Michelin dinner from friends for friends at DIECI: Chef Gianfranco Chiarini and Chef Carlo Scanferla

The most difficult dish to prepare is bread. The most important dishes in the menu are the starters and the desserts. And a chef has first of all to marry the kitchen and then his girlfriend, because he spends most of his time in the kitchen. These words belong to chef Carlo Scanferla, an Italian chef with long experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in his country and around the world. Today he is in Bulgaria, cooking with chef Gianfranco Chiarini at DIECI – the unique restaurant in Devino village, established by Chef Gianfranco Chiarini and Chef Anna Chiarini.

The former school in Devino village, now restaurant Dieci
The former school in Devino village, now restaurant Dieci
The garden of Dieci
The garden of Dieci

The two chefs have been friends for more than 10 years. They presented to the Bulgarian audience an amazing culinary experience, mixing the Italian creativity and love to food with wonderful Bulgarian products. But today’s dinner is different than the others we have attended so far. Thе secret ingredient is the joy to cook with an old friend, without stress and competition, with pure fun. The joy from the kitchen could be felt in the dining room, in every dish. At the end of the night we all felt like being on a joyful family gathering which we can’t wait to repeat.

Chef Carlo Scanferla and Chef Gianfranco Chiarini together in the kitchen
Chef Carlo Scanferla and Chef Gianfranco Chiarini together in the kitchen
Joyful moments in the kitchen - Chef Gianfranco Chiarini, chef Carlo Scanferla and Dieci's photographer Alessandro Scipione
Joyful moments in the kitchen – Chef Gianfranco Chiarini, chef Carlo Scanferla and Dieci’s photographer Alessandro Scipioni

This was the second one of a series of such events, unique for Bulgaria, initiated and hosted by Dieci restaurant and Chef Gianfranco Chiarini. A whole constellation of Michelin starred chefs is coming to Bulgaria in 2022 to present to Bulgarian audience 10-course dinners, prepared together with Chef Chiarini. The first guest was Chef Daniel Galmiche from France who has earned Michelin stars for 4 restaurants in England and Scotland. Today the special guest is chef Carlo Scanferla from Italy. Learn more of the initiative of Dieci here: A CONSTELLATION OF MICHELIN STAR CHEFS COMING TO BULGARIA TO COOK WITH BULGARIAN PRODUCTS.

On the couch at DIECI

Our curiousity brought us here a little earlier than the official start of the dinner and we joined the conversation on the couch, while the chefs were having a short break before the start. They explained how they worked for the first time together in Bolivia, preparing 3 gala dinners. Speaking about their first work with chef Chiarini, chef Scanferla said: “It was such a pleasure to know him better as a professional, as a man, as a friend. So here I am right now after 10 years. It was a pleasure when you work with another professional who knows where he wants to go. It is very easy and it is not a work, it is a joy to share”.

They also shared a few curious situations from their work together. The talks on the sofa at Dieci are talks between friends, hosts and guests and are really honest.

Dieci's dining room
Dieci’s dining room that was once a school canteen

How Bulgaria surprised chef Scanferla?

Chef Scanferla is visiting Bulgaria for the second time and really enjoys it. He believes that the Bulgarian products have great potential. Bulgaria surprised him with many things. Among them are the Green Cheese from Cherni Vit and the Black Sea-grown oysters from the Bulgarian farm Stridarium. He is also amused by the herbs, the roses, the jujube, the rosehips. He said he was so excited by the oysters that he asked chef Gianfranco to change the menu so that he could include them as well.

Preparation of the oysters
Bulgarian oysters from Stridarium

We got extremely excited when we understood that chef Scanferla was a winelover, too. But although he comes from Veneto region in Italy, he is probably the only Italian who does not like Prosecco. However, Bulgarian wines from Villa Melnik managed to impress him. Especially those coming from local varieties like the Melnik Jubilee 1300. A wonderful pairing he suggested is the Orange wine from Villa Melnik with Cherni Vit cheese. Such a great idea that had never come to our minds, indeed!

As it often happens, someone from abroad had to come and open our eyes about the wonderful things we are having here. Just like chef Gianfranco and Anna are doing since the creation of Dieci restaurant.

