Molecular cuisine in Italy

Let’s try forget any preconceived ideas on “molecular cuisine.”

However, in case you still have one or two, allow me to share my recent experience at Villa Serbollini, on the shores of Lake Como, in Bellagio.

Recently, Chef Ettore Bocchia shared more than 12 dishes with me, including an amazing peacock ravioli and a delicate scampi tempura with Sicilian orange marmalade. And, to finish this amazing experience he decided to serve, as a pre-dessert, a large slice of pizza.

As you can imagine this came as a bit of a surprise but I ended up finishing every last crumb. The pizza literally was “melting” in my mouth, so light but also so tasteful. Each ingredient was elevated or should I say celebrated? I tried to get the recipe and understand how science contributed to such a beauty. Chef Bocchia explained that he used a very special sourdough starter (levain) and lets the dough rise for three days. He then uses a mix of five special old flours, but then he refrained from sharing all his other secrets…

Equally tasteful was his red fruits sherbet: using only liquid nitrogen at -196° and a special technique for blending the ingredients that resulted in a texture that was so smooth, fruity and of course without any single additive or sugar.

If “molecular cuisine” can be simply taking advantage of science to elevate the raw products and the essence of flavors while also having full control of cooking methods and preparations, then I consider this the ultimate tribute to nature. I certainly respect it as long as it’s not just a show-off of technical skills but rather has a humble and rigorous approach.