Set in the hill town of Sant'Agata sue due Golfi is the extraordinary Don Alfonso 1890, which is not just one of the loveliest boutique hotels in Italy but one of Europe's very finest restaurants, run by the redoubtable chef Don Alfonso Iaccarino and his dear, charming wife Livia, who have had the hotel since 1982.
Entering Mamo's second floor dining room and knowing that its antecedent is in Antibes on the French Riviera, I saw immediately that the owners had gotten everything just right for a summer's evening in Soho. Twilight still stole through the windows and cast a lovely glow on the white brick walls hung with brightly colored Italian movie posters.
Each week, I stroll through the market scavenging for the best produce for our menu. I covet these summer months when the market is brimming with rows of golden cherry tomatoes, giant squashes, and ripe peaches. These open-air markets bring me back to Tuscany--especially when I see rows of bright sunflowers, or girasoli. To capitalize on these last summer days, I'm using this post to point out some of my favorite seasonal produce, and a few tips on how to navigate the market like a chef.
Sprawling across the broad terrace floor of the Rome Cavalieri Hotel, La Pergola is easily one of the most romantic restaurants in the world, purposely lighted that way and configured so that simply walking through it puts you in mind of all the sweeping American-in-Rome movies of the 1950s--"Three Coins in the Fountain," "A Light in the Piazza," "Roman Adventure," and "Roman Holiday."