Let your palate touch the sky

If living right means knowing how to live right, then rule number one is learning how to satisfy your palate! Nothing compares to a good meal that puts you in the best of moods and whets your appetite as well as your curiosity… it’s full of desires just waiting to be appeased.

In Italy this happens at breakfast, lunch and dinner; or even beyond mealtime if gaining weight isn’t on your list of phobias. Whether it be pizza, pasta, fried food or dessert, the selection is simply overwhelming!

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As a matter of fact, food isn’t only an essential source of energy, but also one of the main components of health and well-being. Even if Hippocrates argued that it’s better to lean towards unhealthy yet tasty foods as opposed to the healthy but tasteless, dwellers on the island of Capri are fortunate enough to forego any choice whatsoever: flavour and health, two characteristics that seem to go hand in hand with whatever dish is in store. The ingredients themselves are what stand out – fresh and genuine – and the result couldn’t be more exquisite.

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Italian cuisine is a pocketful of sunshine, a gust of refreshing wind, a flavour explosion that successfully reflects all the smells and colours of the peninsula itself: gold from its flowing olive oil, sky blue from its freshly caught fish, red from its juicy tomatoes. Thousands of shades spanning the ocean, from molluscs to crustaceans, add a daily twist to flavourful island recipes that stem from local vegetables, caciotta cheese, mozzarella and aubergine, which are in turn topped off with all kinds of aromatic herbs.

We dare you to find a resident who hasn’t stashed away part of their balcony or cleared space in their garden to plant some home-grown herbs: garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, red pepper and much more, they’re all part of the plan for the perfect meal.

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Whether it’s dishes topped off with a seaside breeze or with the flavours found back on land, the island’s cuisine is full splashes of flavour that don’t stop short of reflecting the local culture, first and foremost with its rich and delightful pasta.

Fancy some spaghetti alla Caprese?

In the United Colors of Benetton 2014 spring-summer catalogue, the great Gaetano, head chef at Fontelina, a world-renowned restaurant and beach resort, has hand picked two typical entrees that are simple yet sublime: spaghetti with clams and pennette Aumm Aumm! If you set off for Capri you simply can’t miss out on these. We dare you to try to resist the ocean’s lure!

The Fontelina’s location, positioned in front of the rock stacks otherwise known as the Faraglioni, is a welcoming invitation to immerse yourself in this blue paradise. And what could be better than a nice swim to get your appetite going – as well as your metabolism – before an exquisitely rich multi-course lunch?

This is the typical scene around Fontelina’s quarters. A dip in the water for starters and then, upon returning to shore, an ambiance with beachside tables that will steal your heart. The views will bring anyone to their feet, followed by a meal that will please the palate and cement your desire to come back in the near future.

For over 60 years now this allure has never ceased to deliver its stunning message, almost as if it casts a spell upon tourists who “knowingly” indulge in its beauty.

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Pennette Aumm Aumm.

Ingredients: pennette, cherry tomatoes, aubergine, mozzarella, basil, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese.

Cut the aubergine into cubes and fry in oil. Then, after drying them with a paper towel, place to the side. In a saucepan, cook the garlic in oil until it’s a light brown, add cherry tomatoes that have been cut in quarters, salt and cook for 6-7 minutes. In the meantime, cook and strain the pasta to taste, and then mix it with the sauce adding as well the aubergine. Mix in the mozzarella, parmesan and basil, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes for a creamy consistency. Serve at a sizzling temperature and, most importantly, enjoy!

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Spaghetti with clams.

Ingredients: spaghetti, clams, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, red pepper and parsely.

In a skillet, cook the garlic in oil with red pepper until it’s a light brown, add the clams and turn the stove off only when all of them have opened. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti then strain after just 5-6 minutes so that the pasta can be al dente, and finish cooking the clams in the skillet. Before serving, sprinkle grounded parsley on top.

One piece of advice: don’t forget to pair any type of entree with a nice glass of white wine, such as a Greco di Tufo or a Fiano di Avellino DOCG, fresh and intoxicating!

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And if all of that still doesn’t do it for you or you just have the hankering to try something new, you’re in for a real treat with for dessert: choose from a babà with limoncello, Neapolitan pastries, curly sfogliatelle (shell-shaped, layered puffs) or the ultimate classic, Caprese cake: sweet with an almond and chocolate base; crunchy on the outside and extra smooth on the inside, a dish you simply won’t want to share.

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Only problem with this near-heaven experience for your palate: good luck leaving it behind when it’s time to head back home.

 

 

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