Osteria Francescana has been on Debeli’s list for a long time and that means on mine as well. I wasn’t sure how or when we would finally dine in Modena, but I knew it will be one day.

I actually wanted to make Modena our surprise birthday trip that I do every year, but getting a reservation in Osteria is not the most simple thing in the world. You have to plan your whole trip around that, not vice versa, which meant who knows if they will have an opening on my birthday and so on and so on.

However, I was curious and I wanted to see how their booking system worked so I did a lot of online research and one day I decided to try it myself. The thing with Osteria is they are booked three months ahead and they open their booking system only once a month. Every first Monday at 10am. So, I got up in the morning and opened their booking web page. I had coffee, I had breakfast, shower and with 10am starting I was in line. 400 in line, but still in the line. I did my usual job stuff and waited in line. Debeli got up at one point and asked what I was doing. I answered: ‘’Standing in line for the Osteria’’. He laughed.

But minute by minute, hour by hour my line was decreasing, and around 1pm I was third in line, and then…then the dates opened and first available date was 27th of December for lunch. I sat in from of my computer looking at Debeli. He said:’’Book it!’’. So I did. Without reading terms and conditions, like how you can cancel up until two days or so, and after you pay 200€ fee.

Debeli immediately started looking plane flights and that was it. Our trip to Modena and lunch at the Osteria was on! I think I cried out of happiness for a bit 🙂

So, what’s so special about Osteria except it has been awarded the best restaurant in the world two times and the first Italian restaurant to receive that award?

Spin by Damien Hirst

Run by an Italian chef Massimo Bottura, the Osteria is a place where art and creation comes to its best. Being an avid art lover, Bottura has collected and presented various art exhibits in series of cozy rooms that accommodates everyone from professional chefs to unprofessional food lovers. Like us.

Like all Italians, especially men, Bottura is deeply connected to Italian food tradition and culture. Like it says on the web page of his restaurant, he grew up under the kitchen table of his grandmother. That’s where it all started, and that’s where is all coming from. From the memory of his childhood. Each of his dishes tells a different story and they trigger one of the important moments of chefs life. For us is then to eat those moments and create our own memories for life.

The new menu titled very simple “Everything” included twelve dishes whose inspiration Bottura found in Mario Soldati’s documentary Viaggio nella valle del Po alla ricerca di cibi genuini from 1957 (Travels across the valley of the river Po in the search for the genuine dishes).

Even the plates were extraordinary

The river Po, if you remember from middle school, is the longest river in Italy and its valley is one of the main products area in northern part of Italy. All the way from Lombardy and Piedmont through whole of Emilia-Romagna, the river was source of life for the peasants and later on industry. Rice fields were grown here together with Lambrusco grape vineyards and cattle was watered by the clear cold water of the river.

Human factors, however, brought devastating change upon the whole river. The sewage system in Milan went through channels directly into the Po and the heavy irrigation left the river almost completely dry.

The river is dry, but we were not 🙂 The Dalmore Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky for Debeli and Franciacorta Annamaria Clementi Ca’ del Bosco prosecco for me

The analyses of the river water showed actually the amount of cocaine users in Milan as the urine which defecated the river had traces of cocaine in it. The flora and fauna of the river died together with majority of those drug users. And we have experienced interpretation of the damage dealt and the memory of the traditional dishes through this whole menu.

Before starting our food journey, as always, we were greeted by small amuse bouche from the kitchen.

Their idea of fish and chips in Italian style was a little river fish, aula coated in fried tempura with ice cream made of ancient marinating ingredients like vinegar, onion and bay leaf, or so called carpione.

Macroon filled with chicken mousse, typical Italian sauce made with chicken and tartar. Next to it is borlengo (crispy thin pancake) with Parmigiano reggiano and lard.

Ice cream bar was a terrine of foie gras filled with extra balsamic vinegar and coated with toasted almonds while crunchy sardine was actually crispy bread painted with edible paint with aromatic herbs and eel cream inside.

