The Cucina Dello Scompiglio allows space for continuous experimentation, from the choice and treatment of raw materials from the agricultural side of the estate and vegetable garden, to the free interpretation of the artistic and cultural processes at the heart of the Dello Scompiglio project.
Seasonal fruit and vegetables, mostly local varieties, wild flowers and “forgotten” herbs, are selected daily and their organoleptic characteristics are brought out through the use of both ancient cooking and processing methods, and modern technologies and solutions. The raw ingredients are prepared with an awareness of the history of the use of each ingredient. The local gastronomic culture thus generates surprising results, yet at the same time, still connected to tradition.
We use wild herbs and plants, such as bamboo, mountain herbs, and Alecost, analysing their characteristics both raw and after different cooking methods” explains the head cook and kitchen manager Valentina Pracchia. “Wild herbs often have filaments that are very hard to break and require diversified cooking, a longer period for the stems and a quick scald for the very tender leaves, which can also be used raw. Many of the ingredients we use are part of our gastronomic traditions but are used in an original way. This is the case with, for example, mountain herbs, which have always played an important but ancillary role in dishes such as Frantoiana soup and which are instead transformed by us into protagonists through specific cooking designed to enhance their flavour.” Cold or low-temperature maceration, in water or fat, allows the extraction of the scents of aromatic herbs or wild flowers, such as maple or elder, for the creation of oils to be consumed raw and in other preparations, tracing the complexity of the perfume of the estate’s nature. The “waste” leaves of some of the vegetables find a new life as original pesto sauce, enriched with dried fruits and delicate oils, chosen to enhance their flavour. Fruits and “forgotten” herbs become the protagonists of compotes with strong and spicy notes. Ancient techniques, such as candying fruit, and also vegetables, are revisited in ever changing gastronomic combinations.
The Cucina Dello Scompiglio has long interwoven its own path with the activities of the Cultural Association. This gives rise to special menus for tasting during the limited run and culinary staging of specific theatrical productions by the Associazione Culturale Dello Scompiglio.
Trilogia dell’Assenza (Trilogy of Absence) The performances that make up the “Trilogy”, presented in May and June 2013 and focused on the theme of losing and winning, its relationship with time in all its dynamics, real and otherwise, gave rise to three menus rich in chromatic references and vaguely conceptual, built on light colours, bolder games in shades of red, and unusual, yet appealing outcomes in vibrations of blue. “A great and stimulating work of research” explains Valentina Pracchia. “Remaining faithful to our principles of using only the finest quality ingredients found in nature has meant not using chemical products, such as dyes.”
In May 2013, a limited edition of the “Lavandaia, Madre” 2010 wine was also presented, with a label signed by the Spanish artist Pablo Rubio (Córdoba, 1974), created specifically to celebrate the artistic project “Trilogia dell’Assenza” (Trilogy of Absence).
Assemblaggi Provvisori (Provisional Assemblages) A multidisciplinary thematic programme ran from March 2016 to June 2017, focused on individuality in relation or in conflict with gender and more specifically with the absence of causality and coincidence between biological sex, gender (masculinity–femininity) and sexual orientation. During this season, the Cucina confounded the social and cultural stereotypes of dining, creating a dish composed of extreme juxtapositions, able to stimulate the senses with unique and daring combinations, while respecting a skilful balance of tastes and flavours. A tray conceived as a single dish of themed tastings, in which an appetiser, a first course, a second course and a side dish interact and fuse together, giving the diner a unique and unexpected personal experience.
Della morte e del morire (Of Death and Dying) The thematic programme, - which from September 2018 to December 2019 focused on individuality in relation to death and its three socio-political, ideological, and celebratory dimensions, saw the participation of the Cucina both with dedicated dishes and with small details and culinary settings. “Aware of the vastness of the theme,” explains Valentina Pracchia, “we focused on the aspect of death as a beginning, and not an end, recreating all our most celebrated meal endings in a savoury key.” Thus was born the vegetarian appetiser “The End as a Beginning”, which seems entirely made up of dessert and ends with a “caffè macchiato” that is not a coffee.
“After the enthusiasm generated by continuous research,” continues Valentina Pracchia at the performance of ‘On the corner’ “we then caramelised the roses from the estate, and were very proud to contribute to the table setting on Collina dell'Uccelliera (Aviary Hill), using fruit freshly picked on site and vegetables prepared with very different cooking and flavourings.”