We've begun studying the Slow Food movement which is interesting in and of itself. It started in 1989 and is now in 150 countries with over 100,000 members. Slow Food promotes local farmers and cultivators and connects the consumer directly to the producer. The largest goal of Slow Food is to promote biodiversity and sensory education and also to share gastronomic culture globally. It has spread so much that, in 2004, The University of Gastronomic Sciences was founded based on the Slow Food principles. In 2008, Terra Madre originated so you can see that this entire movement is huge, real and wonderful.
Lombardia is the third largest region in Italy and it's far north bordering Switzerland. It consists of over 50% plains but there is water prevalent as well which results in richness in food. During Spanish rule, a period of decline marked the history of Lombardia because of Spanish mis-rule and general depression. This economic decline was definitely seen in the gastronomy of Lombardia. Unfortunately, my pen ran out (yeah, I'm serious) so that's all I was able to write down about good ol' Lombardia. The only gastronomic thing I could get was that polenta is the most prevalent ingredient in the region. What a fascinating study to share with you all, eh?
The interesting part of the day was that Chef Luciano Tona, prior sous chef to Gualtiero Marchesi himself and now headmaster of our school, did our demo for the day. As I've mentioned previously, Marchesi is the master innovator of cuisine in Italy and he is as important as they come in the country. Chef Tona follows his 'code' closely as you can tell in his reinvented dishes like the below poached egg, wrapped in dough and flash fried:
It was definitely tasty but, let's get serious...who doesn't want the pasta? Not this gal.
He did a handful of other dishes that I really enjoyed, particularly the playful and springy watercress ravioli:
It wasn't my favorite chef demo day but certainly exciting to see Chef Tona do his thing. He's quite an important man and, as I've said before, it's so wonderful that we have access to chefs of his caliber. It's priceless!