Italian delights (from the finest Slow Food salumi and artisanal produce to deliciously fresh mozzarella) paired with adventurous Italian cocktails and a cosmopolitan mix of like-minded food and drink enthusiasts… The invitation promised all the makings of a smashing evening and on this occasion turned out to be a stand-out affair hosted by Obicà (likely the world’s first Mozzarella Bar) and Luxardo Cocktails (the fine makers behind a range of Italian liqueurs)!
I’m afraid the pictures don’t do the enough justice, but here goes with a delicious taste of the decadent evening we had…
To start, we whet our whistle with Luxardo Frescos – a refreshing yet heady mix of classic Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (made with Luxardo’s sour maraschino cherries from their orchards in Northern Italy), tonic water and fresh lemon juice, lightly sprayed with absinthe and garnished with cucumber and a snap of rosemary.
Before diving in to the sumptuous spread prepared for us!
Many of the evening’s highlights centred around Obicà’s seasonal “pomodoro del Piennolo” tomatoes (available throughout July and August). A speciality cultivated around Vesuvius National Park, these tomatoes are out of the ordinary. Tart but with a sharp sweetness, a ray of sunshine burst forth with each bite, whether had on the light and crispy pizzas, or on its own with some incredibly fresh basil pesto.
The pièce de résistance was of course the promised whopper of a 1kg ball of classic Mozzarella – so much sweeter than whats usually available – not to mention the affumicata (smoked mozzarella) & soft, creamy burrata… While the caponata alla siciliana (aubergine marinated with pine nuts, almonds, raisins, capers and vinegar) went down such a treat, that I wasn’t able to get a decent picture in edgeways…
Luxardo’s brand ambassador mixologist ‘G’ Franklin was on hand, making creative use of the different delicacies on offer, from the Piennolo tomatoes to smoky mozarella water!
Among his original concoctions, was Luxardo Obicà Spritz – Luxardo Aperitivo shaken with the Piennolo tomatoes (effortlessly proving that tomatoes are bloody well not just for Bloody Marys!), lemon and basil and topped off with prosecco. The herby and subtle hints of rhubarb from the Aperitif really stood out, although in this case, the cherry was quite literally at the bottom of the glass, moreishly steeped in a rich dark syrup.
We also indulged in the Fashionista, a spin on a classic negroni with rye whisky and Luxardo’s Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur (instead of vermouth) to lend an extra richness, mixed with Campari and smoked – almost salty – mozzarella water! The oaky aged-styled cocktail proved an elegant cross-over between an aperitif and a digestif, pairing beautifully with dessert – Torta di Capri, a heavenly warm chocolate and almond cake with nutty textures.
Last but not least, in the blissful state that can only be induced by the trifecta of good food, good drink and good company, we sipped on the Venetian Christmas – Luxardo Sangue Morlacco cherry liqueur, Americano coffee, Christmas spice, double cream. A rich and velvety treat, this is the stuff of drinks made for nursing by the fireplace during the winter months – fingers crossed, it makes it to the Obicà menu this autumn!
Obicà London, 19 Poland Street W1F 8QF (closed during holiday month of August); 11 Charlotte Street W1T 1RH; 96 Draycott Avenue SW3 3AD; 33 Bank Street Canary Wharf E14 5NW