XXL: life of a curious man

Claudio Ceroni tells us about the book by Paolo Marchi, his comrade in Identità Golose

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni together on the st

Paolo Marchi and Claudio Ceroni together on the stage of the latest edition of the Identità Golose congress, with the “sweet sculpture” prepared by Gianluca Fusto to celebrate its tenth anniversary

I met Paolo one day, in 2004, to speak about Identità Golose, an idea that at the time was all in his head and that we then put into effect together, an idea that changed both our lives. He wanted to accomplish a dream, I wanted a turning point in a life spent creating and producing large events and television productions for others. We were both excited, right from the start, by the international horizon of this project.

One day, at the beginning of our relationship, he confessed he had long had the desire to write a book, I still remember the first title: "100 dishes that changed my life and... my weight". After almost ten years of silence, when a productive relationship with Mondadori started, it came natural to me to remind Paolo, concentrated in a endless projects, of his unmet desire.

Therefore, I am not a neutral reader and with ill-concealed pride I devoured "XXL": one story led to another, there are recipes but they are only the pretext to illustrate life, his own and that of the 50 protagonists. And when it comes to narrating, Paolo has no rivals, he takes you and engages you like few others, he’s subtle and ironic, but always passionate: from his love for details, sometimes apparently useless, irresistible feelings, flavours and aromas often emerge.

The cover of Paolo Marchi’s book, published by Mondadori

The cover of Paolo Marchi’s book, published by Mondadori

I would like to stress one aspect more than any other, today that our relationship has also become a great friendship: Paolo is not only the perfect glutton, as Oscar Farinetti clearly defines him in the preface, but he’s most of all the greatest and most tireless curious person I have ever met, and I mean someone who explores and discovers what is new.

I will tell about one episode above all: one day we were together in Hong Kong, exploring the infinite corners of the old fish market in the shade of the skyscrapers, with a suffocating muggy weather around us and the journey’s fatigue on us: at one point, Paolo collapsed, exhausted, on a bench. I told him I would continue a little further, that we would meet in a short while, but his answer was unconditional, we needed to continue together. «Why?» I asked. And he said: «Because you could see something really interesting and I would miss it.»

This is Paolo Marchi and this book is its evidence.


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