Newsletter 30 del 05.03.2008
Main Sponsor Identità Golose Milano 2021

  Here’s the report of the third day of Milan’s Identità Golose 2008, a day opened by Lidia and Joe Bastianich, two members of one of the greatest family on the whole world restaurant scene. In the meantime we’re setting up the next events: from next may 30th to june 2nd, we’ll be with our pastry lessons at Squisito, a gastronomy festival guided by Andrea Muccioli in San Patrignano, which is an important drug rehabilitation centre. Six lessons around sugar and chocolate signed Identità Squisite.
Paolo Marchi
Founder and curator

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

And the Bastianichs set sail
The heroic deeds of the Bastianichs started in 1971 when mum Lidia from Pola, Istria packed her bag to look for her fortune overseas.
Thirty seven years after, the “B-empire” numbered six restaurants on American soil – two of them with Mario Batali, another illustrious standard bearer of the Made in Italy in the U.S.A., capable of streaking white, red, green the stars & stripes But they did it. “At the start”, explains Lidia, on stage with her son Joe “it was difficult to convince the people that Italian cooking was more than just Sicily, Campania and Calabria, the embarkation ports of almost all of the emigrant wave. Then, I was anxious to handle their ingredients with our surgical know-how”.
“The turning point arrived in the 1980s”, said Joe, “when America started to import Italian delicacies daily; it was a boom time. A plate of pasta cost even 20 dollars. Luxurious Italian restaurants and trattorias appeared all over the place”. And the Bastianichs, like during the days of crossing the Atlantic, again set sail. The point of the diamond today is the Felidia in New York. Joe is a business-plan man who knows that Italian good quality has its perfect complement if guided by Yankee management: the total number of persons who today supervise the fiscal/bureaucratic aspects of the six restaurants is no less than 3,200, like a big Italian industry. To bring back to earth these monster numbers are the casseroled pigeon gnocchi that split the mega-screens of the Sala delle Grida with the cheerful power of tradition.
Perbellini: cellular renewals of the taste
They are today’s exponents of a dynasty hundreds of years old, interpreters of a biological growth of specialities and flavours that has followed on from the changing of generations. And finally they decided to unveil all the secrets of the Strachin millefoglie (so called not because it includes cheese, but because “si stracca” or extends), historical speciality of the Bovolone pastry-makers invented by the father of Titta, re-interpreted also by Giancarlo, the driving force behind a trolley full of marvellous things in his two star restaurant.
Then, the reverse running to savoury dishes with the very elegant incipit of the Essenza menu composed of frozen zabaione and smoked caviar. “The main thread in my cuisine is the sweetness, with the balanced use of sugar and syrup in the dish and the menu”, said Giancarlo, worthy son of such a pastry-chef father. “From the Strachin cream base we have created a Marsala zabaione. Then the caviar was smoked with cherry and oak wood shavings, orange peel and rosemary: it is almost like an explosive sweet and savoury candy, accompanied by a dry sheet of pastry”. Ideal reasons to award them the Zenato prize as the family of the year.
Ezio and Maurizio Santin: goings and comings in the menu
The mirror image of the Perbellinis, with the father chef and the pastry-chef son, the Santins showed to the audience effects and counter-effects that the family, generational and professional interaction unleashes in the menu (“even though it was mum who was in control”, clarified both of them).
An indomitable seventy year old like his friend Gualtiero, Ezio opened the demonstration with the classic envelope pastry stuffed with a fish ragout closed by a caviar seal, a recipe formulated to bring back the pastry in a professional form during a debacle phase.
Second sugary episode for a badly-made biscuit that has made the history of the maison (how many recipes are born like this?): the tiramisu revisited with a few shrewd changes, such as cocoa in the form of cream and the different subdivision of the sugar between the various elements.
“I very much admire the gestures of pastry-chefs”, concluded Ezio.
“When I watch them work I acknowledge the agility of the dancers”.
An elegance that the son Maurizio does not lack, who was awarded the best pastry-chef of the year prize.
