15 March 2021
Italy on a plate
“I wanted to recreate that moment which I used to have when my grandma made it for me in Italy,” he says. “To be something special, we would make it the way we do at home, when you have your tray in the fridge and scoop it out and it moves on the plate a little bit.”
To create the “messy beautiful” tiramisu of his childhood memories, Alessandro had to push back on modern norms that had updated the traditional dessert to something more classically precise.
“In the last 20 years, many chefs have wanted the perfect slice of tiramisu, so we started to modify the recipes and put gelatin in just to make sure it doesn’t fall over,” Alessandro says. “Back when I was a kid, the tiramisu my grandma used to put on the table was falling over gently, it wasn’t necessarily beautiful to look at but it was so delicious. I can still remember the creaminess.”
With unrelenting attention to every detail — Alessandro calls it “the Italian way”—, he went in search of the perfect plate on which to present his tiramisu. It should be handmade and perfectly imperfect, its roughness the ideal foil for the softness of the dessert. Paired with a wood-and-brass spoon to scoop the creamy confection onto individual plates, the plate would have an organic, bespoke appeal.
“I wanted to recreate that moment which I used to have when my grandma made it for me in Italy,”
He didn’t need to search far. Renowned Australian ceramicist Malcolm Greenwood had previously worked with Alessandro, creating handmade dishes, platters and plates for his restaurant, Ormeggio. As a beloved part of Alessandro’s extended restaurant family, it made sense that Malcolm’s ceramics should contribute to the a’Mare experience.
“It’s always been an absolute pleasure to put in front of our customers a work of art by Malcolm,” Alessandro says. “I love him. He’s a great craftsman.”
Malcolm set to work in his ceramics studio in Sydney’s Mosman, creating one-of-a-kind dishes with innovative glazes. He says he enjoys producing for somebody who appreciates the work and care that goes into each piece. All a bit different, though consistent in their look and feel, the plates now take centre stage in a’Mare’s dessert presentation.
The making of the tiramisu ceramic bowl by Malcolm Greenwood
While Malcolm’s creations are dedicated solely to the presentation of tiramisu, classic fine dining white china is the preferred serveware for the Antipasti and Secondi courses. Diners who order the Risotto nero e bianco are in for a special treat, with the dish served on bespoke plates trimmed in 24 Carat gold. Alessandro enlisted a master Japanese artist to create them.
Collaborating with ceramicists and other artisans and producers — a specialty cheesemaker, a wood artist, a sustainable fisherman — is an Italian tradition now being honoured at a’Mare. Alessandro feels at home when visiting the artisan villages and workshops of these dedicated contributors.
“I feel like I’m back in Italy; there’s a feeling that you don’t normally get here,” he says. “It’s a beautiful collaboration when everyone is contributing their specialties.”