A Taste of Positano

By Paul Giorgio

Pictured Above: Luca Perrone and Lorenzo Esposito

Squire White’s Restaurant on Worcester’s Greenwood Street recently hosted a “Taste of Positano” Under the leadership of owner Joe Cancelmo, four chefs from the Almafi Coast of Italy prepared a marvelous seven course meal. Chefs Lorenzo Esposito and Vincenzo Sorrentino of Mediterraneo in Positano, Italy joined brother and sister chefs Lizia and Luca Perrone of Taverna Degli Apostoli. The chefs were brought here by Laura Birminghan of Cooking Vacations in Boston.

Cooking Vacations, as the name implies, sets up vacations to Italy centered around cooking schools and food. Whether visiting a cooking school, having a behind-the-scenes tour of a local restaurant, or soaking up Italian culture at the local farmers’ market, vacationers are treated to a unique vacation. The chefs were on a three city tour which brought them to Boston, Providence and Worcester. Cancelmo, as his day job, runs Voyageur Travel in Worcester, which partners with Cooking Vacations.

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Joe Cancelmo and Friends

Wines for the seven course extravaganza were provided by Ruby Wines. Each course was paired with a wine that was expertly described by Ruby’s Andrew Cadrin. Preceding the meal was a brief cooking demonstration where the chefs taught pasta making.

Only Mediteranneo’s Lorenzo Esposito spoke English proficiently enough to narrate the cooking demo. His lively and fun-loving approach was a stark contrast to the snowy Sunday which in itself was a perfect counterpoint to the food of the sunny Amalfi Coast. I was particularly impressed with the appetizer, a calamari stuffed with a parmesan and shrimp filling and with salmon topped with a zesty Parmesan almond sauce. The wine was a Nero D’Avola from Sicily, a dry white.

This delight was followed by a pasta course of half rigatoni tossed with fresh mussels, clams and roasted cherry tomatoes. The pasta course was followed by a light risotto tossed with lemon zest and shrimp.

I was lucky enough to catch the chefs making the entrée, tenderloin wrapped in smoked provolone, topped with proscuito and baked in a puff pastry. This was paired with a Sasyr Sangiovese, the preeminent grape of Italy.

The crowd was encouraged to ask questions of both the chef and the wine expert. It was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. If we are lucky, Cancelmo will present more of these events.