Newsletter 29 del 25.02.2008
Main Sponsor Identità Golose Milano 2021

  Last monday january 28th, Identità Golose day 2, the Alajmo brothers, Massimiliano and Raffaele from Rubano-Padua’s Calandre, sent a message to Italian politicians in order to make them realize how important gastronomy is for Italy’s prestige and economy. Because of its importance we report here the full version.

Italy is the most beautiful country in the world: we must realize that our cuisine is one of the most important ‘raw materials’ upholding tourism and therefore it must be protected all over the world. That’s why we dare to send this message for those ears who are able to listen to it.
Lord of politics, here we are, measuring our value every day. We’re not asking you a life-belt, we are throwing it to you. We are not sending out an s.o.s., we ourselves are trying to lower a lifeboat. Italian cuisine may become the most authoritative ambassador of Italian food and wine products, for the benefit of our agriculture, viticulture, artisanal products and of our tourism too.
If you want to understand that this is the right way, it won’t be we or you earning from it – we often succeed in having positive budgets – but the whole country: Italy would improve her image in the world and would be much more self-confident. Economy is always a question of trust: if we have trust on both sides, investments are made and then we grow.
Think about it, lord of politics. We have already discovered our New World and we are building a New Identity. But what about you? What will you do? Will you help us or will you go on quarrelling as the world astonishes itself?”
Paolo Marchi
Identità Golose’s founder and curator

Texts by Alessandra Meldolesi, Samuele Amadori, Andrea Pendin and Gabriele Zanatta; photo by Alessandra Botticella.

Cedroni outside the discotheque: “That’s cool!”
To shrug off “the congress syndrome anxiety”, the histrionic person Moreno Cedroni starts from a basic recipe; not one of those recipes that come to you when you are walking backwards and forwards in the middle of the night worrying about who knows what Leopardian illumination, but one of those recipes that come to mind “when you were a youngster leaving the discotheque”. So? Rigatoni all’arrabbiata. So traditional? Obviously not.
There are anchovies and aubergines. The garlic and anchovies are browned. Tomatoes are added. Then the sweetness of the aubergines; sweet because they were stewed a couple of hours before. A mixture is created with the pulp. Metallic, raw anchovies are a little bitter and anyway should be treated: they are filleted, salted and chopped up. The parsley will play an important role on the palate (there is nothing superfluous here, like 90% of Italian dishes). The garlic sauce is creamy with Xantana hydrocolloids. Looking at it, the two twists of the pasta solicit the primordial desire to stick a finger inside each rigatone to fill in the time that divides the watching from the tasting.
The second recipe is almost a shame to disarrange it; we are vandals that smear a canvas that reproduces the fish garden of Portonovo: moscioli (mussels), marine critmo (wild fennel that grows on the rocks), violet potatoes, cone-shaped turbot, cuttlefish, squids, flowers of Sechuan…..
The third chapter and epilogue; the “che figata!” dish (“that’s cool”), an exclamation of post-taste jubilation, but also of substance: figs, fruit and a gravitational centre that whirls around semi-liquid omelettes, with the peel of the fruit, marmalades, sherry ice cream, saké crushed ice drinks and strips of ham.
Massimo Bottura, beyond the borders of memory
The technique continues to progress in the kitchens of Massimo Bottura’s Francescana who has marked his intervention by a sequence of slides. Here is the new restaurant, worthy habitat for the proliferation of artistic mentions. Then the dream became a reality with the Crescentina that can be eaten by celiacs with powdered Parmesan cheese, the essence of rosemary, extra-virgin oil and a powder extracted from tapioca. It is a pasta cooked in the frying pan, seasoned with a lard mousse, Parmesan cheese and rosemary oil.
To follow, the mountain sensation of the underwood reproduced with raw potato cream, nuts, black truffle, chilli essential oil, toasted pine-kernel cream with the addition of peat whisky, pore mushroom gel, chopped snails, toasted coffee powder… plus a sweet garlic mousse to cover everything according to the monochromatic style, as if under the snow seethed life: a beautiful view of the soul against the mimetic and figurative clichés.
The reminiscences rise spontaneously in homage to : the guinea-fowl, classically divided and stuffed, but served with the essence of roasted guinea-fowl extracted with the Rotovapor of the Roca, laurel gel and potato purée with olive oil and not without the baptism of traditional balsamic vinegar. All of this because the avant-garde is “to know everything and forget everything”.
