Category Archives: gastronomy

The Triumph of Italian Raw Milk Productions at Cheese 2019

 

 

Slow Food presents the 12th edition of the world’s premier cheese event in Bra, Italy from September 20-23. This year’s theme: “Natural is Possible” 

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With more than 200 exhibitors, 50 Presidia and a dedicated cheese Market, Italy is without doubt the guest of honor at Cheese 2019. Cheese – the international event dedicated to natural cheeses produced with raw milk and without artificial enzymes in sachets, which are thus richer in biodiversity and more authentic expressions of their areas of origin –gathers cheesemakers and exhibitors from more than 30 countries.

 

Twenty years have passed since the presentation of the first cheese Presidium: Roccaverano goat milk cheese.

Today there are 70 Presidia dedicated to cheese in Italy, the country with the greatest number of such projects. It’s also the country where Slow Food has started a dairy revolution, to give raw milk the value it deserves and affirm the importance of biodiversity in cheesemaking. In 2019 Slow Food commits to supporting the growth of natural cheese and presents new Presidia at Italian Presidia: 20 Years of the Cheesemaking Revolution.

The products of mountain dairies, commonly known as “malga” in Italian, offer the best guarantee of naturalness in cheese: healthy animals raised on fresh grass, whose milk is worked with traditional processes.

Among the great variety of mountain cheeses present at the event will be the Historic Rebel Cheese, which is also a Slow Food Presidium. The cheesemakers who work in mountain dairies, located at altitudes between 1400 and 2000 meters, have preserved traditional practices that exalt the quality of the cheese and play a fundamental role in preserving the Alpine environment and biodiversity. There will also be the Robiola di Roccaverano, the only historic Italian goat cheese, and Montébore, made in a wedding-cake shape, whose production had stopped entirely 30 years ago when the last producer closed her business. Then, in 1999, a young man, Roberto Grattone, tracked down the last keeper of the ancient Montébore recipe and Slow Food started the Presidium to protect and promote this resurrected specialty.

 

Cheese 2019 will also talk about Sardinian herders and their struggle to survive the recent collapse in milk prices. In this relatively small land there are three million sheep, whose high-quality milk reflects the rich biodiversity of the island’s pastures, but this milk is predominantly sold to cooperative dairies which use it to make Pecorino Romano and Pecorino Sardo (both European PDOs). The only way forwards means going back: to small-scale raw milk cheesemaking that respects the land and delivers high-quality products that can be sold at the right price. A dedicated workshop explores the finest examples of Sardinian cheesemaking art through Slow Food Presidia, including two sheep cheeses, Shepherds’ Fiore Sardo and Osilo Pecorino, and the stretched-curd cow milk Casizolu, as well as rarities from the Ark of Taste like the Axridda cheese, which is covered in a layer of clay (or axridda, in the Sardinian language) to protect it from high temperatures.

 

Ancient pastoral traditions are still alive in the countryside around the the city of Rome, where unique products express a strong connection with the land. Several cheeses from the area will be available to taste, among them Roman Countryside Caciofiore, an ancestor of Pecorino Romano made by adding vegetable rennet obtained from the flowers of globe artichokes or cardoons to raw milk, and Marzolina, a goat cheese matured for months in a glass demijohn under olive oil and today made just by two producers.

Another tasting will highlight some of the finest cheeses being made by young Italian producers with Milk in their Veins, keeping their family traditions alive through sacrifice and with great passion. Another young Italian, Juri Chiotti, who has decided to return to the mountains after gaining a Michelin star, leads the workshop on Alpine Valley Goat Cheeses.

 

During the workshop Natural is Possible: Raw Milk Cheese Without Starters and Triple A Wines, a selection of great Italian natural raw milk cheeses will be tasted: Castel del Monte Canestrato (a Slow Food Presidium from Abruzzo), Madonie Provola (a Slow Food Presidium from Sicily), Carmasciano (an Ark of Taste product from Campania), Grappa Mountain Morlacco (a Slow Food Presidium from Veneto), and Robiola di Roccaverano.

 

Another workshop will be dedicated to The Forms of Whey. Whey is the liquid part of milk which separates from the curd during cheesemaking. Containing lactose, protein and mineral salts, some of it is reused to make starters and for the production of ricotta. Tastings of the Valnerina Ricotta Salata, a Slow Food Presidium, will be available. This Presidium wants to support the recovery of farmers who were seriously affected by the earthquakes that hit Central Italy in 2016 and 2017. In addition, Saras del Fen will be available for tasting. The cheese became a Presidium to support producers who belong to the Waldensian religious minority that has been living in these mountains for hundreds of years.

