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Identità Golose 2016 has come to a close but not before seasoning the host city of Milan with excitement, edible works of art and the wisdom of great chefs, bakers, pizza makers, sommeliers and other food professionals.
This year marked the 12th edition of the prestigious food congress, which kicked off March 6th and ran a total of three days. Organizers chose The Strength of Freedom as this year's theme and participants, which included acclaimed chefs Massimo Bottura, Virgilio Martinez and Davide Scabin - were asked to reinterpret the theme whether with food, drinks or their own words.
It was a thrilling scene as the events developed. Here are some highlights from each day of Identità Golose 2016 (click on the image above to see a slideshow of the mouthwatering dishes from the event)
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 1
Day 1 saw the participation of renown Italian chef Davide Scabin, owner of Combal.Zero (which this year lost a Michelin star). Scabin is known for his real talk and addressed the topic of food critics, GMO foods and what he believes is the future of food.
He joked: "We should go back to 'passing gas': this means eating more vegetables and less meat, like my grandmother." All jokes aside he said that the real way to solve our environmental problems is to limit eating meat to once a week.
Enrico Crippa, who runs the three-starred restaurant Piazza Duomo in the region of Piedmont, said he finds freedom in his vegetable garden. The menu at his restaurant is an homage to the colors of nature. Often, he creates dishes in the morning and serves them the same evening at Piazza Duomo.
Vegan chef Simone Salvini, one of the few proponents of vegan cuisine in Italy, impressed visitors with a meringue made from aquafava (the liquid in canned beans) while artist-turned-forager Valeria Margherita Mosca talked about her love of wild foods and how they help her reconnect with nature.
Paolo Griffa, second place winner in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, dazzled with his succulent rooster-based dish.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 2
Italian chef Paolo Lopriore kicked off Day 2 with a spectacular dish of gnocchi served with snails and spices. To him freedom is inspired by his customers - not only by offering them ample choices but also having the freedom to create them as a cook.
Milanese chef Davide Oldani turned the S.Pellegrino stand into a feast for the eyes with his stellar dish of beef prepared in oil, white wine sauce, horseradish and flakes of chocolate. The dish is his spin on a traditional dish from the Northern Italian city of Brescia.
Should pizzerias be awarded Michelin stars? That was the question of the day and after a thorough discussion Danish chef Christian Puglisi took the stage. Puglisi, who trained with René Redzepi at Noma, is now the chef at Relae, which has one Michelin star. To him freedom took the shape of pizza as he presented his unique style inspired by the best pizzerias in Italy and the United States.
Over at the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 stand young chefs were encouraged to apply for the premier culinary competition. Renown Italian chef Carlo Cracco (who will serve as a juror at S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016) discussed the importance of young chefs in the kitchen.
HIGHLIGHTS OF DAY 3
The last day of Identità Golose 2016 featured a journey to Peru with the food of acclaimed chef Virgilio Martinez (whose restaurant Central in Lima has been recognized as the best Peruvian restaurant in the world). Martinez brought along with right hand men: Peruvian chef Mitsuharu Tsumura and Indian chef Sanjay Dwivedi (an Indian cooking Peruvian? That's a story in itself!)
Pasta was also a topic discussed at the food congress thanks to Italian chef Alessandro Negrini who believes an 18-course dinner that doesn't include at least one dish with pasta would be considered 18 appetizers. Fabio Pisani, chef of Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia echoed his sentiments on pasta albeit with a unique twist: a pasta dish that requires 60 minutes of cooking. It's an interesting take on a beloved cultural icon.
An intriguing pasta dish came from chef Ciccio Sultano who used cooked and raw mustard leaves to make mustard spaghetti with sheep's milk cheese and bottarga (pictured above).
Day 3 also featured Dossier Dessert, a special program dedicated to patisserie from around the world. Participating pastry chefs hailed from Sicily and as far as Tokyo. Freedom never tasted so sweet!