Castel di Sangro
Daniela Di Michele
Minimalism perfected: Reale places huge emphasis on the world of plants, with a cuisine style that looks to leave guests in shock and awe – succeeding with nearly every mouthful. The food is the result of profound technical research. For each component ingredient, all possible nuances are dissected to find the optimum potential for each combination. The minimalism on the plate belies the complexity of flavour at play. With the dishes ‘Carrot’, ‘Courgette’, ‘Cauliflower’ (depending on the time of year), there is much more beyond their modest names.
Bread in centre stage: The same attention is devoted to bread. At Reale, it’s not just as an also-ran, but an individual course in its own right. Over the years, chef Niko Romito has carried out lengthy studies on fermentation, flours – ancient Saragolla wheat is the secret here – and dough’s molecular composition. The result? A bread that has become the benchmark for its category.
A menu to surprise and delight: Watermelon and tomato, a tribute to summer, is a shining example of how Romito works with similarities of colour on the plate. Red on red for the eyes is matched with a shocking impact on the palate, thanks to a special mix of herbs – oregano, marjoram, tarragon and basil. A trout dish, served with almond and laurel, is not only a plate that speaks to the Abruzzo region and its Sangro river, but also to nuance of texture and flavour.
The Romito ‘system’: Housed in a 1500s convent surrounded by greenery, Reale is the beating heart of the Niko Romito ‘system’, a laboratory where research is carried out every day to find new dishes, as well as to offer continuous training for the restaurant staff.