Finally, the journey of the river Po started with the Pollution Revolution dish that originated both from the river and the land.

Oyster foam and cucumber water with wild herbs was so fresh and of course cucumber flavored that left us in awe.

La vie en rose as an oyster was more spectacular in a taste than it actually looked like.

The oyster comes with fresh shallots, with trout eggs, lambrusco wine and rose water broth was sweet, slimy and sour at the same time.

Then came our white La Tosa sauvignon from Colli Piacentini that was very aromatic in smell but very very light in taste. Proved to be better that way as we opted for a red wine later on.

Just as I thought the dish couldn’t be less appealing came the third one. ‘’Caviaro’’: from Messisbugo till today was inspired by Renaissance steward and a cook, Cristoforo di Messisbugo from Ferrara.

Beluga sturgeon abounded in the Po River in the 16th century and they were a frequent capture. The first known reference to the preparation of sturgeon caviar in Italy can be found in Messisbugo’s cookbooks where he described how to prepare the caviar both to be consumed fresh and to be preserved.

In his book Libro novo nel qual si insegna a far d’ogni sorte di vivanda, Venice, 1564, at page 110, Messisbugo gave the first recorded recipe in Italy about extraction of the eggs from the roe and caviar preparation “to be consumed fresh or to preserve“.

Under black layer of cream made of prosciutto and burnt onion hidden were egg cream, fresh shrimp and sturgeon caviar. The most unusual and undefined dish of the lunch. It wasn’t soup, it wasn’t pudding, it was according to Debeli and I quote “the best non-burned crème brulee he has ever had” 🙂

Rice between fresh and salt water represented the sweet and the salty part of the river Po.

Marinated sea bass filet at the bottom and al dente rice cooked in a broth of fish and orange juice creamed in the end with a carpione, a national technique of fish marination with extra virgin oil, sweet onion and white wine vinegar.

An eel swimming up the Po river was delicious as the pork ribs with bbq sauce can be. Fan-tastic!

An eel from the Po river smeared with saba (the thick residue of aceto balsamico) and burnt onion powder on top served with typical Italian polenta cream and jam from the campanine apples of Mantova that are very small and acidic in taste, which balanced the sweet flavor of the aceto and polenta.

The garden in autumn was your usual granny’s veggie dish.

In a ring of crumbly dough (pate brisee) base were hidden vegetables, white truffle, black cabbage and morel mushrooms in a sweet garlic cream with smoked catfish sauce and a celeriac disk on top.

Snow under sun was the seventh dish on a menu.

Potato and mushroom cream, bread covered with coffee powder and a snail bourguignon with sweet garlic foam on top.

Since this new menu didn’t offer classic Bottura dishes that brought him all the awards and respect, we have kindly asked our waiters to bring two of those that we’ve seen on the a la carte menu; the Parmigiano dish and a lemon tart dessert.

Coming from valley Po, the birth place of all the good thing, Parmigiano reggiano being the king of cheese, it wasn’t unusual for Bottura to create something decadent but simple. And it would be a sin for us to come to Osteria not to try Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano.

The dish made just of the two simple ingredients; cheese and time was perfect to that extension that we haven’t looked each other while devouring the dish. It completely took us under its skin. Tears were in Debeli’s eyes. It created a new memory slot in the brain.

The dish began as an experiment with textures and temperatures and ended with a celebration of what stagionatura or ageing does to a wheel of Parmigiano reggiano cheese. It transforms itself through the ages with subtle changes in flavor, textures and temperature.

Hot demi soufflé made from 24 month old cheese while the warm creamy sauce is of 30 month old cheese.

The 36 month old cheese is shaken and siphoned into a chilled foam while 40 month old cheese baked into a paper thin galette. And in the very end, the 50 month old cheese crusts are metamorphosed into an intensely flavored Parmigiano water, whirled in an blender to produce a cloud of tiny white pockets of air.

