Luxembourg / Lycée technique de Bonnevoie for the true Italian taste
Italian sounding versus authentic Italian food.
The American ‘Parmesan’ versus the DOP Parmigiano Reggiano. A carbonara with cream and bacon versus the one with eggs and guanciale.
Blasphemy versus devotion. The copy versus the original.
This is the essence of the dinner event organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg on December 5, in the contest of the True Italian Taste, an international campaign coordinated by Assocamerestero and promoted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development.
An opportunity to celebrate the marvelous culinary culture of Italy but also a chance to educate people about roots and tradition: local ingredients, tastes, flavors and savoir-faire.
If education is the key of the project, no surprises on the location of the event: the Lycee Technique de Bonnevoie, where students had the opportunity to combine ingredients and techniques under the guidance of Carlo Sauber and Ernesto Prosperi, chef of the restaurant Beim Baron.
The menu ranges from the north to the south of Italy with a particular focus on Lazio, where the origins of the chef are, and Piedmonte, star of the night with almost its entire portfolio of wines, selected and paired by Isabella Sardo, sommelier and president of DIL (Degustatori Italiani Lussembourgo):
Starters are a mix of some of the most iconic Italian dishes: bruschettas, vitello tonnato, Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar, ham… Excellent pairing with Spumante and Lambrusco (the only intruder from Emilia Romagna and one of the best of the night, despite its reputation of cheap wine and companion of solitary souls in Piazza Maggiore in Bologna)
Mussels soup is a dish of the southern tradition, simple but tasty with the spicy punch of the juice, a non-subtle invite to make a ‘scarpetta’, the common practice to dip bread to collect what’s left on the plate. The shy ones sustain that the dip should happen quickly or not at all, like a stolen kiss; the bravest ones use the bread as a sponge facilitating the job of the dish washers. The pairing with the Gavi di Gavi – perfect with shellfish – is an easy win
Pasta alla amatriciana is one of the great classics of the Lazio tradition and most famous sauce in the world, often unfortunately mistreated with its main ingredient, guanciale – cured pork jowl –, replaced by the industrial content of a plastic box of bacon (we are talking about 2 different pieces of meat here!!!)
Bar with cime di rapa (turnip greens) is my favorite dish of the night, simple and well-balanced, using one of most versatile vegetable of the season and main ingredient of many recipes of the Apulian tradition. The light bitterness of the cime gently accompanies the lean taste of the meat
Roast pork (arrosto di maiale) is a dish whose origins are in Tuscany but it is common to the entire peninsula: there is no one single grandma who is not able to prepare it. Despite the very genuine and homey aspects, the cooking of the meat hides many risks due to the perfect balance needed to keep it juicy and tender
Dulcis in fundo: his Royal Highness, the Sicilian cannolo! The attempts to replicate the king of the Sicilian desserts with its crust filled with ricotta cream around the world are uncountable. The sad truth is that cannolo can only be eaten in Sicily: do not get misled by sugary cheese cream and tasty crust. You need the real SHEEP ricotta (not the cow one) for the cream – collected between December and July -, a shot of Marsala wine for the crust and the strength and love of two Sicilian and experienced hands.
The protection of the Italian culinary tradition, recipes, ingredients and ultimately the job of thousands of food artisans and craftsmen is a too important legacy that cannot be limited to the efforts of the boot-shaped country but has to involve the support of foreign countries too: chefs, consumers, importers…
Education is the key and praiseworthy initiatives like the one organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce are fundamental steps of this process to keep talking and cooking Italian ingredients and recipes for days, weeks, years.