ALMA welcomes The Culinary Institute Of America for a journey through italian gastronomic culture

American higher education in Hospitality makes its entrance at the Reggia di Colorno and sits at the desks of ALMA, The International School of Italian Cuisine, for a day of immersion in our food and wine culture and its traditions.

Seventeen students from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the most important and prestigious culinary school in the United States, arrived in Italy in recent days with the aim of experiencing and seeing live what they have been studying for months in books overseas, in New York, meeting the Masters of Italian Cuisine and tasting products and recipes iconic to our culinary identity. It could only be ALMA, therefore, the centerpiece of this study trip, which is also strong from the collaboration that has been linking the two Schools for some time and which is taking shape, as in this case, in important educational exchanges.

Only a few months have passed since the lecture that ALMA held in the Aula Magna of the CIA, a masterclass dedicated to the foundations of Italian Cuisine addressed to the students of the course on Mediterranean Cuisine: on that occasion, Director General Andrea Sinigaglia gave a lecture on the regional cuisine of our country, accompanied by the show cooking of ALMA Chef Ambassador Antonio de Ieso, who translated notions and concepts into recipes and cooked dishes.

Today, instead, it is the CIA that crosses the threshold of the Palace and touches with their own hands not only the value and greatness of a School like ALMA, but above all the real excellence of the products of our Food Valley.

And it was on this goal that the training day for the American students was designed, including visits to producers, gastronomic history lessons, tastings and cooking demonstrations, to give them as complete and immersive a taste of our identity as possible. Fil rouge of these modules, one of the iconic products of our territory: Parmigiano Reggiano, told from its production in the dairy to the enhancement of its taste notes, in different recipes and pairing.

The educational day opened with a talk by Prof. Fabio Amadei, lecturer in charge of ALMA’s Culture and Sustainability Area, with a historical and geographical excursus on Italian food and wine and some of its typical products, including Parmigiano Reggiano. This was followed by Ciro Fontanesi, sommelier and director of the ALMA Wine Academy, who led the students in a tasting of 3 different ages, 12, 36 and 60 months, pairing them with another product of local excellence, Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, offered in two ages, 12 and 24 years. Along with him was Simone Ficarelli, training sector contact for the Marketing and Communication Office of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, who explained the peculiarities of this cheese and the characteristics and applications of the various ageings. Ficarelli also engaged the students in a reflection on the value of the Made in Italy product, the importance of its protection and the danger of Italian Sounding, emphasizing how being a Chef also means having knowledge awareness of the authenticity of products and raw materials.

In closing, ALMA Teaching Chef Laura Torresin translated into a risotto made with 3 different mantecature the different character of the 3 seasonings of Parmigiano, demonstrating to the students of the Culinary Institute of America how even a seemingly simple dish such as risotto alla parmigiana can hide unexpected declinations of flavor based on the choice made for its ingredients.

“This moment represents a historic step,” says School Director General Andrea Sinigaglia, “the Culinary Institute of America was our primary source of inspiration during the planning of ALMA. Hosting CIA students, after a fruitful relationship and masterclass at their prestigious headquarters in Hyde Park, New York, is a source of great pride. This appointment marks not only a current collaboration, but paves the way for an increasingly solid partnership over time, in a country that loves Italian cuisine but still needs training to express its full potential.”

A tour to discover the gastronomic beauty of our country is a value-add for CIA students, as stated by Michael Sperling, Vice President of Academic Affairs at the Culinary Institute of America: “The ability for a select group of our bachelor’s degree students to visit with and learn from the faculty and staff at ALMA offers an incredible learning opportunity. It is  a highlight of their Global Cuisines and Cultures course trip to Northern Italy.”

This trip is the inaugural visit of what will become an ongoing collaboration with the CIA.


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