Friday, September 12, 2014

Melting with the La Piadina's Heart & Soul

When speaking of delicious and affordable "Food Court" food, I bet mall rats would have La Piadina on top of their lists. With its heartwarming and almost authentic Italian look and flavor, Filipino's love for Italian food was hyped up even more when Chef Giorgio Matera, La Piadina's heart and soul - opened its first store at the food court of Glorietta in Ayala Center, Makati City.

T'was 12 years ago when our favorite Italian dishes were launched in a hole-in-a-wall concept at Glorietta's food court, Food Choices. Featuring new and exciting menu from four select regions in Italy - Puglia, Emilia Romagna, Piemonte and Toscana - La Piadina's Chef Giorgio shares his greatness in cooking Italian dishes together with his wife, who by the way love our country so much.

Fueled by his passion for Italian food, he took the challenge of venturing into the fast food business, believing that food whether expensive or inexpensive, fine, casual or fast food must always be fresh and of the best quality.

Spinach souffle with Cheese Sauce

Egg Plant Tart

"Despite of the limited resources and space given to me that time, I managed to pull off La Piadina, which soon become a household name in fast food industry," shares Chef Matera

A few years after establishing the brand in the Philippines, Chef Girogio takes his expertise into a new height and invaded the Land of the Rising Sun. But his love for our country is so inevitable that he came back - even just for a week - to whip up something new and something fresh for the people who first appreciated his goodness.

And luckily, I was there to taste it all and experience a sophisticated and heart-warming Italian dining that doesn't usually happen in a fast food place like La Piadina.

Fresh Homemade Potato Dumplings 
in Cheese Tomato Sauce

Penne Pasta with Ricotta Cheese

Crepe with Ricotta Cheese Mushroom 
and Minced Meat 

And just like a real Italian dining experience, my night with Chef Giorgio started with the appetizers Spinach Souffle with Cheese Sauce and Eggplant Tart. Both may look the same, but I can assure that they taste very differently. Both taste good but I personally think that the Eggplant Tart is better than the other one. I don't eggplant, really, so I was surprise to enjoy this one.

For pasta, Chef Girgio prepared three dishes that are just filling, but delightfully appealing to eyes, nose and tongue. There's the Gnocci Ala Sorrentina or the Fresh Homemade Potato Dumplings, the Pasta Cacio E Pepe of the Penne Pasta with Ricotta Cheese and the Crespelle Di Ricotta or the Crepe with Ricotta Cheese, Mushroom and Minced Meat. 

If you prefer something chewy and a bit gummy, the gnocci is a good choice, but if you want the noodley pasta, the creamy and a bit tongue-biting penne pasta is the one for you. But if you want something that is comforting and would really hit you right at the smack of your Italian craving, the crepe is the best. We all loved it and the it is a must-try!

Italian-style Rice with Fresh Mushrooms, 
Parmesan Cheese & Truffle Oil

Seared Chicken Fillet in Orange Sauce

Pork Fillet in Herb Salt

Grilled Fish Fillet with Cheery Tomatoes, 
Olives, Capers and Fresh Thyme

If you think having three pasta dish is a challenge, well, that time we had 4 main entrees, a rice, which is the Risotto; a chicken, which is the Seared Chicken Fillet; a pork, which is the Pork Fillet; and the fish, which is the Grilled Fish Fillet.

The Risotto was heavenly good, I could have it every now and then. The chicken was right and tender - it's orange sauce is just fitting to the whole flavor. The Pork Fillet, from the looks of it, was so inviting. Though, this one is a bit salty, since we have Risotto, the saltiness was balanced nicely by it. And lastly, the grilled fish, which is my favorite that night, was superbly done. I know how Italians are also good in cooking fish, I saw a lot of it on T.V., but tasting and experiencing how the meat breaks delicately right in front of you is just uh-mazing!

Despite of being sooooo full, Chef Girgio didn't let us go without having some Italian sweetness, and by sweetness I mean dessert. So, for our last dish that night, he baked a Chocolate Souffle and then drenched it creamy white sauce. The freshly baked souffle was indeed a heavenly match to the white sauce - winner!

Chocolate Souffle with Creamy White Sauce

Chef Giorgio, through his love for life and for food, served as a great inspiration not only to those who have a dream, but also to those who wanna dream big. Congratulations, Chef!

Thank you so much, La Piadina for sharing to us these amazing dishes that are soon to hit your stores in the country! I can't wait to go back, in my Italian outfit - complete with Italian men's accessories - to go nicely with the experience that I'm so excited to have again.

Happy eating!

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