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Lesley Christensen-Yule’s Grand Culinary Tour: Amalfi

Another exclusive food blog with Hospitality Business: Follow Lesley Christensen-Yule on her travels through Europe and America. A celebrated food writer (The New Zealand Chef and The NZ Cook’s Bible), share Lesley’s amazing food experiences and insights here.

Snapshot Europe : Amalfi

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Amalfi restaurant view

After a hot day walking from Ravello through valleys of trees heavily laden with lemons and hillsides of gnarly old olive trees we arrived at our hotel in Amalfi, which like many hotels in Italy, is an ex-monastery. After settling into the serenity of our glorious monkish cell we sat on the restaurant balcony perched over the azure sea and enjoyed the luxury of classic European service including waiters lining up with dishes under silver covers, only to be removed with a flourish when all was on the table.

We were willingly amused by an amuse-bouche of deep-fried pasta – like a little parcel of crumbed macaroni cheese served with drops of rich balsamic. We savoured parchment slices of bresaola with shaved parmigiana, freshly caught king prawns fried in a crispy batter, eggplant baked with mozzarella and rich red tomato sauce, and then an interesting take on fish cooked ‘en papillote’. The sea bass fillet was baked in plastic-looking clear oven wrap and opened at the table in the traditional style to infuse the air with a beautiful blend of fishiness, herbs, olives, tomatoes and capers.

I couldn’t even think about selecting a dessert from the heavily laden trolley of cakes and sweets but as we had heard several male diners opt for what the waiter described as “beer cheesecake” Phil couldn’t resist. It wasn’t long before all the beery blokes discovered that the waiter’s beguiling accent had led them astray and it was in fact “pear” cheesecake that contained little nuggets of crystallised pear.

Then it was back to the monk cell to repent of our over-indulgence before falling asleep to the gentle sound of the Mediterranean sea while musing on how one might in fact make a beer cheesecake.

Lesley Christensen-Yule
The New Zealand Chef
The NZ Cook’s Bible

 

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