The original of the article below, in Italian, can be read here .
Fulvio Pierangelini and Identità Golose's own Paolo Marchi
9:30 AM. Fulvio Pierangelini is the opening speaker of Identità Golose. His talk, titled Pensieri Semplici-Simple Thoughts,is dedicated to "an egg and a pig", simple ingredients therefore, that make, in Perangelini's case, Italian cooking great.
The core of his talk is completely dedicated to the importance of ingredients, his cuisine made up more of skilful steps than of technical tricks. Pierangelini's aim is to bring the ingredients he uses to the edge of quality and to obtain this goal he is willing to go through a natural and intimate process. It is a difficult path which at times risks lack of understanding. It is also a steep road for Pierangelini: before coming into the kitchen, it starts in the countryside.
For those less familiar with Italian cuisine and its celebrities let me give an extremely brief introduction to Fulvio Pierangelini. Though little known to the English-speaking public, Pierangelini is considered one of the best, if not the best Italian chef by the national press and part of the French and Spanish gastronomic critics. His restaurant, Il Gambero Rosso in San Vincenzo ,on the Tuscan coast, is no.1 in Italy for both the Gambero Rosso and Espresso guides, has two Michelin stars and is a place of pilgrimage for his many fans. Pierangelini's style is unique and has developed pretty much autonomously of major external influences, and like Pierangelini's character, it does not try to please at all costs or follow the fashion of the moment.
At Identità Golose Pierangelini presented a short movie from his cinta senese race pig farm. Pierangelini was the first one to re-discover and boost this pork race, long before it became the daily bread on the tables of many gourmets. His pigs are free-range, eating what the wood naturally produces and selected organic grains and are never butchered before their fourth year. From their meats, Pierangelini obtains delicious lardi, salami, pancette and culatelli. From the movie the importance of one's responsibility towards meat becomes clear, given its origin from a living being that has been sacrificed in a moment charged with religious pathos.
For Pierangelini the egg is the highest expression of the countryside. The recipes presented at Identità Golose actually are the fruit of a mistake: following the example of the French chicken Farmers in Bresse, who feed their birds with powdered milk, Pierangelini tried doing the same using ewe's or goat's milk. The meat of the chickens was disappointingly tough, yet the eggs they produced surprisingly had a marked almond and vanilla aroma. That was enough for Pierangelini to develop and propose a series of dishes focused on these eggs: lardo and ricotta ravioli with lardo and balsamic vinegar zabaglione, thyme and rosemary cream with cocoa rolls flavoured with lard, gold, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.
© Benedetti-Grassi/Zerozero (repropuced with permission)
The talk ended with Pierangielini putting the work of farmers in the countryside against that of the big food industry. He did not disown his past collaborations with the latter though he believes that "the technical reproducibility of a recipe, remains an insurmountable obstacle without the work of a chef". For the time being Pierangelini's ideas and his countryside products can only be tasted in San Vincenzo. And it is better thus.
10:40 AM Pascal Barbot, enfant prodige chef of Astrance in Paris is the next speaker. His talk is centered on his passion for travel and his relationship with the cuisine and culture of different countries.
Andrea Petrini of the magazine Gambero Rosso introduces him on stage: "Today, in France, Pascal Barbot represent the tip of the iceberg that we could new French cooking. His history is noteworthy and starts five years ago, a time when France was asking itself if its cuisine had become sleepy in its ivory tower till October 2000, when Astrance was born from the idea of two young friends, Pascal and Christofle). Astrance has been able, as a restaurant, to go from opening to sold-out lunch and dinner in two mere weeks, and this without any sort of press agents, promoters, private funds or media events. Barbot's cuisine is apparently simple, honest and full of emotions, It's a young cuisine, which has no problems in using spices or exotic tastes. A cuisine that is always going forward, cosmopolitan for its sense of curiosity and its reinterpretation of all that surrounds it."
Pascal Barbot presented and explained three of his dishes, entitled "Retour", an homage to three different trips to Japan, India and China.
Retour du Japon is a dish of aubergines, miso and chocolate, a mix of classic pairings of Japanese and Italian cuisine and the classic French glacé cooking method.
Retour des Indes brought on spices, with a sauce underlying the effect of different cooking times in curry.
Finally Retour de Chine, exploring the function of soup as closing course of a meal, with both gustatory and digestive functions.
Both Images © Benedetti-Grassi/Zerozero (repropuced with permission)
The final result was that of a light and amusing cuisine, which spaces 360 degrees, taking from all the products available throughout the globe, yet always characterised by a rigourous precision in cooking, and which brakes down the classic distinctions between appetisers, mains and dessert.