Identità di Formaggio at Identità Milano: all about cheese, minute by minute

Riccardo Forapani, Carmen Vecchione, Davide Oldani and Michele Casa dei Massari in the section of the congress organised in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano. Here is what they told us during their lessons

15-05-2022
by Annalisa Cavaleri
Fabrizio Nonis, Riccardo Forapani, Carlo Mangini

Fabrizio Nonis, Riccardo ForapaniCarlo Mangini and Paolo Gennari on the stage of Sala Blu 2 for the first lesson of Identità di Formaggio in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano

It started with a greeting from Massimo Bottura and then with a sentence addressed to Riccardo Forapani - «Working with this team gives you plenty of positive energy, only that. Little chatting, and off» - the first lesson of Identità di Formaggio in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano began.

«Culture, knowledge and conscience, are the three elements of which Massimo Bottura talked in his lesson – explained Carlo Mangini marketing and sales development director at Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano. These are the foundations are shared by Parmigiano Reggiano too. A product that represents history, sustainability, conscience. Parmigiano reggiano is not just a good piece of cheese, but it's a partnership, it's sociality, it's community, it's working in the pastures, animal and earth wellbeing. In Italy there are around 500 types of cheese, and they are our richness, and must be safeguarded. This is why we believe in Identità Golose and we have chosen to participate with joy in Identità Milano, sponsoring Identità di formaggio: the future is now and comes from our history».

There are 307 farms producing Parmigiano Reggiano and one of them belongs to Paolo Gennari, who also participated in Identità Milano 2022.

«Our production started in 1952, with the entire supply chain – says Paolo Gennari -. We have Frisona, Rossa reggiana and Bruna Alpina. It's the third generation. We are our name and our farm. We don't have a dairyman, we do everything ourselves. We had already understood some time ago that we could start making Parmigiano Reggiano Riserva and now our satisfaction is big. Every milk has specific characteristics: the Frisona milk is “calm”, but it allows for ageing of over 100 months, then there's the Bruna Alpina which gives you a milk with lots of casein and fat, with which you can make an extreme product, and then there's the Rossa, from which you can make a very special cheese, a little fatter. Each farm has their interpretation of milk. I'm moved every time I make this exceptional cheese».

 

Riccardo Forapani and Fabrizio Nonis

Riccardo Forapani and Fabrizio Nonis

RICCARDO FORAPANI
Tradition seen from a new perspective, the grandmother trattoria, when the grandmother has gone to the Moon and back. Classicism and attention to aesthetics, the cuisine of Emilia, interpreted with contemporary technique, hospitality and service: the point of view is always strongly rooted in Modena, because only with that anchor set in the past you can protrude your oars towards the world. The first guest on the stage of Identità Milano is Riccardo Forapani chef at Cavallino, restaurant in Maranello reopened last June by Massimo Bottura in the headquarters of Ferrari. A “classic” restaurant since its birth, which today speaks with a traditional but contemporary language. «At the heart, there are clients. We work so that guests can enjoy themselves and feel at home. We wanted to create a bourgeois restaurant, welcoming and pleasant» says Forapani. On the stage of Identità di Formaggio he presented one of the most popular dishes at Cavallino: Crème Caramel al Parmigiano Reggiano. It's a surprising dish because it's an exceptional frittata with Parmigiano Reggiano 36 mesi, with a reduction of toasted shallots (recalling the caramel) and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale «because – the chef says – aren't Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar the perfect match?». We start from a “classic” frittata which however is almost always full of flaws, harder in some parts, softer in others, thicker and thinner. In this dish it acquires a completely different texture, smooth and silky, without imperfections. The dish is finished with Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Villa Manodori.

 

Parmigiano Reggiano crème caramel

Parmigiano Reggiano crème caramel

«For the second dish I present today, I took some overcooked pastry from my mother, some bechamel turned into a cream of Parmigiano, with the ham that becomes a shoulder of San Secondo and the Emmentaler that is now Tosone, a cut of Parmigiano reggiano. The burnt sensation comes from the Josper and we finish the dish with a silver leaf, to recall the piece of foil that, at home, gets often stuck to the pastry. I served at Cavallino a very personal “homely” moment».

 

Carmen Vecchione at Identità di Formaggio in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano

Carmen Vecchione at Identità di Formaggio in partnership with Parmigiano Reggiano

CARMEN VECCHIONEThe second speaker, Carmen Vecchione from Dolciarte, comes from Avellino, in Irpinia. A great passion for cakes and baked products, he's a stubborn chef, with a university degree and fine dining experience. «I'm obsessed with planning and I always try to have everything under control. My inclination helps me a lot in pastry making – says Carmen Vecchione». In her lab, a team of only women, from 22 to 27. «Unfortunately it's not easy to find staff because working in the pastry shop means dealing with storage, orders, intermediate preparations, brioche, pastries, chocolate, large baked products… in other words, many branches and many necessities. It's much more than decorating cakes. We must explain to young people what our everyday life is like, so they can be prepared». At Identità di Formaggio she prepared a cheese-based cake, not too sweet, which is nicely paired with the sour notes of red fruits, but also with caramelised figs, for a richer version. The perfect end to a meal, very balanced.

