THE FINEST Ingredients
Many of the artisan ingredients that are assembled to make the fabulous food of Tentazioni (reviewed in our last edition) can be picked up from their fine food delicatessen at The Circle in Shad Thames. After the success of his restaurant, Riccardo Giacomini opened the delicatessen, whose shelves glimmer with frutta mista (dried fruits in Sicilian honey); miniature dolci studded with gem-like splashes of red and golden jams; and his most valuable item, truffle. One of the most celebrated ingredients used at the restaurant, truffles, Riccardo has ensured remains a centrepiece at the deli; there is truffle in extra virgin olive oil, white truffle honey and white truffle cream, black and white truffle pate, and wild mushroom truffle paste - some made to ancient recipes by Tentazioni themselves, and some by families across Italy. Meanwhile, the Setaro family of Naples provide the deli with enormous loops of dried pasta (which Riccardo says is difficult to get hold of even in Italy), bags of which are nestled amongst other speciality pastas from all over the country - even the Italian Alps, with Il Saraceno Pizzoccheri, a rough brown variety made from buckwheat flour and durum wheat.
This is the premise of a lively Italian feast; even providing a crucial selection of regional wines and liqueurs, which tell of Riccardo's enthusiasm for the art of food and wine pairing. Still, the deli is essentially open 8am until 8pm to ensure that locals can pick up a nourishing lunch or stop for a peaceful break in its ingredients café space. Mornings can be spent with a rich coffee and a wedge of honey-drizzled homemade apple cake; lunchtimes enjoyed with a ciabatinna filled with provolone, Tirolese mushrooms and gorgonzola, or a generous plate of truffle and mushroom gnocci. It is the delicious scents of these just-cooked dishes which ignites the senses upon entering, peppered with a sweet trace of traditional icing sugar-dusted pastries.
Tentazioni Fine Food shares the overwhelmingly authentic flavours of Shad Thames' most innovative Italian which, if you find your appetite not entirely satisfied, you may even find yourself tempted into by the evening.