Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Little Gem on The Corner


The setting for this little gem rests on a corner of a winding road in Trecastagni, a small town that sits at the foot of Mount Etna. Once an old ruined farmhouse, the restaurant is now fully restored so that Giovanni Perni, the owner of All'Angolo (The Corner), could fulfill his life long dream of passing on his knowledge and passion for preparing exquisite, slow-food cuisine. Before moving to Trecastagni, Giovanni spent two decades catering and cooking haute cuisine exclusively in Monaco of Bavaria.

 Giovanni Perni with his wife, Mariella

The view of Trecastagni from my studio.

All’Angolo’s interior offers an intimate feel, with only five tables. The dining room is decorated and adorned impeccably with well-loved antiques. The tables are all dressed beautifully in bright yellow jarquard-damask linen, fine china and hand-blown glassware. A crackling fireplace keeps the room cozy in the winter while you enjoy your meal with classical music playing in the background. 

In the bar area, I couldn't help but notice the collection of brandy (of which Giovanni is an expert), the most important and expensive are those of Rochelt from Austria. Each flavor of Rochelt comes with it's own unique, intricately crafted bottle stopper.

For summer, you can sit outside on the patio that is shaded by vines that have been there for ages. They have an enchanting little garden beside an ancient well, which is tucked away in the corner. Every detail of the patio is magical!

Details of the patio of All'Angolo

Besides being the owner of All’Angolo, Giovanni Perni is also the chef. He is a one-man show in the kitchen, creating stunning presentations cooked to perfection and with great pride. It’s not hard to see that his passion for good things borders on obsession, starting with the bread, which is made with whole-grain that he mills himself!  

Hand-milled, homemade bread

If only there was an award for Most Impressive Woodpile, the award would certainly have to go to Giovanni Perni! 

Detail of the woodpile with handmade ceramics from local artisans.
The other details of the restaurant are taken care of by Mariella, Giovanni’s wife. She sees to the care of the clients; the reception, the ordering and all of the serving of the food, and sharing with you what may not be on the hand-written menu. Mariella accompanies Giovanni on their holidays which are based on researching the raw materials and local products used in their cuisine.

Mariella on the way to our table.
We start our meal by ordering a white wine which we leave up to Mariella to decide. With over 180 labels of Sicilian and international wines to choose from, it is best to leave it up the professional. After a few minutes, Mariella brings us a plate of a variety of cheeses in all different tastes and textures.

A local cheese with a reduction of Balsamic Vinegar (Crema di Balsamico) 

You think you are just getting the one plate of cheese and then one more arrives...and then another. Their Mozzarella di Bufala is the best we’ve found on the island, and the fresh ricotta drizzled with local honey is out of this world! 

 Centered is the honey-drizzled ricotta cheese. The Mozzarella di Bufala is on the right.

Wild mushrooms highlighted by a bit of warm Sicilian sun.

Olives, caper-berries and mushrooms accompany the cheeses, while ripe figs come along for the ride on the plates of hand-cut meats. 

Hand-cut meats with a sun-ripened fig.

The last time we dined at All’Angolo I tried the raw sausages. I'll put that on my List of Brave Food Experiences of Sicily!

 Brave Food Experience...raw sausage with a side of pickled caper-berries.

Next, grilled eggplant and zucchini make it to the table. I am not exactly certain what herbs Giovanni uses in preparation of the vegetables, but whatever it is makes me want to eat my vegetables!

 Grilled eggplant and zucchini
The primi plates are always a generous amount of risotto or pasta. This time we had the risotto with succulent baby shrimps, vine-ripened tomatoes and zucchini blossoms. This is my kind of comfort food!

Zucchini Blossom and Shrimp Risotto
The main dish was rolled Pesce Spada (swordfish), stuffed with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and something I couldn’t put my finger on...mushrooms perhaps, which made it altogether rich and sumptuous!

Stuffed Pesce Spada (Swordfish)
After dinner, we were offered the chilled Limoncello. It was a perfect way to bridge the gap between our main course and the desserts to come....lemon sorbetto with local miniature-sized strawberries, called fragoline bi bosco.

Chilled Limoncello

Sorbetto di limone con fragoline di bosco

I’m not actually a dessert person, but I had to try Giovanni’s panna cotta after Mariella mentioned that it had a fig buried in it. Out comes the most beautiful bowl of miniature strawberries nestled on top of a blanket of chocolate creme. Below the chocolaty decadence was the rich, velvety panna cotta that held the fig tight!

I relished each bite and longingly await our next visit!

A bit of fig smothered in panna cotta and chocolate...yum! 

I am grateful to have experienced the cuisine of one of the few 
true lovers of their work and passion!


Ristorante All’Angolo
Via Catania ang. Via Toselli 

Trecastagni (Ct)
Tel: 095.7806988
Credit cards: All
Closed: Never

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