In 2018 the Nobel prize for economics went to US economist William Nordhaus, for his study on the relationship between economic growth and political and economic choices. Adapting to the new territorial needs is a prerogative of social beings as producers of culture and, among producers of culture, we should include cooks, if we consider that food represents the cultural identity of a people and that in cooking we can find the unique features of a territory.
Chef Carlo Cracco and his right arm Luca Sacchi, the author of the emblem dish of Identità Milano 2023, whose theme will be “Ladies and gentlemen, the revolution is served” (read here) are well aware of this: Avocado, kiwi and coriander is a testimony of a changing world and of human adaptation, an edible manifesto of a necessary revolution due to the increase in temperature and the consequent climate change (read here for the explanation of the dish). A preparation that breaks the rules and projects itself into the future, opening new possibilities both from a culinary point of view and a conceptual one, as it is made of exotic ingredients strictly produced in Italy.
Avocado, kiwi, coriander is the emblem dish of Identità Milano 2023. Its authors are Carlo Cracco and Luca Sacchi. Photo by Brambilla-Serrani
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For sure, the trend of made in Italy tropical fruits is destined to change consumption drastically in the coming years, but also the production choices of farms in the first place. After all, from a curiosity limited to a few hectares, the production of tropical fruits has become a real market phenomenon: a Coldiretti/Ixè research in 2022 revealed that as many as seven Italians out of ten (70%) look for mango, avocado, bananas cultivated in Italy. A trend motivated by the greater freshness but also by a preoccupation on the safety of imported produce.
Sicily, however, from the above-mentioned research, is the one that stands out in terms of quantity and quality of the farming of avocado and mango of different varieties in the countryside of Messina, Etna and Acireale, but also passion fruit, black zapote, sapodilla and litchi. All this thanks to the work and commitment of young farmers who have chosen this type of agriculture, often recovering and giving new life to plots that had been abandoned because of the climate change and previously used to produce oranges and lemons.
Avocado farms spread from the slopes of Etna to the Ionian sea, near Giarre. Between the volcano and the coast, there is the ideal microclimate that stimulates an excellent production: here the volcanic soil is strong, water-permeable, and rich in natural elements. This plus the pure water extracted from the soil gives the fruit some special and precious features, a sweet and delicate flavour, with a buttery and creamy pulp.
Sicilia Avocado is a group of 39 small farms established in 2013 in Giarre (Catania) by young Sicilian entrepreneur Andrea Passanisi, in the photo. Having soon become a leader in the industry, the group distributes its fruits all over Italy and in Europe, and counts on a portfolio of professional and individual clients, and groups of purchase. The farms spread from the slopes of Etna to the Ionian sea
In Palermo Cooperativa Valle dell’Oreto owned by the Marcenò family produces three varieties of bananas since 2012: Musa capriciosa, Musa paradisiaca and the classic Cavendish. With 4000 plants, the farm is the largest in Italy to grow bananas outside the cellar. In the photo Letizia Marcenò shows some fruits
On the north coast of Sicily, in a strip of land between the Nebrodi mountains and in front of the Aeolian Islands, they grow mangos from late in July to late in November.
In the province of Palermo, since 2014 a farm has been producing and distributing Sicilian papaya in an ethical and environmentally friendly way: respecting the environment and the health of consumers, they only use natural products like water, soil and manure.
In Ficarazzi, a small village near Palermo, in 2013 Luigi Speciale founded Papaya di Sicilia, a brand dedicated to a niche market of individuals, restaurants and selected retailers. The company can count on around 2000 square metres of green houses, between Palermo and Messina, where they grow two varieties of papaya, simil-formosa and simil-solo sunrise, producing around 5 tons each year
PapaMango is a brand of Bianco Rosalia in Sant’Agata di Militello (Messina). Here, in the heart of the Nebrodi mountains, overlooking the Aeolian islands, since 2012 Vincenzo Amata has planted 2300 plants of mango of different varieties: Kensington-Pride, Kent, Keitt, Sensation, Glenn, Maya e Irwin
«It’s not the strongest or most intelligent species that survives, but then one that best adapts to change». These words, mistakenly attributed to Charles Darwin, in fact were spoken in 1963 by Management professor Leon C. Megginson to describe his interpretation of Darwin’s thoughts, and seems almost banal but in fact they represent the only effective incipit were we to tell a child the relationship between the world and its inhabitants in the complex process of evolution. Adapting to change is thus crucial for the survival of flora and fauna, cultures and sciences, territories and people and of cooking, the eighth of the arts, a mirror of habits and society. Tradition is an innovation that, over the centuries, has been radicalised. Every evolution starts from a spark, which can generate a fire. Then luckily come revolutions to solve extreme situations.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso
Reviews, recommendations and trends from Italy, signed by all the authors of Identità Golose
Born in 1974 near Naples, now living further south, he’s a sommelier and coffee taster convinced that those born in Vico Equense like him have a gourmet imprinting by birth. He lives, writes and organises events in Palermo, but eats and drinks everywhere
All photos are by Brambilla-Serrani
Paolo Marchi’s words representing the Identità Milano 2023 congress. All photos from Brambilla-Serrani