Barilla Pasta World Championship, Milan, 2018

A few weeks ago I was reminded of how much fun Instagram can be at the Barilla Pasta World Championship. The digital team of the world’s most famous pasta brand gathered a group of creatives at La Pelota in the Brera District of Milan to document the competition in real time.

The challenge involved 18 chefs from all over the world, competing to be named Master of Pasta in 2018. The jury was made up of five Michelin star chefs and one food stylist scoring everything from flavor to plating and more.

 

The first day I followed the work of a young chef from Norway, Benjamin Roth, who with his punk soul created one of the most interesting dishes of the day: Spaghetti n.5 with langoustine, onion, roe and beurre blanc.
The day ended with a beautiful sunset on the terrace of the brand new restaurant at Fondazione Prada. There, overlooking the entire city of Milan, we were served a dinner created by one of my favorite chefs, Norbert Niederkofler. 

The second day, October 25th, was also World Pasta Day. How better to celebrate it than with a nice plate of pasta? It was an intense and emotional day as we awaited the winner the Pasta World championship this year.
I had my favorite, Toby Wang, Executive Chef at the Hilton in Beijing. Watching him cooking and plating his dishes was pure art — as cuisine at the highest level should be!
He made it to the final along with Carolina Diaz, chef of Terzo Piano in Chicago.

 

The final challenge was the hardest, even for an Italian chef: a perfect spaghetti al pomodoro. So simple and there’s no room for error! Toby crosshatched each tomato to create a beautiful rendition of the dish, while Carolina used three kinds of cherry tomatoes to create a dish where sweetness and acidity were perfectly balanced with the herby aromatics of the tomato vine itself. Both were truly impressive takes on the classic.
At the end of a two-day pasta marathon, Chef Carolina Diaz became the first woman to win the Pasta World Championship. 

 

The simple joy of sharing, creating, eating and laughing together: this is what the Pasta World Championship was for me this year. Complimenti to all the Chefs involved and to Barilla for making it all possible!
Who’s gonna win next year?

Blogpost in paid partnership with Barilla

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Google+Email this to someone
lauraBarilla Pasta World Championship, Milan, 2018

Melisses, Andros

Let’s start this trip from the beginning.

Last May, my friends Manu and Sibilla from MilanoSecrets were at Melisses, in Andros in the Cycladic archipelago.
Seeing their pictures, I fell in love with the place. I wanted to spend a long weekend in Greece this July, so I sent the first in a long series of messages to the owner, Allegra.
The place is truly magical. She is such sweet and kind person — and only 25 years old!
Homemade breakfast, unspoiled beach, great Greek food, sunsets and poolside aperitivo.
Everything perfect — if only Andros can fix its roads! Already looking forward to going back soon!
At night a view over the Milky Way is included!

Already looking forward to going back soon!

How to get there
You can land at Athens International Airport and then take a bus – if you have not so many bags and you are not in a hurry – or a taxi to Rafina Port.
Taxi should cost 30-40 euros. Better to book the ferry ticket online in advance.
You can also take the ferry from Mikonos.

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Google+Email this to someone
lauraMelisses, Andros

Sentiero Gourmet, a food path into the woods

While on assignment shooting villas, gardens and castles in Lombardy last year, I drove north toward the border with Switzerland, to a region called Valtellina. Due to a tight schedule I didn’t have enough time to explore the area, but I promised myself to come back there as soon as I could.

Livigno is a small town there: only a 3-and-a-half-hour drive from Milan. It’s a tiny village famous in Italy as a ski resort during winter and as a training destination for athletes in summer.

I was invited to visit Livigno this July to experience the 3rd annual Sentiero Gourmet, a 5 kilometer food path into the woods. Five different locations serving traditional and reinvented dishes, from aperitivo to dessert, all paired with wine and live music.
I capped off the magical night with a glass of warm Taneda, a delicious local liqueur. 

Thank you Valtellina and Livigno for inviting me.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Google+Email this to someone
lauraSentiero Gourmet, a food path into the woods

Les Jardins d’Etretat, Normandy

They says Monet used to paint from a corner in Les Jardin d’Etretat. And it’s impossible not to be inspired by his painting “The Cliff, Reflection on Water” when admiring a long sunset over the bay of this small town in Normandy.

Designed by the Russian landscape architect, Alexandre Grivko, of Il Nature, the garden is dedicated to Madame Thébault, a famous actress of the early twentieth century. She planted the first tree on this hill in 1903 and was a close friend of Monet. 

Another legend has it that Queen Marie-Antoinette was behind the construction of the oyster beds in Etretat to satisfy her insatiable appetite for the shellfish. It’s no coincidence that the best place in town to get some juicy, delicious oysters is named after Marie-Antoniette herself! 

The garden looks a little bit like a matrioska, with different small gardens and corners built inside the main one.

The Jardin Avatar with the Clockwork Forest installation by the British Collective Greyworld

The Jardin Émotions inspired by those historical oyster beds; the Jardin Impressions dedicated to the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel. The Jardin d’Aval with its orchids that lead us through the labyrinth of the Jardin La Manche and finally to the Jardin d’Amont at the very top of the garden. 

And finally my favorite: the Jardin Zen, which features an audio art installation by the Russian artist Sergey Katran called “Until The Word Is Gone”. A series of terracotta sculptures replicating the shape of sound waves generated by recordings of the word “art” being said in 125 different languages! It’s really impressive. 

The weather at the end of May was perfect, the Atlantic Ocean gifted us beautiful sunsets, the air was clean, and all the people we met were very nice and welcoming. 

Merci Les Jardin d’Etretat for the kind invitation! Until next time, France.

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Google+Email this to someone
lauraLes Jardins d’Etretat, Normandy

A Gathering in the Finnish Woods

A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival.

Last May, I was invited by the PING Festival to join a gathering in the Finnish woods with Chef Joona Lehto. He cooked us a plant-based dinner with only fresh and local Finnish produce.

A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival.

A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival. A gathering in the Finnish woods, with Chef Joona Lehto, thanks to PING Festival.

I had my Canon A1 with me and decided to shoot the dinner using a roll of Kodak Portra 400 — and it turned out great! What a magical evening captured in film!

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on Google+Email this to someone
lauraA Gathering in the Finnish Woods