The latest technique presented is the amusebouche with lyophilised Parmesan cheese, rice and white chocolate for an outcome between the meringues and the macaroons. But the last word is due to the tertium between the classical pumpkin ravioli and potato ravioli and lemon confit: it is propitiated by an American potato stuffing with lemon peel, vanilla and coffee, to evoke the self-assured overcoming of the extreme after-meal threshold.
The neo-rural cuisine of the Portinari brothers
Memories and reminiscences. Two nouns tied together but also two imperatives that today strengthen the behaviour of the Portinari brothers: Nicola the chef and Gigi the pastry-chef and sommelier. Two Vicentinians that always have the aromas of the boiling hot pots that came from the family (a big one) kitchen when they were small impressed in their mind. Now we can benefit from it, if we travel almost 100 kilometres from Venice to try the cooking that they used to try, filtered by the ardour of a “neo-rural” contemporaneousness, suggests Andrea Grignaffini on the stage behind them. The video shows images of the rice-pizza, a crust that summarises Mediterranean flavours, the fruit of a contrast between strong aromas and a surprising equilibrium, of a multi-chromatic presentation, aesthetically very effective. An image that willingly touches “sin” - pecà in Vicenza dialect, a term deliberately similar to the name of their restaurant, Peca without the accent, that means “track”. A patrimony of memories of coffee, milk and biscuits, rice and milk and “the nameless Cakes”, indigent pot pourri (and indecent, seeing the “prostitute” that stays behind without name) that were obtained putting together a little of everything: dry figs, posse apples and currants in a happy “para-monasterial” synthesis.
SEI personalities have found their authors
Bottura, Cedroni, Cracco, Crippa, Lopriore and Scabin: the sancta-sanctorum of the Italian avant-garde cuisine is finally portrayed in the book SEI (“six” in italian), a self-portrait signed by Alessandra Meldolesi and photographed by Bob Noto for the Cucina&Vini publishing house. Alessandra, keystone of this newsletter and yesterday on the stage with her Giotto bosom, is a writer with a cerebral passion. He, “a living comic character equipped with great irony and a superb eye” says Paolo Marchi, has also “the best palate in the world”. The hyperbole is of el ray Ferran Adrià, not pizzas and figs.
“What moved us” – explained Alessandra – was the desire to exceed the boundaries of the gastronomic publishing business: the photo/recipe mould, the introduction/recipe book sequence. We therefore thought of articulating the structure in themes, asking the chefs to interpret the irony rather than the food design or pasta; in this way, we achieved the result of exalting at the same time the community and the differences that cover the Italian avant-garde chefs. It also became a sort of open manifest that makes the point about the enthralling creative movement of the last decades. I hope that it becomes a historical testimony of the reflective component that supports the creations of these 6, great authors”.
Rocco Princi: let’s not generalise about bread
Rocco Princi, the “Armani of Bread”, an acquired Milanese, inaugurated the day by exhibiting a strong love for a work that has by now disappeared; the work of the breadmaker, today even more smoothed off by the bread manufacturing industry.
His passion was unleashed by facts. He confides: “I set to myself the objective to make bread as it should be made, not focusing only on the economical side, but pointing to a surplus of quality, starting with natural fermentation, a selection of flours and a good wood-burning oven”.
Parameters that must not prescind from each other to obtain bread that reminds the aromas and fragrances of the past.
The system of natural rising with mother yeast brings about much longer work times, approximately 12 hours of production with very different costs from the fake frozen bread that spreads over the counters of the supermarkets and unfortunately in the latest bakeries. To improve the bread, he also selects the salts as well as the flours, utilising integral Breton salt.
However, this artisan work must not be thwarted by bad communication towards the sales employees and the customer. The intervention concluded with a tasting, focussing on tactile and auditory sounds of the bread; the “fragrance of noise” permits the evaluation of the quality to classify an ideal bread.
Roscioli, from acid dough to beneficial bread
The bread that is prepared with an acid dough is very different from those worked with natural yeasts. So says Pierluigi Roscioli, an old school baker who operates in Rome, the latest inheritor of four generations of bakers.
You can make it with anything, from water used for boiling potatoes to a good fruit juice. It is the touch of the chef that counts; depending on the result, modifying the taste, consistency and the aroma of bread. In Roscioli’s bakery you can find the same elements that were seen three centuries ago, except for the refrigerator to preserve the yeasts. A mixer (that used to be a kneading-trough) and oven and little else. The acid dough has always existed, but now it is disappearing “because of the decline of the profession”, explains Roscioli.
