A new adventure starts at the kitchen of Epos Bistrot and Barrique Restaurant of Poggio Le Volpi Wine Estate as Felice Mergè, patron and oenologist of the winery, along with General Manager Rossella Macchia, choose Alfonso Crisci as the new Executive Chef of the restaurants.
“Three years after the beginning of my adventure in the world of catering, Oliver Glowig has decided to take new paths and our paths separate: it was a beautiful meeting and an unforgettable experience and I will always be grateful to Oliver to have shared with me his great love for Italy and the beauties of our country, marking the path of excellence of Barrique and Epos. The journey now continues with Alfonso Crisci who, like Oliver, struck me for his passion and profound knowledge of Italian cuisine and to whom I am proud to welcome: a new cycle opens here in Monte Porzio Catone,” states Mergè.
“From the first moment I met him, I understood that he was the right person for us and that he could continue the work that Oliver started. I found in him the figure ready to take over the reins of a project that must be carried out with commitment day after day, with determination and a little stubbornness. In addition, I am absolutely in love with Crisci’s cuisine: simple and immediate. It won me over, striking both me and Felice thanks to the precious balance of flavors,” according to Macchia.
“Being here and continuing the journey of a chef like Glowig fills me with pride. The trust of Felice Mergè and Rossella Macchia, General Manager, was immediately paid and I’m sure it will be a journey full of satisfactions and successes. This is now my home and I’m here to give my best,” says Crisci.
Who is Alfonso Crisci?
Alfonso Crisci was born in San Gennaro Vesuviano, a flourishing agrarian town at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. It is one of the towns where the protected agricultural product Pomodorino del Piennolo del Vesuvio is cultivated, as well as hazelnuts, walnuts and Annurca, the historical apple cultivar from Southern Italy. Coming from such a land where natural products of excellence are produced, Crisci takes with him a part of Vesuvius. His passion for food was born when he was young during a school trip to the kitchen of one of Campania region’s culinary and hotel superior school. He went for the path where his heart took him and with the encouragement from his teacher who made him fall in love more about cooking, his years of commitment to the kitchen was rewarded with a diploma. His first step into the world of haute cuisine was with Chef Fulvio Pierangelini at the 2 Michelin-starred Gambero Rosso Restaurant. Afterwards, a series of important experiences at diverse Michelin starred restaurants followed. The kitchen of Norbert Niederkofler at St. Hubertus (3 Michelin stars) in South Tyrol, Restaurant Michel Sarran (2 Michelin stars) in France where he learned the innovative techniques in pastry making, and at Casa Marcial (2 Michelin stars) with Nacho Manzano in Spain where he learned to use aromas and the refined methods in preparing sauces. With a treasure chest of knowledge and experience, he returned to Campania opening Taverna Vesuviana, his own restaurant along with his wife working in the dining area as the sommelier. The 16-seater restaurant embraced success and became a point of reference in the territory where traditional blends with innovation. Unfortunately, it did not withstand the economic crisis that the Covid-19 virus took. But Crisci’s passion for cooking never lost its momentum as he immediately embarked on a new project with Mergè to command the two restaurants of Poggio Le Volpi Wine Estate. And here, he shows to the Romans the Vesuvian culinary highlights.
Before a dish is born in the hands of Crisci, he tries to get to know the ingredients thoroughly. In fact, as soon as he arrived in Monte Porzio Catone, the town where Epos Bistrot is located, he immediately embarked in studying the local ingredients at markets. In this way, he is able to give life to the ingredients with the right balance of tastes and composition. One fundamental thing about Crisci’s cuisine is his intention to incorporate two areas rich in gastronomic history, importing the flavors of the Vesuvius to Poggio Le Volpi and making in tune with the wines that are created in the winery. He imparts a unique cuisine that is uniquely his and of the area. In the kitchen with him is Sous Chef Giuseppe Delle Cave, another advocate of decisive tastes. The difference between Barrique and Epos is the traditionality of the territory which are more prevalent in the dishes of Epos, in contrast to his projected menu of innovative dishes at Barrique.
The proposals at the menu of Epos has a touch of creative flair that memorializes the flavors of Lazio and Campania regions. The ingredients are distinguishable in the palate, balanced with the right intensiity of tastes, and complementing each other. The first few dishes he has come up with for the winter menu are Carbonara Artichoke (Carciofo Carbonara), an artichoke stuffed with a cooked and uncooked egg yolk, Pecorino cheese cream, crispy bacon and bread crumble. It is decidedly an impressive starter plate that underlines his strength in putting forward technique, creativity and familiar flavors. The Soup with White Cabbage, Red Shrimp and Scampi (Zuppa di Cavolo Bianco, Gamberi Rossi e Scampi) is a light winter soup that maximizes the surprising quality of a simple vegetable combined with raw and cooked seafood giving a delectable and refreshing result. The Cappelletti Filled with Lobster (Cappelletti Ripieni con Aragostina) highlights the homemade fresh pasta and the Suckling Pig in Hazelnut Crust (Maialino in Crosta di Nocciole) is a perfectly-cooked tender roll of meat cooked with the Neapolitan minestra maritata or wedding soup then covered with aromatic hazelnuts. Concluding the meal with the outstanding Babà.36, a traditional Neapolitan dessert that the chef realized with his distinctive style calls attention to his exemplary skills in creating pastries.
The options in the menu are: Appetizers (€12 to €14), Pasta and Risotto Dishes (€12 to €16) and when in season Tagliolino Pasta with Butter and White Truffles (Tagliolino Burro e Tartufo Bianco) at €32, Main Courses (€15 to €25), and Desserts at €9. They also have an ample election of dry-aged beef from all over the world: Phenomena, Simmental, Black Angus, Galiciana, Irish, Kobe, Chianina and Marchigiana. Dry-aged for 100 days, the natural enzymes of the meat work in breaking down the molecular bonds of resulting in enough moisture loss leaving the meat tenderized and with a richer and concentrated taste. When grilled, these qualities are accentuated. The prices vary per cut, weight and type of meat ranging between €7.00 to €30.00 per hectogram.
Poggio Le Volpi Wine Estate
Via Fontana Candida, 3C
00078 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 06 9416641
Open daily for lunch and dinner except on Mondays