For three days Astino’s Valley, one of my favourite places in Bergamo for its natural beauty, will be the stage of a gastronomic event. It is called “Astino nel Gusto”. The former Monastery will trasform itself into the town of culinary delights, where food and local products are the absolute protagonists. So many gourmet options every day! Yes, because from October 13th to 15th there’s gonna be cooking demonstrations by renowed chefs as well. Carlo Cracco, Enrico Cerea, Antonino Cannavacciulo, Davide Oldani, Heinz Beck just to name a few.
On Saturday, at lunch, I started my culinary trip. There are 25 “isles”, food paradises I’d like to think of, spread through the former Monastery, which is divided into two floors, For every ticket, you get a passport (passaporto in Italian). It’s about a travel diary where you can keep track of every itinerary. The document contains information regarding the chefs present that day and the protagonists of your chosen “trip”. You get a stamp on your passaporto for every degustation.
I think Astino’s Abbey is definitely the perfect location for this event. A place of rare beauty, perfect to host and stand out an offer that aims to quality, identity and territory.
The star of the lunch was definitely the chef Davide Oldani considered as one of the greatest chefs of contemporary Italian cuisine. During his cooking show, he proposed one of his signature dishes: Fregola timbale, with white wine sauce, saffron and shrimp.
Like any experienced magician, he didn’t reveal his tricks right away, and this demonstration was but a small window through which one could glimpse the man behind the phenomenon that is Cucina Pop. The key to Cucina Pop is combining affordability with very high quality.
Although he was very busy, I had the chance to get a quick picture with this great chef. I was really impressed by his philosophy such as “The Taste and Fairness”.
Astino nel Gusto was definitely an amazing experience; it gave me the opportunity to get to know different well knows chefs and try their dishes, a combination of contrasts and balance of ingredients.
I’m going to highlight some of the dishes I personally enjoyed the most.
Isle number 3. One of my favourite is definitely the Pizza from Paolo Ghidini, a businessman working in Asia who left his job at 50 years old to come back to Italy; self-taught, his pizza are some of the best in Italy.
A territory in a pizza: stracchino from Bergamo Alps, porcini mushrooms, grana padano and tomatoes.
Isle number 9: “Capon Galantina of Gonzaga’s with pumpkin and pears mustard” by the chef Raffaella Cantadori. Its origins can be found in the Lombardy and Mantua Renaissance.
The capon after being deboned is cooked in broth, flavoured by pistachios, carrots and marsala wine. It’s served lukewarm finely sliced. Paired up with this meat, there’s the typical Mantuan mustard of pears and pumpkin.
Isle number 6: “Pike with sauce” by the chef Fabiana Tabai.
The pike is boiled in flavoured water with vegetables; seasoned with achovies, capers, parsley and Extra Virgin Oil from Garda Lake.
Isle number 12: “Italian Bourguignonne” by the chef Federico Malinverno.
Last but not least, isle number 15: ” Anello di monaco – (Monaco’s ring)” by the Pastry chef Marco Antoniazzi. This dessert was set in the Astino’s wine cellar, garnished with vegetables on top of barrels and bright chandeliers.
It’s a typical Christmas dessert from Mantua, similar to Panettone but with a hole in the middle. Inside it’s stuffed with hazelnuts, almonds, sugar, marsala and chestnut’s cream. It’s served with a delicious vanilla cream.
Hope you liked the post and see you to the next one!
Note: I want to express my thank you to MAGENTAbureau, who gave me the opportunity to take part in the culinary event of the year.
Astino nel Gusto
Via Astino, 13, 24129 Bergamo
Period: October 13th-15th