To read part one of this two-part series about Taste 2010, one of Italy's most exciting food fairs, click here.
I knew the fair in Florence would be impossible to navigate on Sunday, so I focused on Fuori Taste events. In the afternoon I visited Carapina's new shop and tasted gelato made with Mieli Thun's superb honey, then tasted a spoonful of crystallized ivy honey, with its complex, evolving flavors. I also went for an aperitivo at the Hotel Savoy.
The bar has huge windows overlooking Piazza della Repubblica, with some of the city's best people-watching. Snacks were prepared by consulting chef Fulvio Pierangelini (he closed his highly esteemed restaurant a few years ago) with products from the fair: a mini-portion of red shrimp and zucchini risotto with rice from Cascina Veneria; Monte Veronese cheeses and Formaggio Ubriaco (macerated in wine must for a month, then aged for another six) from La Casera; a slice of spalla from Macelleria Savigni. The maitre d' claimed they made the best Martini in Florence. How could I say no?
Then I went to La Buca del Orafo for an event entitled "Knowing Baccalà," sponsored by Schooner, although I'd never heard of the chef, Angelo Torcigliani, and had my doubts. But he treated the product with respect and made a flawless dinner: Lofoten Islands stoccafisso (air-dried, not salted) brandade; Norwegian raw baccalà dressed with extra virgin olive oil; and Faroe Islands baccalà salad; followed by pasta mista (mixed shapes of pasta used for soup, a personal favorite); Sorana beans and slightly smoky baccalà bottarga that was truly impressive; and Faroe Islands baccalà filet with smashed potatoes (not pureed, with real texture) and tarragon oil. I promised to visit Angelo's restaurant, open two nights a week at his gastronomic grocery, as soon as possible.