Today I want to talk to you about a rather greedy subject... because I am sure that if you love to drink well, you also love to eat well! Have you ever heard of theBuon Ricordo Restaurant Union? It is the first association of Italian restaurants that was founded right here in Italy in 1964. Today there are quite a large number of members: no less than 103 establishments of which 10 in Europe and 1 in Japan. I find this openness to the world important as it rewards quality and a common vision! The objective of the Unione Ristoranti Buon Ricordo is to enhance and protect the cultural heritage of traditional Italian cuisine. Here, this is the topic I would really like to explore and on which I hope a fascinating debate will be sparked among your comments. What role do you think an association like this has in an era where standardisation is a prevailing survival criterion?
In Italy there are municipalities, provinces, regions. Each with its own gastronomic traditions handed down from generation to generation, often only orally. Antique notebooks ruined by use and time contain precious recipes that we reveal with more difficulty than our location, but which we prepare with love for the people we love. Bite after bite we taste an Italy capable of surprising us with its heterogeneity of flavours and traditions. And while there are restaurants that reject them in order to offer international cuisine, others protect ingredients, flavours, gestures, smells with a will that goes beyond any single socio-economic consideration. For me, these chefs are heroes of our time, as long as they do not hide behind the very word 'tradition' to reject all forms of study and growth. We are in 2020 and have different knowledge and possibilities than our grandmothers and this must, in my opinion, be reflected in the presentation of dishes and the precision of the flavours.
A few days ago I was walking through the streets of Milan. I stopped at a bar in the central station to have a coffee while waiting for the train to return. I noticed a group of girls, more or less my age, who were meeting to spend an evening together. They were all the same. No girl's face struck me more than another's: same full lips visibly swollen by a few too many syringes of filler, same haircut, same make-up with a few too many kilos of eye shadow. They all dressed the same: amphibian or stiletto heels, leather-effect leggings with bare ankles, a long low-cut sweater and a black coat. I looked at myself, with just a line of eye liner and lipstick and the long red nails I can't say no to, blond hair worn in a side ponytail, jeans, shiny trainers, a leather jacket and a black hat. I breathed a sigh of relief: maybe I was less fashionable, but at least I was different.
This, however, led me to think: is it possible that today we feel such a need to conform? Have we really entered Europe to lose our distinctive characters? Is it possible that this is reflected at all levels? Girls in their twenties or thirties, women in their forties or more chase an ideal of artefactual Beauty that can only attract a mentally handicapped person capable of choosing them for a breast size or puffy lips without realising that they thus make themselves replaceable at any moment. There will always be a more beautiful woman with bigger tits and fuller lips.
While ethnic restaurants have sprung up everywhere, the boundaries have become blurred and easily accessible. The proposals have become fusion. Today, lasagne alla Bolognese is eaten from Milan to Palermo, from London to Chicago and even Tokyo. In itself this would not be a bad thing if the recipe was faithfully produced and then exported with the aim of making one of our traditions known around the world. Not more than a year ago at the airport in Duisburg, while returning from the wonderful experience I had with Andrea Pirlo at the premiere of his wines in Germany, I ate spaghetti carbonara with cream and bacon that made my skin crawl.
Personally, I believe that each country's food and wine tradition is a beacon that should guide every sailor regardless of whether he is seeking a new route to the Americas or taking a leisurely cruise in the Mediterranean. So it is to be welcomed if a Dino Villani, a great 20th-century publicist, who after inventing a contest such as Miss Italia where the commodification of women reaches unheard-of levels and girls all the same answer dubious questions aimed at proving their basic intelligence, sets himself on a higher plane such as that proposed by the Unione Ristoranti Buon Ricordo, which he himself created. I therefore take up the Hellenic idea of the kalòs kai agathòs and I say that a beautiful dish is also goodand offering a tradition reinterpreted with modern cooking techniques is a fundamental equation to which all chefs, at all levels, must aspire. Beauty is indeed a divine gift, but it is to be sought in the uniqueness of each eye, each mind, each culture, each ingredient, each flavour.
Unione Ristoranti Buon Ricordo: what are these 3 novelties?
New 1. Well, after this introduction, which I hope has fascinated you and generated in you a willingness to discuss, I want to tell you about the 2020 novelties of this interesting and valuable association. First of all, I would like to tell you that all the restaurants in the Unione Ristoranti Buon Ricordo have a speciality on their menu that is dedicated precisely to tradition and which you should definitely try if you visit them. First of all, nine new restaurants have joined, which I hope to try soon:
- Antica Osteria del Cerreto, Abbadia Cerreto (LO) - Rabbit loin with bacon and olives at Balseto Laudense;
- Locanda Belvedere, Rocchetta a Volturno (IS) - Ravioli scapolesi de.co with goat sauce;
- Nu' Trattoria italiana since 1960Acuto (FR) - Ribs glazed with Ciocian herbs;
- M'ama Restaurant, Praiano (SA) - Tyrrhenian bluefin tuna, seared with mustard, honey and seasonal vegetables;
- Pascalò Restaurant, Vietri sul Mare (SA) - Spaghetti with cheese, lemon and San Marzano;
- Selvatico Restaurant, Rivanazzano Terme (PV) - Malfatti del Selvatico;
- Trattoria Paolino, Vercelli - Panissa alla vercellese;
- Restaurant Der Katzlmacher, Munich - Ravioli di magro ma non troppo;
- Trattoria Pomo d'Oro, Budapest - Goose liver au gratin with buffalo mozzarella.
Now I admit, I don't know what part of Italy the goose liver au gratin with buffalo mozzarella is from... but I admit I would like to try it! Other dishes that have intrigued me a lot are ravioli with goat sauce, glazed ribs and seared red tuna. Dear Marina, when shall we organise? 😍 😘
New 2. The second novelty concerns 3 changes of speciality for 3 establishments of the Unione Ristoranti Buon Ricordo:
- Hotel Restaurant Foresta, Moena (TN) - Beef cheek with teroldego doc with polenta di storo;
- Acquadolce Restaurant, San Felice del Benaco (BS) - Pappardelle al Luccio in Garda sauce;
- Pernambucco Restaurant, Albenga (SV) - Stuffed mussels ancient Ligurian recipe.
New 3. The latest news you should know is that the 2020 Guide has been presented, which you can browse through at this link: 2020 'I RISTORANTI DEL BUON RICORDO' GUIDE. Which is your favourite? Have you already been to one of these restaurants?
A hug to Marina Tagliaferri from the Agora press office to always be absolutely delicious 🤗.
Cheers 🍷 ,