Alciati: synchronisms from the Langhe in the name of Guido
Guido, I’d like that Ugo, Piero and Andrea…: the nostalgia found four winning voices in the lovely Alciati family, a Costigliole legend that today continues in Pollenzo, at the University of Gastronomic Sciences and in the family restaurants. They are mono-thematic tables tied to the market, that raise the flag of an informal product cooking, taking advantage of the synchronic division in the clan.
Taking action, mum Lidia, magician of the Piedmontese ravioli, who unveiled the tricks and secrets of a must from the Langhe to the press. The stuffing includes slowly fried onions, rosemary and carrots, the softening addition of the endive and some mixed meats, eggs and Parmesan cheese, all bundled up in an enveloping sheet of very yellow pastry and sealed by a secret.
So as not to compete with an impossible adversary, the young generation proposed a vacuum-packed rice dish with pre-cooked eel and a soya, mallow and lemon peel caramel.
Davide Scabin or the tailor-made dish
Davide Scabin continues to open new roads and travels on them alone. His careful job on primary flavours (sweet, acid, salty, bitter plus the spicy, and leaving umami to the Orientals) continues his initial phase of exploring salt. It is the Scabin Salt System that prescribes ad hoc uses of salt in the form of tablets (in various doses for the boiling of different formats according to thousands of combinations), liquids and gelatines.
A complex system design measures the individual perception and desire on an appropriate scale based on self-certification that is useful even for those on a diet. After the boîte-en-valise of the eating-house, here is another kit composed of four sprays dedicated to primary flavours, to be calibrated on the Scabin scale with a little delay on the bitter flavour for a long-term prejudice that the low doses easily destroy.
The usefulness of this system is for various reasons: for example, subtract a crucial environment from hurried-decision by the critics, whilst an identity card similar to a national health card can be organized to give to the chef when necessary. In this way, the dream of ad personam taste standardisation is outlined, with applications to be explored in the drawing up of the menu; but it is also an intelligent dodge to make up for the crisis of artisan know-how, coming close to the scientific perfection of pastry-making.
Scabin has therefore pre-announced his withdrawal from the scene for three years, to think deeply about this “national renaissance phase”.
Falaschi; the flesh is (not) weak
Sergio Falaschi is a likeable butcher who comes from San Miniato in the heart of the Arno valley. The fact that he substitutes the “h” for the “c” when he talks is a guarantee of quality. He works in a small village between Florence and Pisa, where the meat is processed as it was two hundred years ago. Falaschi cannot help himself; he must talk about the Florentine steak.
The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy was the starting point. The risk for the consumers to catch the Kreutzfeld-Jacobs disease in the 1990s was a catastrophe. Most of all because of the maturation factor, that for twenty-month old males is four weeks; the cows take less time. The meat of the male is more structured, but the real difference is in the presence of herb flavours. The fineness of flavour and taste depends on what the animal has eaten and what water has been drunk. The rib steak is the steak with greater taste and can count on being cooked more uniformly in respect of other cuts.
Falaschi serves his shop customers with rib steak. He mistrusts animals that have been grown in too much of a hurry. Good for business but not for the quality. A calf and also a pig must grow in weight at the right times. If the growth is not right the meat becomes water, it is stressed. Cattle bred in Romagna or Marche is excellent, but sometimes crossbreeds are even better.
Even about the cuts, this skilled artisan remembers that also the front quarter exists. If that part of the animal cannot be sold, the butcher is forced to buy the Florentine steaks already cut with the risk of a nasty surprise. The steak anyway is only one: a double part of meat with the rib (the bone in the middle). The name was invented by the English who lived in Leghorn. Beef steak became “bistecca” in Italian and it is only that cut with the bone. It is not to be confused with chops. If the bone is eliminated (as happened during the times of killing prions) the meat does not have time to mature.