In this case, the yeast used is made with decanted potato water. The flours are rich and the water is from Rome, particularly pungent. The product that is obtained is powerful with a strong aroma, close holes and a flavour maybe too strong for all combinations. However, it is wonderful and it can be eaten on its own. Roscioli is also looking after the Sant’Egidio bread: a project tied to Food for Life and the Roman charitable community of the same name. Spelt, millet and barley are the cereals used. It is a tasty bread and now they are looking for someone who can put it into production: the objective being the charity, of course. The distribution of Sant’Egidio bread seems to be the most difficult problem. But it will certainly be resolved.
Canton? There’s not only flour in his sack
Andrea Canton is one of those chefs that does not leave out any aspect of cooking and least of all bread. La Primula in San Quirino, in the Pordenone district is a restaurant where you eat fantastic “pan” (Friuli-Veneto dialect) or bread. It is better than the bread from the bakery. Canton prefers simple bread; the fatty rolls of haute cuisine block the appetite and do not clean the mouth. He does not like the acid bread, also because bread for him is used to clean the mouth between one dish and another. The oven of the restaurant is different from baker’s ovens; the technique and results are different. The fundamental aspect for the chef is in the choice of the grain. Integral flours do not exalt him; he prefers a grain with a toasted germ. The salt is not a fundamental element, but the quality of the flour, yes. Enzo Marinato is an excellent baker and he came to La Primula to teach the Canton team the right processing suitable for a restaurant’s kitchen.
Portinari and their beer with moustache
Can beer be a protagonist in Italian cuisine? Yes, at least for Luigi and Nicola Portinari. The restaurateur and chef of La Peca of Lonigo (VI) have been awarded the haute cuisine prize by Birra Moretti. An acknowledgement that was transformed into the preparation of a dish by Nicola Portinari for the guests of the lounge of Identità Golose.
It was a Scopeton con poenta, a dish with very strong tastes. It is so sharp that it is difficult for a wine to be combined with it. But a Moretti beer could. In fact, it did, seeing the dozens of persons who appreciated the combination. In the next few days, the same award will go to other chefs at the congress. It’s enough to make the Moretti Beer Trophy envious!
Aimo, another 74 of these risottos
Normally, a cake is prepared to celebrate a birthday. Aimo Moroni, historical king of the Milanese cuisine did not receive a cake. Instead, for his 74th birthday he made a risotto with his own hands, which is like a medal pinned to the chest for every Milanese. Carnaroli risotto with Sardinian saffron and taleggio cheese. A simple dish, perfect even if served at a congress and not in his Meneghinan restaurant.
Simple but of an absolute intelligence in the combination of flavours. The gluttons tasted this avatar of Aimo’s talent at the stand of Gusti da Favola, accompanied by a nobile wine from the Montepulciano Fattoria del Cerro. But the protagonist was the rice, the Carnaroli Cascina VeneriaSaiagricola Group.
Then Aimo received his award from the moved audience in the Sala delle Grida, where the applause of the public was almost like a standing ovation. But anyway, even Aimo’s risotto was moving….
Gennaro Esposito, passion versus arithmetic
Enthralling, the avant-garde cuisine in Neapolitan style proposed by Gennaro Esposito: a cooking without adjectives with a primordial appeal. It is summarised by the personal refinement between evocative and representative dishes, moved by the “weak thought” of the memory to avant-garde cleverness, without hierarchies of merit, but giving back to the customer his supremacy. This means to oppose the dominant “arithmetic cooking” made of techniques, subtractions and multiplications with the feeling and experience of the chef: “In my opinion, this is the true mood of Italian cuisine”.
To start with, a surf and turf of the third millennium, tripe with seafood and white shimeji mushrooms: once again the fifth quartering, excited by the embrace with the elegance of the clam, the iodised sensuality of the oyster, the callosity of the cockle. The classic combination of dried salted cod with dry fruit (dry figs) was then redone in a southern Italian risotto version with the soft and aromatic touch of basil pesto.
Sat Bains, the Sheriff of Nottingham
You breathe in pure UK atmosphere in the dishes of Sat Bains: a metropolitan and cosmopolitan cuisine made of advanced and melting pot techniques with Indian reminiscences and glimmers of varied times and places. But Nottingham also means Robin Hood: nature, rebellion, banditry and anarchy. Foie gras and sweet maise were the protagonists of the first course. Sat stole from the rich to give to the poor, lowering the standing of the delicatessen with a parfait drowned in caramel popcorn and in the sweet corn soup inside a small, transparent jar.