Restaurant or not actually?

Soon the chefs should go back to the kitchen and prepare the dinner. We have just one last question. Chef Scanferla has been working in numerous Michelin-starred restaurants so we are curious how he would compare them to Dieci. “Dieci has a potential, a magic that is completely different. Here you are in a special place. It is a unique place. It is not a conventional restaurant, you enter the life of the chef, in his house. I think it is beautiful that somebody put his skills for the service for another country, for another culture. It is so beautiful.”

We feel the same way every time we come here.

Dieci's cozy dining room
Dieci’s cozy dining room
Stolen moments in the cozy dining room of Dieci before dinner
Stolen moments in the cozy dining room of Dieci before dinner

In the meantime, the other guests start arriving. It is funny that we already know half of the other 8 people tonight. The others are also people who have visited the restaurant before. Anna and Gianfranco noted that recently the dinners at Dieci more and more look like family gatherings. Because many people return for a second or third time. Having in mind that people coming here share the same passion and curiousity for good food, it is not difficult to make new friends. Moreover, the cozy ambience of the restaurant and the friendly attitude of Anna and chef Gianfranco contribute a lot to this.

Can I steal you attention for a moment?

This disarming request coming from Anna to all guests marks the beginning of the dinner. Tonight we will enjoy 12 dishes, although at Dieci they are usually 10. But the inspiration of chef Chiarini and chef Scanferla has obviously gone outside the initial frames.

We go through the menu to choose the wine. As keen lovers of fish and seafood, we are more than happy to discover the many dishes based on such products. We immediately order a glass from the fresh and flowery Aplauz Sandanski Misket from Villa Melnik and start the night with huge smiles.

The must-do photo for the start of the night
The must-do photo for the start of the night
Beginning with Aplauz Sandanski Misket by Villa Melnik
Beginning with Aplauz Sandanski Misket by Villa Melnik

We start with lavender bread and home-made butter. It smells like summer sunset. The weather in this mid-October day is beautiful and takes us back to the refreshing days and nights of the past summer. Earlier chef Gianfranco noted that for him La Dolce Vita is not in Italy anymore but rather in Bulgaria.

The bread with lavender smells like a summer sunset
The bread with lavender smells like a summer sunset

Amuse Bouche – macaron with foie gras

It is charming the feeling when you return to the same place again and again, spend more and more time with the people there and get to know them. The menus of chef Gianfranco are always new, surprising and challenging, but it is very exciting when you start to catch the tiny things in common they share. Like the presence of foie gras in the first starter. We have tried foie gras in many variations – including a bonbon, ice cream and sand. Today it is a tender creme in a macaron with squid ink and pomegranate. The pomegranate is coming from the Villa Melnik gardens. As Anna Chiarini noted, “everything grows there”. The dish is a tender symphony between earth and sea, a real amuse.

Chef Gianfranco personally served his macaron
Chef Gianfranco personally served his macaron
The amazing beautiful macaron with foie gras
The amazing beautiful macaron with foie gras

Happily, the lovely macaron is also a part of the regular Autumn 2022 menu of Dieci. So if you missed the dinner with chef Scanferla, you still have the chance to try this piece of art. We took a glance of the seasonal menu where we also discovered sturgeon cheesecake. A similar dish was presented by chef Gianfranco during another dinner with a Michelin starred chef – Daniel Galmiche in July 2022. It was really incredible. Another remarkable dish from the autumn menu is the risotto with Cherni Vit cheese. You can see the fill seasonal menu on Dieci’s website.

Bulgarian oysters? Of course!

When we are cooking with Bulgarian products only, can we find good oysters? Of course!

This dish was created by chef Carlo Scanferla. Oysters with green apple from Dieci’s garden, lardo, rosehip jam and parsley foam that recalls the sea foam.

Oysters with parsley foam and lardo
Oysters with parsley foam and lardo

The oysters come from the first and only oyster farm in Bulgaria, located near the village of Kranevo. You can find them in the Stridarium bar in Varna. About the Bulgarian oysters, chef Scanferla noted that he very much liked them for his dish, because they are less salty and have milder taste. One of the reasons for this is the lower salinity of the Black sea. What came in our dishes was an endless pleasure to all senses. We are grateful to chef Scanferla for the great idea and to chef Gianfranco for helping him to make it happen.