Nonis: front quarter; noble quarter
Can you be a butcher in Portogruaro? Can you play with excellence if you don’t live in Tuscany or Rome? For Fabrizio Nonis, yes. Only that he must make double the effort to penetrate the sensitivity of the consumers.
Nonis came onto the stage of IG with Terry Giacomello, chef of the Antica Hosteria La Vicinia in Grizzo (PN).
For once they left alone the great bovine breeds Garronese or Marchigiana in favour of a less famous sister; the red Pezzata (red-dappled breed). Two cuts were put on show, the jowl and the rump. The front quarter is a mine of delicacies little exploited.
To have the meat of the red Pezzata breed, Nonis worked hard on the Austrian breeders; a long courtship to obtain biodynamic calves, bred almost wild in the zone that extends from Klagenfurt to Salzburg.
Giacomello cooked the jowl at low temperatures to maintain the texture and taste; eight hours at 82°C. A minimum threshold to select the collagen of the jowl. The dish is a meeting of sweet and savoury, hot and cold. The colour is amazing; the braised meat is not grey like it often happens. The juice is very tasty and marries with elegance to the fiordilatte ice cream.
The rump has a very soft texture because of the low cooking temperature, also at 80°C. The sweet Balearic salt and the base of curry and onions perfectly aromatised everything. The red Pezzata is to be noted in the notebook.
Rebuffi-Brun; give a shove to the boiled meat trolley
Bruno Rebuffi and Mauro Brun are the princes of boiled meat. The Milanese butchers, disciples of the mythical Ercole Villa, relate the exploits of boiled meats which, born in the times of the Roman Empire, had plenty of time for their preparations to be refined. The preference for boiled meats goes to young cattle (24 months) because the meat never turns grey, but it remains pink. Even better if a fattened well-fed female. Also castrated meat adapts marvellously.
Slaughtered Fassona Piedmont beef has only one defect; that of being very costly and it is like buying a car. There are many types of cuts and the best pieces are paradoxically the less noble parts; the front quarter above all. Shoulder, boneless chuck, brisket; the latter is a real delicacy, really juicy if minced. The boiled meats of Brun and Rebuffi start from this part of the cattle’s body. The example of the tasting is a steak tartare of shoulder, Ligurian olive oil, pepper, salt and a little Parmesan cheese. The false rib is another cut that can substitute roast beef. Then there is the side of flank that is one of the best parts for boiling with just a few fats. The brisket in many parts of Italy is consumed as beefsteak but boiling it offers the best method of cooking it. It is a muscular band of the back that arrives up to the neck. The shank and forequarter shank become gelatinous and therefore delicious boiled, but the great passion of Brun is the blade. It melts in the hand, just think when you put it in the mouth! The similarity to fillet steak is incredible. The chuck tender is dry, tender, round with a visual impact. The l.m.c. of the shoulder is lean; the shin is also very tender. Head, tongue, side of flank, rump, shank, hen, boiled pork sausage are the classic boiled meats. The more you have, the more there is. The conclusion of the seminar placed the accent on a hoary problem: the lack of culture of the personnel in restaurants with regards to slaughtering. At the hotel management school training is limited: it would be better, in the opinion of Rebuffi-Brun to have a propaedeutic preparation at secondary school. An interesting vision of the gastronomic world.
Going through the flavours of Abruzzo with Griffiths and Marchi
The photographer Ken Griffiths and the journalist Paolo Marchi, two outstanding authors to prepare a book, Sapore d’Abruzzo, by the publisher Textus, that outlines the gastronomic borders of the region of central Italy – guest to the 2008 edition of IG – that are in continuous expansion like the universe according to some astrophysicists.
The difference is that here there is no space for the questionable. So the editor Edoardo Caroccia (in the centre of the photograph) is there on the stage to dispense certainties: “Abruzzo has profoundly changed. This book joins the past with modernity. It recounts a bitter and generous nature; saffron, truffles, oil. Small towns clinging to the slopes, like Villa Santa Maria, difficult to reach but marked by the triptych products, territory, and mastery. A book that will tell outside of Abruzzo how strong Abruzzo is”.
