2020: Viviana Varese (Viva, Milan)
- September 2020: Martina Caruso (Signum, Salina)
Valeria Picini and the Tosca team
We had the opportunity to try the first of the dinners, featuring Valeria Picini, the renowned chef of two-Michelin-starred Caino in Montemerano. Chef Picini, along with her husband, took over Caino from her mother-in-law at age 26, where it continues to be a family-run affair. The cosy restaurant has just nine tables and is located in a small medieval village in Tuscany.
While the Gems & Pearl dinners run high, the price seems reasonable given the experience of the chefs – a splurge for sure but, hey, if you’re not sure when you’ll next find yourself deep in the heart of Italy...
Here’s a look at the dishes we had:
Fried corn foam with port wine and foie gras mousse
Hokkaido scallop carpaccio with salmoriglio sauce, sea urchin and kaluga caviar
Roasted eel with celery sauce and mandarin paste
Fregola with Alaskan king crab, bisque and fresh herbs
Tuscan Pecorino, ricotta and pear ravioli with beetroot sauce
Baby pig with mixed winter vegetables
Almond cloud and pistachio ice cream
Orange and olive oil emulsion with goat’s milk gelato and black pepper
It was both the flavour combinations and play with textures that were so fantastic. For example, the corn foam was both heavenly in taste as well as smooth, light, airy but then dense in texture. The eel with creamy mandarin paste worked so well, with the fresh citrus flavour complementing the subtly smoky flesh. A real highlight was getting the chance to try Chef Picini’s famous ravioli. This was incredible. The aroma of the fresh pasta and melted butter along with the little pockets containing a light cheese and puréed pear filling was simply divine.
It’s hard not to be excited about Tosca’s new Gems & Pearl series. Yes, it’s expensive. But for those who want to try food from some of Italy’s best chefs in collaboration with Chef Agliano, it could be well worth the price. Of course, the setting is also stunning (both inside and outside) and the service is as you would expect at The Ritz-Carlton. After lunch, I went back to the office and told my colleagues that this is what I imagine food in heaven tastes like.
102/F, International Commerce Centre, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, 2263 2270, book online
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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