Care's, the days of beauty

Salina hosted the summer debut of an established event that was born among the mountaintops of the Dolomites, under the theme of sustainability

Sunset in Pollara, with Filucudi and Alicudi in th

Sunset in Pollara, with Filucudi and Alicudi in the background. We’re in the Aeolian Archipelago, on the island of Salina, which hosted the first summer edition of Care's in May 2017

When thinking of the debut of Care’s The ethical Chef days on the island of Salina off Milazzo, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, it’s impossible not to start from congratulating myself for the way in which this event was organised by Norbert Niederkofler, chef in Alta Badia, Giancarlo  Morelli, restaurateur in Brianza and Milan, and Paolo Ferretti, owner in Bolzano of agency Mo-food. Care’s was born on the South Tyrol ashes of the Chefs Cup in Badia, first edition in 2016, the second in January. How about Salina? Salina was born thanks to the award Martina Caruso, chef and second-born to the Carusos owners of the island’s hotel Signum, won in San Cassiano. From the Dolomites to the volcanoes of the Mediterranean sea, with lots of passion and patience because in the Alps it is easy that it snows in the winter but even going by sea has its unknown variables, just like the airport in Catania, closed due to strong wind while most were on their way to reach this slice of paradise.

The beauty of the place erased the memory of the inconvenience, the rest was thanks to the event itself which I’d like to sum up in ten points, in chronological order, from the arrival on Sunday 21st of May to the departure on Thursday the 25th.

WELCOME DINNER: organised by eight Sicilian chefs led by Nino Graziano, the first two stars in the region, the perfect trampoline for Moscow in 2005.

VISUAL MEMORY: that of Pino Cuttaia, whose story presenting the dish is always captivating because it most often starts from childhood and family memories. He called Memoria visiva [Visual memory] the classic fried cutlet, the veal escalope all mothers, grandmothers and aunties make. Except that, given the place, it was made of tuna. There’s more: since the theme was sustainability, it was made with alalunga tuna, a cousin with pink and tenderer meat than red tuna. Last note: it wasn’t cooked on the fire. Excellent.

A great portrait of Norbert Niederkofler by the pool at hotel Ravesi in Salina

A great portrait of Norbert Niederkofler by the pool at hotel Ravesi in Salina

MORELLI’S LAMB: the dinner on Monday 22nd in Capofaro struck also thanks Giancarlo’s Lamb with herbs from Salina. Presenting a classic dish is never easy. In this sense, he was helped by the surprise effect. The chef from Bergamo had a déjà vu meat wear new clothes.

SUNSET: the one from Pollara is not to be missed. If love doesn’t strike between a couple when they’re there, best not insist. It means there’s no energy. In 1994 Massimo Troisi shot some scenes from Il Postino, his last film, here. He thus gave it eternal fame. Here everything is an ode to the movie, Locanda del Postino, tel. 090-9843958, won’t disappoint you. For sure the night in Pollara, with Alicudi and Filicudi on the horizon, would have you agree even to fasting.

CARE’S TALKS: a total of three, all on Tuesday in the congress centre in Malfa, one of the three towns in which Salina is divided. First topic: The identity of food and responsible consumption. I particularly enjoyed Agostino Macrì of «One should get informed from those who know the subject so as to assess the risks of a bad diet. Unfortunately there are few serious experts so now the trend of avoiding one ingredient or the other has spread. The day will come when we’ll have a tin of “Without everything”, empty that is, and they will be happy».

Le vie en rose, an extraordinary starter of red prawns from Mazara and beetroot from Gert De Mangeleer in Salina for Care's 2017

Le vie en rose, an extraordinary starter of red prawns from Mazara and beetroot from Gert De Mangeleer in Salina for Care's 2017

SEA RESOURCES: how to manage them in a sustainable way, was the most successful session. Biologist Rory Moore showed a successful fishing project in Lyme Bay between Devon and Dorset; chef Dave Kinch evoked the return of fish in Los Gatos in California with irony («There’s plenty, once again, especially sharks») while fisherman Antonello Randazzo spoke against all the hypocrisy: «Take Maria Vittoria Brambilla, she pretends she’s a animal-rights activist but then runs a business that sells frozen fish. Truth is that with the latest laws, the Italian fishing industry is destined to die».

LA VIE EN ROSE: This is how Flemish Gert De Mangeleer called the extraordinary starter of red prawns from Mazara, beetroot and raspberry with buttons of beetroots during the dinner at Signum on Tuesday the 23rd. Surprise: you could unroll the buttons.

ONE PRODUCT PER THREE CHEFS: the organisers had a nice idea – they had three chefs with very different roots but all with a present activity in Italy work with alalunga tuna. Together with Moreno Cedroni, from Senigallia, there were Peruvian Rafael Rodriguez, who opened Quechua in Via Meda in Milan three months ago, and Japanese Yoji Tokuyoshi who a year and a half ago also opened a place in Milan. A nice confrontation because when you use sensitivity, knowledge and the desire to dare, two plus two always makes more than four.

Giancarlo Morelli and David Kinch in Salina, May 2017

Giancarlo Morelli and David Kinch in Salina, May 2017

DAVID KINCH: chef-patron at Manresa in Los Gatos in California. Dave attracted the guests during the final dinner at Signum thanks to the deliciousness of his dish. Which could not go unnoticed given he called it Strawberry puttanesca, with vacuum cooked alalunga, then seared and cooked as a scaloppine, and finally seasoned with an interpretation of puttanesca in which, putting aside the reference to the waters in front of Los Gatos, with the Pacific Ocean, and Salina, with the Tyrrhenian Sea, strawberries replaced the cherry tomatoes. Wishing for an endless second helping.

COUSCOUS – HOW DELICIOUS: Ludovico De Vivo, chef at Capofaro, made the intense and lively vegetarian couscous, in perfect balance of flavours and seasonings. In events where you never stop eating, the risk is that you soon feel satisfied and can no longer carefully taste. So when something captures your attention it acquires an even greater value, as in this case.