And not with a simply popular prose: “Creativity is the feature of the book”, explains the inspirer of the project Rocco Persico (to the right), “it is not simply a book, but a book about art”. It is the same art that Patrizia Zenobi expresses in her dishes; she and the products she uses are exceptional. That is why yesterday she was given an award.
Heinz Beck, Roman Bavarian from Abruzzo
It’s Abruzzo time. Not only here and now on the stage of Sala delle Grida but in the palatal ganglions of those who have compiled the latest Italian guides to restaurants. Totalling the best votes, the magnificent 7 of Qualità Abruzzo stand out: Andrea Beccaceci of the restaurant Beccaceci in Giulianova, Lanfranco Centofanti of the Angolo d’Abruzzo in Carsoli, Carlo De Sanctis of the Angolino in San Vito Chietino, Antonello Moscardi patron of Elodia in Camarda above Aquila, Marcello Spadone of the Bandiera in Civitella Casanova, Giuseppe Tinari of Villa Maiella in Guardiagrele and Antonino Strammiello of the Paillotes in Pescara.
Acting like an over-protective mother, the neighbouring person living opposite in Lazio, Heinz Beck, the most-renowned Bavarian in Rome after Pope Ratzinger (even his Bavarian, meant as dessert, boasts a crowd of devoted fans): in Milan he unveiled a first sampling of the “fantastic raw materials of a region already great but with notable growth potential”. A crossroad that from Rome twists and separates stuffed squids and mixed fried fish, happy to find themselves again at home on the convivial tables of their native Pescara.
Peppino Tinari, the Antonio Santini of Central Italy
“He is the Antonio Santini of Central Italy, with a sharp eye open on every angle of the restaurant”. This was how Paolo Marchi introduced Peppino Tinari, a restaurateur with roots well planted in a biodiversity where the lambs graze and flavours blossom bucolically.
At the gas rings, his wife Angela has made touches to the re-visitations that together with the products represent the real feature of the restaurant. Lamb’s liver cooked in the old way, seasoned with egg and cheese because the meat was not enough. It was turned upside down, making the liver an envelope for what was before the sauce: as a complement, a sauce of lamb and mint, onion with honey and a crouton with saffron.
To follow: the white lamb ragout, served with pasta alla chitarra lightened and refined by the water on a layer of tomatoes. The key that brings the ingredients together are the aromatic herbs (the myrtle and juniper in the marinade, the savoury in the cooking).
Talent, pathos, generosity: Niko Romito
Niko Romito, a rising star of Abruzzo. Not too rising given that in Rivisondoli the Star is already alight for some time, together with the attention of a growing slice of gastro-trotters that recommend or eat and that’s it.
Niko is a guy in a secluded village who spurs himself on with a pathos that embraces great talent, inspiration and – only a few underline this – generosity. If necessary, he stays all night with his hand on his chin and waits, yawning, for the overnight cooking to give the desired results. Then the day after he is happy to illustrate all the alchemies of the dishes with the affection of a father who proudly shows photographs of his sons and daughters to those who occupy the twenty-odd seats in the restaurant Reale. Yesterday, two easily approached recipes (“no difficulties in my restaurant”): glazed, roasted shin “with a 1980s browning”, but with a simple and classic base that also includes browning the shin bones. Great aromas and concentration; besides scorched and crispy onions, carrots and celery.
Then the second dish, the crispy expression of tongue of beef: the additions change – and also the jazzy swing in the background – but not the delicate total. The poor organ goes to heaven along with the sweet milk, which he cooks stewed at very low temperatures. Niko brushes the shapes of cauliflowers, potatoes, and baby onions in a raspberry sweet/sour sauce together with coal oil on the plate. Abruzzo, what else?
Marcello and Bruna Spadone: sensations of the farmyard
Again a family and again from Abruzzo. In this case, Marcello Spadone, escorted by his wife Bruna Sablone, inseparable at the gas rings of the Bandiera in Civitella Casanova. The extra something comes from the synergy with the producers, that lavish piedmont specialities wisely flavoured by bramble herbs.