 

And also: the “King of Cheese”, aka Parmigiano Reggiano, will have its moment of glory during a dedicated workshop in which different stages of maturity will be tasted. Buffalo milk will also be explored in another workshop where buffalo mozzarella PDO, buffalo ricotta PDO, and the vintage plate of chef Vittorio Fusari (mozzarella, oysters and sea water) will be tasted in combination with some great yet relatively-undiscovered white wines from Piedmont.

 

And it’s not just cheese at Cheese! In fact, Slow Food will present the first two Italian Slow Food Travel territories: the Biella Mountains and the Upper Tanaro Valleys. Slow Food Travel is a territorial project that focuses on food and its production, promoting travel experiences that are consistent with the philosophy of good, clean and fair.

 

Moreover, since there no discussion of Italian cuisine would be complete without pizza, a team of women will animate the Pizza, Bread and Pastry Forge, a space completely dedicated to pizzaioli, pastry chefs and bakers.

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Africa-Europe cookbook: the ultimate diplomatic tool to bring two continents to the table

The Delegation of the European Union to the African Union launches a book with 70 recipes from African and European countries, cooked up by AU and EU Commissioners and EU Member State Ambassadors.

What do Hungarian goulash, Spanish gazpacho and Congolese Saka Saka have in common? As typical recipes from their countries, they are unique expressions of diverse cultural identities, but there is something else: all of them share the magical power of food to create social bonds around a table. From Finish Lapland to South African Cape Agulhas, Europeans and Africans alike share the passion for good food. Then, why not use this “delicious” diplomatic tool to strengthen friendship and understanding between these two continents? That is exactly the intention of the Delegation of the European Union to the African Union: they have just published an Africa-Europe Cookbook with a selection of recipes from the two continents prepared by AU and EU Commissioners, AU and EU Member State Ambassadors and other diplomats based across Africa.

“Those who are engaged daily in the relationship between Africa and Europe see diversity as an attraction, not a challenge”, says Ranieri Sabatucci, the EU Ambassador to the African Union, who prepared himself a Lasagne al Forno to represent Italian cuisine in the cookbook. “Culture in general and food in particular are essential elements of this diversity. But food also has a unique ability to connect people, to make them feel closer. Complex negotiations and business deals always include a meal. It is on these occasions that trust, friendship and understanding are established”.

Food memories: a tasty way to get to know people

The cookbook is a collection of recipes from 70 African and European countries. The colour and flavour of each dish tells us a story, and it is not only about their places of origin, but also about the people who prepared it and their emotional attachments to food. For instance, those reading the book will find out that Commissioner Ansip cannot imagine summer in Estonia without picking wild chanterelle mushrooms, the same ones he used to cook a typical Kukeseenekaste (Chanterelle sauce). “Every family has their own secret places where to pick fresh chanterelle mushrooms – these places are guarded sacredly and information is not shared with just anybody”, he reveals.

For Commissioner Crețu, traditional Romanian Sarmale (cabbage rolls with pork and rice) works exactly as Proust’s famous madeleines did: “the smell of Sarmale emanating from a kitchen brings me back to my childhood years”, she says about a dish that her family used to cook for Christmas, weddings or birthday parties when she was a child.

EU Delegation to AU@EUtoAU

We’re thrilled to see all your positive reactions to our Africa-Europe Cookbook! Have you already tried our Ambassador @SabatucciEU ’s lasagne recipe? Buonissimo! bit.ly/2LVNBgd @eu_eeas

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Some delegations invited renowned chefs or other local personalities to cook the recipes together. Frédéric Bontems, Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, teamed up with Ethiopian chef Yohanis to prepare an orange-nigella religieuse, a French dessert fused with traditional Ethiopian ingredients. The cooking session took place at the global Goût de France / Good France culinary event, and was featured on Chef Yohanis’ cooking show on Ethiopian TV.

EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Ketil Karlsen, took the chance to invite Senator Binta Masi Garba, the only female senator from the 19 states of Northern Nigeria. They cooked Green Gazpacho, a cold soup prepared with local vegetables and herbs invented by Karlsen, and a pumpkin-less version of Miyan Taush, a Nigerian traditional soup.

These are just a few of the stories behind a book that will surely encourage Africans and Europeans to get to know each other better and realize that, beyond our cultural differences, we are all human beings who share a common passion no matter where we live: having a good meal!

FIRST MICHELIN STAR FOR RISTORANTE ORNELLAIA IN ZURICH

Just ten months after its official opening, Ornellaia’s new restaurant in Zurich has received one of the world’s most prestigious awards, it first star from the Michelin Guide, the “Bible” of the international restaurant universe. 

