Belmond Villa S.Andrea: a 100-year-old magical place and a recipe by chef D’Angelo

Agostino D'angelo

A century-old history and strong emotions for Taormina’s Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea. The restaurant’s menu also includes a dessert made with Moak coffee.

English civil engineer Robert Trewhella was the first person, who fell in love with these breathtaking views. He came to Italy in order to assist the development of the country’s infrastructure. Such project also included the construction of the Ferrovia Circumetnea, the regional railway line that still runs along the feet of Mount Etna.

Trewhella got lost in the charm of Taormina. He was so impressed by this magical place that he decided to build a lavish beachfront villa as their summer residence. His son Alfred completed the villa in 1919 – exactly a century ago – and named it after Capo Sant’Andrea, a cape in the Bay of Mazzarò. With the arrival of the Second World War, the Trewhellas returned to England and the villa was requisitioned by German officers. It just so happened that Ivor Manley, Robert Trewhella’s grandson, was a major in the Intelligence Corps of the British Army. After the Allies invaded the island in 1943, he went straight to the villa and liberated it. Thus, Ivor became the first hotel director.

Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Francis Ford Coppola, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro were only a few of the special guests in this historic residence. Nowadays,  Belmond Villa S.Andrea is a destination for tourists and travellers from all over the world. Besides enjoying a stay in a magnificent place, visitors can also benefit from a delicious tasting experience at Oliviero Restaurant.

Executive Chef Agostino D’Angelo leads the kitchen brigade, enhancing his dishes with the right combination of seasonality, exaltation of raw materials and essentiality in choosing the ingredients. His culinary philosophy is based on the authenticity and simplicity of authentic Sicilian tastes. Obviously, the international influences are part of it: from the Arabic ones, which are typical of the city of Trapani (D’Angelo’s hometown) to the French, Indian and Asiatic ones discovered during his previous professional experiences abroad.

Giusto Candino and Stefano Mirto

Together with chef D’Angelo and pastry chefs Giusto Candido and Stefano Mirto, we present the recipe of “banana mousse with Moak coffee sablé and passion fruit sorbet” included in the new menu presented for the 2019 season“.

Banana mousse 
Ingredients for 6 portions:
– 75 g white chocolate
– 16 g milk
– 2 g gelatine leaves
-140 g banana puree
-185 g cream

Heat the milk and add the gelatine leaves, which were previously rehydrated in cold water. Then let the white chocolate melt in a small pot until it turns into a creamy liquid. Slowly emulsify the liquid by adding the previously heated milk, as well as the banana puree, until you get a velvety and shiny mixture. As final step whip the cream and add it to the previously obtained mixture at a temperature of about 35 °C. Pour the mousse into a small silicone mould (of the same diameter as those used for the coffee sablé). Leave in the freezer for 6-7 hours.

Caffè Moak sablé
Ingredients for 6 portions:
– 125 g salted butter
– 170 g soft flour
– 2 g Maldon salt
– 2 g yeast
– 110 g icing sugar
– 2 egg yolks
– 2,5 g coffee powder

Mix diced butter, soft flour, Maldon salt and coffee powder in a kneading machine until you get a granulated mixture. Then add the icing sugar and egg yolks, and blend until the mixture is slightly creamy. Stretch the mixture between two baking paper sheets and beat until it is about 3 cm thick. Keep in the fridge for a few hours. Then use the moulds to make the base of the dessert. Bake for 10 min at an oven temperature of 160°C.

Ingredients for 6 portions:
– 130 g sorbet base
– 65 g water
– 40 g caster sugar
– 10 g dextrose
– 15 g glucose
– 1g stabilizer
– 230 g banana puree
– 70 g passion fruit puree

Mix the stabilizer and sugar in a bowl (pour separately water into a small pan and add glucose and dextrose; heat to 50 °C). Then add the previously prepared mixture (i.e. stabilizer and sugar) and heat to 90 °C while mixing slowly. Remove from heat and leave to rest. Then store the syrup in the fridge for around 2-3 hours at a temperature of 4°C. Once cooled, mix everything with the banana and passion fruit puree and emulsify properly with a hand-held blender. Pour the obtained mixture into a batch freezer and leave on for about 8 minutes.

Dish preparation

Place the coffee sablé in the middle of the plate and place the banana mousse on it, on top of which a decent quantity of sorbet should be placed in the shape of a small stuffed sphere. Finish the plate with floral decorations, an isomalt wafer and some hints of pure passion fruit.