Food & Cooking

Two Eateries in Italy Extolling the Magic of EVOO

Filodolio in Rome and Olivia in Florence turn out culinary creations inspired by fresh ingredients and Italian olive oil excellence.

Chef Alfonso Aquino with his team
Jan. 10, 2018
By Ylenia Granitto
Chef Alfonso Aquino with his team

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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.- Ste­fano Donaudy, Filodo­lio

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.”

Stefano Donaudy at Filodolio

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.

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Chef Alfonso Aquino with his team

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.

Grilled octopus, celeriac, Taggiasca olives and vegatable ash with Oliocru Origini (Filodolio)

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.

Serena Gonnelli at Olivia

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.


Filodo­lio
Via Tripoli­ta­nia, 147
Rome 00199

Olivia
Piazza Pitti 14r
Firenze 50130

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