Calabrian pride at Identitŗ Golose

A big success for the guest region at the 2018 congress, with lessons from Ceraudo, Abbruzzino, Genovese and Mazzei

03-03-2018

Caterina Ceraudo (photo Brambilla/Serrani)

The first day of the 14th edition of the congress – the “greatest” ever, as Claudio Ceroni recalled at the opening, with 120 guest chefs and over 1300 registered professionals – starts with Calabria, this year’s guest region. And there could not be a better place to represent a theme very close to Paolo Marchi: the human factor. 

Paolo Marchi and governor Mario Oliverio

Paolo Marchi and governor Mario Oliverio

This region has remained on the margins of the recent whirlwind gastronomic evolution, and of trends and homologation. So now it still bestows untouched flavours, magnificent products and great emotions. Emotions that spur from the dishes as well as from the people. Four chefs represented the flavours of Calabria this morning – from mountains to sea, from the intensity of ‘nduja to the aroma of bergamot, citron and wild herbs, from the boldness of cod, to the sweetness of onion.

Caterina Ceraudo in action

Caterina Ceraudo in action

They’re very different but they are all proud of having Calabrian origins. Two of their stories are the stories of a family, namely Caterina Ceraudo and Luca Abbruzzino. They both inherited the restaurant from “exemplary” parents who understood their talent and gave them free reins in the kitchen. 31, the daughter of Roberto Ceraudo, a pioneer in agriculture and organic wine, Caterina follows his example, and the example given by another master, Niko Romito, in her “seemingly simple” dishes, but most of all in her capacity of anticipating change: «Calabria is changing – she says – We’re working as a team, made of restaurants, people, producers. We want to expose ourselves. The area is still virgin. I want people to discover it through my dishes». She does so perfectly with her prawn marinated in beetroot and citrus fruits, and capellini with citron and black anise.

Luca Abbruzzino

Luca Abbruzzino

Luca Abbruzzino – who runs the family restaurant in Catanzaro – also focuses on simplicity for his cuisine, so that in his recipes he has one or two ingredients maximum as the main character, using every part of it. For instance, the cod filet served with its tripe paired with diced bergamot preserved in salt, with a sauce “alla mugnaia” made with cod bones and scraps and a “cod ceasar salad” with its crispy skin. 

Anthony Genovese with Francesco De Lorenzo

Anthony Genovese with Francesco De Lorenzo

Anthony Genovese and Francesco Mazzei have a much longer experience and noteworthy careers. In their restaurants, they represent Calabria “away from home”. Genovese, who was born in France to Calabrian parents but never lost touch with his homeland, does so at Pagliaccio, in Rome. Today he often presents Calabrian products in his dishes, in which he blends experiences, travels, flavours and meetings that happened at different latitudes. «I’m more and more interested in a sincere and concrete cuisine. And every year we dedicate a dish in the menu to Calabria», says the chef. This year, it’s the turn of ravioli with black pig smoked pancetta, with onion, tomato confit, sauce of caciocavallo and sauce of dry tomatoes. They fry the ravioli, so as to make them crispy, like Asian dumplings.

Francesco Mazzei

Francesco Mazzei

Mazzei’s career was different. Today, in London, he presents the flavours of Italy and Calabria in three restaurants: in the elegant Sartoria in Saville Row, at Fiume and in “trattoria” Radici, born as a reaction to Brexit. His human factor is in cooking abroad, that is to say the way in which Calabrian cuisine evolved around the world. Mazzei conquers the Brits – and the audience in the Auditorium – via their palates, with elegant but “tangible” dishes where he mixes Calabrian and British ingredients, modern techniques and long cooking processes. The nose to tail pig is irresistible: belly, braised cheeks, a croquette made with snout and tail, pork crackling – paired with mashed potatoes and caciocavallo, ‘nduja as well as sanguinaccio made with orange and bergamot juice and apple sauce, made with Bramley Cox apples, a British acid variety. Very good.