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5 not-to-miss things from Le Strade della Mozzarella, day 2

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5 not-to-miss things from Le Strade della Mozzarella, day 2
Photo Francesca Massa

The second day of Le Strade della Mozzarella, event that ends today the forum about Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP (find here all about day one of the congress), starts with a 100% Neapolitan chef: Andrea Aprea opens the carnet of starred chefs ready to face the challenges of a unique, big product. At the same time, chefs, pizzaioli and the master gelatiere Simone Bonini experiment and play with the same product.

While Paestum, in Salerno province, welcomes today the worldy renowned chefs coming from all the sides of the globe to discuss this italian excellence, here are five you could have missed.

Andrea Aprea
, chef at Vun restaurant in Milan, teaches how to solve the issue of the mozzarella cooked at high temperatures, an operation that generally ruins the product. The chef works on the ravioli filling and solves the question creating a mix of serum, bufala milk and pieces of mozzarella. He mixed everything, filtered it with a colander and filled a stamp in silicon to shape the filling of his bufala ravioli. He beated the filling (you can keep it in the freezer at home) and put it into two sfoglie of very thin egg pasta and he cooked the raviolo in warm, but not too hot water. The result (in the picture below) is a soft, moisty bite, that spread all the taste of milk: successful experiment!

Brothers Christian and Manuel Costardi
worked on the bufala world at 360 degrees: mozzarella, ricotta, milk, and meat too. Tasty, light and healthy. To concentrate all the flavors of the bovine together the brothers invented a street food concept inspired by Japanese ramen. They created an oriental broth with products from Campania: “It’s lovely to have a new kind of soup at the restaurant, but it’s also nice to have this kind of dish as street food, while you’re having a stroll. It’s a way to disrupt the formal atmosphere of restaurants”. The take away broth made out of a bovine muscle, polpette of grounded, fried and smoked dried bufala that reminds the katzuo bushi. In place of seaweeds they used aubergines’ peel fried and dried. Stunning, and fun result.

The new three-Michelin-star chef Niko Romito always worked on the subtraction of fat and sugar, a way to exalt the natural sweetness or savory of ingredients. For the chef a product’s integrity is everything. For this reason he didn’t want to work the white wonder. It is already a perfect product, born from the timeless experience of casari. The product is perfect also aesthetically: a porcelain-like sphere that encloses an incredible smell of lactic ferments. This is the reason why He used bufala yogurt. He changed the structure to make the best of it with a procedure to copy: you just need to put the yogurt in a cloth and wring it. Once you’re doing this, the water comes out of it and acidity grow leaving a soft texture. Then the chef laid this bufala cloud on an almond cream, lemon juice, confit lemons, water infused with sage and walnut biscuit. Everything is sugarfee but woth a sweet and acid at the same time taste, that refreshes and cleans the palat. Pure freshness.

Moreno Cedroni is a juggler. He loves to play with consistencies, shapes and tastes. He plays, seriously, with caprese and turns mozzarella in a cold bite covered in lyophilized tomato. Then He turns playing with the soul of products: “They found out that albumin in mozzarella and that in squid are the exact same. Same elasticity and structure”. For this reason the chef got inspired by Japan and created a fried squid polpetta breaded in mile with friggitelli and buffalo mozzarella cubes. In this combination fish and dairy get together and the fun gets delicious too. Then it’s time for the squid, coconut and mozzarella bounty. Pure fun. At the end of the day Cedroni turns upside down the dictat “Hands off of mozzarella” in a pike jump. The white bufala reveals itself versatile and witty. The only condition is, let it be worked this way by a pro.

Nino Di Costanzo tought such a big lesson: some dishes are too difficult to make at home. They can only come to life in a fitted restaurant with a team of professionals. And the product is not objectionable: “We, chefs, are not wizards, we need to pay tribute to who’s doing the essential work: producers. We can’t do miracles ourselves if we don’t have who’s working for us the raw materials”. Said this, the chef actually did a little miracle happen. He curdled bufala milk and gave it the shape of a mozzarella. Then he recreated serum with almond milk. He recreated a cherry tomato’s outside with raspberrys’ peel and the inside with passion fruit. He added an olive oil madeleine, and a salted babà. A game of gastronomic imitations and illusions that hit both mind and palate.

Pictures by Francesca Massa

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