Cibo a Regola d’Arte

This year too, I couldn’t possibly miss the major Milanese cooking event: “Cibo a Regola d’Arte, the best of national and international food. There was show cooking with famous chefs, cooking labs, demonstrations, masterclasses and also the annual Blog Awards. This year a fellow Minnesotan was the winning finalist with her blog “Fox Meets Bear”. A blog about foraging plants in the Northern Minnesota forrest. I mainly participated in an interesting cooking show on native Amazonian cooking. Owner and chef Pedro Schiaffino of the Malabar restaurant in Quito, Peru’ was here to demonstrate the foods of the Amazon jungle and Amazonian cuisine.
He was the first in Quito to concentrate completely on this type of cooking in his restaurant. His friend and chef Giancarlo Morelli of the Morelli restaurant in Milan had travelled to Quito to learn this type of cooking and actually visited the Amazonian Rainforest villages together with Pedro Schiaffino. In this event they highlighted mainly the importance of the main Amazonian staple, the starchy cassava or manioca root. Now I learned how tapioca (pearls) are made by extracting the starch from the cassava root. I had inadvertently been using this important South American staple all along – by making tapioca pudding! These starchy pearls (or flour too) are gluten free and can be used as a flour substitute. Tapioca has numerous health benefits with its anti-inflammatory properties making it extremely “gut friendly” and making foods that accompany it much more digestible. It is also a rich source of important vitamins and minerals (K, calcium) that protect against osteoporosis. Wow, I didn’t know before that those little white pearls packed so much power! Now I know what my next post will be – my favourite tapioca pudding with an exotic fruit topping.

Chefs Giancarlo Morelli and Pedro Schiaffino

Giant catfish from the Amazonian rivers, an important food in the Amazon Rainforest

Making cassava based Peruvian flatbread