Newsletter 31 del 21.03.2008
Main Sponsor Identità Golose Milano 2021

  Here’s the last report of the fourth edition of Identità Golose, Milan. It was an extraordinary day, starred by British chefs and pastry-chefs, with the exception of Sat Bains, who was on stage 2 days before.
So many emotions given by each of them, starting from Heston Blumenthal, a real spellbinder.
In the meantime we’re working not only on the fifth Italian edition, wich will take place in Milan on 2009, but also on the first british edition, scheduled on October 2008. The congress will show the best Italian cuisine. But not only.
Paolo Marchi
Founder and curator

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

Andoni: whirls and aphorisms on the threshold of tasteless
What does useful mean in gastronomy? The Basque Andoni Luis Aduriz has chosen to alternate his recipes with a series of aphorisms on innovation. The handbook states: Hazard: scientists have studied the alpha waves of our brain, discovering that an excess of concentration hinders from finding the right solution.
Bazaar: sometimes creativity is the result of need, even if it is sad to say it; like people in the souk who give you wrenches to sell you something.
Non-conformism: never say “I could have done…”, a chef shall always dream and try.
Mistake: a chef has the right to make mistakes, because if he succeeds 1 recipe out of 10, after all it’s okay.
And finally, Identità Golose: “el congreso mas honesto, lindo y tranquilo del mundo”.
In the middle, the sophisticated recipes of the Mugaritz, increasingly directed towards ironical, lyrical and mimetic styles. The fanfare of the first course sounded like a declaration of intents : kaolin potatoes, a Dadaist masterpiece thrown to hostile clients as the stones of those who aren’t guilty.
Then a bucolic course built on 3 “traditional” pillars of the Mugaritz entourage: fern leaves which are burnt keeping their original shape, the hay curd made with goat’s milk and the Lactose caramelized pumpkin. Tastes on the edge between tasty and tasteless, which enhance consistencies and set “modest” ingredients free.
Third act for a “meat” carpaccio with garden sorrel and grilled tomatoes, passed off to a gourmet as a veal fed with figs. A trompe-l’oeil actually made of dehydrated water melon cooked over charcoal which turns the historical Adrià’s mixed grill into a hymn to Spanish meat.
The ironical trend went on with a raid into the world of cosmetics, mirror of the vanilla foam baths on the shelves of the supermarkets. Here we have blue fish with oat milk, rice and alginate soap bar covered with bubbles obtained with the technique of the pompas.
To end up, beef meat soaked into vegetable dyes until seeming burnt, served with bread sticks like burnt slices of a deep monochrome black color. The hundredth laugh on the codified concept of “good”, which explodes after formal investigations on the desired cooking point.
Heston Blumenthal and post-modern cooking
A travel through post-modern cooking. Post-modern because the objective of Heston Blumenthal is in the brain of his clients and not in their dish. A chef who doesn’t prepare meals any more but emotions, multi-sense gratifications.
“Technique is secondary, the brain is the most important thing for us – he explains -. Emotions and feelings are at the base. What is in the dish is just one of the aspects of a great meal. The environment, the occasion and the company are equally important elements”.
Emotional states influence perception. All his dishes are based on the same concept. They seem something but they are something else. Blumenthal is like Andy Kaufman: astonishment first of all.
The first dish shown has been completed for Christmas and is called Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
Blumenthal has followed the way of the three Wise Men. In Oman he took the resin of old incense trees and distilled it. He captured its essence, as a new Grenouille. The result, which the audience could taste, was an incense film, extremely delicate and very scented. The other taste was a disk with the scent of the “babe in a manger”.
He then prepared a perfectly filtered broth and put it into the freezer dryer. The broth became honey and then a broth cube. It is melted and filtered with a cloth or coffee filters. In this way, the molecules of the aroma are preserved. The covering was made of golden leaves. The core of the course was a Bavarian cream, coffee, saffron, pistachios, cardamom and pickled small onions, sea urchin and her majesty the myrrh. An incense tea is added to gold and myrrh, similar to the film given to the audience.
The second dish is a hot sherbet. A perfume manufacturer, Cristophe Laudemiel, created its essence.
Water, dehydrated apple flakes, Gelan. It is quickly cooled, then a fine grain sherbet is prepared. The sherbet has been placed on a dish with leather edges. Dry ice underneath, flamed whiskey above and the aroma was diffused over the table. A way to go back to childhood, to give the idea of a lit fireplace, the leather armchair and a glass of whiskey.
