Antonia Klugmann with Gabriele Zanatta, who presented her lesson
(Photos form Brambilla/Serrani)
Friday the 22nd of April, second day of Identità Milano 2022. On a morning that started with the inevitable blast caused by Carlo Cracco's presence, the second guest arrives in a coherent flow at the Auditorium. During a talk moderated by Gabriele Zanatta, Antonia Klugmann, patron chef at L’Argine a Vencò, in Friuli, is a concentrate of grace. Where grace coexists with the power of a very precise message, sustainability oozing from every word she says, a gentle vision of cuisine and its protagonists. Ingredients.
With this gentleness and a fascinating storytelling thanks to both rhythm and content, chef Klugmann shares a lesson where special effects are banned, and only the interpretation of ingredients is allowed. Two dishes, Cozze and Cannelloni. «I feel privileged to live in such a unique time. We've all focused our attention on the environment. Regardless of your profession, for us chefs it must be more than an obligation».
Back to the dishes, Cozze has been for one year in the menu at Vencò, and represents a product that she considers extraordinary in terms of beauty and complexity. The mussels come from some farms in Trieste, and we discover that these farms differ in terms of sapidity, of size. There are endless nuances in a common ingredient. To make the dish, the mussels are opened quickly (no sauté, but with a touch of helichrysum that gives a note of liquorice) and served with a cream of clams and lupini clams, mixed only with some extra virgin olive oil and water once the mussels are open. She finishes the dish with a juice of bieta da taglio (very different from the usual Swiss chards), a herb that grows fast, is sweet, mineral, and mixes well with the other juice, made with friggitelli peppers. Finally, leaves of lightly seared bieta.
Ricotta di Cividale, from a small local producer. The exterior is glazed with an infusion which is now a sauce of forest and nettles, while the tasting promises pure bitter sensations, very few fats, and a very quick cooking. «I'm happy that my guests are understand the economic value of a dish like this one». Indeed, when analysing it, the most expensive ingredient is ricotta, then there's labour, and finally the energy to make the dish. A completely different approach to cooking. In summary, this is what the work of a cook should really be like. Thank you, Antonia.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Antonia Klugmann: as always, her lecture at Identità Milano 2023 yesterday was very interesting. All photos are by Brambilla-Serrani
Antonia Klugmann in a portrait by Tanio Liotta right outside the kitchen at L'Argine, in Friuli
Christian Mandura on the stage with Carlo Passera, who presented his lesson
(All photos are from Brambilla/Serrani)