Wednesday, June 27, 2018

TurinEpi18 cooking class

The cooking class of the fifth edition of Turin Epicurean Capital was held at Associazione Culturale Qubi and led by Margherita Frari.
For this cooking class Margherita designed a program based on chocolate as Turin and Piedmont are the chocolate heart of Europe.

Photo by Alberto Bonis

The very first thing our guests were taught was how to chop large block of dark chocolate and melt it to coat parmigiano reggiano chips and a portion of grissini breaksticks.
Chocolate covered parmesan cheese chips make a great appetizer and depending on the size of the chips you feel more or less the chocolate layer.
Margherita underlined that the best parmigiano reggiano to use should be the 36mo aged one because it has a wider specter of flavors.

choc coated parmigiano reggano chips and grissini; photo by: Alberto Bonis

As the cheese chips and grissini were cooling off, Margherita showed us how to make chocolate tajarin pasta.
For 1kg /2.2lb of flour add 100gr/ a scant cup of cocoa powder, 8 to 10 large eggs; mix with a fork and knead the dough by hand.
Ideally you should let the dough rest under a humid towel before working small portions into pasta.
Making tajarin is fairly easy but you still need a pasta machine to roll out the thin sheet of pasta.
Once you have cut a small portion of dough you flatten it with your hands, you pass it through the machine and roll it out. Fold it in three parts and roll it again; fold it in three parts horizontally and roll it out again. After the third time you will see that the pasta sheet color is quite homogeneous, so you can start decreasing the thickness of the pasta sheet.

Antonio De Vecchi pulling out the pasta sheet; photo by Alberto Bonis

Margherita Frari's hands holding the tajarin; photo by Alberto Bonis

Tajarin are the Piedmont long pasta shape, they look a bit like thick spaghetti but are squared. With the pasta machine you simply need the spaghetti attachment and some semolina flour so they don't glue together.
Fresh pasta needs to be cooked within 2 days or it'll go bad.

Georgie Knaggs and Jan Egan plating their tajarin; photos by Alberto Bonis

choc tajarin nest on parmigiano reggiano cream; photo by Lucia Hannau

For our dinner, Margherita revived some dry rosemary powder in warm extra virgin olive oil and butter and prepared a parmigiano reggiano cream with butter and heavy cream.
She showed us how to portion our nest of tajarin over the cream with a ladle just like they do in restaurants!

Georgie and Daniele making their own mono portion of caprese cake; photo by Alberto Bonis

Finally our dessert was a torta caprese or caprese cake. Originally this cake was a mistake but nowadays is a god send because it is a flourless chocolate cake everybody can enjoy.
You can choose if chopping the dark chocolate in different sizes to vary the texture or to keep it finely chopped. You add butter, sugar, eggs and vanillin and fold in the chocolate.
For the cooking class, the guests made their own individual portion that was slowly cooked at 170C/338F and decorated with non-edible hydrangeas.

caprese cake; photo by Lucia Hannau

Very pretty and super good especially paired with a Moscato D'Asti DOCG glass as we had the chance to savor it.

Thank you, Margherita for pushing our guests out of their comfort zones and showing them that cocoa can most definitely go with cheese and pasta too.
Amazingly the rosemary scent pleasantly highlighted the cocoa notes of the tajarin and the parmesan cheese cream was very mild!
And the caprese was such a revelation that Antonio and Daniele of Gelato Village in Leicester had to make it as soon as they got back and sell it with their gelato!

Jan Egan, Daniele Taverna, Antonio De Vecchi, Georgie Knaggs finally eating! Photo by Lucia Hannau

What a great cooking and palate experience!

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