An Italian feast!

Ritrovo is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in Pretoria. It is considered by many to be one of Pretoria’s iconic eateries. Father and son team Giovanni and Fortunato Mazzone have been serving up hearty, classic Italian food here since 1995. My husband and I are big fans, and we often take our friends here. We’ve never been disappointed.

Recently, we had the honor of attending a special dinner at Ritrovo organised by Chaîne des Rôtisseurs; an international society devoted to choice dining and the camaraderie of the table. A five-course feast was served in a private function room, with chef Forti giving us his own notes on each dish and accompanying wine (obviously from their own label: Nick and Forti’s – a collaboration in three-part harmony between Nick van Huysteen, owner of iconic Saronsberg Wines, Chef Forti and Dewalt Heyns; a talented wine maker).

On arrival, we were served Saronsberg Brut, a crisp and dry Blanc de Blanc MCC (for more about South Africa bubbles, check this blog out) together with the most succulent calamari and deliciously salty homebaked bread. Starter was fillet of fresh Pemba Bay cob on crispy vegetables with a beetroot puree and pork crackling together with the award winning Nick & Forti’s Viognier. The pasta dish was gnocchi in a basil pesto cream, topped with toasted almond flakes and paired with a beautiful red blend (Nick and Forti’s Artspace). For mains, a classic winter dish: oxtail in red wine and porcini sauce, served straight out of the potjie (a three-legged cast iron pot) with truffle mash and vegetables, paired with Nick and Forti’s Shiraz. I didn’t think I would have space for dessert, but when a plate with the most gooey, warm chocolate mignon, caramel popcorn and sabayone ice was brought out together with a glass of delicately pink straw wine I quickly changed my mind!

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A perfect combination of delicate fish, sweet beetroots and salty crackling!

Perfection on a plate

Perfection on a plate

Oxtail stew straight out of the potjie; a winter classic

Oxtail stew straight out of the potjie; a winter classic

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The oxtail is falling-off-the-bone tender

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I just died and went to dessert heaven!

There is a certain kind of beauty in completely emptied plates

There is a certain kind of beauty in completely emptied plates

The light was on the low side, so the pics aren’t perfect, but I think you get the idea!

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