Expo Spain, tradition and future

The country presents itself with its great products and the chefs who traced its road to innovation

18-06-2015
The Spanish pavilion is one of the most visited at
The Spanish pavilion is one of the most visited at Expo 2015. It presents excellence and biodiversity, with the support of great chefs

p>Spain counts on Expo 2015 to reinforce its image of country capable of uniting tradition and innovation perhaps as no other; of presenting high quality raw materials, excellent products, a biodiversity originating from a varied territory, multiple cultural roots that are deep in the history of the Iberian peninsula and have their outlet in the federal system. All this under the umbrella of the nueva cocina española

Few other pavilions can boast as many important names. Spain at Expo means Joan Roca in Milan, we wrote about it here, or the Week of cava (here’s what we wrote about it). The lesson of Carme Ruscalleda on the occasion of the National Day of Spain at Expo Milano 2015, last Monday, or the cooking demonstration by Ricard Camarena last night. And much more.

But let’s start with the pavilion. Inspired by a greenhouse, it is 3,300 square metres wide. It has a double nave, representing the fusion of the excellences that make Spain famous all around the world: tradition and innovation.

The central part of Expo Spain 2015 is formed by the exhibition on “The language of taste” and is developed on some keywords: health (with many references to the benefits of the Mediterranean diet), quality (space is given to products which can also be bought from the tienda inside), efficiency (“We’re the vegetable garden of Europe”), sustainability (represented by the blessed black pigs that root around undisturbed in the dehesa extremeña, as we said here and here), and then tradition and avantgarde, looking at each other from opposite walls, within the exhibition, illustrating yesterday’s rituals and today’s and tomorrow’s techniques, a grater and a syphon, territory and spherification.

All this finds a natural synthesis in Spain, just like at Expo Spain 2015. Here there’s the taperia where a parrilla is burning, ready to grill the great meat of the Basque country, an open-air chiringuito recalling a patio de naranjos (orange garden), a typical element in Iberian culture. And you need to get to the last floor to enter the gourmet restaurant; and go back down to admire the “Journey of taste” installation created by Antoni Miralda.

All this, as we were saying, with the support of great chefs. Such as Ruscalleda, the only woman in the world to have six Michelin stars, who illustrated her original and creative cuisine, capable of obtaining pure flavours and creating a surprising synthesis of local and international cuisine, without neglecting anti-ageing and health related aspects.

Or Camarena, the testimonial of Valencia, one of Italian travellers’ favourite destinations, as recalled by Maite de la Torre Campo, the director of the Spanish office for tourism in Milan: «Our country is visited every year by 65 million tourists. As many as 7 of which are attracted by wine and food», a sector on which Madrid has focused a long time ago, with gratifying results. If only we could learn from them …

Chef Carme Ruscalleda the other day at the Spanish pavilion
Chef Carme Ruscalleda the other day at the Spanish pavilion

The chef at Eataly Smeraldo prepared, among other things, some delicious Onion ribbons creamed with anchovies, coffee (Italian Lavazza, of which it is the “official ambassador”) and black garlic: an excellent vegetable used as if it were spaghetti while it is surprising how the chef has almost given up on the use of salt in his cooking, substituted by Valencian anchovy colatura whose tradition, forgotten for centuries, he was the one to renew, «I discovered this product some ten years ago at Terra Madre. For 400 years it had been considered a waste in Spain». Toady there’s a company producing three types of colatura, with different maturation: 5, 3 or one year. It would be interesting to make a comparison with Pasquale Torrente and his traditional colatura from Cetara.


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