Osteria Francescana

Espuma de mortadela, pan crocante y piñones picados
Massimo Bottura
Country: Italy
City: 41100 Módena
Address: Via Stella, 22
(+39) 059220286
Closed: Midday Saturdays, Sundays, for 2 weeks in January and in August
Price: 100/140 €
Tasting menu:: 95 €

Massimo Bottura is a real big shot. A lively, enthusiastic, jubilant and exultant man who transmits his pathologic engagement in culinary art. This kind of passionate people, convinced that where there is a will, there is a way, is really scarce. Against all odds, this belated and self-taught cook ended up becoming one of the best representatives of cuisine in the world. After progressing through different steps –evolutionist and transgressive ones–, proposing pertinent abstract dishes, he reached the actual stage that combines a variety of emotional and intellectual experiences expressed with excellence. His maturity can be savoured both through any cleverly inspired traditional dish coated with his unquestionable personality and through any astonishing avant-garde creation aimed at taking the guest to another galaxy. Ladies and gentlemen, this man’s creative constructions are really vibrant and audacious. His moving gastronomy appeals to palate and mind. And produces both carnal and cerebral pleasure.
The fact Massimo does research into techniques and uses unusual methods to manipulate his ingredients in order to propose new sensations and better results does not mean that his cuisine has not many earthly aspects. The products he uses are frankly unbeatable: the best parmigiano-reggiano, the best Modena vinegar, the best cold meats (cotechini and zampone)… He actually feels ethically obliged to use top quality raw materials. Although he is 100% Italian, his culture is based on universal knowledge. Although his proposals are rather spirited, they turned to be utterly refined.
Childhood memories: bologna foam with delicious and crunchy bread and line of toasted pine kernels; change of design and textures reproducing palatal memory with extreme gentleness. As simple and pure, the chef proposes some fried gnocchi with Culatello (ham) and belly pork, white water melon and apple mustard, and red fruit jam. Very basic elements which could not be more lightened or perfected. The exquisite cold and hot potato and root soup with beet snow is really unusual. And what can we say about the magical Cotechino cold meat and lentils with butter sauce, in which pork and legume feel completely immaculate, as if the pasta was not wrapping them, being just an accompaniment, sharing the stage with them; sublime. Pasta tastes of pasta and the filling tastes of both main ingredients, varnished with a kind of warm gelatine. The Burgundy escargots are proposed in an unprecedented and utterly ingenious way: with mushrooms, hazelnuts, pink pepper, parsley juice, and garlic broth snow. A clairvoyant recreation of tradition using avant-garde techniques to materialize ideas and tastes. With “Iceland”, the chef really messes things up, because the guest doesn’t exactly know whether he/she is in front of a salad, a sorbet or both things: ice-cube-shaped apple and cucumber, chocolate, date, baby strawberries, breadcrumbs that evoke gingerbread… Brilliant. The very noble suckling pig, lacquered with balsamic vinegar and garnished with spinach, pine aromas, mashed potatoes, anise juice, … is definitely doctoral and lively, full of nuances that make all the difference in such an orthodox construction. Another ingenious and iconoclast way to perform an historical recipe: bread crust deeply soaked with fragrances over a hare tartare, served with an exciting sauce made with the animal’s blood and red wine. Raw meat proposed with stewed and concentrated complements. An audacious and marvellous jugged hare.
The desserts are also worthy of a world number one. The tomato caramelized with spices and served with mozzarella foam and white truffle is a 3D vision of provincial Italy. The half-cooked panettone soufflé, really ethereal, confirms the artist’s philosophy and technical mastery for the nth time. The sweet and salty foie gras and white truffle macaroon also says a lot about Massimo’s talent.
The chef reinvents traditional dishes from an exceptional and utterly peculiar vision of his country and his world.