The River

02/12/2013

Meet Riccardo Giacomini and Alessandro Cattani. The fortunate people of Shad Thames who have shared in the secret of Tentazioni will know the unique story of their extraordinary collaboration, their gentle modesty and their distinguished skills.

When we visited Tentazioni (Italian for 'Temptation') we asked Riccardo to put together a few things for us to try. He then planned and delivered what can only be described as an adventure in food and wine.

Each course came with a handpicked wine to prepare the palette and accompany the food. As each emptied plate and glass was swept away by an elegant waiting team, the sense of occasion grew, as did the curiosity of what was coming next from the kitchen.

It was like walking through a wonderland forest of flavours picked and crafted to create little plates of beauty and delight. At the outset Riccardo had said,"I don't feed just the body, but the whole person with an 'experience' of Tentazioni." By the second course we had started to understand what he meant.

The Jerusalem Artichoke soup poured at the table onto a bowl with a few flowers scented with truffle oil, matched with a Sicilian Grecanico white wine was my partners idea of perfection. For me the classic simplicity of our fourth course was my favourite. Before it was served we were given a big-tasting Chardonnay from Sicily which surprised us and had us guessing what food would be served with it. Something with powerful flavours we guessed, perhaps some fish. The house pasta dish was unexpected; Tagliatelle all'Uovo "TENTAZIONI", a free range Tagliatelle served with butter and White Truffle sauce. Simply pasta and sauce. But a sauce full of truffle and parmesan, and a fresh pasta that was flawless.

Tentazioni celebrated its 16th year in September and the people of Shad Thames have something to be immensely proud of here. When, due to a life threatening motor accident Riccardo was forced to step out of the kitchen and put his faith in Alessandro, a younger chef he had been nurturing until this time, the regulars of Tentazioni must have had moments when they thought this exceptional place would lose some magic. Instead an additional wave of seasoning, another layer of expression and inventiveness has been added to the maturity of Riccardo's proven recipes.

If you are a lover of food then you owe it to yourself to give in to this temptation. Take someone special and surrender to a romance that Tentazioni has created with food.