Let Flour Take You on a Tour of Italy


When reading Rust Belt Chic, what stood out to me the most were stories of immigrants moving to Cleveland and finding comfort once they connected with the people and things that reminded them of their heritage. There are all kinds of pockets of culture here in Cleveland, preserving things from foreign lands to comfort some and introduce to others. Recently I went to a tasting at Flour in Moreland Hills with my friend Rita, who was born and lived in Italy growing up. Flour is running a series of tasting dinners featuring 'new school' versions of dishes from different regions in Italy, starting with Calabria. You'd find this region in the toe of the boot and specializing in eggplant and fish. It was a little bit of comfort of the past for Rita and an introduction to something new for me.

Introducing - Menu Calabrese This was all foreign to me so I just sat back, took pictures and enjoyed the ride.


Course one: Minestra di Fava e Cipollo This Fava Bean and Red Onion Soup was possibly the most intricate soup I can ever remember having. Yea, it might not look very soup like in the picture below, but that is because there is a thin crackery crisp on top. The crisp melts into the soup as you dig in and also melts in your mouth in the most delightful way.


Course two: Tortiera d' Alic The Baked Anchovies and Breadcrumbs dish was by far the most foreign to me, but I love to try new things and feel comfortable doing so in when its come from a great chef such as Matthew Mytro. This was one anchovy coated in fluffy delicious breadcrumbs on top of a tomato floating over a bold creamy sauce. The tomato was meaty in texture and flavor and the whole thing worked very well together.


Course three: Melazane all'insalata I'm all about the Eggplant Caponata! This was my favorite dish. Wafer thin eggplant thins sandwiched in between light creamy eggplant with bits of chocolate sprinkled in. I would order this as a dessert! It was the perfect balance of sweet and savory that permanently embeds a flavor memory into my brain.


Course four: Baccala alla di Pate Squid Ink Gnocchi and Salt Cod was a work of art! It took me forever to take a bite because it was just so pretty to look at. The flavor on the gnocchi was really surprising. Very fresh from the sea taste with a silky texture. This is a dish I would order again and again.


Course five: Sorbetta Barbabietola This Beet Sorbet with Lemoncello was a palate cleanser.  I adore beets used in creative ways. This was very refreshing and it sat in a pool of olive oil as thick and sweet as honey. Simple dish of complex flavors that worked together very well!


Course six: Braciole alla Bagnara The Swordfish with Parsley, Lemon and Ccapers, was a big, juicy and impressive steak of a fish. Rita felt this dish really took her back to Italy. The flavor combinations reminded her of how they cooked back home.


Course seven: Collo di Agnello Lamb Necks with Polenta was a small dish that packed large flavors! Beautifully creamy polenta in balsamic with a tender ball of lamb perched on top. This was deep comforting flavors presented with such delicate textures.


Course eight: Tartufo al modo di Pizzo Ice Cream Truffles, need I say more? Oh, but I must say it was a peanut butter truffle with jelly filling. Hard not to love, it was a great and whimsical last course.


Whether your trying to reconnect with something from your past or looking to try something new I highly recommend heading to Flour with some friends for this tasting. Even the espresso was exquisite and transports your to another place. And you can even add wine pairings! Make a night of it!


Flour Power

Flour - Bianca with egg, arugula, basil

I walked into Flour with no expectations. I knew nothing about it except that they had pizza and there were lots of people buzzing about the place. As soon as you set foot inside this beautiful modern restaurant you'll know it isn't going to be your average pizza place. Then the food blows you away! They have a nice wine and cocktail menu. I always love places that have bubbly by the glass and Flour offers three different kinds at a variety of price points. The Rockefeller has a nice balance of heat from the Bulleit 10 Bourbon and sweet from the cherry juice.

Flour - the Rockefeller and Prosecco

I really love to let my date order for me. I like to be surprised! He decided to start our meal with the Beef Carpaccio. I had no idea until later that beef carpaccio meant raw beef, so I got to try it without the stigma of "I'm about to eat raw beef". (Not that I am a stranger to raw meat as my family was feeding me steak tartare at an age where most children only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers.) It was very acidic with a saltiness brought on from the cheese and capers. It was a fresh and refreshing dish! I'm really glad I got to try it and my date adored it.

Flour - Beef Carpaccio

I really wanted to try a pizza so I ordered a Bianca (ricotta + cauliflower + fennel pollen) with the egg/arugula/basil addition. It was a perfectly crispy and chewy crust. The fennel pollen gave it a hint of sweet licorice. The egg was a great addition. It gave a rich smooth texture that complimented the soft roasted cauliflower. The basil and arugula added a nice freshness as well.

Flour - Bianca with egg, arugula, basil

My date ordered the Porchetta Alla Romana and this dish absolutely blew me away! As he was snagging bites of my pizza I jokingly asked if he wanted to trade, but I was dead serious. The polenta was lightly spiced with a creamy texture. I could have eaten a plateful of just the polenta and been perfectly happy. The herbed pork was very juicy and it was topped with delicious grilled cauliflower. I could eat this dish every day. That was the most exquisite polenta I have ever had.

Flour - Porchetta Alla Romana

It isn't the end of the meal to me until I've had some chocolate so bring on the Snicker Cake! A fluffy, airy cake topped with a chewy peanut caramel layer and a rich chocolate fudge topping with salty, buttery popcorn sauce. It was a perfect balance of salty and sweet. Flour - Snicker CakeFlour certainty lives up to the hype and made me rethink the idea of a pizza place.

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