A gala dinner at the Reggia di Colorno, the residence of the ALMA culinary school, saw the seven young American chefs who received a scholarship through the project sponsored among others by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, Come to Italy with US, prepare a very Italian Dinner. We've been following these students' adventures at ALMA on our blog and here is Sarah Brewer's journal entry for the days leading up to the big event.
"Inspired by our early morning rise, Monday we travelled with chef Cristian Broglia to the local organic farm. There we felt comforted by the cool air, color and season harvest. Autumn seemed upon us and winters chill began to creep in. We then visited a farm with Piedemontese cows, also very close and foraged fresh walnuts on the farm grounds.
"Back at ALMA we empty the minds. What ideas that stayed in the head since our walk through fields. We sense summers end Autumn's arrival and winter is beckoning. We crave those rich roasts and the velvet texture of pumpkin. Cozy, warm and relaxed tastes. The harvest is over. Now we enjoy the break of the land.
"We began cooking around 12AM and continued until the end of the night. A small break for re organizing our minds. Then to eat a bowl of delicious carbonara made by Chris. The day was full of learning experiences and challenges. To crest a Gala Dinner in one day, selecting the ingredients, and creating a menu on the fly, was exciting and amazing! Thank you ALMA, S.Pellegrino, and all the partners. This was an amazing opportunity! Thank you for inviting us to join you!! We hope you will be visiting our restaurants as we each pursue our dreams!!"
Here is the Menu:
Roman-style zucchini blossom stuffed with anchovies and capers then battered and fried
THE EGGPLANT AND EGG
Egg cooked at 64 °C (147.2 °F) for one hour then served with toasted bread crumbs, bacon, the froth of dried smoked eggplant and sweet and sour onions
THE LAST OF THE TOMATOES '
Short sleeves' of pasta with oven-roasted plum tomatoes and a sauce of reduced cherry tomatoes
Mix of pumpkins ( Albertina , Delicate and Piacenza varietals) vacuum cooked and pureed, served with traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena and macaroons
Braised beef shoulder of 30-month Limousine cattle from Piedmont with young fennel butter, red radish stew, quince jelly and baked Amarone wine MILK Ripened cheeses from Maître Fromager Renato Brancaleoni
Spicy fresh Lambrusco grape must panna cotta with hay and meringues SMALL PASTRY Apple strudel with 'ugly but good' chocolate truffles
The Wine List:
Palazzo Lana Satèn 2004 Berlucchi
Lighea Zibibbo 2012 Donnafugata
Amarone Riserva Costasera 2008 Masi
Brunello di Montalcino Castelgiocondo 2008 Frescobaldi
Passito di Pantelleria “Ben Ryè» 2010 Donnafugata
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Come to Italy with US: Alma Students Before the Gala