In the Sala delle Grida he has produced the same effect of his restaurant: flower-boxes full of dry ice, a scent of wood in the whole hall and flowers. All this thanks to the Gelan, a natural chemical invention of an English scientist.
The series of courses to tell his art went on in this way, from a synesthesia to another.
Witnessing that some foreign chefs really travel over another planet.
Carlo Cracco: avant-garde in the menu
Carlo Cracco and Matteo Baronetto brought on the stage a less technical and showy cooking, of a more classical kind: “I’m not a magician like Heston, but may be I have people think more”, started the chef from Vicenza. And from sea exercise-books to wafer sheets, going through the paths of feeding on books and documents, we arrived to paper rice, a vaguely playful virtuosity on cooking which becomes a speech. “I like using simple ingredients and preparations approaching them in a different way”, he explained: a poetry moving forward by quick and unforeseeable leaps against the immobility of habit.
First example, the transubstantiation of mustard into a sweet and delicate white caviar, cooked with clarified butter, polished with milk, drained and naturally thickened with starch. It seasons a lasagna with yolks marinated with tripe, the reminiscent Fiolaro broccoli and a creamy sauce, enhancing the shape and consistency of grains in a new way.
Then the above risotto made of wafers made into pellets, dried and cooked like rice, to be seasoned with pine-seed powder fry and prawns and classically whipped with Parmesan cheese, while the irony a bit uncontrolled of a certain avant-garde is exalted.
To end up, again rice even though this time is the real one: a cream of milk and basmati rice made lighter using the trick of the jute sack, sprinkled with venere rice powder, milk foam, coffee powder and sea urchins (as in the mythical spaghetti). To finish with coffee contact lens, a divertissement inclined to non sense originated from an accidental leak in the kitchen. They aren’t lens, but a coffee caramel…
AP and AM
Jacques Décoret autumn taunts
After the Three Musketeers of Europe, it is the turn of D’Artagnan’s foil to seal the quadrilateral of continental whim. Jacques Décoret knows well where to land: “creativity is amazing the client”. However with no arrogance, because he acknowledges that artist is a lexical evolution of artisan. In fact, in Milan too, he has chosen to dirt his hands in the kitchen instead of the front-desk of the Sala delle Grida.
First experiment, a street recipe that falls from the gray asphalt into the cleanliness of the dish: roast chestnuts in three different consistencies that is actually roast chestnuts, chestnut paste and raw chestnut emulsion long let in infusion with milk and butter, and skins grilled beside. "A dish to be tasted blindfolded", Jacques suggests -, a telegram from his native Vichy, a late autumn flash which, according to Blumenthal , casts us a step behind winter.
Leaves are falling around those mushrooms with garlic and parsley, a classical dish the chef has transfigured into a soup with bread, garlic batter, champignons which lighten the palate slap of wild mushrooms.
Another classical dish lightened by Décoret’s interpretative method, the choucroute, a sort of colored hotchpotch, an Alsatian rainbow striped by foie gras, red cabbage purée, cardoons, infusion with veal gravy, juniper berries: a still life which is bursting with vital force.
The award to Lander and the cultural challenge of S.Pellegrino
Nicholas Lander of the Financial Times is the ambassador of the cooking of the world. “Journalist by vocation and not by chance”, Paolo Marchi explained, he received the award from the hands of Giacomo Giacani, “because”, said the brand manager of San Pellegrino, “he was able to diffuse the cooking of the world, mainly talking about culture”.
And also the challenge of San Pellegrino is a cultural one, which led it to unceasingly promote matchings of food to wines for four days. Because it is time to make a step forward: focusing on the water-wine marriage to make a ritual already used in the rest of Europe customary in Italy too. A Water Wine Tasting to become aware consumers of what is the most common and most precious resource: water.
Attention was focused on the matching between the natural water Acqua Panna, and the sparkling water San Pellegrino with a white and a red wine. Acqua Panna is soft but full-bodied, a good ally for the aromatic tones of a white wine. On the contrary, San Pellegrino is able to win the hardness caused by tannins, with an effect which calms the typical astringent character of a full-bodied red wine. A water-wine combination giving great tasting results.
Giulia Corradetti
Bastianich/Grana Padano, a dream tandem
Grana Padano, the made in Italy is still shining like a Tiffany’s jewel. At Identità Golose, the consortium of the renowned seasoned cheese gave moments of excellence, as it happened on Tuesday. Lidia Bastianich, star of Italian cooking, was awarded the Grana Padano prize (the picture shows the stand at Palazzo Mezzanotte) directly from the hands of the president of the consortium Nicola Baldrighi. Then Felidia (a name freely borrowed from the most famous of the 6 restaurants of the family) and her cooking team prepared some appetizers, perfect examples of how this marvelous cheese can be used in every occasion.
