You must really love to cook if you decide to take on the challenge of doing it at an altitude of 2000 meters with minus 10° Celcius degrees(14 Fahrenheit) outside. At least, this must have been the case for the young Italian chefs – between them 27 years of age – who decided to meet at the event in the Dolomites, Alta Badia, in front of the Ciampai refuge at the Audi Chef's Cup in Sudtirol sponsored among others by S.PellegrinoandAcqua Panna. The week long event saw special races and gourmet moments.
”Street Food in Alta Quota “ (Street Food in High Altitudes) was one of the these moments: definitely high quality to say the least. There are different opinions on street food and different interpretations, in this case chefs tried to make something very “yummy”, be it for the cold or the type of event. In fact, the only sandwich was the one prepared by Jury Chiotti and Diego Rossi of Le Antiche Contrade in Cuneo,Piedmont. They named it “Figata” and absolutely forbid us to translate it verbatim.
It is an expression that if applied to food means “something so delicious it’s freaking awesome”, and awesome it was. Here are the ingredients: a round panino bread baked in a wood oven, veal giblet sliced thinly prosciutto style; sweet and sour Tropea onions and roasted peppers with mayo. All of which put together in a eco-friendly package. “With La figata we want to convey a message of sustainable gourmet cuisine: it doesn’t necessarily have to be fatty liver parts or caviar, giblets, blue fish and herbs are great all the same” they say. “ Today a chef needs also to be an artisan and manager. “Yummy” to us means harmonious, balanced and real”.
“A tasty dish to me is something people like and it’s simple”, says Massimo Mentasti of Gallina in Monterotondo. “At this altitude I chose to make a purée of winter vegetables such as cauliflower which looks likes the white mountains, anchovies that are typical of my region, Piedmont, breadstick crumbs slightly smoked that smell like a fireplace”. A street food concept? “I think you can eat great food even while standing up” he answers. He adds: “As soon as I reopen my restaurant in Monterotondo in the Spring, I will serve my guests some aromatic herbs in the vegetable garden: that will be my street food”.
“Tasty means beautiful”, states Philip Mantinger from the Zur Kaiserkron in Bolzano. “There is no poorly presented good dish. Also, the smell is important, it’s the first thing I do, I smell the dish and anticipate the flavour”. His dish is an hymn to high altitudes : ossobuco with deer (read the recipe), au gratin with figs and gorgonzola.” The perfect union of meat, cheese and fruit. I like to play with these elements. The deer is the essence of the mountains, its intense flavour aligns perfectly with another strong one such as gorgonzola…”.
“If I remember a dish after one year, it means it’s good”, says Enrico Croatti from the restaurant in Trento, Dolomieu. “There also two elements that must be reflected: tradition and taste”. That’s why he prepared a pastry that tasted like amatriciana with peppers in a cheek lard broth. “I stuffed the pastry with creamy codfish. The final touch was a Tropea onion and pecorino cheese”.Lorenzo Cogo, the Chef of El Coq in Vicenza, arrives to the event in a snowcat as he was in Madrid teaching a class. His performance consists in a popular yet gourmet dish: veal ris with a goat yogurt sauce animelle. Interestingly enough he chose giblets too. “ I’ve united few elements: the fatty ris to fight the cold; hay cooking as an homage to Trentino, and the goat milk that I brough from Marano Vicentino”. He explains: “To me a dish is good when it has a very intense flavour, it’s well-balanced and consistent”. And street food? “It’s good to connect people with haute cuisine” he says “so definitely good”.