Never having managed to secure a table at a Heston Blumenthal establishment in England, I was delighted to experience my first taste of molecular cooking at Ettore Bocchia's restaurant at Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio on Lake Como. Here are Signor Bocchia's guiding principles as translated by his restaurant:
1. Each new recipe will have to enlarge, not destroy, the Italian gastronomical tradition.
2. The new techniques and dishes will have to accentuate the natural ingredient and the high quality raw materials.
3. The Italian molecular cooking will take into consideration the nutritional values for the consumer, besides the esthetic and organoleptic aspects of the dish.
4. The cook will reach his goals by creating new textures with ingredients chosen by the criteria indicated above, studying their physical and chemical properties and planning new microscopic architectures.
I was impressed by his adjectives, even more by the feast we were served. The raw Sicilian red prawns with guacamole ice cream, coconut cream and cuttlefish ink waffles, and the mint meringue filled with wild berries, marinated exotic fruits and chocolate sauce were my favourite courses. I avoided the speciality of the day on the non-molecular menu: tortellini stuffed with peacock breast. I didn't know peacocks were farmed...