Finding good food in Italy isn’t hard to do. But, occasionally a special place is visited that is different from the rest. And we found that very one on our recent trip to Pavia….at Erbaluce.
Next to the Duomo in Pavia, we happened upon Erbaluce, a modern and warm restaurant owned by chef Antonia Plati. A self-taught chef, Plati was a lawyer in Milan when she gave it up to open her first restaurant in 2006. Her husband acts as wine buyer and server when not working as a doctor. The style of the food is a modern Italian interpretation with a French twist, and the dishes are inspired by her family home in Basilicata, near the sea.
We sat down and were in for a treat as Chef Antonia began bringing out the plates. We started with Peperone Cornetto Ripieno di Baccala Mantecato su Pancake di Farina di Fave – cod with oil and potatoes served in a green pepper, on top of a fava bean belini. Next came crepes filled with pumpkin and montasio cheese with a tomato velute. And then the creamy gorgonzola gelato covered with prosciutto.
Chef then presented us with one of her favorite dishes, escargot with pancetta wrapped in soy spaghetti with creme of fava bean. The smokiness of the escargot and pancetta paired nicely with the air-like creme of fava bean. This is a perfect dish for those afraid of escargot.
For our pasta dishes, we had Culurgiones (Ravioli di Sardo), one with salmon and one with branzino, with a pesto of zucchine and dill. The second pasta was a ravioli with ricotta and pecorino di Moliterno (a cheese from Basilicata) served with fresh cream and pecorino Romano.
As if this wasn’t enough, we of course had dessert…..a claufeutie and a chocolate torte with zabayone gelato.
You might think all of these inventive dishes were coming from a famous Michelin-starred chef, but the modest female Chef Antonia Plati is a self-taught cook and former attorney. And this has been recognized in the 2014 Le Guide de Espresso’s Restaurant Guide, one of the most prestigious guides in Italy…….a well-deserved honor!