The intricacy and tradition of Italian regional cooking mean that there has never really been much need to look to experimental molecular gastronomy, the likes of which is being guzzled down by patrons in Spain and the UK. But the combination of the two was always going to be spectacular, and there’s a little monastic enclave in northern Italy where it is now possible to sample a new age of Italian food. Here, Massimo Bottura – a disciple of Ferran Adrià – has said, “Impossible is nothing”.
On New Year’s Eve, there is still availability at Bottura’s intimate Osteria Francescana – the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Modena that currently sits in fifth position on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He is the chef that brought five ages and textures of Parmesan cheese into one famous dish, so expect the kind of seven-course menu that might require a napkin draped across the lap during the flight over for those slavering feverishly in anticipation.
Delicacies on the €250 menu include Sardinian shrimp, smoked caviar, risotto mare nostrum, langoustines, scallops, razor clams, mussels, calamari, roasted blue Breton lobster, a foie gras terrine and a dish of bue di Carrù – ox raised for a minimum of four years and dry aged for two months. Bottura says: “This exceptional cut of meat with purple undertones will be served with a pure velvet concentration of bone marrow and the elegant Tuscan Sassicaia ’99, and finished with black truffles from the hills of Bologna – both in the creamy potato and shaved on top of the meat.”
A midnight surprise sees a bite-sized version of traditional Modenese cotechino pork and lentils served with champagne. Come to eat and smile.