If you mention that you are going to Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, reactions generally range from wistful sighs to expressions of outright envy, the former attributable to people who have already been there (and long to return), the latter to the unfortunate who have not yet made the trip. The reason for such undiluted emotion is that this tiny town is home to Don Alfonso 1890 and dining there offers a series of pleasures beyond the obvious gastronomical ones. Geography plays its part as Sant’Agata is situated at the top of a promontory suspended between the Gulf of Naples and the Gulf of Salerno. To reach it you must take a winding road through trellised lemon groves and the effect is that of leaving the rest of the world behind as you rise through the trees. The sensation is not a misleading one because at Don Alfonso 1890, Livia and Alfonso Iaccarino have succeeded in creating a world apart.
Dining at Don Alfonso is about being a participant in the joy of eating well and not about being a spectator to the theater of grand cuisine. It’s about letting yourself go. The Iaccarinos’ passion for food begins in the garden and at the market. Over the years they have patiently transformed a steep parcel of waterfront land into a neat, terraced farm open to the vast expanse of the sea. Le Peracciole has become a symbol for the essence of Alfonso’s cuisine: its lemons and olives, tomatoes and eggplants offering him seemingly endless combinations of quintessentially Mediterranean flavors. The Iaccarinos’ meticulous attention to ingredients is not limited to those they produce. They have unstintingly promoted the best Italy has to offer from the truffles of Alba to its many fine cheeses. His role as champion of singular ingredients has conferred on Alfonso Iaccarino the status of ambassador to the world for a new kind of southern Italian cooking.
In this book he shares his ample experience and unbounded enthusiasm for the cuisine of the sun. Its 80 recipes are grouped according to the seasons and include many of the dishes for which the restaurant is justifiably famous as well as variations on familiar themes that are guaranteed to surprise and delight. A wealth of photographs convey the complete Don Alfonso experience, following its protagonists from the market to the kitchen, from Punta Campanella to the streets of Naples. Full-page color photographs accompany over 40 dishes, bringing Alfonso’s painterly attention to color and form to life on the page.