Day 3 and we’re about to rename this event the Salone del Bust-Out because the temptation to taste is so strong, we can’t resist, and now we are about to Bust Out of our clothes! I keep hoping we are on a variation of the Zone Diet. Isn’t that the diet where you eat many small meals? If so, then we should walk out of here svelte as a Milan fashion model, but why do I feel as though I’ll waddle out like a San Daniele prosciutto?
There is a “Cucina del Strada” or Street Food area that is the belly button of this whole event, people gazing with glassy eyes at the carnival surrounding them. Could the Street Food, Food Carts trend be any hotter? Or more delicious? What beats a plate of piping hot, perfectly crisp fried anchovies? I tell you what would beat it...a place to sit down, a real fork & knife and a napkin. The simple things in life. Grazing for three days is hard work I tell you, hard work.
We finished off last night with a rousingly good cocktail workshop hosted by Agostino Perrone. He runs the fabled Connaught Hotel Bar in London and just won Barman of the Year at the Tales of the Cocktail competition, so the guy knows his way around a shaker. Italy doesn’t have much of a cocktail culture, although it is slowly coming alive. What Italy does have is great cocktail ingredients: vermouth, Galliano, American Cocchi, Maraschino, bitters, infusions etc., etc.
Agostino and Dom Costa hosted a lively, informative and tasty workshop, demonstrating how classic cocktails can be enhanced with top notch ingredients and techniques. For example, the Martinez which is a gin, vermouth, maraschino gets an update by swapping out the gin with tequila and a spritz of balsamic.
Don got his chops on the cruise ships and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the evolution and trends of cocktail drinking. He shared the story of the Yellow Bird cocktail, how it originated in the Caribbean using available ingredients: rum, lime juice and Galliano and then Agostino shared an updated version using a Bergamot velvet froth (zucrose whipped with the Bergamot liquor, this creates a very stable foam and no eggy taste).
Chris McMillian, one of the founders of the Museum of the American Cocktail was behind the Salone Bar the other night. No, he wasn’t just behind the bar, he was holding court, telling stories and snatches of history all while mixing an original cocktail, the “While New Orleans Drowns”. The bar was full of world class shakers, local chefs, Chris’s gracious and beautiful wife Laura, and a blogger or two. Gee, a bar as a gathering point, what a novel idea! You should have been here. It always amazes me how generous the bar men and ladies are about sharing their knowledge.
Today we head to learn more about Fruili, discover Calabria and who knows where else the great goddess Serendipity will take us.