It was like walking on clouds, with a Parmigiano flavor in your mouth!

Just as the next courses (Guinea hen in three courses) were approaching we ordered a red Lambrusco wine typical of the region; Lambrusco di Sorbara, Vecchia Modena, edizione Glocal.

The first in line were Potato ravioli in roasted Guinea hen sauce.

The gyoza type of the pasta, burnt on one side and soft on the other were stuffed with chicken in a very flavorful and rich reduced chicken sauce.

Guinea hen à l’argile: tribue to the Cantarellis was second chicken dish of the trinity.

Guinea hen breast was prepared with sous vide technique and filled with bolitto (pork leftovers), topped with black truffle crust and a chestnut chip. From the left there’s candid apples, spinach cream and velvety celeriac puree. Guinea hen sauce enriched with foie gras in a typical french style.

Guinea hen crunchy skin, savory livers and truffle were small buns of delicious meat, a final of this three part course.

Chicken skin chips, liver parfait, chocolate, traditional savor marmalade (prepared during the grape harvest by cooking the freshly pressed grape must for hours. It is then cooked together with quinces, pears, apples, walnuts, almonds and green figs) from this region and black truffles.

The first of the desserts was a Small apple as a container of ideas.

What we thought was a rotten apple was actually a pumpkin foam and caramel ice cream, apple mustard, mandarin jam and white truffles inside of a caramelized apple skin.

By this point I was heavily intoxicated with wine and completely forgot what we ate, but remembering from the photos, I think I could have one of this deserts right now. Light, but full, not too sweet but creamy this container of ideas was brilliant as chefs creative mind.

Here the Po is born or Qui nasce il Po came in a small mountain vision where the river starts from, was meringue and chips with chestnuts, the almond foam with humin grape ice cream, chestnut cream base and milk.

Before the small sweet bites arrived, the waiter interrupted us with an apology. He was sorry because he dropped our lemon tart 🙂

The sabayon (zabaglione) and lemongrass ice cream dessert ‘’pokes fun at our daily striving for perfection and pristine beauty. I love the dynamics of a lemon tart but hate all the fuss—cream decorations and stubborn crusts. To get around all that nonsense, we purposefully crushed our tart. Of course, it isn’t just a one-liner but full of flavored experience from the most fragile crust to the peaks of tart, sour, sweet, cured, and candied lemon on the plate’’ says Massimo Bottura.

Grand finale of desserts were small bites of Madeleine cookies, tiramisu, chocolate parfait with truffles and sour cherry in chocolate that we have enjoyed while sipping coffee and green tea.

Small but delicious! Simple yet creative. Triggering and memorable. Revolutionary and evolutionary. Just as Massimo intended it to be.




Osteria nam je dugo dugo vremena bila na popisu, čak nešto duže na Debelovom nego na mom, ali znali smo da ćemo jednog dana jesti u Modeni. Pitanje je samo bilo kada.

Zapravo sam htjela potajno odvesti Debelog u Modenu na moj rođendan, kao što inače radim, ali dobiti rezervaciju u Osteriji na datum kad vama odgovara je ravno lottu, tako da je lakše organizirati put oko rezervacije nego obrnuto.

Imajući sve to na umu bila sam jako znatiželjna kako se dobije rezervacija, pa sam čeprkala po internetu, čitala i istraživala i onda iz puke znatiželje odlučila vidjeti kako njihov sistem funkcionira. Jer Osterija je rasprodana mjesecima unaprijed, a rezervacije primaju jednom mjesečno. Svaki prvi ponedjeljak u mjesecu, rezervacije se otvore u 10 ujutro po talijanskom vremenu. Savjeti su sugerirali otvoriti stranicu za rezervacije nekoliko sati ranije i ”stati u red”. Tako sam i napravila. Ustala se nešto ranije nego obično, otvorila booking, skuhala kavu, doručkovala i kad je deset sati otkucalo bila sam četiristota (400!!!) u redu.

