Milan, April 9-14, 2019 – On the occasion of Milano Design Week 2019, Ventuno Italy, an all-women Italian startup, presents its Lombardy Experience Box, a triptych of wooden cases from reforested oak, designed and manufactured by Riva 1920. Each Box holds a veritable treasure trove of gourmet specialties for each of the three highlights of convivial enjoyment – l’aperitivo, that famed staple of the Milanese lifestyle, dinner and dessert. Craftsmanship, respect for nature and Italian-made excellence are the fundamental tenets of the newborn venture as much as the Riva family’s: four generations of entrepreneurs and patrons whose social and environmental awareness have steadily grown in the course of nearly one hundred years. These shared values are key to Riva 1920’s mentorship of Ventuno Italy, with a view to providing the latter with an international stage where its story can be told, its value proposition communicated.
The sumptuous dovetail joint cases in finest oak wood, crafted by Riva 1920 and treated with eco-friendly, recyclable natural oils, enclose culinary combinations painstakingly selected by Ines di Franco, Ventuno founder and a former student of Gualtiero Marchesi’s. High-end, exquisitely packaged specialties from Italy’s manifold wine & food traditions and terroirs, from boutique estates that are unavailable to the large-scale retail trade.
Needless to say, the Salone sees the launch of Milano’s own region: Lombardy. As with all regional Experience Boxes, we toast to the classic convivial moments in Italy’s dolce vita and the Milanese way of life – aperitif, dinner and dessert. L’aperitivo takes center stage in its role as the quintessential Milanese ritual, enjoyed in hotspots of the city’s bustling nightlife or in the peace and quiet of one’s home, to relieve the pressure of a busy day in the Lombard capital. Dinner brings us the fragrance and flavors of lakeside hills, misty flatlands and snow-capped mountains, as diverse as the region’s geography. Lombard cuisine favors hearty simplicity, with staples like corn, wheat and – first and foremost – rice; butter is the preferred condiment, berry fruit is very popular and so is polenta, in its every possible rendition. At the more sophisticated end of the spectrum, the region offers exquisite, caviar-based dishes to spice up special occasions and select menus. Dessert concludes the triptych on a joyful note: crispy or soft, candied or stuffed, delightfully laden with dried fruit, raisins and almonds and paired with a luminous Moscato from Italy’s tiniest DOCG appellation.
Ventuno Italy is food technology in its finest incarnation: regional traditions and terroirs flanked by an innovative technology that constitutes our strategic asset, providing connoisseurs with an immersive, multi-sensory experience: special viewers and a Virtual Reality app, currently on beta stage, which enable users to steep themselves in Italy’s landscapes and history, region by region. Their gourmet experience is extended and rendered interactive. All five senses are brought to bear as users explore the flavors, sights and scents of a 360-degree Italian journey.
Supported by startup accelerator G2 and by two forward-thinking Chinese investors, our business venture is also based on a careful analysis of market trends for Italian food exports worldwide, which are expected to see significant growth (this was already as much as +3% in 2018, i.e. €42 billion), and for VR, indicating projections of $95 billion in 2025 (Goldman Sachs, 2017). Our target customer is the wine & food tourist in Italy, who already generates €26 billion per annum, as well as the discerning gourmet looking for the finest quality and true Italian craftsmanship.
As she prepares to make her Salone debut, founder Ines di Franco is palpably excited: “I am deeply grateful to Maurizio Riva and his family for choosing to support my presentation in the course of this unmissable international event. Translating innovative ideas into business facts is not always easy and it is far from common to see one’s predecessors in entrepreneurship be as generous and selfless as the Rivas in supporting newborn business ventures. Should more senior businesses follow their example, opportunities and motivation would grow, and so would the market.”
Ventuno Italy is the brainchild of Sicilian-born, Milanese-bred Ines di Franco, who trained at length in Paris, notably with Gualtiero Marchesi. Inspired by the depth and complexity of Italy’s cultural and culinary heritage, the Italian startup has won numerous international accolades, such as the Bank of China Award in 2016 (when the project was still on paper); it was one of ten finalists in the ISIC 2017 competition (Italian Scale-up Initiative in China); and was recognized as Best Food & Technology Startup by Martin Lindstrom at the Philip Kotler Marketing Forum in 2018.