We adore seafood
We just adore seafood

Scampi tartare

In the tiny black sable in the beautiful blue plates, served by chef Gianfranco Chiarini, are hiding many layers of flavours. The sable is made with biochar – a result of Dieci’s zero-waste policy. Then there is a layer of home-made sheep ricotta, lime zest and scampi tartare. Everything is sprinkled with parsley powder and dehydrated roses that give scrumptious aromas.

Scampi tartare with home-made ricotta by chef Gianfranco Chiarini
Scampi tartare with home-made ricotta by chef Gianfranco Chiarini

One of the most important things to do before visiting a gourmet restaurant is to forget about all off your prejudices and food preferences, except in case of life-threatening food allergies. Dig deep the thoughts like “I don’t eat raw meat” and “Can you roast my steak a little bit more?”. Otherwise, you may find yourself complaining that you have been served 3 raw dishes in a row. From our point of view, this is actually a great occasion. Because we have complete trust in the chefs and we can try something we wouldn’t dare to try at home or at an average restaurant.

Venison carpaccio and mussels

So, here it comes the next dish – venison carpaccio with Black Sea mussels, Bulgarian yogurt, jujube jam and dehydrated porcini. An exciting journey through the farm, the forest and the sea.

Venison carpaccio and mussels by chef Scanferla
Venison carpaccio and mussels by chef Scanferla

It is time to choose the next wine. The eternal dilemma is between Chardonnay Sur Lie and Viognier Sur Lie from the Aplauz series of Villa Melnik – we love them both. “Take the chardonnay before it is over, I have the last boxes”, is Anna’s advice. Yes, the chardonnay is really sold out quickly. So we decide to trust her.

Two sides of Italy: Pasta and Risotto

No trip to Italy passes without pasta and risotto. And here is the time when the two Italian chefs compete against each other. It is, of course, a friendly competition between strozzapreti with saffron and smoked kashkaval cheese (by chef Gianfranco) and chef Scanferla’s risotto with quail and roasted hazelnuts. The winner is the public, enjoying both dishes one after another on the table.

Strozzapreti boiled in saffron water, with smoked kashkaval and black pepper
Strozzapreti boiled in saffron water, with smoked kashkaval and black pepper
Quail risotto
Quail risotto

Intermezzo

It is time for the usual mid-menu break, known as intermezzo. This is the time when the ice breaks, the official part is put on pause and everyone moves towards the sofa. Chef Gianfranco and chef Scanferla go out of the kitchen to have a short rest and to answer the questions arising during the dinner. And there are really many of them, because the curuoisity of all connoisseurs of good cuisine is endless.

We always have interesting conversations with chef Gianfranco
We always have interesting conversations with chef Gianfranco

As regular guests here, we can notice how this night really feels very friendly, cozy, warm, calm. Maybe the fact that 6 out of the 10 guests know each other contributes to this. And also the fact that all of us have been here before. Although we expected a competition between the two Italian chefs, we actually enjoyed an amazing symbiosis between the dishes in the menu, friendly atmosphere and amazing products.

Scallops with langoustine cream

The sea tides in the menu keep coming with the scallops which are among our favourite products. Today they are prepared by chef Gianfranco with incredible langoustine cream, pistachio and dehydrated late summer veggies. The strong taste from the cream and the salinity throw us directly into a cross-ocean journey.

Scallops with langoustine cream by chef Ginfranco.
Scallops with langoustine cream by chef Ginfranco.

The scallops are also served in the Autumn 2022 menu of Dieci.

It is again time for the next glass of wine. Although we know well the wines of Villa Melnik, we always follow the recommendations of Anna Chiarini, because the food can be surprising. This time she strongly recommended the fruity Rare Varieties: Melnishki Rubin 2019. Later we understood that this wine is very rare to find. The produced quantity was very limited and sold out immediately. Now the only two places where you can find this wine are Dieci and Villa Melnik’s private collection.

