Ferrarelle and Acquadichef
Would I like to go to Milan and find out more about Ferrarelle and the Acquadichef contest? Really, that question didn’t need asking…I am currently in the middle of a love affair with Italy, so unlikely to miss any chance to find out more about Italy’s chefs and gastronomy, whether traditional as in my recent trip to Sicily or contemporary as here.
We arrived in Milan with very little information about what to expect. There was a competition. It involved creating recipes where water had a leading role and the competition was sponsored by Ferrarelle and by ItaliaSquisita, the leading Italian contemporary gastronomy magazine. The judges included Gennaro Esposito and the competition had been very popular. After stopping briefly to freshen up at the hotel, we went to the Ferrarelle headquarters to find out a little more.
Through an ordinary industrial gate, we found ourselves in a pretty and modern courtyard right in the centre of Milan. Chefs, Ferrerelle staff and catering professionals were milling around, preparing for the party. Our hostess gave us a brief introduction into the Ferrarelle ethos and things started to fall into place for me, at least.
The leading Italian sparkling water was until fairly recently part of the Danone group. Although the brand itself has existed since 1893 it now seems very misplaced as part of a multinational conglomerate. In January 2005, Carlo Pontecorvo and LGR Holding SpA purchased Italacque from the Danone Group, acquiring a portfolio of still and sparkling waters including Ferrarelle, which is bottled directly at source, in the protected Sorgeto di Riardo Park near the extinct Roccamonfina volcano in Italy’s Campania region. Obviously, careful and ecologically sensitive production is necessary for the environment and for the high quality products that Ferrarelle aim to produce. Ingeneously, as part of the revitalisation of the brand, the company is also developing a range of artisan honeys and olive oils from the restored masseria delle sorgenti Ferrarelle. So, the brand becomes truly Italian again.
Another innovation is Acquadichef , an exciting competition which in Italy this year attracted creative and innovative entries from all areas of the restaurant world. The chefs were invited not just to create a recipe but to explain their concept through video. The results are fabulous, innovative and creative, just like the dishes. Here’s the winner with his menu of trout fillets prepared Swedish style as gravlax, tripe in herb tea and what has been translated as ‘cheeks with slushy sulphureous waters) (maybe someone can work that one out for me)
Next year the competition is going to be open to International chefs and the theme will be ‘Scatti di Chef’ (chefs’ snapshots). I’m looking forward to the Best of British entering!
Once the winners were announced, we partied. We got to taste a whole range of fabulous Italian foods, mozzarella, cold cuts of meat, fried pizza and icecream in brioches to name but a few. And, I got to meet some Italian food writers and find out a bit more about la Dolce Vita where you write about food and get published in Italian Playboy!
Many thanks for Ferrarelle for their hospitality.