Culture and taste for a weekend: star chefs in Florence, books and food in Montecatini

Three days of tastings in unprecedented places, often inaccessible to the public: from today (May 13) to Sunday, Enogastronomica returns, the event dedicated to the excellent productions of the Tuscan panorama, which this year presents itself as a real dining experience: 15 chefs (many star chefs like Filippo Saporito della Leggenda dei Frati, Rocco De Santis, two stars at Sant’Elisabetta and the two three-star chefs of Enoteca Pinchiorri), 24 artisans, 16 new places, such as the Memar hat factory, Antica Fornace Mariani at ‘Impruneta, Antico Setificio Fiorentino, where the copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s circular tissue is kept, is usually closed to the public, for 19 unique gourmet experiences in state-of-the-art craft workshops and laboratories. To guide the participants in this journey, chefs, producers and craftsmen are ready to share stories, as well as tastes, aromas, colors. With some obligations on the part of the visitors: for example, put on a hat to take part in the tasting at the Memar hat factory.

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It will be possible to witness the birth of a precious blade – before you see it used on a cutting board by chef Silvia Baracchi -, the creation of a personal fragrance along with one of the most advanced noses – Alba Chiara de Vitis owner of her Atelier Parfumeide – and the chef of Four Seasons Paolo Lavezzini, learn about the fascinating Japanese technique “Suminagashi” or the art of decorating paper with liquid ink. Among the most unusual places is also the historic headquarters of the Vetrate Polloni laboratory, where since the beginning of the 20th century, artistic glass windows that have been in demand all over the world have continued to be created.

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Precious addresses and excellent previews, which are the ideal setting to reach, a few steps from Santa Maria del Fiore (via del Corso, 6), the entrance to the Palazzo Portinari Salviati, a building from the second half of the 15th century, where the Folco Portinari, his father, lived by Beatrice, the mouse by Dante Alighieri, who later became the home of Cosimo I dei Medici, which finally opens its doors after more than a decade of neglect and four years of work to reclaim 12 thousand square meters of interior, of which 300 have worked people.

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Today owned by the Ldc Group, who took care of the restoration work and costs, and returned to the public wonderful spaces that preserve the cycles of frescoes dedicated to the Odyssey and the stories of Hercules, created by Alessandro Allori and helper between 1574 and 1576: let us talk about the main floor, which also led to the discovery of paintings on the walls of the gallery, hidden under layers of paint painted later, and the original frescoes in box ceilings, which now house a period residence with 13 suites. Spectacular. Both for the architecture and for the excellence of the pictorial cycles and the rarity of the collections, which brought together main characters from the 15th and 16th century art scene such as Donatello, Verrocchio, Cellini, Bronzino. Half of the building, in turn, has a clean residential destination with 25 apartments, two-thirds of which have already been sold to a foreign and predominantly American market.

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The ground floor of the building, on the other hand, is inhabited by the “taste project” that colors and intoxicates the two farms, Cosimo I and degli Imperatori, areas of great artistic value that have returned to shine in three different environments: Chic Nonna (from Mine & Yours- the group), which sees star chef Vito Mollica (Lucan master with international experience) return to Florence in the Corte degli Imperatori with the magnificent rooms with vaults decorated by the artist Alessandro Allori, one of the main characters of the Florentine sixteenth century; Salotto Portinari bar & bistro, in Corte Cosimo I, and Sala Beatrice for private events: three different situations within a multisensory path, open from morning to late evening, where the works of art from the Florentine Renaissance coexist with modern design and interact with a gastronomic proposal that changes according to the seasons and the needs of Florentines and tourists. With some unchanging dishes like Vito Mollica’s signature dish: cavatelli with cheese and pepper with red shrimp and squid.

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At the same time, the eighth edition of the Food & Book Festival opens today in the direction of Pistoia in Montecatini Terme – The culture of food, food in culture with a lectio magistralis by the historian Donald Sassoon on the theme “Culture unites”, and until Sunday it presents authors and writers , who in their books tell about the food and chefs who ilo tell with their recipes and for some even with success books. Among the news in the 2022 edition, the change of date from October to May, the month of roses, and what better suggestion than to be inspired by this flower to present on this occasion of culture and reading in Montecatini Terme, Bererosa, the largest national tasting with hundreds of rosé wine labels. Among the proposed cultural offerings are the guided visits to Montecatini Liberty on Saturday and Sunday mornings and the free visit to Moca – Montecatini Contemporary Art, in the same building as the municipality, to admire the glass mosaics of Galileo Chini, one of the most important paintings by Mirò, ” Woman wrapped in a flight of birds “, and the exhibition” Binding the Infinite “, which exhibits the artist’s bindings and paintings that interpret Giacomo Leopardi’s Infinity.

Afterwards, from 14 to 16 May, the curtain goes up for Gourmandia in Treviso, at the Open Dream Square. The event, conceived by Davide Paolini, has for five years brought together the best of Italian artisan production thanks to the presence of over 150 producers, and this year it brings a message of significant value: zero waste, to say enough of the problem of food waste to get closer to more ethical and conscious habits. The event starts again with tastings, stories, cooking shows, single-edition islands and workshops.

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