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December 27, 2022 3 min read

We love the holidays and we love the good cuisine. When we had the opportunity to meet of the most famous pastry chefs of Lake Como, Alessandro Fontanella, we had to interview him and ask for a special recipe for this time of the year. 

Why are you a pastry chef?
My passion was born thanks to my grandmother. Already at the age of 8 we made desserts together, then growing up I decided to study at the cooking school.

Tell us about your experiences in Italy and abroad, and what you learned.
I started in humble restaurants, with traditional cuisine where I learned so much about the importance of ingredients, patience and humility. All essential elements to create something new.
I had exciting experiences in starred and luxury restaurants including the 'Quattro Passi' on the Amalfi Coast or the Hotel Ferretti in Calabria.
Before arriving in the North I learned in the most important regions of Italy for gastronomic culture: Tuscany, working in a slightly revisited typical Mediterranean cuisine, and Emilia Romagna, in Carpi 'La Bottiglieria' where I started working in desserts. Before arriving in Como I was also in France where I had the opportunity to bring my traditional Italian baggage closer to a French environment of desserts on the plate.
But the real beginning with the world of desserts was right in Como at Villa Geno, where I was in charge of appetizers and desserts on the plate and I understood there that I would only dedicate myself to desserts, although I still cultivate a passion for cooking. I then moved to Bellagio at the Hotel Belvedere for the first time as a pastry chef and here I really threw myself. I was scared because it was the first responsibility in a hotel but I did it. Then I had a 14-year experience at Pasticceria Franzi in Olgiate Comasco, where the raw material is transformed from A to Z, everything is homemade, from fruit juices to candies. Thanks to all these experiences, I decided to do what I do today, consulting the kitchen staff, bringing new things or adapting classic recipes to specific elements, for example Lake Como.

nosetta alessandro fontanella patsry chef lago di como

What is your creative process? We like to know him because it is a comparison with ours. We can always learn something.
I observe so much what surrounds me, I love walking alone in the open air and smelling the scents. From here my imagination begins to develop the dessert, I imagine combinations and perfumes, I go a lot by sensation. Then I think about drawing

Tell us about the dessert that can be made at home
The inspiration comes from the Christmas tree and its colours. It seems complex but it is very simple and of great visual effect as well as taste. The ingredients are all seasonal and very easy find. Actually you can even recycle something from Christmas day.
The base is made of almond flour but it can be made from a simple cocoa sponge cake or a slice of simple panettone without candied fruit and raisins.
The base is covered with natural dates cut into small pieces and lemon jam
a chantilly cream is made with powdered coffee for the chantilly cream, the second with hazelnuts and chocolate
The upper levels are different chantilly creams separated by chocolate discs. The decorations are always made in hazelnut and chocolate. for the golden parts there are pastry powders that allow you to varnish them.
What is fundamental for this recipe and for all the others is the quality of the raw material, the cream of the chantilly cream must contain 35% fat and the chocolate must have a percentage of at least 70%

nosetta torta nocciole cioccolato fontanella alessandro

What is your favorite dessert or the one that gave you the most satisfaction?
All the desserts I make are experiments, risks, they don't always go well but they are made to improve and correct themselves. I rarely get disappointed but it happened to miss some flavors or see a structure that didn't convince me. The dessert that I liked the most and amazed the most is the Dolce Parmigiana dedicated to my Campania origins with aubergines, cherry tomatoes, basil and currants. The taste is not traditional but the sweet manages to make them all appreciate together. As far as customers are concerned, however, the Semper Verde made of dark chocolate mousse, cocoa shortbread and salted caramel made of pistachio paste and raspberries was very popular. Several hotels on Lake Como have introduced this recipe in their menu.

Your favorite Nosetta?
My partner likes the wool pochette with coral detail. Like my desserts starts from the tradition of raw materials but with a creative addition.

Thank you Alessandro! It was particularly interesting to interview you because we could discover that even in the kitchen you need great ingredients and passion to get the best results.  

Happy New Year to all !



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