Wafers of Grana and polenta stuffed with a cream of mascarpone cheese and apples. Then, they offered a fondue with sautéed mushrooms, speck, salad and cucumber.
The same team organized a tasting of the three most delicious types of Grana: twelve, sixteen and twenty months. The latter turned out be a product to lose one’s head. This event for gourmets has been prepared by the chef Fortunato Nicotra of the restaurant Felidia in New York.
Nobody better than Lidia Bastianich could bring the image of a product envied in every corner of the planet, around the world. This is why yesterday night celebrations went on at the restaurant Il Liberty in Milan.
The Amazon vocabulary of Alex Atala
In the afternoon, dances are opened by the Brazilian Alex Atala, even though not with the carioca carnival samba but rather with the syncopated rhythm of the wild bossa nova. It is the polyphonic sound track of Amazonia, played by an unprecedented biodiversity and orchestrated with a hand unknown to his fellow-countrymen by a man having Palestinian blood and being, not by chance, a former deejay.
However, his approach has nothing fashionable, festive or glamorous while it reveals the reflective naturaleza of Michel Bras, an anarchic spirit whose example “spurred me like no one else”. However, there is also the anthropological “Raw and cooked” of Claude Lévi-Strauss to open his way with the machete among the bushes and to direct with the four sided scheme of fire (rotten –raw –cooked - toasted) his gas-rings and those of the audience, mainly women, hanging on his tattoos.
Here is a new tropical lexicon, such as the jabuticaba sherbet, a fruit from the same family of bilberry which Atala associated to wasabi: as if in the Amazon rain forest Japanese crucifers were grown, from which the radish of the East is obtained.
No crossover, instead, in the consommé scented with herbs from the garden and the forest: the chef takes from the first one ciboulet, cerofolio, coentro, azedinha, beet, perennial wall-rocket, mache, mentruz; from the second jambu, caruru, alfacava from Parà. New terms which resound in the world haute cuisine with the crash of a torcida.
Shane Osborn: darned allergy
May creativity soar over food problems which are on the brink of pathology? Four years ago Shane Osborn, native of Australia with French professional origins, developed a broad food allergy. It could be the end of a career but on the contrary it became the keystone of a renaissance of his style and his expectations. The allergy to fish and shellfish, which he never recovered from, in fact became the standard of his culinary game, a rail made of discipline which may direct creativity and energy towards unexplored ways.
Scallops: he cannot even touch them. His assistant places the fine carpaccio in the dishes, decorates it with cucumber softened at low temperatures, Italian tomatoes, broth with lime peel, coriander and basil as well as a fresh avocado purée. Then, a coley with leeks and marinated Jerusalem artichokes. All mental tastes, built with the simulations of memory always making the chef’s mouth water (“I would do anything to eat them!”).
“Some days ago they asked me what I would like to eat before dying: certainly a fish dish, at this point…” the chef concluded sardonically.
The importance of being Paul Cunningham
Heston Blumenthal and Shane Osborn are doctors, I feel more like a worker”, says Paul Cunningham at his début in Milan. A force of the nature, some time ago he decided to move with humility from Great Britain to Denmark, land of his woman Lene and of the one-name restaurant The Paul in Copenaghen.
Last Sunday he was walking along the coast with his son looking for sea herbs, “a tasty summary pushed by tides”. The memory of his childhood is the starting point which culminates in a strong, decided, rustic and natural approach to the dish. He presents with efficacious humor and rare kindness two , revisited mirrors of his territory, mainly marine: oysters, prawns, algae and mascarpone cheese (dish one) and rabbit with scampi, almonds, aioli sauce and rape oil (dish two). He closes in a nice way with a sentence that we all hope to be prophetic: “… and you haven’t seen anything yet”.
Sanjay Dwivedi: travel to India (via London)
Born in India, awarded with Michelin starts, Sanjay is the alter ego of Pascal Barbot according to Roberta Corradin: a person who enriches his concept of professional cooking with exotic cues. After classical bases, challenging the prejudices against a colored commis, his pans passed by the Maldives. A necessary moment of reflection to define his project of technically correct Indian cooking, free from greasiness and the excess of spices and today the core of the proposals of the London restaurant Zaika.
