Italian chef Carlo Cracco will be opening a ‘temple of taste’ in Milan’s ornate and lofty Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, long considered a high-water mark in Italian architecture. He is doing so in the hopes of regaining a Michelin star that he lost in November. The restaurant complex will have five floors, each with a different purpose and theme, the wine cellar at the bottom, while a hall for events is on the top floor. The next level will have a café-bistro for light meals. The star of the show is the main restaurant, outfitted with beautifully styled arched doorways, elaborately carved friezes and ornate wooden panel work. Chef Cracco intends to please his guests with far more than a beautiful interior, with menu items such as black squid ink ravioli, cocoa-encrusted turbot and grilled blue lobster finished with cinnamon butter – he is after that star. An entire floor of the complex will serve as a test kitchen for development of menus. The wine cellar will have over 2,000 labels and 10,000 bottles and as one would expect, a significant selection of Italian wines. The restaurant has been a work in progress for three years and will have each of the two main floors, plus counter space for standing.
And the Culture Capital for 2020 is…
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini has announced that Parma has been selected as the Italian Capital of Culture for 2020. The northern city was challenged by ten rivals for the top spot, but bested such illustrious cities as Agrigento, Monferrato, Merano, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Treviso to get the nod from the selection jury. Parma Mayor Federico Pizzarotti said that he was thrilled at the news. Following Palermo for 2018 and Matera in 2019, Parma will be front and center to demonstrate its unique qualities, both culturally and gastronomically. Famous for its prosciutto and Parmigiano cheese, the city was named a UNESCO Creative City in 2015. Even the Mayor of Agrigento, Sicily, Lillo Firetto, said that Parma deserved the win, especially since the last two winners came from cities in the south. The mayor also said that the selection process has reignited the pride of the people of Agrigento, who view their city through the eyes of visitors. According to the Firetto, this reborn spirit in the city’s residents is an important win on its own.
New Record for Tiramisù
Last week a town in the Friuli region broke the world record for the longest tiramisu, producing one almost as long as a football field. At just over 880 feet long, the tiramisù made at Villesse near Gorizia broke the previous record of 660 feet by a wide margin, thanks to the work of over 30 pastry chefs. The neighboring region of Veneto initially rejected the claim to the record, stating that cream was used in the recipe, which is anathema in Vento. The organizers of the event stated that the record recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records includes cream in the official recipe. Friuli and Vento have long been at war over which region lays claim for the origin of the recipe, so Vento’s claim surprised few people.
The North – South Gap
The U.S. isn’t the only country with a north versus south mentality, or in the case of Italy, a big difference in life expectancy. People in the northern region of Trentino live on average three years more than those in the southern region of Campania, claimed a recent survey by the National Observatory for Health in Italian Regions. Last year, in Campania, the average life expectancy for men was 78.9 years, while for women it was 83.3. In Trentino, the average age for a man was 81.6 and an astounding 86.3 for women. For comparison, in the U.S., the life expectancy for men is 76.1 for men and 81.1 for women. Although, in general, the life expectancy in the U.S. is also shorter in the south, where, for example, Mississippi has the lowest average life expectancy in the continental U.S. at 75, while Minnesota tops the list at 81.
A thirty-year period of Italian fashion is now on display at Milan’s Palazzo Reale in a new exhibition titled “Italiana: Italy Seen Through Fashion 1971-2001.” During the particular period, Italian fashion and style had a huge impact worldwide. The exhibition highlights the birth of ready-to-wear fashion, which coincided with the women’s liberation movement in the 1970s and continues through to the start of the new millennium, which saw Italian fashion explode into a global phenomenon. The show unfolds across nine different rooms, presented in thematic rather than chronological order, with dresses, accessories and photographs. Creations on display include works by designers such as Armani, Gucci, Gianni Versace, Max Mara, Roberto Cavalli, Krizia and Ferrè. The exhibition runs through May 6.
In Your Face(book)!
Climbook, a small Italian website for climbing enthusiasts, will be allowed to keep its name despite opposition from social media giant Facebook. The site was set up by Italian mountain guide Alessandro Lamberti in 2008, to provide information about climbing routes around the world. It has around 2,000 users who can leave comments on the routes, discussing their difficulty and nearby facilities. Facebook had argued that Climbook was too similar in look and function to Facebook which could confuse viewers. The economic development ministry has ruled that it is “highly improbable” that users would get mixed up between the two brands. It’s not the first time a small Italian tech firm has won a victory over Facebook. In 2017, the company was forced to drop a feature which helped users discover their friends’ locations, after a court ruled that it had copied an app created by a Milan start-up.