For further info:
Ventuno Italy – firstname.lastname@example.org – +39 02 83422410
Try them on their own or, even better, dunk them in a cup of hot chocolate, krumiri biscuits from Casale Monferrato are an institution since Domenico Rossi invented them in 1878. Easily recognizable due to their typical moustache shape, they are a must in the classic Royal Merenda (afternoon snack). Crumbly and a little grainy on the tongue, krumiri make every breakfast or snack more fun and, with the right accompaniment, they are also a perfect after meal treat.
The term krumiri derives from the African tribe, khumir, who caused France to occupy Tunisia. According to an early 20th century interpretation, the striped and curved shape of krumiri biscuits was associated to the hunched backs of those who, out of cowardice, did not take part in the workers’ strikes in Marseilles in 1901. The term krumiro is still used today in a derogatory way to signify a worker who does not take part in a strike action, however the origins of krumiri Casalesi are much more regal. As a matter of fact, their shape is dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II to represent his famous moustache and as a commemoration to his death. After all the inventor only wanted to find a friendly, original and memorable name.
The purpose of Domenico Rossi, official father of the krumiri from Casale Monferrato, was to celebrate his king and to enter into the favour of the aristocrats; krumiri biscuits were officially born from his hands in 1878 and since then, their buttery simplicity continues to delight every palate. Today krumiri are renowned internationally: exported to Asia and the United States, they are offered as a treat to sweeten the waiting time at Diego D’Ambrosio’s barber shop, the most famous in Washington DC, where ambassadors and statesmen have had their hair and shave done for thirty years. Even Bill Clinton, in his letter of thanks for having received a basket full of Piedmontese products, said krumiri were “wonderful”.
Krumiri are prepared with very simple ingredients – type 0 soft wheat flour, butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla berries – but no water. They can be preserved for a long time (better if kept in a tin box) and give off an intoxicating scent. The most delicious way to enjoy them is with a hot chocolate, but they go perfectly with a strong black Ceylon tea, a warm zabaglione or a glass of passito (sweet wine).
After tasting some krumiri you may want to go discover the town where they were born. A weekend in Casale is a good idea especially in spring, when the longer and warmer days also invite you to take a walk through the scenic surrounding rice fields. The splendid Cathedral of Casale Monferrato, an ancient church dedicated to Saint Evasio, patron of the city, is a jewel of Gothic-Romanesque architecture and the result of a long and complex construction project. The blue ceiling that dominates the central nave is a real charm. Furthermore, the Synagogue is considered one of the most beautiful in the world, with its colourful mosaics, wooden decorations and baroque stuccoes. Please note, however, that it is closed on Saturdays, the Jewish day of worship.
Piedmontese tajarin pasta represents “the taste of the Langhe”, a symbol of their taverns which offer generous, genuine and simple cuisine. Tajarin pasta can stain your shirt, and it can also seduce entire tables.
Born in the countryside, tajarin has spread throughout the Piedmont region since the 15th century, when the first accounts mention this handmade pasta. Originally considered the party dish, to be consumed in the family during Sunday lunch or Christmas. The many yolks needed for the preparation made the recipe anything but light – the original one includes 30 egg yolks per kilogram of flour. Yet, today this pasta is found in every trattoria and on every Piedmontese table on any day of the year. Although considered a traditional home cooked dish, rumor has it that tajarin was also the favorite dish of King Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy. Apparently Rosa Vercellana, first lover and then the king’s wife used to prepare them with her own hands.
Apparently tajarin pasta cannot be counted among the dishes to be served at a romantic dinner or a formal meeting. Lacking the sensuality of an oyster or the voluptuousness of a truffle, this pasta deserves a place of honor among the dishes to prepare when you want something heartwarming and deeply satisfying.
