As Cheese 2015 kicks off, here’s a run down of who’s who in the Mountain Kitchen – a selection of some of the best chefs throughout Europe…
La Bussola da Gino restaurant
Pistoia Apennines, Tuscany, Italy
The Gentle Giant, as his friends call him, Moreno Janda grew up at the restaurant run by his parents, the Bussola da Gino, in Catena di Quarrata (Pistoia), which for years now he has been in charge of, helped by his wife Franca and their son Edoardo. His recipes stand out for the use of ingredients we no longer see on our table, from chicken crests and wattles to snake beans.
Moreno Janda will be present at Mountain Cooking on Friday, 18 September, from 12pm to 2pm.
His dish: artisanal testaroli from Pontremoli (Slow Food Presidium) with raw milk sheep cheese from the mountains around Pistoia (Slow Food Presidium).
Blenio Valley, Canton Ticino, Switzerland
An active member of Slow Food, Meret Bisseger is the soul of Casa Merogusto, a small villa built in the early twentieth century in Valle di Blenio (Canton Ticino) by emigrants from France. Her passion for cooking finds its outlet in private dinners, courses and more, based on vegetables in season, spices and aromatic herbs. She writes about food and has published two books, in which she combines her fervor for what is good, clean and fair with the use of simple, high quality ingredients produced on a small scale.
Meret Bisseger will be present at Mountain Cooking on Friday, 18 September, from 7pm to 9pm. Her dish: red polenta from the Ticino with farina bòna (Slow Food Presidium) flour and ragout of dried chestnuts and porcini mushrooms with roasted Caprauna radish (Slow Food Presidium) and spiced cabbage.
Annarita di Nunno
Locanda delle Tre Chiavi
Vallagarina, Trentino Alto-Adige, Italy
Annarita di Nunno has taken what she loves most and made it what she does most. The young painter and art expert from the Salento, in Puglia, decided that she needed an abrupt change and moved to the northern tip of Italy, in Trentino Alto-Adige, to begin a new adventure in the restaurant business, together with her husband, Sergio. They began by operating a small inn up in the mountains, then moved to a small restaurant in Rovereto. Today, Annarita is the cook at the Locanda delle Tre Chiavi, where she is celebrated for her vegetable dishes and, most of all, her desserts.
Annarita di Nunno will be present at Mountain Cooking on Saturday, 19 September, from 12pm to 2 pm.
Her dish: potato-stuffed giant tortello with casòlet from the Val di Sole, Rabbi e Pejo with white cabbage salad and speck from Trentino.
Slow Food Coolporteur – Gap Convivium
Hautes Alpes, France
The Slow Food Coolporteur – Gap Convivium highlights the biodiversity of the southern Alps. A dry climate and soil that is resistant to farming have always characterized this region, equidistant from the sea and the Alps, and have shaped its cuisine: simple and poor. Grain, bread, pork (the fatty cuts, because the leaner, more desirable ones were sold) and potatoes were for centuries the main ingredients. And the characteristic dish was soup…
The Slow Food Coolporteur – Gap Convivium will be present at Mountain Cooking on Saturday, 19 September, from 7pm to 9pm.
Their dish: soup with mini-spelt from Upper Provence (Slow Food Presidium) accompanied by sausages.
Tatra Mountains, Poland
Sylwester Lis, chef of the four-star Hotel Bukovina, in the Tatra Mountains, combines the typical regional cuisine of the area with a modern fusion approach. In his career, Sylwester has had the pleasure of working with a number of great chefs, among them Kurt Sheller, Wojciech Modest Amaro, Gregory Zdeb, Paul Oszczyk and Andrzej Bryk. Exposure to other approaches helped a great deal, but as he points out, the most important thing was that from the very beginning of his career, he followed his own culinary inclinations, creating a personal set of rules in the kitchen.
Sylwester Lis will be present at Mountain Cooking on Sunday, 20 September, from 12pm to 2pm.
His dish: Kwaśnica, a soup from the Tatra Mountains, with potatoes, cabbage, porcini mushrooms and pork ribs.
Ammergau Alps, Germany
Bavarian by birth, Thomas opened the Dorfwirt restaurant just two years ago, following various adventures as a freelance gastronome. Lots of work and lots of play go into his cuisine along with top-quality ingredients. Famed for his beef cheek braised in red wine, he champions the humane treatment of animals raised for food, cultivates the herbs he uses and is on a first-name basis with the producers of the cheeses he offers!
Thomas Zwink will be present at Mountain Cooking on Sunday, 20 September, from 7pm to 9pm.
His dish: spaetzle (small, irregularly shaped dumplings made with wheat flour, eggs and water) with a sauce made from mountain Toma, Emmentaler, Romadour and butter.
Carlo Rocca and Manuela Rovera
Osteria Paschera dal 1894
Grana Valley, Piedmont, Italy
Carlo Rocca and his wife, Manuela Rovera, are the driving forces behind a hotel whose origins go way back. In fact, they run the Osteria Paschera, in Valle Grana, which opened for business in 1894. Buying from local farmers and choosing only what is in season are their two guiding principles. Their signature dish? Culumbot, young pigeons cooked in a casserole on a wood-fired stove. Carlo and Manuela also have an aversion to waste: they make their dishes based on reservations and if there are leftovers, they urge their guests to take them home.
Carlo Rocca and Manuela Rovera will be present at Mountain Cooking on Monday, 21 September, from 12pm to 2pm.
Their dish: meat stew with salsa verde.
Photo credit: Pixaby