Ham, peas and eggs are a very English tris, here reawakened by advanced techniques and a contemporary thought. Here are the “seasoned” duck eggs, cooked at low temperature with coriander salt and peas in three consistencies, plus the Spanish ham and the sorbetto. “The English summer” as Sat says.
To finish off with, the hare in “eclectic” version (that for the chef means positioning it between native products and the characteristicness of the dish).
Colagreco, the lord of the citrus fruits
Grandparents from Campania, Abruzzese blood, Argentinian birthplace and a French restaurant in Menton. Mauro Colagreco is a young globetrotter who, if he was a basketball player, would have certainly been chosen for the NBA. On the Cote d’Azur he exercises with slender hands in preparing spicy, seafood dishes to serve at the table in a territory that benefits from continuous sunshine (and, just recently, also from one star).
On the stage of the Sala delle Grida, three citrus fruit offerings, the lowest common denominator of as many light, clean substantial dishes. He opens with a recipe based on sea-urchins with a cold mandarin mousse around the edge and warm coriander inside, to be picked up by spoon, before the same solution disperses molten amongst the aculeus of the black sea-urchins: the eye exults, and also the palate of those who have tasted it.
An interval with a menu of scallops with candied lemon, a lemon sauce prepared in a pickle of 2 kilos of salt and 3 kilos of sugar for months and a beetroot with balsamic vinegar that is exalted by the acidity of the lemon and the marine taste of the scallops.
The curtain falls on a dish not so noble and sublimated in elegant form: vacuum packed bacon with speck and smoothed by an orange sauce based on fennel with orange peel and pulp, the shock of the wasabi and caramelised, raw Belgian endives with olive oil and honey.
Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo: Pizza world
Pizza world: an imaginary world map of pummarola (a tomato sauce) and mozzarella cheese was the background to the Italian national anthem and the motto of the Calandre: Identità Golose, okay, but above all Italian identities.
The first video brought to the screen was the image of the Italian Boot, for better or for worse: fashion, but also gossip and rubbish, then Italian cuisine around the world, a denunciation of the sub-culture built on the myth of pasta and pizza based on touched-up specialities.
Haute cuisine française, Japanese quality system (known thanks to the Calandrino in Tokyo), the nueva nouvelle cuisine (with a strong public following unknown in Italy): the summary was an appeal with fanfares towards public opinion. “Cooking could become the Italian flag throughout the world; each of our restaurants abroad could be a showroom of the Italian agro-alimentary craftsmanship”, proclaimed Raffaele.
Massimiliano Alajmo then spoke in favour of the new Italian pastry-making, emancipated by the French matrixes. The water cake with sponge and pineapple, the pistachio and water cake (“pistacqua”) with a “communicative” milk exterior and the chocolate based on oil and water, the number one enemy of the food of the gods.
Valimaki, postcards from Finland
Identità Golose 2007: last year it was Sweden, Norway and Denmark to spread ice on the volcano of the stage in Sala delle Grida. This year, the new wave of Scandinavian cuisine has all the impetus of the Made in Finland by the giddy Hans Valimaki, here in Milan to put an incredible sampling of all, really all native raw materials on the tray.
Snow grouse meat, a beautiful bird with white feathers; the meat has the consistency and taste similar to pigeon. The accessories on the plate: pore mushrooms (yes, fantastic Artic pore mushrooms), a vegetable halfway between the form of a white spring onion and a turnip and juniper berries cooked in red wine. “Don’t expect Mediterranean colours”, says Hans, “if outside it is completely iced over in winter, the dish must be like that”. His cuisine does not warm people up because it is visually multicoloured, but because it is good. The desire almost comes to put on the skis and take the last pathway to the Artic cloudberries, sprinkled with cloudberry spaghetti (in the structural sense), cloudberry mousse and meringue cannolos filled with cloudberry ice cream.