No frills preparation, but endless repeated gestures in search of perfection. Born from the skilled hands of women farmers who have mastered the perfect alchemic formula, traditionally tajarin need a great abundance of egg yolks, even though today, in the name of healthy eating, their number is considerably reduced. Tajarin pasta is born from a thin sheet pulled preferably by hand and then cut into fine stripes.
Although the traditional accompanying sauce is based on livers, variations with porcini or truffles are allowed. Yet, what can never change is the care with which they are prepared: making tajarin, in fact, is a true act of love. Moreover, it is said that in order to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently worked, it must be as soft and thin as the skin of a baby’s bottom.
You can find an excellent version of tajarin pasta in our Piedmont Dinner Food Box, giving you the chance to try that simple taste which makes Piedmontese cuisine one of the most appreciated in our beautiful bel paese.
Bagna cauda is a typical Piedmontese dish and an extraordinary experience. To fully enjoy it you should love garlic, the main ingredient. Get together with friends and enjoy this traditional recipe!
According to a legend dating back to the Middle Ages, the local wine producers wanted to create a special dish to celebrate the bottling of new wine, an event that marked a successful harvest every year. According to others, bagna cauda was created as a simple and rustic festive dish, in contrast to the refined cuisine of rich people. A dish born from the best rural tradition which brings together local fresh products such as vegetables, garlic and anchovies, which arrived in barrels preserved in salt from Liguria. Did you know that in ancient times anchovies were a creative way of smuggling salt, a rare and expensive commodity?
The Piedmontese bagna cauda was born as something to prepare and eat with many people; a great opportunity to celebrate the end of the harvest season as a community. Usually it is prepared in a large copper pot, from which everyone can dip into with fresh bread and vegetables. The fun starts when you choose the vegetables to go with the garlic and anchovies sauce: carrots, cauliflower, fennel, potatoes, beetroot…the list is endless!
Then wash the vegetables, boil those which need cooking (such as potatoes) and cut into small pieces. A tip: bagna cauda must be eaten with your hands. Finally, add some olive oil, an exotic condiment for Piedmont, an area which has never had a large production; most olive oil in Piedmont is imported from nearby Liguria. The basic recipe can be modified according to local traditions; e.g. add cream, butter or nuts.
Now set the table; in Piedmont they use fujot a sort of bowl made of two parts. In the lower part a candle is inserted to keep the sauce warm, on the upper section there is a bowl for bagna cauda.
It’s not a problem if you do not have the traditional fujot as you can heat the sauce in a pan and serve it in small copper or terracotta cups. Bagna cauda can also be enjoyed with a few Oliveri crackers and some Altalanga hazelnuts, along with a glass of Diva Gold beer.
Among the vineyards of Valle Talloria, it’s easy to find trattorias where you can taste real bagna cauda, but with our Piedmont aperitif food box, all you need to do is set the table, gather family and friends and enjoy it as if you were there.
Modican chocolate is unique. Raw and granular, it has a unique consistency that is only fully appreciated as you start to eat it. Thanks to its origins Modican chocolate is a rather sought-after product, which lends itself to many uses and is appreciated by an increasingly large audience. Tasting a piece means taking a journey into the history of chocolate: voluptuous, but not buttery, elegant but not refined, dark but crisp.
Modican chocolate is grainy, has a distinctive flavour and consistency and owes its particular crunchiness to traditional cold processing. Tracing its origins is not easy; the city of Modica has always been a melting pot of cultures that have alternated over the centuries, however we know for a fact that its processing dates back to the times of the Aztec Empire.
The Spanish taught Sicilians how to grind cocoa beans in a stone mill in order to squeeze cocoa butter and obtain a granular paste, cane sugar and spices were then added at a temperature kept just below 40°C. The simplicity of processing and the total absence of other substances, such as vegetable fats and lecithin, make this product unique and exquisite.
Just as its recipe, so too the typical shape of Modican chocolate has been the same for hundreds of years: rectangular and flared, with three grooves on the surface. It can be eaten in pieces, melted and drunk as a hot chocolate, or used in semifreddo preparations. Try shaving it in flakes on savoury cheese: trust us, you won’t regret it!
