A taste of Sicily with Chef Pietro D’Agostino

Sicily is close to my heart. I spent a few summers there as a child and I have vivid memories of the freedom enjoyed during hot summer nights, swimming in crystal clear waters and eating barbecued artichokes and almond pastries.. such happy times!

That’s why I was thrilled to spend an evening at Evoluzione restaurant situated in the Hotel Xenia in South Kensington in London.

Hotel Xenia

I tasted delicious and authentic Sicilian food prepared by Michelin star awarded chef Pietro D’Agostino who has spent the past ten years working in top quality hotels and cooking for important people such as the Sultan of Brunei and who now owns the restaurant “La Capinera” in Taormina in Sicily.

We were greeted with Champagne and Sicilian nibbles (and mini cute caponatas!) whilst pastry chef Manuele Francesco was showing us how to make the famous Sicilian Cassata and the cannoli.

If you don’t know what Cassata is, it’s a typical cake from Sicily which consists of a sponge moistened with alcohol and fruit juice, ricotta cheese, candied peel, chocolate or vanilla and is covered with a shell of coloured marzipan and decorative designs. Cassata is also topped with candied fruit depicting cherries and slices of citrus fruit which are typical of Sicily.

making cassata

cassata

Sicilian cannoli are a real delicacy: they are made with deep fried pastry filled with a flavoured sweet creamy filling containing ricotta and chopped pistachios, candied citrus peel or cherries.

making sicilian cannoli

sicilian cannoli

Our meal soon followed and we started with scallop with hints of orange and rocket which tasted fresh and delicate.

noodles scallops

This was followed by king prawns with onion salad, almond and orange juice: absolutely divine, a fresh “spring looking dish” with a very pretty and colourful decoration of fresh flowers. The freshness of the prawns combined with the marinated onion salad was just perfect. I could easily have had two of these.

King Prawns

Black cod with potatoes, lettuce, capers and marsala wine: such a light Mediterranean dish typical of southern Italian cooking. Every course was paired with a different Sicilian wine too. I found them very aromatic and very interesting wines indeed.

Black Cod

And of course…pasta time! Seafood ravioli with capers, Sicilian wild fennel and pistachio from Bronte which takes its name after a Sicilian village. Bronte pistachios are among the best in the world with a more delicate and aromatic flavour and a more intense and brilliant green colour.

Seafood ravioli

My dearest friend Alexandra was with me. I felt totally relaxed and vibrant..and that often happens with truly good friends!

Alex and I

And yet another delicious fish dish came along: Turbot with artichoke, calamari and roasted aubergine. I loved the crunchiness of the calamari. All the fish was really fresh and every dish tasted of the sea.

Turbot with artichokes and calamari

In truly Sicilian style our dessert was of course made with almonds (Sicily produces some of the best almonds in the world). It was like an almond pannacotta with a caramelized almond on top. It just simply melted in your mouth! With this we were served an almond dessert wine which matched the dish perfectly.

almond dessert

Another dessert came along (Yeah! The more the merrier!): toffee sandwich with almond chocolate.. very original I would say!

Toffee Sandwich Dessert

We were served chocolate petits fours and sicilian cannoli. Even if I was full up I still managed to gobble the lot. I thought if I didn’t at least try the cannoli I would bitterly regret it later and I am pleased I did! They were so crunchy and fresh!

I’d like to thank our chefs Pietro D’Agostino (first on the left) and Manuele Francesco who did an excellent job! I had a really enjoyable evening.

our chefs

 

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11 Responses to A taste of Sicily with Chef Pietro D’Agostino

  1. Elisabetta

    What a lucky lady! The true taste of Sicily in England! I can almost taste the fresh and aromatic dishes that were served. Delicious!

    • Alida

      Delicious indeed! I enjoyed every mouthful and the flavours were truly sicilian. I cannot wait to visit Sicily again!

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Wow, so fabulous! That was a night to cherish and great memories especially with your friend, Alexandra. A world renowned chef and Michelin star award winner. That is a very impressive restaurant. The food looks so gourmet and so delicious. My dad’s mom is from Sicily and the food is very special as you said, due to the fact that they are so close to the sea. You and Alexandra look like you were having so much fun and didn’t want to leave there. The desserts are outstanding…Love the Ravioli and the Cannoli, it all looks so amazing. A special night for a special person. You deserve a night like this every once in a while. Thanks so much for sharing this adventure with us…Have a great weekend dear friend…(I love these posts)
    Dottie ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Alida

      Yes I enjoy going out especially when there is nice food available! And everything was so tasty! x

  3. Diana

    Everything looks so yummy….errrr….including Manuele Francesco! ha, ha, ha….he looks very cute from this photo…what a fun night! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Alida

      How funny! I like these chefs from Sicily. People from the south of Italy have such happy outgoing personalities!

  4. Louise

    Wow, Alida, it sounds like you had a most glorious time with such an extensive array of tasty dishes created by Star chefs. You lucky girl! My father was born in Sicily and I have always wanted to visit. He use to tell me stories about the abundance of the sea. Oh such wonderful memories.

    Everything looks so good. I’m glad you decided not to bypass the cannoli. You would have been agaonizing over not having them forever, lol…

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us Alida…

  5. Catherine

    What a beautiful time and dinner. I am so very happy for you dear Alida. xoxo Catherine

    • Alida

      Thank you Catherine!

  6. la cucina di Molly

    Che meraviglia questi dolci siciliani, bravissimo lo chef, grazie per aver condiviso queste delizie! Baci!

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