“Imperiale”, an Understatement
Dinner at Il Giardino del Naviglio (Garden restaurant, near the Naviglio Pavese canal). When our server brought this platter and set it in front of me, placing another one on the other side of the table, I thought that each platter would be shared by two. But no. She brought two more matching platters. This was just the appetizer: “Imperiale”.
What an understatement that name is! A platter of superlative, ultra fine seafood, all raw and absolutely fresh: sea bass, mussels, oysters, mediteranean scampi, red shrimp, chopped tuna with olives and oil, orata tartar, branzino, 3 kinds of caviar, olive oil, soy sauce, lemon and fresh baked bread rolls. Wow.
Then came the platter of grilled seafood: more scampi and shrimp, scallops, squid, octopus (the most sublime I’ve ever eaten), and a lovely golden-grilled white fish. (The platter was shared, thankfully!)
OK, so it all had to be topped off with a little taste of something sweet, a little counter to the salt and protein of the seafood. Dessert! But something simple and light, please. A chocolate tasting. There were 6 different flavors of chocolates, including truffle (as in, real truffle. It was my least favorite), cinnamon/sugar, vanilla, hot pepper, selection #5?, and 97% cacao. Each chocolate was paired with a rum so different from the other. What an array of flavor subtlety! The chocolate tasting was light, and fortunately shared by 5 at the table.
On the way home, we all did a “passeggiata” stroll north along the canal and back just to settle things a bit. I don’t think I’ve ever had a meal so sumptuous!