Modican chocolate is closely linked to the city of Ragusa, a theatre in a fascinating natural pink stone. Modica streets recall an old and fashionable lace handmade by grandmothers with a secret and intimate soul. The beautiful village dominates deep canyons, better known as grotte (caves) where about 700 caves that were once inhabited have been counted. These days many houses in the historic centre are the extension of those ancient caves.
The best way to discover Modica is to get lost in the maze of lanes dominated by wrought iron terraces decorated with colourful flowers. The counts of Moscow, Chiaramonte, Chiabrera and Henriquez decided to enhance the city by building several Sicilian baroque churches which characterize the city. These buildings do not overlook the squares, but stand on high stairways modelled on the slopes of the hills and are decorated with rich limestone ornaments illuminated by the blinding light of Sicily.
In addition to chocolate manufacturing, the Modican artisan tradition is also quite remarkable: embroideries, wrought iron works, precious carpentry workshops and stonemasons have all contributed to make the city an architectural jewel.
You can find Modican chocolate in our Sicily Dessert food box, and all you need is just a bite to fall in love.
One single bite is not enough to fully appreciate the Sicily’s sweet and sour caponata. Eat it slowly, savouring every single ingredient, enjoying the aroma of sun-ripened tomatoes, a contrast to its sweet-sour tang. A celebration of Summer, of holidays by the seaside in Sicily. Caponata’s origins are unclear with many interpretations but one thing is certain, you can never get tired of Caponata!
There are three reliable interpretations on how this dish was born, before becoming the sweet and sour caponata that we all know. The first comes from the Latin, the second from the ancient Greeks and the third from an ingredient. Let me explain…
The most ancient interpretation traces back to the term Capto, which in Greek means “to cut” and could refer to the many vegetables involved in the preparation. Interestingly, in the Mediterranean area we can find 37 different recipes and all of them include at least 5 vegetables.
The second interpretation refers to the Latin term Cauponium (tavern), a place where tired sailors went to drink something and eat good food. Their favourite snack was a piece of bread seasoned with capers, garlic, tomatoes, olives and anchovies; the basic ingredients of caponata.
The last theory involves Capone (lampuga). Once upon a time there was a sweet and sour dish made of vegetables and fish, intended perhaps only for the noble, which soon became simpler and suitable for the poor.
Today caponata is considered one of the most delicious side dishes, which can also be eaten as a main dish and is served in every Sicilian restaurant.
There are 37 known recipes for caponata, yet the most common are:
• Caponata Catanese: with red and yellow peppers, tomatoes, onions, celery, white olives, capers, extra virgin olive oil, salt and sugar. In some recipes you can find basil and potatoes.
• Caponata Palermitana: with fried purple aubergines, capers, green olives, celery, basil, tomato sauce, onions, almonds or pine nuts, salt, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar. In winter, when aubergines are not available, they are replaced with artichokes.
• Caponata Trapanese: round aubergines, peppers, celery, red onion, carrots, garlic, green olives from Nocellara del Belice, almonds, capers, tomato pizzutello, extra virgin olive oil, sugar and vinegar.
• Caponata Napoletana: stale bread seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, salt, pepper and a little sugar. On the bread place lettuce, endive, boiled stew, cucumber and peppers. A very different recipe from the Sicilian version but equally good.
However, the one and only original recipe involves the use of purple long aubergines, also called “the violet of Palermo”. Its compact flesh lends itself to frying; for the perfect result slice and leave to set in coarse salt for about half an hour. Chop the onions, place over low heat in a pan with a little olive oil and cook until golden. Add the capers, olives and pine nuts and cook for 10 minutes on high heat, stirring continuously; add the diced tomatoes into the pan and cook until the mixture is well blended, having evaporated the excess water. Wash the salt from the aubergines, then dry and cut them into cubes and fry. Drain the excess oil from the aubergines and place them in the prepared mixture, adding celery, vinegar and sugar. Allow the mixture to blend and then cool down before serving.
An explosion of flavours which, can also be found in our Sicily Aperitif food box, best appreciated together with a slice of fresh durum wheat bread.