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12-11-2022

Matteo Baronetto, sworn enemy of homologation

Eight and a half years after the first service at Del Cambio, the chef from Torino now displays a profound expressive maturity. And a style that steers clear of the obvious

Matteo Baronetto and the Risorgimento Room at Del

Matteo Baronetto and the Risorgimento Room at Del Cambio in Piazza Carignano in Turin. The current course set sail in April 2014

My similes arise from a thought, from the pleasure of observing people, things, scents and tastes. Does the simile really meet the similar? I believe that a hazelnut can embrace a chickpea, like two people in love.

Matteo Baronetto's declaration of intent in the incipit of the Del Cambio menu is enough to distance the chef from Torino light years from one of the evils afflicting today's cuisine: homologation.

Absolute of... Homage to Fontana. The ingredient that wanted to be something else. Chawanmushi of... Black garlic and candied lemon. If you want to know the trends - a cool synonym for 'copying' - in today's Italian restaurants, don't open that door in Piazza Carignano. Behind it you will find only escapes from the obvious, a cuisine based on intuition and development, on daring associations and silent chromatics, on thoughts that reject technical doggedness and above all easy consensus, the like-cracy that depresses any daring.

A cuisine less based on casseroles and more on assemblage, on pre-preparation and development, on trompe l'oeil ("nothing is what it seems" and there is a root here: Ferran Adria), lightness and bright flavours (today more than ever), on variations on a theme that nonetheless set sail from a strong classical stamp. A steadfast irreverence that makes Matteo Baronetto the Andoni of Italian cuisine, with the difference that the Basque chef has the good fortune of being able to shut himself away for three months with his creative team, while there is not a day when the Piedmontese does not have to face the struggles of a staff that, between the restaurant, Farmacia and Bar Cavour, now totals 65.

Essential, radical and sensitive, that’s how the chef defines himself on the menu - which is also precious in terms of materials, made with a movable type print with moulds of chiselled wood friezes from the Archivio Tipografico. Three adjectives that could fit an ever-growing intergenerational class of chefs. All with a fourth requirement in common with our Piedmontese chef: non-conformism. Essential for the growth of Italian cuisine.

DEL CAMBIO, Menu 28th October 2022


Minimal aperitif (there is also a florilegium of rice chips, puffs, a loaf of rye flour, bread tongues...)

Minimal aperitif (there is also a florilegium of rice chips, puffs, a loaf of rye flour, bread tongues...)

Mozzarella and mushrooms 
Mozzarella in inverted commas because it is actually a wafer dipped in a milk cream while mushrooms and anchovies appear in the filling. The wafer - technically the simple sum of water and flour - is a recent fetish ingredient for Matteo Baronetto

Mozzarella and mushrooms
Mozzarella in inverted commas because it is actually a wafer dipped in a milk cream while mushrooms and anchovies appear in the filling. The wafer - technically the simple sum of water and flour - is a recent fetish ingredient for Matteo Baronetto

Cuttlefish nigiri with wagyu and Swiss chard
Another example of Baronetian trompe l'oeil: under the two veils of wagyu and Swiss chard there’s not rice and vinegar but grains of cuttlefish. Three fabulous, satisfying bites

Cuttlefish nigiri with wagyu and Swiss chard
Another example of Baronetian trompe l'oeil: under the two veils of wagyu and Swiss chard there’s not rice and vinegar but grains of cuttlefish. Three fabulous, satisfying bites

Lukewarm seafood salad 1960-2021 
A take on the signature dish from Gatto Nero, a famous restaurant in Turin, opened in the 1960s by Tuscan restaurateurs (and still alive and well). These are sheets of different fish (octopus, red prawns, scallops, black cuttlefish...) which, like the seaweed in a maki, hold almost impalpable egg-white marshmallows. They absorb a lukewarm citronette (poured at the table) that enhances the flavour of the ensemble with tuna in oil (Campisi), taggiasche olives, cooked fennel with wild fennel seeds, capers preserved in salt, chervil, tomato confit... All detailed in a precious parchment served beside the dish

Lukewarm seafood salad 1960-2021
A take on the signature dish from Gatto Nero, a famous restaurant in Turin, opened in the 1960s by Tuscan restaurateurs (and still alive and well). These are sheets of different fish (octopus, red prawns, scallops, black cuttlefish...) which, like the seaweed in a maki, hold almost impalpable egg-white marshmallows. They absorb a lukewarm citronette (poured at the table) that enhances the flavour of the ensemble with tuna in oil (Campisi), taggiasche olives, cooked fennel with wild fennel seeds, capers preserved in salt, chervil, tomato confit... All detailed in a precious parchment served beside the dish

