A Taste of Tuscany
Indulge in authentic Tuscan delicacies at the ongoing food festival at Ottimo, ITC Kohenur
HYDERABAD: When it comes to culinary delights, few cuisines in the world can rival the rich and diverse flavours of Italian cuisine. Italy’s regional dishes have captivated the taste buds of food enthusiasts worldwide, especially the aromatic herbs of Tuscany.
On a rainy evening we made our way to Ottimo, ITC Kohenur to indulge in their ongoing food festival ‘From Tuscany with Love’ and savour a breath-taking journey of Italian renaissance. Available only during dinner (7 to 11.30 pm) till Sept 30, the a la carte dining experience was fancy. As we made ourselves comfortable, Chef Apar Chaterjee joined us to explain the cuisine and the dishes they were going to serve. After having a good knowledge of what we should be looking forward to, we started with Crostini Toscini with Mushroom Pate, Caramalised onion, Balsamic figs and Goat cheese and Chicken liver pate, sour cherry compote and capers.
The crostinis were crunchy and the pates added the necessary zing. Next we went for La Panzanella, the fresh Italian summer salad served on a ring of stale bread. The fresh and herby salad and stale bread pairing added the necessary pop on our palette. The heartwarming seafood stew from the town of Livorno, Caciucco, had a light broth and all the seafood like octopus, prawn, sea bass, mussels and more lend depth in flavour.
It was time for Tomato and Ricotta Ravioli and Pappardelle with Fennel Sausage and Kale. Both the pasta dishes were straight sixers, especially the Pappardelle with Fennel Sausage and Kale. The aroma of fennel worked like magic. In Italian cuisine, it is common to serve gnocchis made out of potatoes, but Chef Apar gave it a twist. He served us Spinach and Ricotta Gnoccho served with warm Tomato Coulis and Tuscan Pecorino Foam. The next dish served was King Prawns Florentine which was king prawns stuffed with spinach and ricotta and baked in the hearth.
The baking gave it a crunchy texture on the top, while the prawn was soft and melted in the mouth. The last leg of our main course had two meat dishes on offer — Tuscan style Chicken and Spezzatino. Tuscan style Chicken had grilled chicken breast simmered in a sauce of young tomatoes, cream and fennel. Whereas, the Spezzatino was the chef’s take on the classic Tuscan stew — sous vide pork belly served with slow cooked jus and braised vegetables.
We ended our great Tuscan journey with Orange Torte, a bright citrus cake, served with orange and cinnamon gelato, lavender and thyme sauce. Even though the small three-tiered cake was a bit dry to our liking, the sauce and gelato went well together.
If you have a love for Italian cuisine, especially Tuscan or simply enjoy exploring diverse culinary traditions, make sure to mark your calendar for this food festival. It’s a celebration of flavours, a showcase of culinary talent, and an opportunity to savour the magic of Tuscany, one delicious bite at a time.