Four Nights – Four Dinners
Article by Mary-Ellen Piché, Vice Chargée de Presse
Photos by William M. Harris, Bailli
An invitation to dine at Chef Owner Jim Rua’s Café Capriccio in downtown Albany is an invitation to share in all things Tuscan. On each of four consecutive nights, October12-15, 2015, a different group of twelve Chaîne des Rôtisseurs members and guests enjoyed the relaxed and intimate atmosphere of Café Capriccio’s private dining room. The creativity and charm of Chef Rua knows no bounds. As he presented each course he shared stories and products from his vineyard home in Tuscany. He takes his inspiration from his homeland, which he revisits regularly, hosting small groups of enthusiastic foodies.
We were welcomed at the door with flutes of an excellent 2012 Vigne D’Oro Prosecco provided by Professionnel du Vin Joseph DeFronzo. The first course of antipasti, a feast in and of itself, was served family style. Chef Rua’s son, Franco, resident salumist, provided 18 month aged prosciutto, finocchiona salami and wild boar pancetta. Frittata made with duck eggs, house made ricotta and truffles, roasted plum tomatoes with Fior di Latte, and three pecorinos from Pienza tantalized our taste buds. It didn’t stop there. Additional offerings included heirloom peppers stuffed with house made sausage, galantine of octopus with roasted peppers and olives and Tuscan kale with farro, cannellini beans and potatoes.
The pasta course was an earthy ragu of rabbit and mushrooms over pappardelle. Marco Conati Lugana DOC 2013, light yet refined and bursting with flavor, was a great match for this course.
Although we knew we were in Albany, our senses suggested a different locale – the rolling hills of a Chianti vineyard. That feeling continued as we enjoyed a fork tender Icelandic loin of lamb, marinated Abbruzzese style and grilled over cherry wood. Porridge of polenta and semolina, green beans, heirloom tomatoes and roasted cippollini rounded out the dish. The full-bodied and complex Antonio Sasa “Martina” Brunello di Montalcino 2006 proved to be the perfect accompaniment.
As we enjoyed a fresh fruit tart for dessert we began making plans for a special Chaîne des Rôtisseurs excursion with Chef Rua as our host and guide. Tuscany, here we come! We all took home an autographed copy of the chef’s latest book in a series of four, The Café Capriccio Picture Book. Mille grazie to the chef and his team for sharing these special nights with us.