The curtain rises on the treasures of an Abruzzo farmyard, with its praiseworthy meats. To start with: the traditional hen broth, cooked again very slowly (approximately eight hours) without stopping the boiling ever. Accompanying a little timbale with layers of “small balls” of hen meat, Caciocavallo cheese, whipped Mozzarella with a drop of milk, wild thistles and beaten eggs with lemon; to finish with, a crispy Caciocavallo cheese to contrast the textures.
Then, the stuffed guinea fowl with small livers and a mixed puree of potatoes and small round beans that are really tender because they are without the skins and evanescent to the palate. “You just need to open the door of the home to find treasures. We chefs are fortunate”, said the chef modestly.
Baldassarre: Abruzzo roads that go to Rome
Fabio Baldassarre is a chef that Heinz Beck, taking the Rome-Pescara highway saw racing in the opposite direction with the look of one who wants to find his way to someone’s heart with an Abruzzo ram on the Rome palates without haughtiness; in fact with great modesty.
The objective is aimed for; clientele and fame of the “continuous restaurant” L’Altro Mastai demonstrate that Fabio guessed correctly that day in which, preparing spaghetti, garlic, oil and chilli, “precise, nice and good”, decided to continue on the pattern of the haute cuisine in a systematic way.
Yesterday, the emulsion of cabbage with marrow, orange confit with anchovies (plate one) and pigeon breast with chicory and nuts (plate two) told the story about blue fish in a passionate embrace with meat, vegetables sniffed with the nose of a bloodhound (also in Campo de’ Fiori), Bagnacaoda (an anchovy dip, served with vegetables), chicory and then the allochtonous calibrated indulgences, alternated logics of fragrance and softness, memories of ash and smoke that give warmth and aroma. Fires like the time machine that scan his being. That more than being in becoming since “there is no day in which I do not put myself in question”.
Fabrizio Camplone and the Abruzzo sweet life
The Abruzzo pasty-making walked onto the stage in the guise of Fabrizio Camplone, eminent, multi-awarded professional from Pescara. He dives into the regional specialities: from desserts exchanged between fiancés recalling D’Annunzio, passing to a sampling of products discovered with anthropologist zeal and selected with the nose of a talent scout.
A Dvd illustrated two territorial creative specialities to the public: a single-portion dessert inspired to the parrozzo (sweet from Pescara) loved by D’Annunzio, surprisingly juicy thanks to the composite and colourful filling, followed by an olive oil sponge cake with a Montepulciano grape jam filling (the so-called scrucchiata complete with skin that crackles when bitten) and Pecorino cheese ice cream, dusted as a finishing over the dessert.
Cazzamali-Capaldo: the fifth column of the butcher’s shop
What a couple, Franco Cazzamali (photo) and Sergio Capaldo! A Lombardian butcher and a Piedmont breeder. An explosive combination with an infinite bovine culture. The strange couple’s objective are the offals. The offals must come from an animal of great quality. This can happen only if the animal is fed well. The aromas in the meat exist, and how.
First Cazzamali sniffs it between the shoulder and neck because it is there the aromas are centred; it is a litmus paper of the goodness of the product. Corata that is lungs, liver, heart of the calf; these are the offals.
The meat must be mature and it must have gone through all its stages of ripening. Let’s start with the liver; it must not tend to be green – this is a sign that the animal has suffered. If it has a vivid colour, that’s okay. The oesophagus is underrated, but it is a very valid part of the animal. There are also the rumen, the honeycomb stomach and the omasum that are the fore-stomachs, then there is the lampredotto which is the abomasum, a traditional delicacy.
The spleen is rich in iron and vitamin B; from the traditional point of view it is fantastic, but only if the skin is eliminated which makes it bitter. Sweetbreads, the “lacèt” are the lymph nodes of the bovine. There are three different groups.
