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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Study Of Lombardia

Starting our lesson on Lombardia was awesome. Michele showed us a video of Terra Madre which I had never heard of before and, as usual, I cried. It's the most amazing organization and I really felt a connection to it. Michele is full of so much information about things that really move me and it's been a great experience going to these history classes every week. Take a look here when you get time to see what Terra Madre is all about.  

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:
My favorite thing he did was freeze an oyster in liquid nitrogen, then grate it over risotto:
It was really different and certainly the first time I've ever seen something like that done. His grapefruit and cauliflower salad was also unique and very nice:
He spoke for a while about a certain fish called missoltini which is salt cured and sun dried:
Keeping with his innovative ideas, he did a take on carbonara that was extremely cool. He basically souffl├ęd an egg and set it atop the sauce using no pasta at all:
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:
This is the fat that surrounds veal kidneys! It acts as a protective barrier and I thought it was way cool, especially how it literally just peels right off when you begin to prepare it:
Way more appealing when a kidney is topped with gold, wouldn't you say:
The rest of the dishes were just ok, in my opinion. I didn't love or hate them, I just sort of felt like they didn't move me at all. Lovely to see, though:
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!

1 comment:

Ray Ray said...

Oh goodness! That fat! I can't get over it.