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Our very own magnificent seven, the chefs hosting the S.Pellegrino Sapori Ticino are real paladins of flavour: they have each come up with a special recipe or curious combination of ingredients for this edition and for all you fine dining lovers, all starting with a single ingredient.
It was not easy to choose this basic ingredient, as the Ticino and the other Swiss cantons are abound in foods and wines of great interest, but in the end they picked a cheese. The area produces a great variety of cheeses, as there are many pasturelands still grazed in the Canton Ticino, they chose mascarpa, the Ticinese word for ricotta.
Some of the chefs also used büsción, a fresh cheese which is preferably made from goats’ milk. Its name means “cork”, recalling the cheese’s tall cylindrical shape. The chefs of the Ticino were inspired by this versatile ingredient and the many ways it can be used.
Alessio Rossi (Hotel Splendide Royal, Lugano) emphasises contrasts, combining this sweet cheese with the pungent citrusy notes of ginger; Dario Ranza (Villa Principe Leopoldo Hotel & Spa, Lugano) combines büsción with squash and adds a touch of black truffle, or else blends it with spinach to make delicious tortelloni. Gianluca Bos (Conca Bella, Vacallo) boldly combines smoked ricotta cheese with scallops, while Luigi Lafranco (Parkhotel Delta, Ascona) serves it with freshwater fish. Martin Dalsass (Ristorante Santabbondio, Lugano) uses ricotta as the basic ingredient in a stuffing for zucchini flowers, and Rolf Krapf (Hotel Eden Roc, Ascona) offers his unique interpretation of malfatti, a traditional northern Italian pasta dish. Also Ivo Adam (Seven, Ascona) uses ricotta in his cooking all the time.
Buffalo ricotta and marinated ginger
My suggested pairing is buffalo ricotta with marinated ginger. The delicate flavour of ricotta, combined with the decidedly strong taste of marinated ginger, results in a pleasant and intriguing contrast. Mix together the ricotta with the marinated ginger an excellent appetizer.
Ricotta and scallops
Ravioli of smoked buffalo ricotta with leek sauce and seafood like scallops – flavourful but with a meaty, solid consistency. The leek sauce is slightly sweet and sour and this makes for a very interesting contrast: the thin ravioli with the melting ricotta, the scent of the smoked cheese and the meatiness of the fish.
Ricotta and pumpkin
The delicacy of the ricotta with the sweetness of pumpkin, contrasts with the slightly sour taste of the buscion (the fresh Ticinese cheese), for a balanced taste of our local flavours. Round everything off with the decisiveness of black truffle.
Ricotta and filet of coregone (lake trout)
Pair the ricotta with a filet of lake trout or, alternatively, roasted rabbit with a polenta crust. You may dress the ricotta with a reduction of Ticino Merlot wine, a bit of ground pepper from the Maggia Valley and a small bunch of finely chopped thyme from our mountains. I chose this pairing to bring an Italian product closer to the Ticino tradition.
Martin Dalsass shared with FDL.com his recipe of zucchini flowers with goat's-milk ricotta on candies tomatoes.