A starry dinner on the terrace and at sunset with the magic of Lux Lucis

Forte dei Marmi is one of those places that, unless you went there as a child, spent naughty summers stepping hard on the pedals of a bike, hardly becoming expensive and favorite when you are an adult. For the difficulty of finding a real summer peace, for its ever sharper prices, for its density of Milanese, who are greeted in the office and always risk finding in the umbrella next door. But even Forte has its own charm, now abused of course, but those who keep pictures of it from many years back remember it as a fishing village, with low houses and maritime pine trees almost reaching the beach. And scones, not to be missed. The maritime culture of the locals and the fish kitchen has always been associated with night fishing, for the relaxed and daily availability of fish, molluscs and crustaceans. For several years, this has culminated in an increasingly varied and abundant range of (more or less valid) traditional fish restaurants. Those who work more with Tuscan influences, those who prefer raw food, those who draw from Liguria but who always retain a true basic simplicity. Valentino Cassanelli (born in 1984) arrives in Versilia in 2012. After a career start in London (Locanda Locatelli, Nobu) and various experiences between Venice and Milan (with Carlo Cracco in the star’s historic headquarters in via Victor Hugo) the young chef is called to to lead the project Lux Lucis. The terrace on the fourth floor of the Hotel Principe, which is actually the tallest building in the whole of Forte dei Marmi, is perhaps one of the factors that can make you fall in love with this place, even if you have never had special connections with it . A location a stone’s throw from the beach, still perfectly able to breathe the scent of the sea, and partly out towards the Apuan Alps. The furniture is modern and light: sitting in front of the sunset you will hear the waves of the sea while choosing which drink you want to order for your aperitif.

It will probably take you some time to consult the card why Omar Caceres, Peruvian in origin, but now more Tuscan than many others, has put together a very interesting list. Much more than what is generally expected of a hotel bar and worthy of a structured and ambitious cocktail bar. An excellent selection of spirits on the menu – the bottle rack is less extensive, but responds without problems to the needs of a mainly foreign clientele – and absolutely untraditional recipes, well executed and not risky. We start with a fine selection of classic aperitifs – mini Negroni menu, a boulevard with tonka beans and rhubarb, a Spritz with umeshu, sake, pineapple and lemongrass essence, Champagne and shiso or a Martini with bergamot liqueur and a peach truffle. Between Expression instead, you can have fun with Libre, a Margarita variant with a slice of mezcal, Ancho Reyes to give it the spicy note, mango and air of black salt; or a Nikkei mule, based on pisco with morado corn, yuzu sake, bitter chuncho, umeshu and ginger beer. Overall, a list where pisco is widespread, for obvious reasons of devotion and knowledge of the product itself of Caceres.

Lux Lucis - Gabriele Stabile

When the sun has gone down but the evening is still clear, turn around to sit and sit at one of the Lux Lucis tables, which overlook the Carrara marble quarries overlooking the hotel park. The kitchen where the chef and his staff work hardly seems to be there. There are no walls or walls that separate it from the rest of the room and they seem to work in silence, really imperceptible. There is a table just across the street and we cannot recommend it highly enough. Valentino Cassanelli’s cuisine is what we could define as the only true – and I would add successful – attempt to suggest an author’s gastronomic experience in the village of Forte dei Marmi.

This 2022 is ten years of knowledge, experience and work in this geographical, human context, which every year must be partially reconstructed and rethought also because of its seasonal nature. If with the mullet alla marinara and mackerel in your coffee for a moment you think you are only eating your mind, your heart will come soon, thanks to the Bavetta with Lucca canestrino with crab and cocoa or the risotto with tom yum and sea urchin. We also like to try the pigeon, which provides space among the other fish dishes, as many participants always seem to feel the need, and surprise us for tenderness and craftsmanship. And while one dish follows the other, almost several wines seem to mark the rhythm of the dinner, lovingly and bravely selected by the sommelier Sokol Ndreko, which ranges from natural and local products, French wines, vintages lost in the mists of time, orange wines, Japanese liqueurs and forgotten labels. You return home – or to one of the hotel’s magnificent and modern rooms – satisfied and renewed. Because dining caressed by the setting sun, raised from the ground and surrounded by a satisfying aesthetic, allows you to understand all the nuances and details that chefs and waiters place in their gestures. Sometimes the terraces and elegance of a star-studded table serve just this: to internalize the experience.

Credits Gabriele Stable for Lux Lucis

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