Food & Cooking
Filodolio in Rome and Olivia in Florence turn out culinary creations inspired by fresh ingredients and Italian olive oil excellence.
At Filodolio — Cucina Extravergine, in the elegant Trieste neighborhood of Rome, extra virgin olive oil is the key ingredient and the star attraction on the menu.
Here, the combination of food with different extra virgin olive oils is an integral and characterizing element, and each of our chef’s creations is designed to host a specific olive oil.
“Years ago, I was invited to a dinner which started with an olive oil tasting session and I discovered this extraordinary Italian excellence,” Stefano Donaudy, a former corporate executive now restaurateur, revealed. “That’s why now at my place, customers have the opportunity to start dinner, lunch and aperitif with a guided tasting and enjoy delightful pairings of food and extra virgin olive oils of the highest quality.”
Donaudy, with the idea of an extra virgin-centric restaurant started to study, became a taster and, just over a year ago with the collaboration of the Chef Filippo Artioli, created the stylish and warm Filodolio (the Italian way to say ‘a dribble of oil’), which became a point of reference for foodies in Rome.
“The oil in the pot plays a fundamental role and has the potential to make a real difference, harmonizing and enhancing flavors, or destroying them if mismatched,” he said. “Here, the combination of food with different extra virgin olive oils is an integral and characterizing element, and each of our chef’s creations is designed to host a specific olive oil,” he pointed out as he introduced the 24-year-old chef, Alfonso Aquino.
“Extra virgin olive oil is a pillar of the Mediterranean diet where I get inspiration for my cuisine, which is also shaped by the Neapolitan tradition and enriched with palatable innovations,” illustrated the chef, who was born in Boscoreale at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, attended the culinary school in Roccaraso and trained with a couple of Michelin-starred chefs.
“It was interesting to combine EVOOs with Aquino’s dishes, which are based on tradition and enhanced by intriguing gustatory novelties, which made pairing even more enjoyable,” noted the professional olive oil taster and sommelier Liana Davletsina, who conceived the matches with Donaudy.
“Inspired by Fabio Ferrara, an experienced restaurateur in Abruzzo, we are now trying various blends with different polyphenol contents during cooking, depending on the type of preparation,” Donaudy added. “We are going beyond the use of a standard EVOO when the food is on the stove, to take full advantage of chemical properties and optimize their effect with an ad hoc use,” Aquino specified.
Among the items on the menu, it is well worth trying the cuttlefish open raviolo, flavored carbonara cream and crispy jowl with Origini of Oliocru; the Iberian piglet cheek with melting onion and liquid escarole with Emozione of Decimi; and the Ricotta di bufala mousse, pistachio di Bronte, green apple with Anfosso’s Taggiasca.
“It is amazing to see this growing interest in extra virgin olive oil,” Donaudy remarked. “And it is increasingly stimulating to spread the culture of Italian extra virgin olive, which is a top-class product.”
In the heart of Florence, right in front of the Boboli Gardens, you can stop for a quick lunch or a dinner with friends at Olivia. “The name of the restaurant comes from the merging of two words that indicates my loves, which are my daughter Livia and olive oil,” revealed Serena Gonnelli, who brought the extra virgin olive oils produced by the ancient family mill Santa Téa into a contemporary food lab.
Good cuisine, relaxed atmosphere and convivial spaces are the features of this cozy place where reinterpretations of Tuscan dishes and intriguing street food are enriched and enhanced by specific combinations with the liquid gold originating in the Tuscan hills between Florence and Siena.
Gonnelli was born in Reggello, the home of a vast farm which includes several olive groves of native Tuscan varieties such as Frantoio, Leccino, Moraiolo, Correggiolo and Leccio del Corno managed in accordance with organic farming and pressed at a milling plant which is among the oldest in Italy, belonging to her family since 1585.
“At home, we always had several bottles of EVOO in the kitchen and on the table, and at one point I wanted to guide other people through a sensory experience with our products,” said Gonnelli, explaining her idea of a place where customers can learn something more about quality, while enjoying themselves at the dinner table.
“Therefore, I devised a format of informal cuisine based on extra virgin olive oils from Santa Téa’s mill,” she explained. “Moreover, with a view to recreating the comfortable atmosphere of our farm, I designed furnishings by reworking elements of the Tuscan countryside.”
“Olivia’s styling recalls the world of oil production, reproduced in the millstone-table made up of cement and crushed olive pits and in the lamps made with the nets for the collection of olives.”
On two large convivial tables and smaller counters dedicated to couples, the restaurant serves foods with EVOO in their hearts. Each plate has been studied to enhance the correct combination with a different line of product. Bruschetta, salads, soups and desserts are enriched by a selected olive oil dribble, which is also used during cooking of fried foods and fresh pastas.
Olivia wants to offer its customers the healthful properties of olive oil, enhancing them through different types of preparations, such as the fried cod prepared with the extra virgin olive oil La Pieve, the olive oil cream stuffed paccheri and toasted bread on pecorino di Pienza fondue with the organic blend line, and delicious desserts such as the ice cream donut with an olive oil dribble at your choice.
Via Tripolitania, 147
Piazza Pitti 14r