In this rather unusual year, festivities spent at the table could not be anything other than special, although the great protagonists of lunches and dinners are desserts that mark an occasion, with some incursion of creative recipes, revisited or not really “Christmasy”. TUTTOFOOD, the international platform for the agri-food sector, at fieramilano from 17 to 20 May 2021, collected the reflections of some Italian and international players of the gastronomic world, to propose interesting suggestions to amaze guests with few original ingredients and a lot of imagination
Maurizio Bonanomi, owner and pastry chef of Pasticceria Merlo in Pioltello (Milan), chooses the artisans and small producers from whom he obtains his raw materials, one by one, with meticulous attention: from berries to candied fruit, up to the choice of butter. For him, the millefeuille remains among the most requested of the classic desserts, while the innovative ones, this year, cheesecake is in the foreground, in all its forms.
His IN ingredients: selected flour, butter, vanilla, eggs, sourdough starter.
His OUT ingredients: substitutes, semi-finished mixes, artificial flavours, preservatives, margarine.
For Salvatore De Riso, the creator and founding member of the Academy of Sourdough and Italian Panettone, the classic dessert is the Panarea cake: a fragrant pistachio biscuit filled with creamy ricotta and vanilla and pistachio cream. His alternative dessert is linked to tradition, too: a light, white chocolate and vanilla cream flavoured with lemon from the Amalfi Coast, with a coffee cream heart, hazelnut crunch and almond shortcrust pastry”.
His IN ingredients: lemons from Amalfi, ricotta, dark chocolate, butter, Bourbon vanilla.
His OUT ingredients: margarine, chocolate substitute, artificial flavourings, industrial fruit, preservatives.
“My classic dessert? There’s no competition, traditional panettone, always and forever”, begins Vincenzo Tiri, talian leavening experts. But in recent years, he explains, the trending ingredient is high quality pistachio, such as that from Stigliano, while this year it is absolutely a must to make a fruit-chocolate combination, for example apricot with gianduia. “In addition, it is impossible to forget wine in this year's trendy flavours: what do I prefer for my desserts? Muscat or Aglianico”, he concludes.
His IN ingredients: pistachio, fruit with chocolate, wine (Muscat and Aglianico), vanilla and… kindness.
His OUT ingredients: there are no out ingredients: everything is relevant if it is a quality ingredient and handled with care.
Laura La Monaca, an Italian food photographer on the international scene with a cosmopolitan outlook, observes that “…even at Christmas the most innovative pastry chefs pay attention not only to raw materials, but also to intolerances and food restrictions. In Sicily, for example, they have learned how to create completely vegan versions of typical desserts, without compromising on flavour; from croissants to brioches with a ‘tuppo’ (a little ball of dough on the top)”. In love with Sicily, Laura also focuses on the island in choosing the dessert for the holidays: for her it will be cassata.
Her IN ingredients: for savoury, combining Italian recipes with exotic sauces: ponzu sauce and shoyu soy sauce.
Her OUT ingredients: the lack of imagination.
Julie Gerbet from France, a journalist specialising in food, explains that consumption habits are moving in two directions: towards the healthy on the one hand and pleasure on the other. In France, for some years now there has been a competition to reinterpret traditional desserts in increasingly unusual forms, which by now bear scant resemblance to the original: “at Christmas the ‘bûche’, the Yule log, and at Epiphany the ‘galette des rois’, a puff pastry cake filled with almond cream, the famous frangipane cream. But often I prefer the original recipe, prepared by the local pastry shop”.
Her IN ingredients: sourdough, flavoured butter cream, almonds, coffee.
Her OUT ingredients: refined flour, white bread, artificial flavourings, food colouring.
Finally, the perspective from a country where Christmas is not a local holiday, but the atmosphere of the holidays is felt anyway. From the United Arab Emirates we have the point of view of Sana Chikhalia cook, photographer and food blogger based in Dubai: “The Emirates have a multi-ethnic population and many nationalities celebrate Christmas, each with their own specialities: rum cake and the ‘Yule log’ arrive from Northern Europe in addition to ginger biscuits and German Stollen. Truffles are also very popular, while from India we have taken kulkul from Goa and kuswar from Mangalore, and from the Philippines, the dessert called bibingka”. But also the local tradition is very rich in winter desserts: “kunafa is made with strands of puff pastry and cheese, while semolina is used to prepare basbousa, a cake garnished with sugar syrup, and maamoul, which are biscuits filled with dates. Ghraybeh, on the other hand, are traditional Middle Eastern butter biscuits”.
Her IN ingredients: vegan dishes, ketogenic and paleo recipes.
Her OUT ingredients: white bread, coffee, sourdough: overused.
THE 5 INTERESTING INNOVATIONS TO KICK OFF 2021 IN A HEALTHY WAY
Despite the pandemic, the food market has been overwhelmed by a new wave dictated by product innovation. The drive to start again, in the name of health but with taste, comes from the food&beverage sector.
The first spreadable coffee in the world: it contains 40 mg of caffeine to give the day a boost in an unusual and tasty way. With a flavour that is five times more intense than a traditional coffee, there are different flavours available: Roasts of Italian, Brazilian and Colombian origin.
The spreadable non-cheese
Still on the subject of spreads, but this time cheese, for those who have recently become vegan and miss creamy dairy products on bread, this new oat-based vegetable cheese spread from Germany comes to the rescue. The flavour and texture of soft cheese are achieved thanks to a 100% vegetable acidifying agent.
Frozen plant-based eggs are coming from the United States, dedicated to those who want, for ethical or health reasons, to integrate vegetable proteins into their diet
Avocado seeds beer
Fermented avocado seeds. This is the secret of this beer with antioxidant power. It also contains probiotics thanks to the addition of apple cider vinegar.
Passion fruit sparkling antioxidant drink
Also on the subject of soft drinks, the first carbonated non-alcoholic contain gac arrives in the world beverage, that means the buckthorn melon from Southeast Asia, rich in antioxidants.