Let’s think about summer. Let’s project ourselves into a bright future when we will meet again, gather together to celebrate again, share a good meal again. Let’s talk about Italy like we used to before the madness: let’s talk about Italian food! When we plan an event in Italy, particularly one for international clients and their guests, we know that they are going to pay a lot of attention to one specific aspect of the experience: the catering. When it comes to tasting authentic Italian food in Italy, the expectations are always extremely high. We only work with the best catering services in the business, to make sure everything we offer always meets the highest standards of culinary excellence. And if there is one amazing thing about authentic Italian food is that getting it right mostly requires two things: genuine ingredients and craft. No fancy equipment, no need to fly in expensive and exotic ingredients from halfway across the globe: you can get the best results with fresh food straight from your local market, provided that it is cooked with passion and the right amount of flare. That’s what has recently been termed “High Street Food”. Would you like to create the perfect Italian summertime menu for your next event? We are ready to share a few tricks.
Haute cuisine or Street Food? High Street Food!
Catering services and street food are often wrongly considered as less sophisticated alternatives to a more traditional restaurant experience. When it comes to authentic Italian food in particular, however, the concept of High Street Food is gaining an increasingly strong foothold as several Michelin chefs experiment with it, thus making it implicitly cool. The idea behind High Street Food is that culinary excellence doesn’t need a complex mise-en-place and it is not restricted to dishes that need to be eaten with cutlery. You can make delicious bites that are both accessible and healthy, both affordable and complex in their structure, both easy to carry and high quality.
Wait, aren’t tapas Spanish? Yes, but the same concept is present across the full spectrum of Italian cuisine, despite going by a variety of regional names (from the internationally known bruschetta to the Apulian tradition of friselle to the panzanella variations of central Italy). Are we talking about serving croutons to your guests as part of a posh menu? Yes. And no. This is not about slapping a spoonful of cream cheese and some ham on a slab of sandwich bread. This is one of those occasions where the ingredients you choose will do most of your work for you. If, for instance, you serve a selection of Altamura bread croutons with Gorgonzola DOP cheese or Lardo di Colonnata, or maybe with Tuscan chicken liver paté, your guests will know that you are taking them on a journey, not just serving them a quick meal.
Eat the plate!
If your venue doesn’t have a kitchen and you are trying to go light on the tableware, does that mean that you can’t serve pasta? Not at all! But we suggest you try serving it in little parmesan-cracker bowls. Perfect for bite-sized portions, these crackers can be modelled to taste, making them easy to maneuver with one hand or with the help of a small fork. Try them with short pasta with a seasonal topping. We recommend courgette flowers: they are uniquely Italian and hard to find anywhere else (for some reason, the rest of the world is still failing to realise that they are edible) and they taste just as good as they look. An instant classic!
Everything is a meatball if you believe it enough
This is one of the latest trends in High-Street Food: packing every meal into bite-sized portions, easy to manage, stack and serve. The easiest way of achieving that is to turn everything into boulettes or, in Italian, polpette. There are, of course, plenty of examples besides meatballs in the Italian tradition. Examples of authentic Italian food include arancini (or arancine”), stuffed olives, potato croquettes, pettole (small spheroids of fried dough) and multiple local variations on these themes. As forms of street food, they are most commonly served in paper cones – which in the Neapolitan tradition is called a cuoppo – and they are usually fried. Lately, chefs have discovered that almost everything can be packed into a sphere: from shellfish to legumes, from strawberries to seabass. And they don’t necessarily have to be fried: they can be rolled in breadcrumbs and baked for a lighter and equally tasty version.