Langoustine and hazelnut
It looks like chickpea purée with prawns but it is not because the purée is of hazelnuts, an intense flavour that invades the langoustine in the centre with taste and sweetness

Langoustine and hazelnut
It looks like chickpea purée with prawns but it is not because the purée is of hazelnuts, an intense flavour that invades the langoustine in the centre with taste and sweetness

Tuna wafer
The wafer is back, this time dipped in a tasty tuna sauce, with celery

Tuna wafer
The wafer is back, this time dipped in a tasty tuna sauce, with celery

Sweetbreads and buffalo mozzarella 
That's what you imagine when you read: first an alienating association, then sublime

Sweetbreads and buffalo mozzarella
That's what you imagine when you read: first an alienating association, then sublime

Raviolo, oyster and marzipan 
A raviolo holding a pink oyster from the Po Delta (‘only Italian ingredients here’, the waiter points out immediately). Below, barbecued oil; above, a crunchy marzipan touch

Raviolo, oyster and marzipan
A raviolo holding a pink oyster from the Po Delta (‘only Italian ingredients here’, the waiter points out immediately). Below, barbecued oil; above, a crunchy marzipan touch

Hazelnut rice 
A rice (overcooked, as per Piedmontese tradition) whipped only with Gobino hazelnut oil, no butter or parmesan. On the small plate next to it, the acidity of chervil with fennel seed vinegar interrupts the voluptuousness

Hazelnut rice
A rice (overcooked, as per Piedmontese tradition) whipped only with Gobino hazelnut oil, no butter or parmesan. On the small plate next to it, the acidity of chervil with fennel seed vinegar interrupts the voluptuousness

Sea bream in sauce with escarole and capers
Para-classic Mediterranean. The nori seaweed on the left prepares for the next tasting

Sea bream in sauce with escarole and capers
Para-classic Mediterranean. The nori seaweed on the left prepares for the next tasting

Nori seaweed noodles in roe deer civet 
A super-smooth noodle in roe deer civet that once again enhances the succulence. Next to it, a section of roast venison. Flavour, alienation

Nori seaweed noodles in roe deer civet
A super-smooth noodle in roe deer civet that once again enhances the succulence. Next to it, a section of roast venison. Flavour, alienation

Mapo
As a predessert, a slice of iced mapo

Mapo
As a predessert, a slice of iced mapo

Bunet ice cream with Barolo chinato granita 
A dessert that pays homage to Turin and Piedmont, as all the desserts on the menu do, named after symbolic places in Turin like Punt e Mes-Piazza XVIII Dicembre, Igloo - Corso Mediterraneo, Quadro bonet-Piazza Carignano, Grazie Torino-Mole Antonelliana...)

Bunet ice cream with Barolo chinato granita
A dessert that pays homage to Turin and Piedmont, as all the desserts on the menu do, named after symbolic places in Turin like Punt e Mes-Piazza XVIII Dicembre, Igloo - Corso Mediterraneo, Quadro bonet-Piazza Carignano, Grazie Torino-Mole Antonelliana...)

Wafer as puff pastry
Another wafer, this time passed at the table in dry ice and combined with custard and alchermes. A Baronetian trifle

Wafer as puff pastry
Another wafer, this time passed at the table in dry ice and combined with custard and alchermes. A Baronetian trifle

Petit fours

Petit fours

Wine pairing
The paired wines: it was lunch but they were worth more than an invisible complement

Wine pairing
The paired wines: it was lunch but they were worth more than an invisible complement

Matteo Baronetto with journalist Luca Iaccarino, two of the three artistic directors of Buonissima (the third is Stefano Cavallito), an event that made Turin shine for four days with magic dinners, Sunday lunches, agnolotti competitions, four-handed dinners... a great success

Matteo Baronetto with journalist Luca Iaccarino, two of the three artistic directors of Buonissima (the third is Stefano Cavallito), an event that made Turin shine for four days with magic dinners, Sunday lunches, agnolotti competitions, four-handed dinners... a great success

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


Zanattamente buono

Gabriele Zanatta’s opinion: on establishments, chefs and trends in Italy and the world

by

Gabriele Zanatta

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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