“These ten months have been intense ones for us,” remarked Ristorante Ornellaia Chef Giuseppe D’Errico, “The Ornellaia estate has supported us 100%, and I personally have poured into our creation all my Italianità and the professional expertise I gained at Alma and in France. Great credit goes my team here, who have exhibited immense passion and commitment to the work we all love”.

 

Ristorante Ornellaia opened its doors on 9 April 2018 at Sankt Annagasse 2, near Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse, one of the world’s most luxurious and exclusive streets.

 

The world-famed Bolgheri wine producer, founded in 1981, instantly gained cult status for the quality of its wines with its first vintage, in 1985. It decided to take this important step in the restaurant world thanks to its collaboration with Bindella, which, in addition to being Ornellaia’s importer and brand ambassador in Switzerland from the very beginning, is widely respected for its expertise in gastronomy. 

The design of the restaurant was entrusted to celebrated Swiss architect Tilla Theus, who created an inventive “taste of Ornellaia” within an unmistakably Tuscan ambience, fashioning an alluring mosaic of landscape, people, food, and wine. Such an imposing project required an Italian chef of the same stature, in this case Giuseppe D’Errico. D’Errico specialised with Maestro Gualtiero Marchesi at Alma, then came into his own alongside Chef Michel Troisgros, at Maison Troisgros in Roanne, working five years with the chef D’Errico calls his second Maestro.

Ristorante Ornellaia opens in Zurich

 

Ristorante Ornellaia opens its doors today to the public just off one of the world’s most luxurious and exclusive streets, the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, with the entrance in Sankt Annagasse 2. The celebrated Bolgheri-based wine estate, founded in 1981 has opened its first restaurant with Bindella, its life-long importer and ambassador in Switzerland, renowned also for its expertise in gastronomy.

Celebrated Swiss Architect Tilla Theus has sought to create a taste of Ornellaia and the unmistakable atmosphere of Tuscany; a landscape of people, food and wine, while such an innovative project required a chef of the same calibre. Italian Giuseppe D’Errico after working alongside maestro Gualtiero Marchesi at Alma and developing his considerable talents alongside Michel Troisgrois at the three star Restaurant Troisgros in Roanne, France was the perfect choice. D’Errico’s cuisine is a restyling of classic Tuscan cuisine that uses the same audacious spirit and vision as Ornellaia itself.

“My own personal style relies on simplicity, fine taste, and tradition. Michel Troisgros taught me the values that a dish should exhibit: beauty, goodness, and simplicity. I derive my inspiration from various sources—people I meet, respect for raw ingredients, traditions linked to my own origins, the flavours of what the earth yields. I approach food, just as I do wine, with enormous respect and a hunger to learn. Ornellaia enjoys an unmistakable bond with its growing area; a magnificent, refined, and harmonious corner of Tuscany. All my dishes have this as their starting point.”

GIUSEPPE D’ERRICO, CHEF RISTORANTE ORNELLAIA

Ristorante Ornellaia is a small plot of Bolgheri in Switzerland. Wine, is the focus, but together with the character of every single creation by the team. D’Errico’s guiding hand reveals the rich flavours of a wine-growing paradise, and his sensitivity is obvious in dishes embodying the spirit and philosophy of Ornellaia.

Ristorante Ornellaia is a very special place for Bindella as it continues to strengthen the bond with the Estate.  The expertise in fine wines and hospitality will be on full display, as well as the stunning beauty of Bolgheri’s landscapes, so that the whole becomes an expression of artistic beauty. This fine restaurant is further enhanced by the works of two swiss artists; the outstanding painter Cuno Amiet, and sculptor Hans Josephson, whose talents have won international recognition.

“We wanted to create a superb venue for Ornellaia’s wine since we have been their ambassador in Switzerland right from the first vintage, 1985. The venue reflects the audacious spirit of Ornellaia and the wine list boasts older vintages and rarities from the ‘Ornellaia Archivio Storico’, as well as large-size bottles that one can find only in international auctions. The bond between Bindella and Ornellaia is also obvious by the inclusion on the wine list of a selection of wines from Vallocaia, our own winery, which also first emerged in 1985.”

RUDI BINDELLA

Architect Tilla Theus designed the restaurant with a special focus on native Tuscan materials, such a travertine, famous for its use in historic churches and buildings in Florence.  

