The many lives of Chef Andrea

Merenda Sinoira – Carving Porchetta

CHAPTER IV: Citta e Stile Torino (City And Style)’

THE SERIES of dining experiences at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa’s Acqua highlighting the nuances of Italian lifestyles and cuisine through the eyes of Italian Chef de Cuisine Andrea Burzio unfolded in five Capitolo (chapters):

“La Mia Tierra” (My Land), “La MiaInfanzia” (My Childhood), “La Mia Famiglia” (My Family), “Citta e Stile”(City & Style) and “Mia Percorso” (My Journey).

This monthly culinary spectacle started Nov. 10, 2017 and ends on March 10, 2018.

Growing up in Torino, the capital of Piedmont in Northern Italy, this normally quiet young chef speaks volumes about what he loves best— cooking.

After getting to know his family through its time-honored dishes in the last chapter “La Mia Famiglia,” Chef Andrea brought us to another sophisticated lifestyle in Torino, renowned for its baroque architecture, booming art scene, and refined cuisine. It also gave the world the first saleable hard chocolate and Italy’s most iconic car Fiat.

The Capitolo on Citta e Stile is all about Torino’s innovative food and wine culture.

Cocktails at 7 p.m. at Acqua started with “Merenda Sinoira,” a traditional meal in Piedmont that traces its origin to the farmers who worked in the fields until over sunset in summer so the womenfolk brought heavy snacks accompanied by a good glass of wine before dinner.

It was also a rite to strengthen family unity.

Our Merenda Sinoira consisted of burrata caprese, carving pancetta, assorted cold cuts and cheeses, pizza and fresh oysters flown all the way from France.

I love burrata, a fresh Italian buffalo milk cheese made from mozzarella and cream, served with cherry tomatoes, basil and drizzled with olive oil
and balsamic vinegar.

I fixated on fresh medium-sized oysters, which I enjoyed with a glass of prosecco. I must have eaten close to a dozen!

Dinner was cocktail-pairing so the bar was busy mixing colorful and exciting drinks to match the dishes prepared by Chef Andrea.

I was extra cautious since cocktails can be deceivingly intoxicating.

We started with capellacci di cotechino bechelli or capellacci pasta stuffed with cotechino (Northern Italian boiled pork sausage), lentils and foie gras.

Capellacci is shaped like a hat.

Fancy glasses of ferrari (prosecco with strawberry puree) and jeffrietini (citrus infused vodka, triple orange liqueur, strawberry puree and lime juice) were served with the pasta dish.

Two cocktail drinks paired with a dish can be overwhelming for my taste buds.

But I floated along enjoying both mixes with the pasta. The second dish was magro d’anatra d’oltralpe, salsa all’ uva or French duck breast in creamy grape sauce and cabbage.

The duck breast was cooked to perfection.

The cocktail drinks to pair with the duck were bicicletta (the eponymous liqueur Campari and pinot grigio) and paloma (tequila, crème de cassis or blackcurrant liqueur, lime, guava and cranberry juice).

Most of us nodded as we sipped paloma, an exciting cocktail with fruits including our native guava.

Two slim glasses of peanut crush (bourbon, Bailey’s Kahlua, milk and peanut butter) and haze craze (bourbon, hazelnut liqueur, crème de cacao and vanilla ice cream) were served with the dessert—soffice allo zafferano e limone, coulis ai fruit di bosco e balsamico di Modena or saffron and lemon mousse, berries and aged Modena balsamic vinegar.

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