They were 30. They became 9. Yesterday only 1 ….

They were 30. They became 9. Yesterday only 1 ….
Hey, this is not an Agatha Christie novel….It’s what happened between
nine chefs who made it to the final culinary competition UPVIVIUM , hosted by ALMA, the International School of Italian Cuisine in Colorno (Parma).
A large passionate audience and two juries, a technique and one of the press (including myself) attended to a bonanza of dishes, all inspired to the convivial table concept, where a main dish can be combined to a variety of different sides.


Bettolino di Foce di Comacchio  from UNESCO Po Delta Biosphere Reserve won the first place,“It’s a very strong emotion for us – said a visibly moved Alessandra Margherita Verduci, head of Bettolino di Foce – Surely this victory fills me with pride and makes me feel even stronger the sense of belonging to my territory that I love and that I live all the days. Our restaurant has been converted into an old ‘casone’ that was part of the Foce Fishing Station. Our philosophy is that of “you eat what you fished” accompanying simple recipes to products such as Comacchio salt, salicornia, an herb harvested here, pumpkin and our own radicchio ,Winning this edition of the UPVIVIUM contest makes us happy for the suggested  theme the convivial table. wich reminds me of my childhood, when my grandmother put everything on the table, not that much, but always a great joy. 

 

The second went to my favorite, Agriturismo Montagna Verde di Apella (Licciana Nardi – Massa Carrara) in the Biosphere of the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, which also won the ‘Premio Stampa’,Great emotion also for the Montagna verde Maffei’s Team  the young chef Luca won two awards, ‘I dedicate this award to the passion, the strong bond with our land and the rediscovery of ancient traditions’ says Luca“.The flavors of Lunigiana are those that go to make up the convivial table presented by the Agriturismo Montagna Verde. The central element is chestnut polenta which for centuries has been the base of the rural Apennine family. To realize it the Maffei use their production D.O.P. high quality, distributed under the Azienda Agricola Borgo Antico brand of Maffei Barbara. The other ingredients are the home made honey and the rabbit of the farm, La Valle di Fivizzano, the sheep ricotta (excellent!) Boschetti Giancarlo di Tavernelle, the Moro’s beer of Pontremoli and China Clementi of Fivizzano, used to make a reduction.

Third place for the “Fèsta granda” by Don Pedro Restaurant in Ponte Arche, Comano Terme (Trento) in the Alpi Ledrensi and Judicaria Biosphere Reserve.

 

 

I was a part of the invited press, and I have to say that we all were left with the tipicaly Italian expression ‘acquolina in bocca(mouth-watering) since we had no chance to taste the dishes….just watch and smell..

Well , looks and scents were amazing tho,,,
Enough to make me happy !

 


 

THE COLOMBA, EASTER SWEET TRIBUTE TO PEACE

 Colomba di Pasqua is a traditional Italian Easter yeast bread. It is shaped like a dove (colomba in Italian), the symbol of peace and resurrection. The birth of the colomba dates back to the year 572, when King Alboin, after three years of siege, captured the town of Pavia in northern Italy on Easter Eve. Evading the guards, an old baker was able to reach the king and offer a dove-shaped leavened bread. “Alboin,” he said, “I offer this symbol, as a tribute to peace, on Easter day.” The sweet scent and the convincing message persuaded the king to give a promise of peace. That’s the legend.The dove we know today has a more recent origin and, I should say, a more prosaic version of the history. In the early 1930s the Milanese company Motta specialized in panettone, a cake produced only for Christmas. Unhappy to have their machinery unused for many months, Motta decided to package a similar product to be sold during the Easter holidays.
The shape of the sweet dove was a choice dictated not only by symbolism, but also to welcome the arrival of the spring. The new cake was (and still is) a huge success. It is typically soft, fragrant outside and moist inside, naturally leavened for a whole night, then filled with a mixture of flour, sugar, eggs and candied orange. After a long rest, the dough is portioned in different sizes for an additional four hours of leavening, then covered with almonds, sugar and amaretto. Since its birth, the colomba was enriched by many variations and a variety of different icings and fillings.

After baking, it must rest at least seven hours before it is finally packaged.

 

So many colombe
From Loison to Fraccaro to all those of the Regina Colomba event, held in Milan a few days before Easter. I would like to mention the very young pastry chefs of Alma, the celebrated  International School of Italian Cuisine in Colorno, near Parma, where I discovered and tasted their very soft creation: the colomba with chocolate and black cherry flakes. Pleasantly  soft and spongy and intensely fragrant.
A sweet message of peace.