Little daughter's pizza is trade commissioner's best Saturday meal
Massimiliano Sponzilli may be new to Singapore as the Italian Trade Commissioner, but true to his job and his new posting, he is ever eager for a culinary cultural exchange. -BT
MASSIMILIANO Sponzilli may be new to Singapore as the Italian Trade Commissioner, but true to his job and his new posting, he is ever eager for a culinary cultural exchange.
'I have spent most of my life in foreign countries, in different continents,' he says. 'They have had a major influence on me, shaping my personality, and more specifically, my taste. Tasting and appreciating different culinary cultures always satisfy my curious character - and I have found a great opportunity in 'culturally mixed' Singapore.'
As a result, weekends will find him trying out 'diverse cuisines in either high-end luxury restaurants or in easy-going food courts'.
Dr Sponzilli was born 'in an old town in Italy called Lucera, famous for its pasta, wine, vegetables, fruits and cheese'. He has lived all over the world, expanding his dining repertoire in countries such as South Africa, Malaysia, Morocco, and now Singapore. 'These experiences have opened my mind and allowed me to adapt to different culinary cultures,' he says. 'Of course, I do miss the flavours of my typical South Italian home dishes, but I also appreciate and look forward to different dishes and recipes.'
At the same time, working outside of Italy offers him ample opportunity to spread the word on his native cuisine. 'When I entertain for work, I like to introduce my guests to the pleasure of Italian cuisine, sharing with them the secrets and traditions of different recipes of various wines, of peculiar extra virgin olive oil, vinegar etc.
'I like to share with my friends the warm atmosphere of the best Italian restaurants in Singapore, that are known for service, wide selection of wine and discreet and sophisticated ambience.
'I also let the chef choose my menu - this is a characteristic of Italian restaurants. When an Italian goes to a restaurant, he doesn't look at the menu, he just asks the chef, who normally is a friend, to introduce some new dishes and to surprise his guests with exquisite recipes and excellent wines.'
For those lucky enough to be invited to his home for Sunday lunch, Dr Sponzilli likes to 'share my personal cuisine with my family and local friends'. That means a menu that includes 'delicious pasta from my hometown that is accompanied by a special sauce that reminds me of my childhood'.
Of course, 'Italian wine is always on my table. And I love to finish lunch with my home-made gelato that I create with my old ice-cream machine that has accompanied me since very long ago.'
Being an experienced traveller, Dr Sponzolli has also made up a list of favourite restaurants overseas. 'I cannot forget the terrace of the Hotel Mirage's restaurant outside Tangier, on the Gibraltar Straight and the flavour of the wonderful fish married with a white Moroccan wine while facing a view of the most beautiful blue sea.
'Nevertheless, I cannot forget the most delightful fruit gelati at Bolognese Restaurant in Piazza del Popolo in Rome. The most beautiful dinner I ever had was by the light of the wood fire, eating crocodile tail in Kruger Park in South Africa. But the absolute pleasure in dining is to have a mere Pizza Margherita at Ciro's place in Naples.'
However, if you want to touch his culinary heart, there are two ways. 'Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Aubergine parmagiana style) - I don't know if the dish that my mother prepared was so wonderful because it was prepared by her or because the taste remains a sweet and vivid memory.'
And the second?
'My little beloved daughter's home-made, heart-shaped pizza is the best meal on a simple Saturday evening.'
Citibank is proud to be the official card for Italian Festival 2008. From now till June 26 2008, Citibank cardmembers enjoy exclusive privileges at participating fashion and restaurant outlets. For more details, e-mail Singapore@singapore.ice.it or call 6820 3180
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