Wednesday 15 March 2023


An ancestral cuisine, but as current as ever, will animate the stand of the Region of Tuscany on Monday 13, during the BIT in Milan, to celebrate the cooperation agreement between Toscana Promozione Turistica and Central Macedonia-Peninsula Chalkidiki, East Macedonia-Thrace and the Union of the Municipalities of the Ionian Islands.

A journey with Vetrina Toscana to the roots of Mediterranean cuisine, an Etruscan-Hellenic banquet with a menu created by four hands and narrated by two women chefs: Mariella Lencioni from Tuscany, president of the Chef’s Association of Lucca, and from Greece: Yota Koufadaki, of the historic restaurant Boukadoura, on the Chalkidiki peninsula, both of whom are great practitioners of culinary traditions and have a wealth of international experience.

A real journey back in time, in search of the origins of taste. The stars will be oil, wine, and honey, ancient products that, in both cultures, have been fundamental and important elements of the Mediterranean diet.

For the Greeks, honey was even endowed with an aura of sacredness, and its use is testified not only by archaeology but also by reputable sources such as Homer, who described the harvesting of wild honey, while Pythagoras considered it the secret of long life, Aristotle described it as a substance “falling from the air”. And it is precisely “Aristotle’s honey”, which has been produced in Chalkidiki since the philosopher’s time, which will represent Greece. Narrating the story of Tuscany is Francesca Buonagurelli, of the Al Benefizio estate, which in Barga, Garfagnana (Lucca) produces chestnut honey, which is made at high altitude by bees that collect pollen from legendary chestnut trees, some of which are as much as four centuries old.

 

«The Mediterranean ends where the olive tree ends» – said Fernand Braudel, and the producer of the indigenous olive oil variety from Kefalonia called Ithaca Thiako, of Homeric memory, will be there to tell the story of these extraordinary plant monuments of ancient origins: Marina Galiatsatos who will dialogue with the Tuscan producer from Trequanda, Carlotta Pometti, who produces a delicious oil from ancient olive groves made up of centuries-old trees in a historic rural landscape dedicated to olive cultivation.

In Greece, the art of winemaking was considered the dividing line between barbarian and civilised populations, and the Etruscans excelled in the production of the nectar of Bacchus. The president of the Consortium of the 6 indigenous wines of Cephalonia, Ioanna Charitou, will talk about some of the wines, among the oldest in Europe, while Tuscany will be represented by Ansonica del Giglio, a thousand-year-old grape variety that was introduced thanks to the expansion of the Greeks into the Mediterranean. Guido Cossu, president of the Le Greppe del Giglio cooperative, and Francesco Carfagna of the Altura company, which in ten years has recovered 4 hectares of ancient terracing to bring Ansonaco back into production.

 

The menu is a game of cross-references, between diversities and similarities, of dishes that reflect their origins but are extremely contemporary: from Dolmadakia, vine leaf rolls served with Greek yogurt, to spelt flour croutons with olives or goat cheese, from Trahanopita, a pita stuffed with Trahanas (durum wheat), feta, leeks, and herbs, to ‘Aruspicina’, a typical Casentino fennel-flavoured sausage named after the Etruscans’ characteristic art of divination.

There is an interesting parallel between the Greek Fasolada, a typical bean soup, served with Greek olives of the Chalkidiki variety and extra virgin olive oil, and the soup with Garfagnana IGP spelt, navy beans, broad beans, chickpeas, and aromatic herbs. “Last but not least”: Necci with ricotta, Castagnaccio, Buccellato, and Sousamopita with honey, all served with wines from the Consortium of Indigenous Wines of Kefalonia and the Nobile di Montepulciano Consortium.

In the afternoon, to mark another important signing, namely the agreement with Gran Canaria, there will be a tasting of Canary Island rum paired with traditional Tuscan biscuits.

To complete the BIT’s food and wine programme, organised by Toscana Promozione Turistica, on Sunday February 12 there will be a tasting of the food and wine specialities of the Distretto Rurale della Toscana del Sud (Southern Tuscany Rural District): 20 producers have joined forces for the growth of the territories in the provinces of Arezzo, Grosseto, Livorno, and Siena, in a project led by Strada del Vino Nobile di Montepulciano e dei Sapori della Valdichiana Senese (Nobile di Montepulciano Wine and Taste Route). On Tuesday 13, tastings of denomination products in cooperation with the Regional Union of Tuscan Chefs.




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