Nastavila sam sa svojim dnevnim poslovima, mejlovi, fejs,… Debeli se probudio u međuvremenu i pitao što radim, na što sam mu rekla da stojim u redu za Osteriju. Grohotom se nasmijao. I onda negdje oko jedan, bila sam treća u redu, pa druga i onda su se otvorili slobodni datumi. Prva rezervacija je bila ručak 27.12.2019. Debeli je rekao:”Bukiraj”, što sam i napravila, bez da sam pogledala uvjete rezervacije, koje su zapravo, u slučaju otkazivanja u zadnji čas kažnjive s 200€ po glavi. Nije mi bilo svejedno. No imali smo dovoljno vremena za pogledat letove i smještaj te zadržat rezervaciju i krenuti planirati naših šest dana u Emiliji Romagni.

Nego, što je toliko posebno s Osterijom osim da je dva puta izabrana za najbolji restoran na svijetu, postavši tako prvi talijanski restoran koji je dobio tu nagradu.

Restoran čiji je vlasnik i glavni master Massimo Bottura, mjesto je gdje se sureću umjetnost i kreacija. Obzirom da je Bottura veliki ljubitelj i kolekcionar umjetnosti restoran krase neka vrlo zanimljiva djela, a restoran koji je poput labirinta odvojen malim ugodnim prostorijama ugošćuje profesionalne kuhare i neprofesionalne gurmane. Poput nas 🙂

Security Guard, Duane Hanson
Bin bag, Gavin Turk

Poput svih Talijana, pogotovo onih muškog roda, Bottura je duboko povezan s talijanskom hranom i kulturom. Kao što piše na web stranici restorana, Bottura je odrastao pod stolom svoje bake. Odatle je sve krenulo.

Svako od Botturinih jela govoru jednu priču inspiriranu nekim periodom ili događajem u Botturinom životu. Nama preostaje pojesti ta jela i trenutke te stvoriti vlastita sjećanja.

Novi jelovnik pod jednostavnim nazivom “Sve” obuhvaća dvanaest jela za čiju je inspiraciju Bottura povukao iz dokumentarca Marija Soldatija Putovanje po dolini Po u potrazi za originalnim jelima iz 1957.

Ako se sjećate iz osnovne škole, rijeka Po, je najduža rijeka u Italiji i dolina rijeke je jedan od najplodonosnijih i produktivnijih područja u sjevernom dijelu zemlje. Od Lombardije i Pijemonta kroz cijelu Emiliju Romagnu, rijeka je bila izvor života za seljake i industriju. Rižina polja rasla su posvuda, Lambrusko vinova loza je rasla, stoka se napajala iz hladne rijeke.

Ljudski faktor, doduše, doveo je do teškog zagađenja cijele rijeke. Kanalizacija grada Milana izlijevala se direktno u rijeku, a prekomjerno natapanje dovelo je do isušivanja rijeke.

Da ne presušimo kao rijeka, natočili smo se s malo proseka i viskijem

Analizom vode i količinom urina koji ju je zagadio mogla se utvrditi količina kokainskih korisnika na sjeveru Italije. Flora i fauna postepeno je umirala skupa s korisnicima droge, a jelovnik je pričao je priču o svemu tome. Ne baš o kokainu, ali o zagađenju i revoluciji da.

Prije početka našeg gastro putovanja, kao i uvijek, dočekaju nas male zanimacije ili pozdravi od kuhinje.

Njihova ideja ribe i krumpirića na talijanski način došla je u vidu aula ribe u hrskavoj tempuri sa sladoledom od carpionea što je drevna talijanska tehnika mariniranja s lukom, octom i lovorom.

Macrooni punjeni kremom od piletine, tipičnim talijanskim umakom od piletine i krumpira te borlengo ili male hrskave palačinkice s parmigianom reggianom i slaninom.

