four seasons carpaccio


Il Palagio, Four Seasons Hotel, Florence, Italy****
Eating at Chef Mollica's table s like opening a map of Italy and eating the best each region has to offer

This is part of a series of stories on food and wine from Italy by

 South Florida Gourmet editor Simone Zarmati Diament




four seasons chef  vito 

four seasons appetizer 

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by Simone Zarmati Diament
Eating at Chef Mollica's table s like opening a map of Italy and eating the best each region has to offer
Listen to an interview with Chef Vito Mollica on Food and Wine Talk, broadcast from Florence, Italy

Talk about ingredients to Vito Mollica the executive chef at the Four Seasons in Florence and learn about geography.  As he laments the loss of regional identity in the world and the turmoil of progress, the 39 year old who says he was lucky to catch some of the wonders of the old world  knows the provenance of each and every ingredient he uses and tells of the people who still care and of the producers who share his passion for excellence. Listen to an interview with Chef Vito Mollica on Food and Wine Talk, broadcast from Florence, Italy

 Executive Chef Vito Mollica, an advocate of the Slow Food movement who also happens to have opened the Four Seasons Hotel in Miami, extends the princely experience to Il Palagio, the Hotel’s main restaurant and breakfast room where he serves succulent Italian fare with ingredients he sources daily from regional and artisan producers who share his passion for quality

 Being at his table either at Il Palagio, the formal restaurant of the Four Seasons Hotel in Florence, or at the newly opened Al Fresco, the outdoor restaurant near the pool, set in the Renaissance gardens of what was Il Palazzo Della Gherardesca , is like opening a map of Italy and eating the best each region has to offer.

 Listen to an interview with Chef Vito Mollica on Food and Wine Talk, broadcast from Florence, Italy

 One of the hotel’s sommeliers, the French native Thomas Van Den Bossche – the other sommelier from Lombardy was off on the night I was there – paired each dish I ordered with a passion and knowledge of his field commensurate with the demands of Chef Vito.

 Dinner under ancient Tuscan-made chandeliers at an elegant table set over a black and white tile floor, is a fit setting for chef Vito ‘s food, which he describes as simple. “Only the ingredients are outstanding,” he says.

 We started off with amuses and a flute of Adami Bosco di Gica, a fresh tasting Prosecco di Valdobbiano, followed by a Rosso di Montalcino Cupano 2005 to pair with an appetizer of Prosciutto Cinta Senese that chef Vito sources from Paolo Parisi’s farm. Cinto Senese is a Tuscan pork, similar to the Spanish Pata Negra, which was in quasi extinction until Paolo Parisi bought a farm in Tuscany and started raising them organically and in a free-range manner.

 Next came a fish carpaccio from Ricciola – coming in this morning from the Terrenian Sea -stacked on what seemed steak tartare,  but instead was a bed of the most intensely tomato-tasting tomatoes, chopped with olives, capers and olive oil.

To accompany the next dishes Sommelier Thomas opted for a SuperTuscan, a superb Bordeaux blend-like Tolaini Tenuta Montebello Picconero Toscana 2006.

 Agnolotti with fish and truffles, very much like a brandade stuffing but more intense, was simple but marvelous. The homemade egg pasta had the right bite and the fish inside was soft and melted in the mouth with a light sauce of butter and sage spiked with a whiff of lemon.

 A Sicilian dish chef Vito is proud of is the Sciacciatella and Vongole (clams) topped with raw prawns and beans. “The slices of raw prawns cook in the heat of the pasta.  This is a hearty, peasant dish, with beans and little sauce, “  he explains. Simple perhaps,  but sublime. And so was the turbot in a saffron cream sauce – saffron from San Gimigniano.  

Desserts, a complex hazelnut nougat and a coconut macaroon with sorbet by Pastry chef Domenico di Clemente were paired with Fattoria Cabanon Oro 2004, a  Passito from the Oltrepó Pavese in Lombardy   and a Zibbibo BenRé from Donnafugata in Sicily, a passito from Pantelleria, an Italian island in the Strait of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea.

Splendor and Fun in the grass at Al Fresco


 Chef Vito’s love for local and regional foods reached its apotheosis at the opening of Al Fresco, the poolside restaurant set in the Renaissance splendor of the manicured gardens. 

He had invited Marco, a famous focaccia-maker who came all the way from his bakery near Genova in Liguria to make the typical breads of the region.  While the different foccacia  and the freshly baked chick pea flour farinata were the stars of the evening, they vied for attention with the buffet tables laden with all the bounty of Tuscany and the typical dishes of the regions beloved to the chef.

. For additional information: 


Il Palagio, Four Seasons Hotel, Florence, Italy
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze,
Borgo Pinti 99, 50121, Florence, Italy
+39 055 2626 1 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +39 055 2626 1


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