Carmen Vecchione

Carmen Vecchione

Il formaggio come un dolce by Carmen Vecchione

Il formaggio come un dolce by Carmen Vecchione

To make it, she starts from a sablé and a purée of raspberries with which she makes a light and not too sweet compote, with an intense red colour. Then there's a base of custard – sugar, eggs and milk – that is strained and thickened with powdered rehydrated gelatine. She then adds robiola (from sheep's milk, with a stronger taste) and mixes everything. The cream is left to rest for a day, to stabilise the fats. A versatile cream which can be paired also with baked cakes. A sweet that is made with a soft pastry, a raspberry compote, a cream of robiola, very light and fluffy, and finally another touch of compote. And topped with a flower to make it all more beautiful.

 

DAVIDE OLDANI
The third guest of the day is two-starred Davide Oldani, a pop cuisine which over time has established itself and grown in elegance, without ever losing in substance. «On top of the two stars, Davide Oldani got a green star and here is why we relate even more to him – says Carlo Mangini, marketing and sales development director at Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano -. We believe in the health of the earth, in sustainability and animal wellbeing and this is why it's an honour to have him here at Identità di Formaggio». «For a rose-coloured future we must look ahead, but not too much. Look ahead but without losing touch with the present – points out Davide Oldani -. We must never leave a thing to chance, and always get young and serious people involved. We must be aware that we have a profession that can give you a lot. The future is made of this very precious human capital». For the lesson, a story that covered 19 years of tastings of cheese, starting from D’O onwards. «Initially, we served a vertical tasting in a rectangular plate, with fruit compote and pan brioche – Oldani explains -. We didn't like the idea of the circle cheese board, which is so hard to understand. Small and balanced tastings, with the carbohydrates of bread. The portions are imagined so as to leave the guest satisfied and light. The cheese is a crucial part of our Mediterranean diet and it must be served in restaurants, to give quality and an Italian character to the menu».

Davide Oldani and his innovative "cheese cart"

Davide Oldani and his innovative "cheese cart"

Handing the iconic Identità Milano plate to Davide Oldani

Handing the iconic Identità Milano plate to Davide Oldani

«Ever since we arrived in the new location with menus that range from 6 to 14 courses, I had to consider the cheese-serving moment with attention, with a touch of innovation – Oldani continues -. We selected the producers meeting them personally, understanding for how long we could have that cheese. Now we change cheese every two weeks to give a complex and fascinating overview of Italy, and we have created some playful moulds for the sweet pairings. And the roasted bread too recalls a piece of cheese. In the middle of the plate there's the cheese, in this case it's Montebore. I would have liked to have a rich cheese cart, but to respect the product truly, I would need huge refrigerating rooms. So my decision was less, but excellent. Every month we change, and we take a new challenge. My guideline is always that guests must enjoy themselves, and the cheese must be light because the days of food excesses, that would make us feel bad, are over».

 

 

MICHELE CASADEI MASSARI
The last guest is Michele Casadei Massari of Lucciola in New York, chef and entrepreneur originally from Bologna who landed in the Big Apple in 2019. «Two years ago they told me I was to become an ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano and for me it was like being called by the national football team – said chef Casadei Massari -. It gave me the same joy. Parmigiano Reggiano is impossible to replace in my cuisine, it talks of traditions and history, of excellence and ancient knowledge, and avantgarde cuisine, of the meticulous work of people. My cuisine wants to enhance every nuance of this exceptional cheese». He prepared some passatelli with Parmigiano Reggiano and the powdered crust, in a zero-waste approach. A touch of nutmeg and of lemon zest to make the dish fresher. «Zero waste and respect are the keys of my philosophy» Casadei Massari explained. Parmigiano Reggiano is made of 5 ingredients: milk, rennet, salt, love and passion». The passatelli are paired with a silky cream of Parmigiano Reggiano..

Passatelli with cream of Parmigiano Reggiano from chef Michele Casadi Massari

Passatelli with cream of Parmigiano Reggiano from chef Michele Casadi Massari

Among his specialties, Veal cheek with purée of acorns, thickened with some powdered crust – first cleaned and brushed – of Parmigiano Reggiano. Another example of how you can fight waste and of the incredible versatility of this cheese, which offers us a constant source of surprise. The chef revealed his new projects too: «I will make a vertical pancake with differently aged Parmigiano Reggiano and will pair it with maple syrup. I would also like to spread the use of koji in Italy, with its complex aromas and flavours. There's no end to the exchanges you can have between the different cultures of the world».

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso