Rocco Forte Hotels

I adore the spring. I wander neighbourhood markets, always slightly in awe, and am rewarded by a thousand shades of green before my eyes.

Fresh and delicate food and at night you can sleep peacefully and dream.

I also sleep and dream serenely.

Just last night, in a dream, a strange but colourful Easter egg appeared to me.

I awoke and felt that I had to cook something.

It always happens to me. That is how a new dish is born. It starts with an emotion, never the fruits of studying, doodling or sketching but rather an urgency or necessity.

I begin with no idea of what I will create, but I'm sure a dish will come out in the end. My creation will be final and complete - I don't try to fine-tune it, as any doubt can spoil it. You need to find courage in imperfection to protect a newborn creation. I leave the impossible task of perfecting it to the efforts of my successors.

In the fireplace burns a small fire. I would like to roast a small lamb over the embers of the fire, wrapped gently in rosemary, bay leaves, thyme and orange peel – I love the fragrant warmth against my face.

At the market I was fascinated by fresh peas full of infinite sweetness, delightful yet slightly bitter plump fava beans and wild asparagus harvested in the fields by beautiful ladies familiar with the land. I will cook it with garlic and oil in a pan.

Then a flashback: this is what my dream told me last night.

I remember seeing small chocolate eggs beside a small Easter dove (colombe), very sad because she hated the idea of becoming a superfluous sacrifice, an unwanted ending to a hearty meal.

So, I decided that after the lamb, I would make Colombe ice cream made from a mixture of eggs, sugar, milk and fresh cream. I crumbled the Colombe into small pieces, added them to the custard and poured the mixture into an ice cream maker to thicken.

I broke the chocolate eggs and slowly melted them using a Bain-Marie. 

On the plate: ice cream, wild strawberries, crumbled meringue and a warm chocolate ribbon.

Spring is a dream.

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