On Saturday afternoon, I had the honour of being invited to the event organised by Gino Fabbri, World Pastry Champion, in his wonderful shop in Bologna 'La Caramella' to celebrate his victory in the World Pastry Cup held in Lyon on 25 and 26 January 2015.
Also present were journalists and photographers from various local and national newspapers, including RAI, which produced a splendid television report that will also be shown on national networks. Gino invited me to the event last Monday evening, when I was a guest of Gianni Guizzardi in his shop/school The Lords of Barbecue in Casalecchio di Reno at the party organised in honour of this victory, which was also attended by the mayor of Bologna and other local authorities.
I admit that I had never been to either Gianni's shop or Gino's pastry shop and both amazed me with their attention to detail and discreet elegance, on two occasions that certainly had in common the extraordinary hospitality of their hosts. I met Gino in Monzuno, last September, during the participation of my ex-boyfriend's restaurant in the Chef to the Max organised by the Butcher's shop Zivieri in memory of the extraordinary Massimo Zivieri, during which starred chefs from all over Italy amicably cook for thousands of patrons. Even then, I was immediately struck by his humility and awareness. Gino? A gentleman from another era in love with his work and the emotions he creates.
In short, Italy is the world pastry champion: after the defeat at the Maracanà, the Azzurri sing a hymn of sweetness at the SIRHA (International Catering Hotellerie and Food Exhibition) trade fair in Lyon.
"Three are the enfant-prodige of pastry-making selected at Sigep 2014 and trained at CAST alimenti: Emmanuele Forcone (Captain Hook in artistic sugar and chocolate Entremet), Francesco Boccia (Peter Pan in sculpted chocolate and plate dessert), Fabrizio Donatone (Trilly in artistic ice and fruit Entremet). And three are also the great Masters who have accompanied and guided them in this adventure: Iginio Massari, precious, irreplaceable advisor, who wanted to remain in the shadows because he was on the jury at the competition; Gino Fabbri, President of the Club, surgical eye and Emilian heart, Alessandro Dalmasso, coach accustomed to the podiums of Lyon. It's off to a great start, the second day of a competition that has seen many new nations and some great opponents; there is a lot of concentration in ours, despite the stands resounding like the Maracanà. The Italian tastings are wonderful and bring satisfied smiles, the plates come back empty: the clock cake has a perfect cut, the ice cream technique amazes and the statues take shape. But Italy always has a shot in the heart and here it is, the infamous heat that collapses the chocolate head and destroys a part of the statue: Peter Pan breaks and crumbles the twelve cakes on the plate, twelve sleeves and hooks almost ready to go for tasting. The stands fall silent and Japan sneers (it will later finish second ahead of the USA). Perhaps the race is now lost and the desire to continue dreaming and working is lost... but the despondency is brief and the boys return as a team: to the applause of the whole world they repair, weld, cool. They present the dishes, put everything together and finish at the exact stroke of time. The embrace between them, a white, red and green roar and the heart that starts beating again, sanction the end of one of the most exciting finals at the World Pastry Cup. Eighteen years after that magical 1997, the top step of the podium goes to the young Italian masters: to an icy Trilly that seems to be made of air, to an extraordinary sneering Sugar Hook and to a beautifully restored Peter Pan, with wings: today's tricolour confectionery does not need arms to be able to fly."
Piacenza, 27 January 2015
Press release by DRG Communication
The theme was free and the Italian Team chose 'Peter Pan', a famous novel from the early 1900s, which has always captivated children and adults alike and defies the centuries by remaining a great classic. The never-ending duel between the eternal boy and Captain Hook are one of the most common memories of this extraordinary tale loved all over the world. There were 10 hours to complete 3 chocolate desserts (chocolate entremets), 3 fruit desserts (fruit entremets), 12 plate desserts, 1 artistic sugar statue, 1 artistic chocolate statue and 1 artistic ice sculpture.
CAPTAIN HOOK, made of pulled, blown and cast sugar, is suspended over the mouth of the crocodile, also made of sugar. One of the great technical difficulties in making this marvellous piece of art is to support the imposing statue of about 25 kg with only a little encouragement of the feet.
PETER PAN rests on the tail of the crocodile emerging from the water. Peter Pan is made entirely of modelled, moulded and sculpted chocolate using different techniques, while the tail is sculpted from a single block of 25 kg chocolate, a new feature of the 2015 regulations.
TRILLY is an ice sculpture approximately one metre high and made using two blocks of ice and bonding techniques for both the body and the wings.
CHOCOLATE ENTREMETS - Innovation in frosting: a perfect double colour! For the entremets, the Italian team decided to give importance to its main ingredient, its aromatic power and its different textures (soft, creamy and frothy) and its infinite aromas, accentuated by the combination with exotic fruits and Avola almonds. Shape and decoration recall the theme of time, one of the leitmotifs in Peter Pan: the first flight of the protagonists, almost touching Big Ben before heading towards the second star, the time that stops for the lost children and the time of the awakening of the great crocodile that so disturbs Captain Hook with its ticking clock.
SWEET ON THE PLATE - Innovation in meringue: a revolutionary cylinder shape! Italy's sweet dish is a balance of creaminess and the fresh tartness of red fruits enhanced with the scent of almonds and citrus fruits. The shape of the cake is linked to the character of Captain Hook, who combines the elegance of a gentleman with the charisma of an unscrupulous pirate.
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It was almost impossible to resist and I admit that I tasted two wonderful slices of the chocolate Entremets re-prepared by Gino and his team for the occasion. Just one adjective: moving. I had never eaten anything like it!
A peculiar sponge cake, never used for baking, on top of a sablé breton with a hazelnut, chocolate and wafer mixture that forms a crunchy layer with a delicious texture. The play of textures is maintained with a layer of mascarpone cream and a layer of citrus fruit.
And I must say, don't take me for a fool (sommeliers and the like, close your ears for a moment I beg you!), that the combination with the Ferrari Brut bubbly did not displease me at all. Either because I was happy to toast Italy, or because I was enraptured by the goodness of the dessert, I enjoyed it all. Then of course... with Moscadello di Montalcino Pascena from the Col d'Orcia winery it would have been pure perfection... but what would a party be without a sparkling smile stolen with a toast of bubbles?
Thank you Gino,
to you, your family and your team!