“My visit to Ornellaia renewed my memories of Tuscany in a very positive way. The experience of an unforgettable atmosphere; the landscape is beautiful, and the hospitality is without peer. It was that atmosphere – combining landscape, people, food and wine – that I wanted to capture and recreate in Ristorante Ornellaia. Therefore, the travertine used in the interior of the restaurant comes from Tuscany. I remodelled the grey granite stone-front of the building in Bahnhofstrasse 53 inside the restaurant using the warm-coloured travertine stone, together with a classic Tuscan wood ceiling. The more than 100 different lights appear as single spot and call to mind the starry firmament. They also draw attention to the impressive ceiling height. This novel atmosphere is completed by the bronze replica of an oak on the ceiling that recalls the impressive oak at Ornellaia. The interior design is complemented by bronze art-pieces by Josephson as well as art in the traditional Tuscan colours by Cuno Amiet”.

TILLA THEUS, ARCHITECT

Ristorante Ornellaia owes its existence to a desire to combine world-class wine with the highest expression of Italian cuisine, as well as to provide way, even at such a distance, of feeling oneself actually at the winery, in Bolgheri and sharing the philosophy of those who strive each day to respect an area’s genius loci so as to bring forth its finest possible expression.

“Wine summons up emotions, and every visit to our vineyards and the cellar is a unique expression, with that pleasure repeated and renewed with every vintage. We opened Ristorante Ornellaia because we wanted people to enter our world and experience the passion and excellence that are innate in Bolgheri—even when one is physically distant from the Estate. This year, we are celebrating the 30th vintage of Ornellaia and the 10th annual Vendemmia d’Artista, which coincides as well with 30 years of collaboration, and friendship, with Bindella. The offspring of this perfect marriage has been this restaurant, which we would not have wanted to do with any other partner.”    

GIOVANNI GEDDES DA FILICAJA, CEO ORNELLAIA

Cheese 2017 focuses on raw milk cheeses and naturalness

 

Cheese 2017, the international event organized by Slow Food and the City of Bra dedicated to high-quality and artisanal dairy products, will be held in Bra (Italy) from September 15-18 2017.

The event, which celebrates its twentieth birthday this year, has gradually built an international network of cheesemakers, shepherds, cheesemongers and affineurs, the people who come together every two years here to present their products, meet the public, debate the challenges they have to face and address critical new issues in the dairy world.

The last edition of Cheese, held in 2015, saw the participation of more than 270,000 visitors, 30% of whom from overseas, and more than 300 exhibitors from 23 countries.

Cheese 2017 puts raw milk cheeses at the center of the debate. For the first time ever, this year the Italian and International Market features only cow’s, ewe’s and goat’s cheeses made with raw milk. This is a big step forward that raises the bar of quality even higher. Raw milk cheeses, in fact, epitomize an immense heritage of biodiversity—of pastures, of animal breeds, of different kinds of milk, of skills and traditions. They embody values in stark contrast with the sterilization and homogenization of mass-produced food.

What’s more, this year Cheese aims to launch a veritable raw milk movement and to plan its future actions. In many countries, raw milk is prohibited or restricted, meaning that producers aren’t free to make traditional raw milk cheeses and consumers aren’t free to choose for themselves. The battle in defense of raw milk, carried forward by Slow Food since the earliest editions of Cheese, has achieved significant results and the network of small-scale producers has spread to countries as far away as South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. However, there is still a long way to go.

Of close on 600 international Presidia, as many as 95 are dedicated to cheese. At Cheese, visitors will be able to find out more about many Slow Food Presidia, such as Raw Milk Stichelton from the UK, Mountain Pasture Sbrinz from Switzerland and Boeren Leyden Traditioneel, a new Presidium recently launched in the Netherlands.

The guest of honor this year will be the USA, where Slow Food launched its now historic American Raw Milk Cheeses Presidium.

Another of the main themes of Cheese 2017 is naturalness (hence the use or otherwise of industrial enzymes in cheese), with a dedicated area featuring not only cheese itself, but also naturally cured meats produced without the use of nitrites, nitrates and other preservatives, natural wines made with selected yeasts and without sulfites, traditional spontaneously fermented Belgian Lambic beer and sourdough bread.

Natural cheese means cheese made without industrial enzymes. Today, the majority of dairies no longer process milk by hand, wood is often banned and the milk flows from steel tube to steel tube in a perfectly sterilized environment that inhibits the growth of bacterial flora. All of which translates into a huge loss of biodiversity.

Some cheesemakers purchase ready-to-use enzymes to add to milk and start the coagulation process, their aim being to achieve a safer, more consistent product with fewer defects. The multinationals that produce and package starter cultures are making a fortune with this convenient shortcut, which eliminates flaws but standardizes taste. For years Slow Food has been encouraging cheesemakers not to use starter cultures—or, at least, to avoid buying them in—but to produce them in their own dairies (just as sourdough bread bakers and vinegar producer do), thus maintaining native bacterial flora and the sensory identity of the finished cheese.

