Florida chef runner up in San Gennaro dessert challenge

"Stai sciolto", Raffaele Barresi's winning dessert

NAPLES – French American chef Michael Roper has finished second behind Raffaele Barresi of Pasticceria Capparelli in Naples, in the 2nd San Gennà … un Dolce per San Gennaro pastry competition.

 Held at the Renaissance Naples Hotel on Monday, the contest saw seven chefs face off in a challenge to create a dessert in homage to San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.

 The winning creation “Stai sciolto” (Stay liquefied) – a reference to the blood miracle of San Gennero – is a sponge cake with the aroma of Sorrento lemons, made with a mix of Caputo 00, almond and hazelnut flours. Representing the blood miracle are strawberry jam and a strawberry flavoured chocolate glaze.

 Second place getter Mr Roper created a dessert in the form of a caciocavallo (cheese) – a tribute to southern gastronomic tradition – dominated by a red cross filled with ricotta, acacia honey and pomodorino del Vesuvio (Vesuvius tomato).

 One of the most beloved saints in the world, San Gennaro is as revered in New York as in Naples. Every year Neapolitans gather at the Duomo church in Naples to witness the miracle of San Gennaro. Legend has it, after Gennaro the archbishop of Benevento was beheaded, a woman collected an ampoule of blood, which solidified. The miracle happens when, three times a year, the blood in the vial liquefies.

 Not only did contestants have to source their ingredients from a basket of Italian DOP and IGP certified ingredients, they had to include a red ingredient in honour of the blood miracle of San Gennaro.

 “Stai sciolto” will be on sale throughout Naples and the world. To wrap your taste buds around Mr Roper’s creation, you will need to go to Scapoli, Molise, and wait for the opening of his new restaurant.

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Michael Roper
Michael Roper's creation