Friday, 21 October 2011

EUROPEAN WINE BLOGGERS’ CONFERENCE 2011, DIARY OF AN ATTENDEE




3 days of workshops, round tables and presentations, 216 participants from 34 different countries, and – last but not least - hundreds of wines to taste: these are the figures of the 4th edition of the European Wine Bloggers’ Conference (EWBC), which took place in Brescia (heart of the Franciacorta region), Italy, 14th-16th October. I attended the conference both as the editor of Gourmet Liguria and the “reporter” of Liguvinario (http://liguvinario.blogpsot.com/ is Ligucibario’s Italian blog about wine). The numbers I quoted confirm the significance of the wine & web phenomenon, definitely a lively and innovative liaison in which the conviviality of enogastronomy meets the potential of the Internet in terms of cross-cultural communication and sharing.
Wine lovers of the digital age, in fact, do live the EWBC as an opportunity of getting together and exchanging experiences – i.e., to live the “social” dimension in a not virtual mode, too. Yes, blogging is beautiful. But tasting, visiting wineries, commenting on wine&food pairings together with someone who shares your passion and presents you with a “new” perspective (because he/she comes from a different professional field, or belongs to another culture, or is older/younger than you, or doesn’t like the wines you like…) is even more beautiful, and fosters our desire to tell stories.
Most appropriately, storytelling was EWBC 2011’s main theme. Guided by the organizers – Ryan Opaz, Gabriella Opaz and Robert McIntosh, the volcanic trio from Vrazon.com – and by the speakers (George Taber, Evan Dawson, Jeremy Parzen, Emily Troutman, Paolo Casalis, Elisabetta Tosi, Catherine Liao, Damien Wilson) we discussed the different contexts of storytelling (oral, written, photo, video) and the wine stories yet to be told. Works progressed outside the conference hall: the wines we tasted, the producers we met, the surprise dinner in the wineries of Franciacorta, the chats in the cloisters of Santa Giulia, the participants’ Tweets shown live on the maxi screen during the gala dinner at Palazzo della Loggia – all these things meant (and mean) professional and personal development.
And this is no small feat – on the contrary, it is a major achievement, because the future should reflect the memory of the past, as well as heath means nature, an evergreen lesson also for winegrowers and enologists.
Ryan, Gabriella, Robert: this is my story about the EWBC, hope you'll like the beginning, the middle, the end and the details (this one is for George Taber). Thank you all, salute!
Luisa Puppo
Gourmet Liguria & Liguvinario & Ligucibario

Thursday, 20 October 2011

GENOVA SOUL FOOD: THE ART OF FOCACCIA MAKING (AND TASTING)

The gourmet magic of Liguria’s street food also shows in the name “sciamadda”, the eating joint where this heavenly fare has been prepared (and gulped) for centuries: not only does “sciamadda” evoke the scent of cuculli (deep-fried chick pea polenta quenelles), frisceu (fritters mainly based on vegetables or fish – locals go for baccalà - salted cod - frisceu) and mouthwatering chick-pea farinata, but it also reminds us of the pivotal role of fire (sciamaa is the Genoese for flame) in the history of cooking. This also applies – appropriately - to the queen of regional soul food, the one and only Focaccia Genovese, whose etymology clearly hints to Latin “focus” (hearth). This gastronomic masterpiece is in fact baked in the oven with the most fundamental Mediterranean ingredients: flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt and water (not to forget active yeast and malt extract). It takes all the artistry and patience of local bakers to produce excellent focaccia, crisp and supple at the same time, skillfully puckered by finger indentations, adequately leavened and processed, its perfume addictive. As for smell, just one sniff and any Ligurian can detect the tiniest trace of execrated “strutto” (reduced pork fat), used by the unorthodox to preserve softness (at the expenses of digestibility…) for several hours. But the Genoese know their way through the “caruggi” (alleys) of the historical centre, and plan rewarding focaccia safaris amidst hole-in-the-wall “panetterie” (bakers’) that prepare this gourmet treat (and its variants – sage, onions, olives…) all day long. Focaccia is in fact an all purpose aliment, fit to accompany meals (remember, breakfast is the time for cappuccino and focaccia con le cipolle, onion focaccia), snacks and happy hour cocktails. As for night owls, they do enjoy the pleasure of eating their slab of piping hot focaccia in the small hours of the morning before going home.
Focaccia is the protagonist of “Genova Soul Food”: designed by Ligucibario (in collaboration with Ascom Genova and Iscot Liguria), “Genova Soul Food” provides travellers with an array of tourist resources (accommodation, services, shopping tours…) and hands on experiences focusing on the art of focaccia making, tasting and pairing.
Contact Ligucibario info@ligucibario.com for further information.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Ligucibario's events, 2011-2012

