Text and Photos by Cesare Zucca
I had a blast in Argenta, Italy ! This is a friendly little town that hosts its historic Fair at the 60th edition. The Italian word argento means silver as the legend says that the river around the town sometime gets that shining silverish reflex from the sky. Here I had the honor to be one of the judges of ORO D’ARGENTA, a tough competition between young cooking promises coming from the Culinary Schools of Sardinia, Sicily, Lazio, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna.
The show featured the School Pellegrino Artusi of Riolo Terme, Ravenna with a rabbit surprisingly paired to a pear mousse that got some ‘more traditional’ judges quite annoyed, but that I personally didn’t hate…Talking about tradition & innovation, the Remo Brindisi Institute in Comacchio, Ferrara, was inspired by their own a national treasure: the eel served with which orange flavoured vegetable couscous and crisp bacon, getting my enthusiastic votes…and the prizes for best presentation and popular jury favorite. Thanks to its marinated mackerel, Pietro Piazza in Palermo, won the Golden Wine Award for the best wine and dish combination, sponsored by Tenute Garusol. The Malatesta School of Rimini served a successful stuffed chicken with blueberry sauce that went straight to the final. The Amerigo Vespucci team in Rome, launched a creation named 444 Kilometers, which is the distance between Rome and Argenta, Cool name for a not so convincing ‘gnocchetti alla romana’ with hare topping. Ipsia Ferraris of Carbonia-Iglesias, surprised with fresh kamut pasta, pumpkin flower mousse, parmesan, caramelized onions and orange bottarga, while Ipssar of San Pellegrino Terme Bergamo opted for local rabbit and couscous.
And the winner was…
The Institute Tonino Guerra di Cervia, Ravenna who prepared a juicy and tender duck with almonds, dried tomatoes, parmesan, mashed potatoes, blueberry foam and crunchy waffles. This quite traditional tasting dish will take Aurora Llavanji, Fabio Faggi, Riccardo Giovannini and Domenico Magnifico to the spectacular Cous Cous Fest in San Vito Lo. Capo, Sicily during the International Cultural Integration Festival whose 20th edition begins on Friday, September 15, where they will have the opportunity to meet the most important international chefs. The show, brilliantly hosted by funny Actor-Chef Andy Luotto and charming Eliana Chiavetta, was an opportunity to discover the flavors and the atmosphere of the Delta del Po Park, UNESCO heritage and its valuable wildlife, fish and herbs, among some excellences in the wine &food industry: such as the wide range of Giulio Bellini’s Bia CousCous, Tenuta Garusola wines from the Consorzio Bosco Eliceo.
Grand finale with a local idol: the native starred Chef Igles Corelli. His dish was a colorful bonanza of couscous, all cooked with different vegetables such as carrots, aloe vera, cabbage, etc. A carnivalesque dish that reminded me of the Missoni fabrics, the Gustav Klimt palette and those Pollock brush strokes. The taste? a Carnival joke!
Not to mention a ‘suspense’ moment due to the upcoming rain.‘Show must go on’ dictated the organizers and the unsinkable people of FeedBack PR …In less than an hour they were able to move the outdoor stage, lights and cameras from Piazza Garibaldi into a big tent wisely called…Rolling , Action, Eat !See you next year in the Silver City ! Yummy…..