Foie gras sladoled punjen aceto balsamico octom i posut prženim bademima bio je bolji od čokoladnog sladoleda, dok su hrskave sardine bile su zapravo obojeni kreker punjen kremom od jegulje. Sjajna optička varka 🙂

Botturino putovanje rijekom Po započelo je Pollution Revolution (Zagađenje – Revolucija) jelom koje poteklo i iz rijeke i sa zemlje.

Pjenica od kamenica i voda od krastavca s divljim biljem bilo je tako lagano i osvježavajuće da nas je ugodno iznenadilo i razveselilo, jer tko zna što još slijedi.

La vie en rose kao kamenica je bilo spektakularnijeg okusa nego izgleda.

Kamenica sa svježim lukom kozjakom, jajima od pastrve u umaku od lambrusko vina i ružine vodice bila je slatka, kisela i ljigava u isto vrijeme, nešto što bi inače bilo odbojno na sam pogled, kao što već napisah, ali ne kad Bottura skemija nešto.

Uz predjela smo pijuckali La Tosa sauvignon iz Colli Piacentini, bijelo vino vrlo aromatičnog mirisa, ali jako laganog okusa, što je bio sjajan početak jer smo kasnije prešli na crno vino.

Taman kad smo pomislili da jela ne mogu biti odbojnija u izgledu došao je ‘’Caviaro’’: from Messisbugo till today.

Kavijar od Messisbuga do danas inspiriran je učenjima renesansnog kuhara Cristofora od Messisbuga iz Ferrare.

U 16. stoljeću rijeka Po obilovala je jesetrom koju su ribari lovili u ogromnim količinama, a prve poznate zapise o pripravi jesetrinih jaja u Italiji mogu se naći u Messisbugovim kuharicama gdje opisuje način priprave svježeg i konzerviranog kavijara.

Ispod crnog sloja kreme od pršuta i prženog luka sakrila se mekana krema od jaja i puckavi jesetrin kavijar. Definitivno najneobičnije i najnedefiniranije jelo ručka. Nije juha, nije puding, bio je, citiram Debelog: najbolji ne spaljeni crème brulee u njegovom životu 🙂

Marinirani filet brancina ispod al dente riže kuhane u juhi od ribe i narančinog soka te poslije preliven kremom od extra djevičanskog maslinovog ulja, slatkog luka i octa od bijelog balsamica.

Riža između slatke i slane vode

Jegulja što pliva rijekom Po bila je ukusna poput svinjskih rebrica u roštilj umaku. Fant-fant-fantstično!

Kuhana jegulja premazana slojem taloga aceta balsamica i posuta prahom prženog luka poslužena je uz klasičnu talijansku kremu od palente te pekmez od kiselih jabuka iz Mantove.

Vrt u jesen bilo je klasično bakino povrtno jelo.

U kolutu od prhkog tijesta sakrilo se povrće, bijeli tartuf, kelj i lisičarke te sve preliveno umakom od češnjaka i hrskavi kolutom od korijena celera kao kapica na vrhu.

Snijeg pod suncem bilo je sedmo jelo na jelovniku.

Krema od krumpira i gljiva, kruh posut prahom od kave i bourguignon od puževa sa slatkom pjenicom od češnjaka na vrhu bila je vrlo ukusna kremasta juhica.

Obzirom da na novom sezonskom meniju nisu bila ponuđena klasična Botturina jela koja su mu donijela brojne nagrade, ljubazno smo upitali konobare ako bi nam kuhinja mogla napraviti dva od tih antologijskih jela; onaj s Parmigianom i tart od limuna.

Porijeklom iz doline rijeke Po, kao i Bottura, bilo je samo pitanje vremena kad će maestro upotrijebiti Parmigiano reggiano za neko od svojih jela, koje bi bilo šteta propustiti kad smo već toliki put prešli.