Mercoledì 5 ottobre dalle ore 19
Umberto Curti - Focaccia genovese, cibo di bordo
Scuola di Panificazione ISCOT Liguria, sopra il mercato di Piazza Romagnosi, Genova
Ingresso libero su prenotazione, riservato agli espositori del Salone Nautico

Giovedì 20 ottobre dalle ore 17
“Alle radici della dieta mediterranea” (Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Liguria per il 150° anniversario dell’Unità d’Italia)
Umberto Curti - Antichità rural-gastronomiche del savonese. Estinzioni e sopravvivenze
Con degustazione di prodotti dell’agriturismo “Le Giaire” di Calizzano
Civico Museo di Sant’Agostino in Genova, piazza Sarzano 21
Ingresso libero

Giovedì 3 novembre dalle ore 17
“Alle radici della dieta mediterranea” (Soprintendenza Beni Archeologici Liguria per il 150° anniversario dell’Unità d’Italia)
Umberto Curti - Focaccia, farinata e finger food. I cibi di strada liguri fra passato e presente
Con degustazione guidata di focaccia genovese
Civico Museo di Sant’Agostino in Genova, piazza Sarzano 21
Ingresso libero

Sabato 3 dicembre ore 15.30
Umberto Curti - La Liguria degli agrumi - con degustazioni
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria e l’agriturismo “Le Giaire” di Calizzano
Palazzo Ducale in Genova, Sala del Munizioniere
Soci Coop euro 20,00/non soci euro 30,00

Sabato 3 dicembre ore 18.30
Umberto Curti - Quando il vino incontra il cioccolato - con degustazioni
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria e la pasticceria “Poldo” di Genova Pontedecimo
Palazzo Ducale in Genova, Sala del Munizioniere
Soci Coop euro 20,00/non soci euro 30,00

Martedì 13 dicembre ore 18.00
Umberto Curti - Bollicine: il mondo dello spumante – con degustazioni
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria
Ipercoop Genova-Bolzaneto, via Romairone 10
Soci Coop euro 30,00/non soci euro 40,00

Lunedì 30 gennaio ore 18.00
Umberto Curti - Vino e pasticceria secca – laboratorio di cucina 1^ lezione
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria e la pasticceria “Poldo” di Genova Pontedecimo
Coop Genova-Sestri Ponente, via Merano 20
Corso completo (2 lezioni) soci Coop euro 80,00/non soci euro 90,00

Giovedì 2 febbraio ore 17.00
Umberto Curti - Grandi corsi – Viaggio nelle antiche salse al mortaio
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria e lo chef Giancarlo Marabotti
Coop Genova-Sestri Ponente, via Merano 20
Soci Coop euro 40,00/non soci euro 50,00

Lunedì 6 febbraio ore 18.00
Umberto Curti - Vino e pasticceria lievitata – laboratorio di cucina 2^ lezione
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria e la pasticceria “Poldo” di Genova Pontedecimo
Coop Genova-Sestri Ponente, via Merano 20
Corso completo (2 lezioni) soci Coop euro 80,00/non soci euro 90,00

Venerdì 17 febbraio ore 17.00
“Focaccia, farinata e finger food” – presentazione dell’omonimo libro di Umberto Curti e degustazione guidata di focaccia genovese
Libreria Coop Genova-Sestri Ponente, via Sestri 46
Ingresso libero

Giovedì 22 marzo ore 16.00
Umberto Curti - Buona Pasqua da Artusi e Ratto – rivisitazione di antichi piatti e ricettari
In collaborazione con Coop Liguria, lo chef Nadia Gherardi e alcuni allievi dell’istituto “N. Bergese”
Coop Genova-Sestri Ponente, via Merano 20 (sala Punto d’incontro)
Incontro pubblico a ingresso libero

Novità 2011
Umberto Curti - Il mondo del vino. Percorso di avvicinamento alla degustazione e all’abbinamento col cibo.
15 incontri di 2 ore ciascuno (lun e merc ore 17.30-19.30), per gruppi di 30 allievi € 320,00 cad.
Scuola di Panificazione ISCOT Liguria, sopra il mercato di Piazza Romagnosi, Genova
In collaborazione con Università Popolare Don Orione Genova (010 510555) e ISCOT Liguria