The program for Cheese 2017 includes 35 Taste Workshops, guided tastings to allow visitors to discover the world of dairy biodiversity and more besides; Dinner Dates, opportunities to meet some of the finest Italian and international chefs and enjoy their special dishes; and conferences on issues involving animal welfare, global warming, nutrition and health.

The Ernesto Illy Foundation

Passion and the interest for research are  distinctive traits of illycaffè since its beginnings and have improved much more under the direction of Ernesto Illy. After his graduation in chemistry, Ernesto Illy knew how to look at coffee with the scientist’s eye in order to see the unexplored details and complexities of its study subject, and he committed  his whole life to understand them.

After his death, in 2008, The Ernesto Illy Foundation has kept alive his commitment to the scientific research and it has sponsored  important projects of partnership with universities, institutions, and bodies of excellence.

The Foundation is involved in a research project on Computational Toxicology, in collaboration with Sissa, the International School for Advanced Studies of Trieste (Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati di Trieste). It participates to a network of international studies (International Coffee Genome Network), focused on a program of coffee genome sequencing.

In Ethiopia, The Ernesto Illy Foundation, illycaffè and the University of Addis Ababa have launched a project to protect the varieties of Ethiopian coffee, by taking into account the close link with the socio-environmental conditions that have allowed and improved its development. The main purpose of this initiative is to promote the protection and development of the original varieties of Arabica coffee, besides protecting on site the germplasm of some primeval varieties of coffee in the wild forests of Ethiopia.

As for training, the Foundation has promoted with a group of partners of excellence in the educational field the Master in Coffee Science and Economics.

The over-production and over-consumption of meat is a vital problem for the environment and our health. Slow Meat is offering a solution.

unnamedgddgdThe production and consumption of meat has become a central talking point among the public thanks to Slow Meat’s interactive stand at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, taking place in Turin (Italy) until 26 September.

The production and consumption of meat has become a central talking point among the public thanks to Slow Meat’s interactive stand at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, taking place in Turin (Italy) until 26 September.

Over the past seventy years, global meat consumption has increased six-fold, from 45 million tons per year in 1950 to 300 million tons today. This figure is expected to rise to 500 million tons by 2050, an increase of 10-fold since 1950 and double what it is today.

What does it mean to eat meat responsibly and sustainably in today’s world? How can we safeguard our rich heritage of raising domesticated animals, something that is central to rural communities across the world? What are the environmental and health implications of industrially raised meat? The Slow Meat campaign is trying to answer all of these questions and more, examining the real cost of the meat that lands on our table and comparing both production methods – industrial and sustainable – to understand the outcomes of our choices.

 Serena Milano, General Secretary of the Slow Food Foundation of Biodiversity says, “It is unsustainable for the West to continue eating meat to the levels that it’s used to. Animals are being raised in inhumane, stressful conditions in increasingly crowded environments. Low quality animal feed, monocultures, deforestation and the use of large quantities of water are all consequences of the industrialization of animal farming. This will have terrible effects on the environment, our health, animal welfare and social justice. But by making better choices, we can change this.”

Slow Meat’s tagline – eat less meat, of better quality – is of crucial importance for both our health and to save the finite natural resources that are being used to produce meat.

For Slow Food, an educational campaign to teach consumers why they should avoid buying cheap meat is important. Low prices are reflective of poor quality. This, in turn, is demonstrative of how poorly farmers are raising their animals, whose welfare is not cared for and whose feed is of poor nutritional quality, as well as the hidden costs that harm the environment. Improving the quality of meat and reducing its consumption would lead to a decrease in diet-related diseases that are currently putting a huge strain on public health systems.

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto has also dedicated a space to the Slow Beans network, demonstrating the many nutritional benefits of beans as an alternative to meat. There are also 40 bean exhibitors at the event and 188 bean varieties at risk of extinction that are being safeguarded by the Slow Food Ark of Taste.

Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA presented the Slow Meat Manifesto: “The industrial model of meat production has isolated us from this grand multi-species community, and instead we are isolated in a culture of confinement. Animals are confined in torturous conditions, dollars are confined to the hands of few, and eaters are confined to unsavory options – our future confined to a desolate path. It is time to break free.”

The Slow Food Asia network explained how obesity levels are rising exponentially in the countries where meat is increasingly forming part of the diet. It’s necessary to find alternatives, to reconsider how our ancestors ate with a diet rich in vegetarian protein, which is now being preserved only in indigenous communities.

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