I told my Filipino cuisine class that we suddenly had three Italian guests for our chef’s table that day. It was arranged that they have lunch with us to sample Filipino food. One of them was pastry chef Ciro Fraddanno from the CAST Alimenti culinary school in Milan. He was with us for a week to do a series of baking demonstrations on Italian pastries.
It is always a pleasure to meet chefs from other parts of the world. They are very curious about our food in as much as we want to learn more about their style of cooking. We made our visitors try our Filipino cuisine lesson which was pomelo salad, sinigang (tamarind based sour soup), shrimp in coconut milk, grilled tuna, and other southern island dishes. The flavors were quite new to them and Luigi loved the sinigang. It was funny how our foreign guests would make a big deal and take photos of rice wrapped in banana leaves, coconut juice served from the husk, and even go crazy over the succulence of our Philippine mangoes.
I told Ciro his amazement over our tropical fruits is likened to the feeling I get when I see a parking meter in Europe. He gave me a puzzled look….We don’t have parking meters in the Philippines so it is a big thing for us. I go crazy and have my picture taken with a parking meter the same way Europeans cherish our mangoes.
( Huh?!? If you’re reading this and didn’t get the part about parking meters then you’re probably not from my country ! 🙂 )
Anyway over the days Chef Ciro turned out to be a remarkable pastry chef as he generously shared his baking techniques and recipes to the students. Like most pastry chefs he was patient, precise and
a perfectionist. He is over six feet in height and was too tall for the demo room range hood. He also found the working counters too low. Sorry they were made for little brown men and so I suggested we cut his feet off instead. Hehe! Initially he found the oven, weather and humidity in our tropical country quite a challenge. He was so worried about the fermentation of his panetonne (Italian Christmas cake) which I didn’t realize took days. The bianco mangarie (Sicilian white pudding) had a difficult time setting because the climate was just too hot. In the end however he produce a beautiful array of delicious pastries like panna cotta, “real” tiramisu, baba (soaked in limoncello – my favorite!), paradiso, amaretti, nougat, different kinds of brioche, and even made pastiera from his hometown Napoli. He culminated his stay with a wonderful dessert buffet. Bravo!!
Thank you Ciro for sharing your talents with us and Luigi for always coming back to visit. Ciao and until next time!
If you are interested in further baking classes in Italy check CASTalimenti.it