Rocco Caggiano Braceria: Where Fire Takes Command in the Kitchen

At Rocco Caggiano Braceria, the kitchen is not conventional. There are no stoves nor ovens. What it does have are two roaster parilla grills and a Josper oven. Here, every single dish, starting from appetizers up to the desserts, is crafted over a charcoal grill.

Once an Aragonese customs house built in 1467 where travelers once passed by to refresh themselves, the restaurant has gone through a thorough refurbishment but maintains its elegant rustic charm, an ambience that envelops guests in a warm and hospitable environment. Stone highlights the structure, both on the walls and on the floor, mixed with recycled ancient slats of wood from the 18th century.

The eye catcher is the open kitchen giving visibility to the progress of the chefs working on the grills. The restaurant itself is small, with a just few tables that can accommodate about 25 guests. Underground, amongst the bottles and hanging cured meats of the compact cellars, there are a few more small tables. There is also a small outdoor courtyard that can accommodate more guests when the weather commands a warmer temperature. 

Given that owners Rocco Caggiano and wife Iolanda Blasi come from families of butchers in the territory, working with meat is second nature to them, thus they opened the restaurant next to the family's historical butcher shop, next door in 2021. Their passion for their work extends to a more profound research and studies on refined butchery and maturation techniques.

Rocco Caggiano Braceria is a celebration of Irpinia’s rich heritage where each dish narrates a tale of tradition, knowledge, and flavor. This primordial cooking style is a pioneering project that also supports the local producers in the vicinity where they procure their fresh ingredients. Products such as vegetables, fruits, hazelnuts, herbs, cheese and wine are proudly local. Dining here is like taking a step back in time, immersing oneself in a gastronomic narrative of all gastronomic angles of the territory dedicated to the nobility of fire. It is the very element that Rocco uses to build the ancestral cuisine that take out the uniqueness of qualities that the ingredients give imbued with smoky notes.

From top to bottom: Angus, Angus Burger and Wagyu

Maturation of Meat

Maturation is a fascinating process steeped in history, transforming meat into a product of exceptional quality. This art requires dedication and a deep understanding of the process from selecting the right meat, maintaining optimal temperature and humidity, and determining the precise maturation period are all critical to achieving excellence. The practice of maturation dates back to ancient times when slaughter occurred only at the end of an animal's productive life. Muscles, hardened by age and labor, required a maturation process to become tender and flavorful. Simultaneously, butchers needed effective preservation methods to prevent spoilage.

Today, maturation occurs in specialized cold rooms with controlled temperature and humidity. The meat rests for periods ranging from 20 to over 200 days, depending on the cut and the desired outcome. During this time, natural enzymes break down muscle fibers, tenderizing the meat and enhancing its flavor profile. The result is meat that is not only more tender but also richer in taste. Maturation enhances the organoleptic qualities of meat. Fats are evenly distributed, enriching the meat with a succulent taste. Additionally, the process develops complex and refined aromas, making each bite a unique sensory experience. 

Rocco employs a unique technique involving noble molds, which drain liquids without oxidation. This process, spanning from 100 days to even one thousand days, results in meats with a distinctive white color and rich aromas reminiscent of buttery biscuit and herbs.

A Menu Focused on Quality

The selection is concise yet refined, featuring appetizers, mostly grilled of course, but also with a possibility for a raw beef tartare or a charcuterie board and an array of premium meats to choose from. From Italian Scottona and Spanish Frisona to Chianina T-Bone, Rubia Gallega, Angus, Simmental, and Wagyu, every cut is selected and treated with utmost care, ensuring exceptional quality and maturation. Accompanying the meat are grilled local vegetables or potatoes cooked in the ashes which is an exceptional choice especially when drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

For dessert, grilled fruit is a spectacular way of ending a meal like the grilled pear with ricotta cream and dark chocolate by master chocolatier Franco Cataruozzolo or the grilled peach with mascarpone cream. 

There are two tasting menus: Five courses for €100, with possibility to pair with wines at €50 or seven courses for €150 with possibility to pair with wines at €70.

Rocco Caggiano Braceria

Address: Corso Vittorio Veneto N320, 83035 Grottaminarda (AV), Italy
Tel: +39 3517532244