Our Italian friends Michele and Luisa invited us to a lunch event at the restaurant of one of the most famous cooks in Italy, Gianfranco Vissani. It is called Casa Vissani and it is on the banks of Lake Corbara which was formed by damming the Tiber. It is 45 minutes drive from here in a very picturesque area.
It is a five star restaurant and cellar but they have special events to promote the skills of the kitchen. We booked in for the” one hour lunch”. It was an experience that I can heartily recommend. The idea is that they provide a low cost set meal at a large communal table capable of seating up to 16 persons.
We arrived early and were welcomed in by our waiter, Roberto who showed us around and told us of the history of the place. It was started by Vissani ‘s family as a trattoria for the workers who were building the dam. He has transformed it into a gastronomic temple that is beautifully decorated in interesting ways
The four of us were joined by a couple from Naples. We were a convivial group and Roberto continually answered questions about the food and the restaurant
Our starter was foie gras con tè nero affumicacato e squarcquarone sabbleè e mandarini cinese which translated as foie gras smoked with black tea and a biscuit of a type of soft cheese with chinese mandarin.
Then came Polenta di Marano con ragu di manzo alla liquirizia e mousse caldo di carote. This was a delicious special polenta with a strong meat sauce and a carrot puree. The meat had been prepared with liquorice but although you could smell it there was no taste of it. The meals were small but exquisitely prepared.
The meal was accompanied by a wonderful handmade bread and a selected olive oil. To drink we had Acqua Nepi from near Soriano which is slightly bubbly and is bottled exactly as it comes from the spring. It has been in use since before Roman times. The wine was an excellent white and was a Sannio from near Naples.
The meal cost us AU$41.00 and at the end Gianfrano’s son came out to answer questions and talk about their place. Everyone was so pleasant and welcoming that we will definitely be going back to try their one hour dinner which has 6 courses and costs AU$68.00. They say the dinners are more linked to tradition while the lunch is more innovative.
To get a good idea of the experience go to http://www.casavissani.it