Cazzamali recommends cutting them into small pieces and frying them. Capaldo likes them alla finanziera. The pork meat from the rumps in breadcrumbs and fried has communication problems; shame, because it is another element worthy of praise. The omentum is from the pig, because calf’s omentum has a different fat composition which changes the flavour of the product. The head, including the tongue, determines the breed. And it is not beef, because beef is a calf that has changed two sets of teeth which then becomes an ox.
The Piedmont breed has a dark tongue, almost black. The jowl is a different muscle; it has an almost sweet flavour with a good percentage of fat. The testicles must not be forgotten; they are not as delicate as those of a horse but with the right cooking become fundamental on the whole. The kidneys are okay and then there is the heart that is a piece that has been recently recuperated. If the carver knows what he is doing and follows the curve of the meat, the result is considerable.
The use of the fifth quarter is also a respectful fact towards nature and the breeder. Nothing should be thrown away because five years are needed to produce one kilo of meat.
Graziano Di Nisio and the identikit of the wild oar
Graziano Di Nisio is an Abruzzo butcher who lives in a land so rich with wooded areas that the wild boar argument is a hot theme. On the bench is placed a captured wild oar, ideally a female around 40 kilos.
The fact that it is wild and has eight days maturation does not stop the tissue from being tender a characteristic of the animals that live in the Maiella area. To conserve this characteristic, Di Nisio prefers pre-cooking at a low temperature and vacuum packed.
The tones of the wild in this product are light and anyway are exalted positively by the seasoning, a mix of spices, wild herbs, pepper and salt.
The wild pig is roasted with spices and cooked in the oven at 170°C. Vegetables? For Di Nisio they are not necessary, but if it is necessary to enrich the plate, peeled chestnuts are ideal.
The best preparation for short ribs and leg is on the spit. Simple, effective and respectful of the material.
Loin, fillet and sirloin are without doubt the cuts preferred by Di Nisio, but they are also the most banal cuts to put on the plate.
These processes have a great history, because at Villa Santa Maria Francesco Ferrante Caracciolo founded his cooking school. Here the chefs hunted and cooked at the service of this personality, who then became the Patron Saint of chefs. It is evident that Di Nisio must be one of his protected.
Philip Cranston and the perfect beefsteak
The day of the meat concluded with a wonderful gastronomic comparison with foreign countries, defining the main points to obtain a perfect beefsteak, presented by Eblex and Philip Cranston, president of the English National Butcher’s Association, voted as such to promote the excellence of all English bovine meat. To obtain the maximum on the plate, it is necessary to respect at least four rules.
The breed comes first, but the environment is also very important and therefore the nutrition that must not be depreciated by the successive phases after breeding.
In fact, it is important to effectuate a precise slaughtering that varies from breed to breed and from female to castrated cattle. The maturation of at least 14 days is fundamental to obtain a good ripening and a better texture.
Electric stimulation of the half carcasses is an important phase to maximise the maturation of the meat, that allows for the reduction of the residual energetic level thereby obtaining a surplus of tenderness and juiciness, because the meat refrigerates more quickly.
The Weatheralls and the wild game of Scotland
We go from deer to ducks, pheasants to teals, continuing with woodcocks and snipes (in the photo, an elaboration) from the deep Scottish identity and selected following strict seasonal periods.
The Weatherallswant to continue with all of this wild game, in a sustainable farm project, only by selling quality. It is therefore necessary to follow each phase carefully, from the hunting to the packaging to preserve everything. The Yorkshire Game wild game is packaged in the best way to safeguard its very high quality, mainly due to the Scottish nutritional biodiversity. Benjamin confides to us that all cuts of the deer are sold, but the best cuts are the saddle and fillet, without forgetting the offal that is consumed as haggis.
Game fowl hunting commences on the 12th August like a ritual and for each fowl captured there’s a party. Thanks to the great experience in the field, Yorkshire Game sells all year round and product is sold outside the United Kingdom by Internet and in Italy through Selecta.