Ready, get set, go! With a purée of cardamom and toasted fennel seeds, yogurt and chick-pea cream to give a nut touch. Instead of liquid nitrogen, a good aromatic barbecue and two spitfuls, matched to a rice and lentil flour dough and a teaspoon of spicy salmon eggs: the Indian food as you never dared imagine it, “cooked with heart, as mum’s dishes in our childhood memories”.
It has been only the first plunging into the aromatic mysteries of India, followed by a delicious and hot curry with chili paste, curry and lime leaves which, this time, do not cover the original tastes of the product.
Maurizio Morelli, an Italian in England
A poker of ravioli for an Italian living in London: they enabled him to easily get free from the bottlenecks of the typical cooking of emigrants. Okay for quantities, says Maurizio, because the British capital city is crowded with Italian restaurants; but if we talk about quality, things become more difficult, even today that excellent raw materials are easily available, including regional specialties. The challenge is playing the card of creativity abroad too, against the Parmesan Käse and other media stereotypes, as 10-15% of three-colored restaurants do. And of course Latium is among them.
He proposed four different fish ravioli as regards both the dough and the stuffing, served according to increasing tastiness; but there are also sweet ravioli (imitating Strudel, Sicilian cassata and piña colada) and matchings chosen by the client.
Lair Costet: the right sugars of chocolate
The real development of haute restauration and modern pastry-making lies in relying increasingly more in food technological experts to obtain the necessary techniques to enhance the inner properties of raw materials. Thanks to the biochemical knowledge of Sophie Costet in the field of sugars, Valrhona succeeded in proposing unique creations, such as the beautiful preparations which, starting from maltitol, create a perfectly balanced chocolate carré called Xocoline, with more delicate sugar notes and a unique delicacy.
The sugars added to chocolate are first used to balance with sweetness the bitter mass, but they are fundamental as moisteners and for this reason, since they capture water, they have to be carefully taken into consideration for the final result of delicacy and tastiness.
Therefore, starting from an excellent chocolate is not enough: it is necessary to work in any phase under different points of view. At Valrhona, Sophie is the evidence of the importance of the team, since she works close to maître patissiers, as it is the case of Fusco, and has succeeded in creating new recipes both to improve and innovate, without forgetting the specific trends of taste.
Gianluca Fusto and the beauty farm in the dish
There is nothing more ambitious for a course, a sweet or a cocktail than bearing a name like “Water”. But Gianluca Fusto, maitre patissier working at Valrhona, came to a congress of creative cooking right with the idea of preparing… Water under the careful eye of Frederic Bau.
Water is the lowest common denominator of all the parts of a dish. A double fil rouge because, besides water, the idea of well being is very strong. All the ingredients are well being at their purest state. There is chocolate, of course, Caraibe 66%, but also the Matcha green tea gel, which has excellent anti-oxidizing properties. And also the Victoria baby pineapple and the ginger liquid. A creative and greedy beauty-farm.
The base is a chocolate creamy mousse. The mixer breaks the fat particles of the cream and the more the molecule chains are broken the more the result is velvety. The mousse shall almost be without air, this is why Fusto chooses the carafe. Using the minipimer, the product results more homogeneous. The cream becomes liquid and is crystallized; then it is ready for the sac à poche.
In the meanwhile, a green tea gel has been prepared and, previously, pineapples have been cut in small cubes and vacuum cooked. The ginger liquid is inspired by Ferran Adrià: a yogurt base and a treatment in water with arginate.
Finally, the Matcha crushed ice is prepared. The ice is left coarse, a kind of granulate. The final result is a PVC foil with different layers in the dish. The decoration is made with red and golden cocoa, homage to China and its culture.
Carcangiu: chocolate wild boar for everybody
Following the Italian tradition of matching meat with chocolate, such as Piedmontese rabbit with cocoa or the wild boar meat Tuscan style, Roberto Carcangiu proposes a wild boar cube with chocolate, cooked in a special way on the beola, a stone which was largely used in Northern Italy as for instance in the area of the Orta lake, matched to a spicy broth and a base of marinated onions cooked together with cocoa butter.
This traditional cooking technique is proposed at the IG congress to reappraise the concept of only a self-referenced cooking; on the contrary, the cooking of the future will be much more accessible, according to a politically correct ethics.
Carcangiu is deeply convinced of this and, through this recipe, he wishes to place on the same level a first quality raw material, a design presentation viewed under a traditional point of view but projected towards a nutritional and popular optimization.
He goes on: “Education to taste isn’t only a duty of the chef, it shall mainly come from the family”.
