via Castel Thun, 8
Vigo di Ton (Trento)
«The maestro from Noto Corrado Assenza distinguishes between pastry traditions: one based on honey, another on sugar. The first has an infinitely greater depth». Andrea Paternoster knows well the authority to lean on. He’s an untamed guy from Non valley, Trentino region: third generation of farmers, he’s been fighting for decades to bring us back to the age of honey, a plurimillennial kingdom interrupted at the beginning of 18th century by the advent of sugar, that is cheaper, easier to use but also much poorer. It is a different mission from that of Moses who, in Exodus books, strived to lead his gents to the «land flowing with milk and honey». But only because Paternoster himself, another biblical name, taught us that there’s not just one honey.
We’de better say “honeys”, a plural which explains very well that, say, strawberry honey is philosophically near to ivy honey (yes, ivy) the same way Prosecco is to Sagrantino wine. Very distant worlds indeed. Just like flowers they are born from, honeys are countless and nothing like the monofloral Mieli Thun is "an expression of its own territory” because «millions of euro are not enough to produce orange honey in Trentino or rhododendron honey in Sicily: it’s just impossible». This is why our nomad, aged 44, wanders carrying hives on his back, travelling up and down Italy on the wake of his beloved insects: «in order to produce 1 kilo of honey», he reveals, «bees must visit 6 millions flowers, covering twice the equator». In his precise flourishes, Paternoster also goes hunting for “crus” of honey, a concept he borrowed from oenology: these special honeys are called Quintessence and they are gathered in a 5-6 days time from hyper-suited places, when the bloom is at its maximum.
All this insights come from afar: «It was Bruno Marigo , mentor of the Museum of honey in Lavarone, one of the largest in Europe, to teach me how to see the world through the eyes of a bee. He said “world” but it’s not an exaggeration because our beekeeper has just set up a project, Honey Park to bring together all the honey-lovers from the planet: with him at Salone del Gusto were producers of heather honey from Scotland, oregano from Argentina, sage from Croatia... An “International of honey” built to expand even more rapidly the virus to the kitchen counters. An epidemic which has been already very extensive: ask Ferran Adrià or Emanuele Scarello , two chefs who would love to be lift back to the age of the honey. Possibly by flying above the comfortable wings of Andrea Paternoster.
born in Milan, 1973, freelance journalist, coordinator of Identità Golose World restaurant guidebook since 2007, he is a contributor for several magazines and teaches History of gastronomy and Culinary global trends into universities and institutes.
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Stefania, wife of the late coffee roaster Gianni Frasi, Massimiliano Alajmo and Corrado Assenza at Identità Milano 2021 on Sunday morning. Photo Brambilla/Serrani
The seven speakers at Pasticceria italiana contemporanea, in partnership with Petra® Molino Quaglia and Valrhona, on Sunday 26th September in Sala Blu 2 at Identità Milano. From the top left corner Corrado Assenza (Caffè Sicilia, Noto - Siracusa), Fabio Longhin (Pasticceria Chiara, Olgiate Olona - Varese), Nicola Olivieri (Olivieri 1882, Arzignano - Vicenza), Luca Lacalamita (LuLa - Pane e Dessert, Trani). From the bottom left corner, Francesca Castignani (Pasticceria Belle Hélène, Tarquinia - Viterbo), Pino Ladisa (Pasticceria Pino Ladisa, Bari Poggiofranco - Bari) and Gianluca Fusto (Fusto Milano - Milan)