Dinner at the Silver Foundry

 
 

The name Pampaloni is synonymous with intricate and one-of-a-kind silver pieces created by a Florentine foundry established in 1902. Admired by some of the world's most illustrious personalities (including Jacqueline Kennedy), the Pampaloni family continues to create museum-quality decorative and dining pieces. Aside from their beautiful shop in the historic Florence city center (Via Porta Rossa, 99R), foodies looking for a unique restaurant idea can book a table for dinner at the Pampaloni factory itself, just a few minutes south of Oltrarno... And what an experience it is!

The setting for dinner at Pampaloni's "In Fabbrica" is truly magical. Diners first enter the space through the factory's showroom, which is filled with precious objects created right there, including an hourglass commissioned by the Oscars as gifts for nominees, to objects created for New York's MoMA. After a pre-dinner cocktail in the showroom, guests are guided through the working silver foundry allowing for an amazing glimpse into the world of silver-making, and led upstairs to the workers' actual lunchroom, which is transformed into a chic dining venue a few nights a week. 

Inspired by an imperial theme, antique wooden tables and mix-matched chairs are complimented by the most sumptuous silver place settings, cups, saucers and enormous candelabras... All recreations of a 16th century design from a noble family. The staff serves with elegant white gloves, but simultaneously and paradoxically sporting military uniforms under the soft light of an enormous hammer and sickle light fixture, all of which reminds diners of of the roots of the space: a place for the common worker. 

The seasonal Sicilian menu is delectable, with dishes like oven-roasted eggplant and mozzarella, ravioli with pistacchio sauce, and crusted pork chops. Dining at Pampaloni's In Fabbrica is a truly unique dining experience in Florence, perfect for a special occasion, or to simply delight guests from out of town. 

Open from Thursday - Saturday nights, reservations are mandatory for In Fabbrica. We recommend calling weeks ahead to score your preferred night. 

In Fabbrica, Via del Gelsomino, 99, Tel. +39 347 5145468. 

Tuscan Chocolate For Dinner

Last night, Alisú skipped dinner and attended an intimate chocolate tasting featuring Manhattan newcomer Amedei chocolates. With origins in Tuscany, the fine chocolates are handcrafted by Cecilia Tessieri, the first female maître chocolatier in the world, who oversees the entire production process from bean to bar.  

The event was hosted by Francine Segan, an energetic and gracious food historian, Italian gastronomy expert and cookbook author. With an intriguing discussion on the history of chocolate (thank you, Christopher Columbus), guests sampled different Amedei chocolate variations available at their new store in the Flatiron District, alongside some unique savory dishes made with cacao (think white chocolate cauliflower soup). 

At the chic store, customers can expect delectable single-origin chocolate bars from exotic countries such as Peru, Venezuela, and Madagascar, bars with traditional Italian flavors such as Gianduja, and mouth-watering mixed-favored bars such as white chocolate with pistachio, and cocoa with peaches and apricots. The store also offers jars of "Crema Toscana" hazelnut and chocolate spreads worth eating with practically anything edible. 

Amedei's website also happens to be an excellent resource for cocoaphiles, filled with beautiful imagery, recipes, and information about chocolate tastings and other events happening in New York City and beyond.

We're still on a sugar high from last night and are dying for more! 

(Photo credit: Amedei) 

A Foodie Oasis

Manhattan should take a page from Campbell Cheese & Grocery's book. Located in Williamsburg and unrivaled by any fine-foods shop found in Manhattan, this little gem is a gastronomic oasis worth "trekking" all the way to Brooklyn for... "Trekking" meaning two stops, 5 minutes from Manhattan.  

As soon as they walk into Campbell Cheese & Grocery, customers are transported to what feels like a film set in a warm mom-and-pop general store from the early 1900s.

Luckily, the staff is knowledgeable and friendly because it's like Sophie's Choice having to choose between the countless imported and local cheeses, charcuterie, breads, artisanal foods and kitchen products and seasonal produce. 

Best part is a seasonal menu of killer made-to-order sandwiches, grilled cheeses and salads using products found in the shop so you can have your cake and eat it too!  

(Photo credit: Campbell Cheese & Grocery / thekitchn.com) 

Man Foods

In short, Mantry (The Modern Man's Pantry) is a subscription-based service that delivers a crate of delicious artisanal food to your door. 

The program clearly targets men, but works well for anyone who loves fine foods and has the curiosity to discover new products and ingredients in the kitchen. By signing up, once a month you'll get 5-6 products sourced from unique American vendors across the country, along with a guide that not only shares the products' stories, but also explains how to best use them. 

Mantry costs $75 per month - well worth it when trying to impress a date with an at-home dinner!