Dec 2019: Here we are; ‘Michelin Chef Valentino Palmisano Ristorante Vispasia Norcia‘.
Where is Norcia, well it in mid Italy a few hundred kilometres North East of Rome in oil, black truffles and cold cuts country. The Capital Club Bahrain has a knack of sourcing out and engaging these food maestros and happy to say, most live up to their celebrity status, plus most but not all are so easy and flowing when it comes to an on camera chat. Valentino will fill you with life’s (not only his) joys and contentment and edited down, he really does come across as a pleasant, knowledgeable and interesting chap.
Who can not love Italy, a small country teaming with 60 odd million people, who somehow manage to spread out giving each other immense space. Who cannot love Italian food prepared by artistic chefs, other than pasta and parma ham? If we can believe everything on Wiki, (why not, we do…. ho ho!), there are some 250 one star Michy ressies, and only seven 3 star. Surprisingly few when all is said and done, plus cuisine being one of Italy’s greatest concerns and exports with a zillion restaurants knocking out Italian wherever one goes. Is that a reasonable amount? One would think that the Michelin people would have been out in force discovering gems across the country. Not so! Then again, some Italian style restaurants can often appear cold with their tiled floors, Imperial fittings and pasta obsessions and the owners who style their 5 star hotel restaurants like this world-wide, wonder why their foot-fall is low. Until that is they lighten up on the marketing image and get a little more jolly with the advertising and radio jingles.
Ristorante Vispasia in Norcia, is not a small restaurant by any means and it is a little guilty of this type of decor’ as mentioned above, but then, when it has a Michelin chef at its helm Worse still, Google is about as useful as a bicycle bell on an ambulance when it comes to searching out Michelin Restaurants and Chefs in Italy. Maybe that is because the restaurants themselves do not optimize their own search data, who knows.
This lunch was most enjoyable and the dishes served up by Valentino literally slipped down very well. In fact, so well, that you might notice that the sweet is missing from the video. it didn’t stand a chance and Svetlana’s camera was put aside while she ate two of them. Lobster is not everyone’s pallet, but somehow it was on this day. Every dish has flavours overflowing and each dish was sizable enough for such an event, but one would probably want a slightly larger portion if paying for it in a top restaurant like Vespasia. The fish was perfect and left each of the guests content with the dish overall. Lamb can be such a difficult meat to prepare in any large quantity if you only want the lean bits. Arabs love to pull the whole thing apart and don’t mind handfuls of fat, but for some, that is so undesirable. Look at the pictures, Valentino cracked it superbly and even this writer who never ever touches lamb because of it’s often stringy fatty content devoured every pulled strand of a perfectly cooked piece with gorgeous flavours.
As mentioned in the video, Valentino’s visit coincided with some sort of Italian Week in Bahrain, with food and cultural events taking place. Whodoeswhat.tv only found out about it at the media lunch when it was almost all over. All a bit odd as WDW.tv were taken to task as to why we did not cover some of these events. Being frank, we just cannot cover everything as much as we might like to, therefore selectivity is required . With a quick surf, there was little to nothing else found about it, but according to the Italian Ambassador Domenico Bellato, there were several hundred people at certain events, so the word must have gotten out somehow. Not to repeat ourselves here, but if the PR mechanics fail to inform the media (particularly Who Does What.tv) then the loss is theirs.