FvF Cooks: Sicilian chef Fabio Adesso on the traces of travel in his crowd-pleasing desserts - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

FvF Cooks: Sicilian chef Fabio Adesso on the traces of travel in his crowd-pleasing desserts


Outside a tiny hole-in-the-wall espresso bar in Mitte, Berlin, a memorable sign announces, ‘Probably the best coffee on the street.’

It is both tongue-in-cheek and a wry statement of fact as Lekkamokka is the only one of its kind along the short stretch. Just a stone’s throw from the FvF headquarters, the shop’s array of baked goods are a daily temptation. Proprietor, Fabio Adesso shut his doors early in order to host afternoon tea at the FvF Apartment. He brought with him a selection of treats including a box of Sicilian pistachios, a boutique blend espresso by way of Catania, and enough chocolate to sink a ship.

Originally from the city of Catania, nestled at the foot of dormant Mt. Etna on Sicily’s east coast, Fabio’s zest for travel has taken him on global culinary pursuits. He’s worked in New York, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Dublin, and Barcelona, focusing on everything from coffee to Italian-Catalan cuisine. “Sometimes I just look at the atlas and pick somewhere—no, I’m joking! Coming to Berlin had been this thing at the back of my mind for a while,” he says. “Now I’m here, speaking my coffee-German.”

Despite his experience, Fabio shirks any labeling fanfare. He prefers to simmer down to franker terms, citing his Mediterranean upbringing and determined attitude. “I’m not a baker or a chef I just watched my granny and my mum growing up,” he says. “I’m proficient because I do it for a living but I’m not trained or anything. I’m curious, I like to observe. I’ve had two main passions, food and traveling. I’ve just combined the things, it’s easy,” he says matter of factly. “Along the way I’ve developed more passions of course, but these have been the constants in my life.”

Simplicity and passion are themes Fabio returns to again and again during our conversation. “I think that’s the main thing,” he says. “When you do something for money, it shows. When you do something that you like or you love, that shows, too. Passions—that’s what makes a life. As long as I’m mixing and making stuff, I’m happy.” The afternoon tea menu is indulgent and something of a global tasting. Dense porter chocolate cake harkens back to Fabio’s time in Dublin—it comes smothered with a dollop of chocolate fudge sauce and a crumbling of the pistachios, sourced from Bronte, a town 30km from Catania, that boast to grow the best in the world. Slabs of white chocolate fudge squares also feature the pistachios as well as citrus peel, and cranberries—and when cut, they bring to mind the very colour riot of Sicilian cassata, whether intentional or not. To top it off are a classic—huge discs of chocolate chip cookies with hazelnuts. It’s the kind of degustation that leaves you satisfied into quietude and a pleasant, calorific lull.

Chocolate Chip Cookies


    • 1 280g softened butter
    • 2 360g brown sugar
    • 3 7g salt
    • 4 2 eggs
    • 5 380g flour
    • 6 180g hazelnut crocanti
    • 7 360g dark couverture chocolate (chopped)


  • Preheat oven to  200°C
  • Mix the butter and salt, then add sugar and sifted flour. Fold in the eggs, and finish by adding the chopped ingredients
  • Shape the dough into rolls 4cm in diameter approximately, and cut into 1cm thick slices
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet, and bake for approx. 10-12 minutes. The cookies should look slightly undercooked when finished. Allow to cool on a rack

Note: Inspired by Alain Ducasse’s cookie recipe

White Chocolate Fudge with Bronte Pistachios and Cranberries


    • 1 680g white chocolate
    • 2 120g roughly chopped pistachios
    • 3 120g roughly chopped cranberries
    • 4 100g candied orange zest
    • 5 50g butter


  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Melt the chocolate and the butter in a bain-marie, stirring until smooth
  • Once melted stir in all dry ingredients, reserving 30g each of the dried fruits
  • Spread out evenly on the baking sheet, and then sprinkle the reserved ingredients on top
  • Refrigerate until firm then cut to desired size

Chocolate & Porter Beer Cake


    • 1 250g porter beer
    • 2 250g  butter
    • 3 75g cocoa powder
    • 4 400g caster sugar
    • 5 140ml cream
    • 6 2 eggs
    • 7 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 8 250g flour
    • 9 2.5tsp baking soda
    • 10 Pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Heat beer and butter gently
  • Allow to cool
  • Sift flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, salt and mix together
  • Add all the liquids and gently hand whisk until smooth
  • Line two small baking tins with parchment paper
  • Bake for approx 30 minutes

Thanks, Fabio, for closing up early to host afternoon tea—it was our pleasure. Stop by Lekkamokka when in Mitte, Berlin, to sample the treats for yourself.

Interview & Text:Ruby Goss
Photography:Robert Rieger