Duck magret from Yambol

One of the Bulgarian products that most impressed chef Scanferla was the duck magret from Yambol. He prepared it with sweet-sour figs, beetroot and celery root caramel, which he personally added to the dishes on the table. The figs also appeared to be coming from Villa Melnik’s garden. And we were getting more and more excited about the approaching desserts.

When the chef personally comes to finish your dish
When the chef personally comes to finish your dish
Duck magret with sweet-sour figs, beetroot and celery root caramel. And the amazing Malnishki Rubin by Vila Melnik, exclusively at Dieci.
Duck magret with sweet-sour figs, beetroot and celery root caramel. And the amazing Melnishki Rubin wine by Vila Melnik, exclusively at Dieci.

Tonight’s hit: lamb shoulder with Sandanski Misket vinegar glace

If there is a single dish that every guest tonight put in his top 3, it was chef Gianfranco’s lamb. Served with reduction from Sandanski Misket vinegar, lavender potato puree, spicy pickled red radish, this dish threw all of us into ecstasy.

Chef Gianfranco's lamb
Chef Gianfranco’s lamb

Salad for a dessert? Why not?

It won’t be exaggerated if we say this is the most surprising dessert we have ever eaten. Chef Carlo Scanferla has prepared for us green pepper sorbet with garden herbs, wild salad and dzhanka rakia.

Green pepper ice cream with salad
Green pepper ice cream with salad

After the marathon of tastes and aromas in the 10 dishes so far, the pre-dessert came just on time to refresh us and prepare us for the finale grande. As usual, it was a demonstration of chef Chiarini’s creativity to play with Bulgarian recipes and turn them into something unexpexcted. This time it was a variation of Tikvenik (traditional winter pastry with pumpkin). But his tikvenik was actually a canolo with roasted pumpkin, ricotta, porcini ice cream and Mavrud wine reduction.

Canolo with porcini ice cream
Canolo with porcini ice cream
Andrey is visibly happy with the dessert
Andrey is visibly happy with the dessert

Rakiacello and miracle berries at the end

We mentioned that tonight we knew four of the other 8 guests in the dining room. So after we finished our dinner, we couldn’t wait to sit together and discuss it. We spoke about our previous visits here. We had visited separately at different times and menus, but shared the same emotion. So here is how we came to two very interesting products.

One of them is rakiacello – it was a part of the Spring 2022 menu. It is something like a limoncello, but made with Bulgarian rakia, instead of vodka or pure alcohol. Those among us who had missed it in the spring, now had the opportunity to try it, although it was not in the menu for tonight.

Rakiacello
Rakiacello

The other product is one we have tasted during our first visit here – miracle berry tablets. They are made of the Miracle berry fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), which has the unique power to change the perception of taste and make sour feel sweet. This is due to the miraculin, a natural glycoprotein contained in the fruits.

Using miraculin in the culinary is a game changer, especially for diabetics. You could make a terribly sour dessert, take the magic pill and feel it as one great dessert should feel. Chef Gianfranco and Anna explained that they had investments in miracle berry plantations in Africa so if you are interested, they can give you directions how to order.

We finish the night with gratitude to the work of our hosts, to food, to the moment. At the end, we all feel like a family and promise to meet here again for some of the upcoming menus.

The beautiful garden of Dieci restaurant
The beautiful garden of Dieci restaurant

This was the second one of a series of such events, unique for Bulgaria, initiated and hosted by Dieci restaurant and Chef Gianfranco Chiarini. A whole constellation of Michelin starred chefs is coming to Bulgaria in 2022 to present to Bulgarian audience 10-course dinners, prepared together with Chef Chiarini. The first guest was Chef Daniel Galmiche from France who has earned Michelin stars for 4 restaurants in England and Scotland. Today the special guest is chef Carlo Scanferla from Italy. Learn more of the initiative of Dieci here: A CONSTELLATION OF MICHELIN STAR CHEFS COMING TO BULGARIA TO COOK WITH BULGARIAN PRODUCTS.

Follow us: Instagram and Facebook


Subscribe to our English newsletter

* indicates required

Copyrighted Image