This past weekend, Saturday through Monday, presented the second edition of Festival CULTUR-AL in the form of a ‘Cultural Festival Della Cultura Alimentare Italiana.’ The annual event dedicated to the Italian food culture was hosted in the historic Bastille Design Center, Paris 11th Arrondissement.
This monumental industrial building from the early nineteenth century, a warehouse that received goods shipped into Paris via Canal Saint Martin, now is transformed to accommodate various expositions, conferences and events. The ground floor is original wood-block.
The ambiance is one of quality and timelessness, perfectly compatible to showcase the traditions of Italian Alimentation. Designer Philippe Model is credited for the setup for the event. Eighty exceptional guests participated, among whom were cultivators, producers, chefs, pizza makers, bakers and sommeliers. More than 30 events had been organized including master classes, workshops, round tables and special dining experiences.
Italian food culture brought speciality and excellence to the table in this exposition of exceptional breadth and detail. For example, Chef Peppe Guida, Antica Nonna Rossa, from Vico Equense prepared a lemon pasta in which the cultivator of the wheat presented an artful informative video showing the farming practices that eventually resulted in the fine pasta product.
And authentic rice (and speciality wheat) farmer Alice Cerutti of Casino Oschiena presented an artful video which described the precise attention that is considered in cultivation of ancient wheat varieties. The precision and attention extends to the land, the surrounding environment and the ecosystem, as well as to the product itself. The optimal qualities of the wheat grains and resulting flour will determine the quality of the pasta. Then the chefs, just as in choosing materials for the design in haute couture creations, carefully select the best products to ensure the desired form, texture and density of the pasta used to create the ideal blends in flavors that blossom at each stage of creation, preparation and taste.
Cultivation and handcrafted products are fundamental to the outcome of the chef’s work. The exhibitors of Italian speciality food products included pastas, olive oils, conserved tomato and other fruit products, cheeses, pastries and of course a wide variety of wines.
Speciality chefs presented pizzas, pastas and pastries, and producers and sommeliers offered their regional varieties and blends. There were over 30 opportunities for programmed activities and demonstrations to taste and learn, including master classes, workshops, panel discussions and special dining pleasures.
Above Frisino is a family olive oil cultivation and production offering a Apulian flavor (province of Taranto). The three-day event promoted “Culinary Excellence in Food Culture by honoring distinguished quality products and presenting highly regarded ‘chef-inspired’ preparation techniques.” These are the must-have life ingredients. The project, simple yet ambitious, clearly demonstrated support for small speciality producers.
The workshops celebrate chefs and producers, instructed in cooking techniques and intended to raise awareness of delicious food and to encourage healthy eating practises. Sunday was dedicated to families by offering several tasting workshops that end with an “Italian style lunch”.
Above varieties of Italian cheese, and below the producer and ‘Raffiniti’, the Paris distributor in the 18th Arrondissement .
The exposition included a small market where select items were available for purchase. The market dedicated a corner to the world of culinary books.
Of course the expo offered plenty of pastry tasting. The line of Sal De Riso offered tastings of this Italian Costa D’Amalfi pastry. Varieties ranged from a gentle lemon that easily pairs with any meal to a slightly more potent lemon liquer ‘Limoncello’. Among the line also are the rich ‘Amerena’ of black cherry bourbon vanilla, the ‘Smeralda’ Sicilian pistachio plus Sicilian pistachio cream, and the ‘Primavera’ custard with the spring fruits of peaches and strawberries.
ARTIGIANQUALITY offers bio della mortadella from Bologna.
While I am far from an ‘expert in gastronomy’, I absolutely learned and enjoyed a lot!
The exposition presented a pizza tasting every 50 minutes!
The chef brothers Manual and Christian Costardi used a clever Andy Warhol tribute (tomato can – forgetting Campbell!) to serve an amazing tomato risotto! And in the photo gallery there are more chefs, exhibitors and visitors in action.