Pet doba parmigiano reggiana jelo koje se sastoji od samo dva sastojka, sira i vremena, zasluženo je dobio kultni status jer je definitivno bilo najukusnije jelo cijelog ručka. Reći ću samo da se Debeli i ja nismo pogledali dok smo žlicom kusali ovu divnoću. Laganu poput oblaka, a finu poput najboljeg sira. Debeli je imao suzu u oku.

Jelo je zapravo nastalo iz brojnih eksperimenata s teksturama i temperaturama obrade Parmigiana gdje se okus i tekstura sira transformira njegovim sazrijevanjem.

Od 24 mjeseca starog parmigiana nastaje vrući soufflé, dok se od sira starog 30 mjeseci radi kremasti umak.

Od 36 mjeseci starog sira radi se pjenica, a 40 mjeseci star sir koristi se za pečenje hrskavog čipsa dok se najstariji i najrahliji sir, onaj od 50 mjeseci rabi za prozračnu vodicu koja se činila poput hoda po oblaku.

Baš poput slijedećeg slijeda sastavljenog od tri  jela, koja smo ukomponirali s crnim bubličastim lambrusko vinom, tipičnim za Emiliju.

Ravioli od krumpira punjeni mesom od biserke u reduciranom umaku od biserke bili su vrlo pikantni i nevjerojatno ukusni.

Biserka à l’argile: posveta lisičarkama drugo jelo ovog trojstva izgledom je nalikovalo na carsko meso, ali okusom čak i bolje.

Prsa biserke kuhana sous vide tehnikom te punjena svinjskim iznutricama, prekrivena crnim tartufima i čipsom od kestena s kandiranom jabukom, kremom od špinata i pudingom od korijena celera bila su pravo zimsko jelo. Umak je demi glace od biserke s foie gras. Zasitno, kremasto, slatko i kiselo, pravo domaće 🙂

Mali zalogajčići od hrskave biserkine kože, jetre i tartufa završili su ovo trodijelnu harmoniju posvećenu peradi.

Prvi od deserata bila je Mala jabuka kao posuda ideja.

Ono što se činila trula jabuka bio je zapravo sladoled od karamela i bundeve, senf od jabuke, pekmez od mandarine i bijelih tartufa unutar karamelizirane kore jabuke.

Rado bih opisala divnoću propale jabuke, ali do ovog trenutka bila sam debelo pod utjecajem dvije boce vina, tako da se mogu prisjetiti samo po slikama. Sigurna sam da desert nije uzalud otišao sa stola 🙂

Ovdje se rađa Po ddesert došao je kao vizija male planine iz koje potječe rijeka.

Meringue i čips od kestena s pjenicom od badema sa sladoledom od kestena. Prefino čak i za ne ljubitelje pirea od kestena kao što je moj Debeli.

Prije posljednjih slatkih zalogajčića i kave te zelenog čaja, došao je konobar s tanjurom u ruci i isprikom. Ispao mu je naš tart od limuna 🙂

Ooooops, ispao mi je tart od limuna drugo je legendarno Botturino jelo koje smo našli na jelovniku i koje nam je kuhinja velikodušno napravila.

Vajnšato krema i sladoled od limunske trave ”zabavlja nas u svakodnevnoj težnji za savršenstvom i netaknutim ljepotama. Volim dinamiku tarta od limuna, ali mrzim svu buku – ​​ukrasi od kreme i tvrdoglave kore. Da bismo zaobišli sve te gluposti, namjerno smo uništili svoj kolač”, rekao je Bottura.

Predivno iskustvo puno raznih okusa od pikantnog, kiselog, slatkog do sušenog i kandiranog limuna na tanjuru. Briljantno!

A briljantni su bili i slatki oproštajni pozdravi iz kuhinje kao madeleine kolačići, tiramisu, čokoladni parfe i kiselo slatka čokoladna višnja.

Mali, a ukusni. Jednostavni, a kreativni. Izazivajući, a vrijedni spomena. Revolucionarni i evolucionalni. Baš kao što ih je Massimo zamislio.

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