Loretta Fanella: poetry of the underwood
Sensational identities, a good subtitle for the presentation of Loretta Fanella. Her speech is a hymn to nature. The “Underwood”, a special sweet for its sensitivity, unique every time it is made because, after all… woods are different one from the other.
A yogurt base, compote of bilberries, an eucalyptus candy to recreate moisture and a chocolate ice-cream wrapped into a round chocolate jelly. The “earth” obtained with crumbled chocolate biscuits, is placed all around. A hollow chocolate buche de Noel is placed above the jelly, together with petals and buds, meringues and fake musk obtained from a new concept of sponge cake which starts from green tea, whose consistency can be compared to a wad of cotton wool.
Sensations and scents in favor of a figurative expressivity which reflects the soul of the artist.
Beauty is balanced toward goodness, with intense taste variations which whirl senses. A feng shui calmness succeeds in being expressed in the dish, despite a complex architecture which leads all consistencies to tangle with a single target: relaxing while eating.
b>Ladies and gentleman, Andrew “evolution” Gravett
Andrew Gravett is the pastry-chef of The Capital, the two starred restaurant with the lowest prices in London. He is a talent who bases his art on chocolate. In particular, he boasts a deep knowledge of the fat structure which helps him to better exploit ingredients such as cocoa. Gravett has worked chocolate until it has become a sort of mayonnaise. He was very careful about the control of temperature, which eased emulsifying the fat molecules.
In the Sala Gialla this teacher of the Ecole de Chocolat showed an Abinao with jasmine jelly and Williams pear sherbet. The chocolate in the dish is creamy, where sweetness is reduced to the minimum. Sugary shades are brought by the pear sherbet, which however doesn’t change a lot the balance of the dish, which preserves a significant sour note.
The jasmine water foam has been obtained from a jelly softened at very low temperature. Purée and sugar give consistency to the mixture, that is later refrigerated into the siphon. The decoration is a spectacular chocolate tuile. A design masterpiece.
Chartier: chocolate ice-cream, sweet and a bit salty…
Alain Chartier is the number one ice-cream maker of France. And ice-cream is important in chocolate-making. A transparent container allows to see the different consistencies, the different souls of this set of ice-creams.
Chartier created a pastime for the palate, a cube with many different textures that mingle inside. The core is a parfait of macaroon and almonds. Quite strange, since this time cocoa isn’t in the limelight.
The delicious Nyangbo of Valrhona is a protagonist in the icing prepared with warm milk where chocolate and whipped cream are melt. Sugar, stabilizer and mixture are then heated and left to cool for half a day. Chartier placed it into his Rubik cube at almost 20 degrees below zero. Then, he explained his philosophy: each working is at the service of the raw material, while he has simply the task of understanding the ingredient and giving it the best preparation.
For those who work with cold every day, mousse is a matter of honor. Chartier shows an Extra noir 53% mousse: two mixtures together. On one side milk and glucose, whites of egg and sugar. On the other chocolate in pieces and macaroons. Mix and it is soon done.
Iwasaki’s Mediterranean fresco
A Japanese pastry-chef who works in Italy and plays with the most renowned French chocolate in the world. A very interesting meeting of ideas, which is also true for tastes. Chocolate, rosemary and coffee. All in the same dish.
Tatsuya Iwasaki has chosen the North-East part of Italy as residence but some ingredients, such as kuzu, are sent to him by his mother in Japan. Kuzu is a hot plant whose roots are rich in starch. Kuzu is perfect for coffee cream, which is one of the course parts.
A step behind. The beating heart of the dish is the Ivoire curd, a chocolate cake obtained mixing milk, lecithin and fresh rosemary. After mixing these ingredients, the coagulant is added which creates a sort of chocolate ricotta. After cooking in the oven, it is placed in the fridge. The coffee cream owes a lot of its consistency to the combination of honey, yuzu and fish glue. Coffee grains, instead, are toasted in the oven.
The preparation of the walnut meringue is a touch of delicate magic. A way through which water, white of egg, sugar and albumin are whipped little by little. A cloud which receives walnuts as soon as it becomes soft.
The last step is a lemon jelly, or better a sponge.
The presentation is complex like a Lego’s model train, a complicated dominoes which will help so different tastes to fall in love. Emanuele Scarello had better not to let this Japanese talent slip by.
Reporters and babies
From left to right, the newsletter reporters: Andrea Pendin, Alessandro Castiglioni, Samuele Amadori, Gabriele Zanatta and Alessandra Meldolesi. Some days later Alessandra had her first baby-boy and Alessandro his second one.