The magnificent six of Menichetti
Six types of bread prepared for the customers of the restaurant; from the point of view of form, ingredients and concept. Andrea Menichetti (with his excellent assistant Alessio Biagi) strongly gambles on the colourful souls of this sextet. Little pizzas with rosemary, natural yeast and bread with oil. Fatty breads and their gluttonous additives modify the taste, with intelligence. Honey is his secret; it is added to stabilise the colour of the crust and humidity maintains the soft texture inside the roll. And at the Da Caino restaurant in Montemerano, they have even thought of a fabulous dish of bread. The six, that is; and Valeria Piccini, proud of this palette, carries on.
Only natural yeast, with a longer rising because of the “refresher” that is given daily to the product. For the rest, the bread is obtained with a part of mother yeast that gives the acidity to the bread. The flower instead is the Petra of the Quaglia Mill with the addition of Manitoba.
Who are the magnificent six? Oil: the ratio between acid mass and beer yeast permits slow but effective rising. The flavour on the palate is the acid of the oil. Milk: it brings back the sweet flavour of the milk and the fatty substances inside. It has a beautiful amber reddish colour. Natural yeast: “Farmhouse” bread brings back “the” flavours of the bread of the past. Ricotta cheese: Intense external crunchiness, creaminess rich with dairy aromas inside. Little rosemary pizzas: balsamic vinegar elements inside, externally crunchy accentuated by the grains of kitchen salt. Croissant with leeks and bacon: the strength and sweetness of the leeks, the spicy tone of the bacon. A classical matching.
Kavcic and a scarf to taste
Tomasz Kavcic is a glowing Slovenian chef, with ideas that are truly uncommon. “Lobster, scampi and things like that are often talked about – he explains – but it is the other things that make up emotions. In the songs about love, you never talk about lobsters, but sometimes bread and salt”.
The bread that he serves in the Gostisce Pri Lojzetu is a memory of his mother, a childhood memory. But at Identità Golose Kavcic wanted to make an experiment on a very special hot plate. His concept started from the ingredients of the marinade of ham: sweet paprika, pepper, salvia, rosemary and Terrano wine. The soup is mixed with kitchen salt and albumen.
At this point he passes to the preparation of the bread sticks. Kavcic takes the malt enriched with ivy honey (yes, really ivy), yeast and flour. He kneads it with water for twenty five minutes and the result is covered with a cloth. Then the bread sticks are cooked on the hot plate with kitchen salt. They are empty inside, ready to contain the soup previously prepared.
And now, the surprise. Everyone receives a scarf with a pocket. Inside the pocket is a mixture of heated herbs and salt. A real luxury for the neck! Hot inside, cold in the mouth with a teaspoon of creamy milk cheese. And then the delicious bread stick arrives, filled with the composite substance of all the ingredients that symbolise that border territory which Kavcic comes from. Fantastic, genial seminar.
Padoan, new bases against the decline of pizza
To say pizza by now is a generalisation; there are few chefs who make it really well. To upset part of the Italian certainties and dictate new bases for a requalification of the pizza, made as God commanded, is not easy for anyone and it was not easy even for Simone Padoan, creative pizza-maker in the restaurant Tigli in San Bonifacio.
In his simplicity, Simone is a genius at preparing the mixture: he lifts up the simple pizza to a must, exciting segment after segment, because haute cuisine catering with such a simple base, but so identifiable to a nation, is incredible.
To implement choices in favour of quality, following the rising times, permits the opening of the restaurant only in the evening, with a tasting session to appreciate the intrinsic quality of each ingredient: we start with tomatoes and mozzarella continuing with re-interpreted tuna fish and onion with fresh Sicilian tuna fish and marinated onion from Tropea. We are talking about going beyond the normal logic of pizza; this logic is another logic. The proposed service is focused on conviviality; the pizza is brought to the centre of the table in segments, and the customary order becomes a following on of courses.
Claudio and Anna nearing perfection
To define Claudio as a maniac of perfection is taken for granted, but living constantly in the kitchen with his wife Anna he has managed to keep under control every single movement in the Eataly restaurant in Turin; a union turned towards elevating Italian quality to first place.
Their strong passion for cooking is exemplified also in the art of their breadmaking; in the restaurant, they propose nine types of bread. For example, the recipe for bread sticks is coded like that of the focaccia, a type of flat bread, starting from an excellent knowledge of the raw materials and the research to find the right method of interpreting the rising. They are convinced that to obtain bread of the highest quality, two risings are necessary, which have to respect the times. Above all, the preparation is important, but around simple raw materials; water, flour and yeast. You can play around with particular shapes and combinations. An applause for a Piedmont which believes in its own abilities, supported by genial producers and as many clever chefs.