Eataly, the largest artisanal food and wine marketplace in the world has managed to make the escape into everything Italian more authentic and pleasurable. An escape so exquisite, daringly bold and satisfying. You will forget you are in the big apple, until the moment you leave after filling your gastronomical desires.
In it’s second year, the Identità Golose, a culinary organization that highlights the best of contemporary Italian Cuisine has settled in Eataly for a two-day congress (October 31st – November 1st 2011) that ends this evening. I had the pleasure of attending the Missy Robbins and Emanuelle Scarello cooking demo yesterday at 5PM. Executive Chef of A Voce restaurant, Missy Robbins is a critically acclaimed chef who creates spectacular Italian cuisine with a modern twist. Emanuele Escarello is Chef and owner of Agli Amci restaurant in Italy that is still standing five generations later; he prepares traditional dishes with a touch of eccentricity.
The Cooking demonstration was held at Birreria Restaurant, it’s rooftop setting was ideal and complimentary. The demo table was full of autumnal colored ingredients that would be used to prepare the dishes we were to sample.
Missy Robbins started off with a story of her first meeting with Scarello 11 years ago on an apprenticeship in Italy. It was an especially wonderful moment for the two chefs since it was the first time they were seeing each other and cooking together in over a decade.
The first dish was ricotta filled ravioli, finished with browned butter and toasted walnuts and peas. The pasta dough is seasoned heavily prior to being cooked; the peas are marinated with grappa, lemon zest, black pepper and cinnamon. This lends it a unique slightly sweet taste. It’s finally garnished with an unexpected ingredient – cocoa powder. The dish was sweet, savory and the accompanying wine - 2007 Pomino Bianco from Italy with a killer label perfected it further. Outstanding as this dish was, the night was still young and the chefs were not done cooking.
Chef Scarello prepared the final dish of the night, Fillet of Veal. The veal was covered with a coating of thyme, rosemary and garlic and saran wrapped. It is refrigerated for a few hours to allow the flavours to penetrate the veal. It is the pan seared and oven roasted for a nice smoky, crisp and succulent texture. Chef Scarello used a thick cut which is a diversion from the thinly sliced norm. It was seasoned well, texture was tender and the flavours of the thyme and rosemary were evident. A winner for someone like me who is not accustomed to veal.
All in all the demo was roaring success. Hopefully someday I will visit Italy and enjoy more than samples of authentic Italian fare. Next years’ event is sure to be as elegant and informative as this one was.