At Slow Fish lakes are a common good too, and who better than Vittorio Fusari to guide us on a tour of their riches?
Two appointments led by the chef of Balzer in Bergamo, who cares deeply about seasonality and local, high-quality ingredients.
Promoting lake fish and the local economy
In the Taste Workshop Nets and bubbles from Lake Iseo, our guest of honor is the Lake Iseo Traditional Dried Shad, a Slow Food Presidium, and Fusari will be joined by the fisher Andrea Soardi and the Presidium coordinator Patrizia Ucci.
This is to promote a product that is not merely, threatened, but whose “consumption and protection could offer economic support to local fishers, allowing them to continue to practice an ancient craft,” as Fusari puts it. “We mustn’t forget that professional fishers are the greatest allies of the lake’s health.” The chef and Patrizia Ucci are launching an appeal to all the restaurateurs around Lake Iseo to serve only local fish, to support the area and its fragile economy.
Cooking invasive species: the threat becomes a resource
Experimentation is the order of the day at the Dinner Date Vittorio Fusari’s take on Lake Iseo and Franciacorta, where, among other things, we find a ceviche of wels catfish. “It’s an invasive species introduced for sport fishing, with a devastating effect on the ecosystem,” Fusari explains. “We’re experimenting with a few plates, to try and transform a threat into a resource.” At the dinner there are other signature dishes on offer, including whitefish with candied bergamot, toasted almonds and almond milk, and the Balzer delicacy with green tomatoes and chinotto oranges.
The lake and climate change
Accompanying the food will be the sparkling wines of Franciacorta, which, other than making our mouths water already, ask us to reflect on the great challenge facing this area: climate change and environmental sustainability, which are putting life in the lake and the surrounding vineyards to the test. The reintroduction of the Arctic char has proven difficult because of the rise in water temperature, and the winemakers must innovative solutions in order to guarantee the quality of their grapes.
The Franciacorta Consortium has made the defense of the land its rallying cry, and aims to have 100% of all the vines cultivated with organic agriculure. “As well as being at the vanguard in terms of monitoring the emissions and impact of their own production activities, they are taking concrete measures to guarantee respect for the environment at every phase, from using solar energy to water recycling,” says Paolo Nezza, a writer for Slow Wine. “And so for the pairings at Slow Fish, we propose a series of virtuous wines from the local area. A journey through brut, vintage and reserve wines that enhance the flavor profile of the lake fish.” So what are you waiting for?
Download the recipe: Whitefish and bell pepper sauce.
Taste Workshop Menu
Shad polenta and green sauce
Barley, oysters and jellied salt water char
Shad with onion salad and tomato-dripped yoghurt
Dinner Date Menu
Ceviche of perch and wels catfish
Whitefish with candied bergamot, toasted almonds and almond milk
Rice, peas, pike and whitefish botargo
Tench fish, asparagus and laurel in parmesan sauce
The Balzer delicacy: green tomatoes and chinotto oranges
By Alessia Pautasso