A firm Andrea Perini directs his kitchen
by Marco Gemelli, ph. Luca Managlia
On the one hand we have a specific search for local, in-season ingredients, on the other hand, we have the use of extra virgin olive oils coming from the most diverse cultivars: and moving between these two factors is the young chef Andrea Perini who manages the restaurant Al 588 at Borgo I Vicelli, an elegant county relais at Bagno a Ripoli on the hills of Florence, opened just a few years ago by an enterprising Tuscan family. His passion for high quality oil has earned him the title of “2018 oil chef” while, this year, Flos Olei, the most important international guide has crowned the restaurant Al 588 as being the most favourably disposed towards the use of EVO oil rendering the restaurant – one of the few in Italy with an oil list equal to its wine list – a landmark for enthusiasts of the yellow gold. Thanks to a concurrence between the inspiration of the Londa-born chef with a year and a half’s experience at Gordon Ramsay’s court and the young owner Giulia Franco, each dish served at Al 588 comes with a specific oil – including the one produced on site from the 2,500 olive trees – and the vegetables from the organic kitchen garden. Andrea Perini recommends whole wheat linguine creamed with cavolo nero and oil, aged-cheese fondue with fennel, “bardiccio” sausage, lemon powder and fried cabbage matched with Fonte di Foiana Gran Cru oil of Castagneto Carducci.
Once boiled, the cavolo nero is blended with the oil, filtered and used to cream the pasta, not in the pan but at room temperature. The “bardiccio” sausage, instead, is first lightly sautéed in a pan to take the fat out of it and then put in the oven. “This dish”, explains the chef, “comes from the farming soul of Tuscany, from my roots: there’s the “bardiccio”, a typical fennel-scented sausage, and the cavolo nero which we grow in the restaurant’s kitchen garden. Strong flavours which represent our land, this is why I chose a Tuscan excellency to accompany this dish, the oil of Fonte di Foiano, a decided blend, spicy, bitter, fruity and grassy”. The extra touch to the dish is given by the lemon powder which refreshes and de-greases its more sapid side given by the “bardiccio” and the seasoned pecorino. This and other dishes in which the EVO oil plays a fundamental role make up the menu at Al 588 which, regardless of the seasons, maintains the expert use of this condiment as common denominator. The authentic Tuscan-style hamlet serves as a backdrop to the restaurant, including country houses, a 19th-century villa and swimming pool, oil mill, barn and a clergy house surrounded by an English garden. Therefore, what with the great care for all that is in season and directly from the kitchen garden, the care for details, the elegance of the servings and the synergy between the kitchen and the dining room, the course taken by Borgo I Vicelli to become a charming location with a suitable cuisine, is giving its fruits.
BORGO I VICELLI
via Roma, 588 – Bagno a Ripoli (FI)
Tel +39 055 699003