I was really pleased to be invited to sample as much Birra Moretti (beer) and Italian street food – with a twist – as I liked at the Moretti Gran Tour, as I love beer and Mediterranean food! Taking place at the old Granada Studios the Manchester leg of this tour runs from Thursday 17th – Sunday 20th of July.
This is genuinely one of the nicest beers I’ve tried. Light, refreshing and not too hoppy. I fitted in three of these but I could have happily drunk them all night if I weren’t rapidly filling up with delicious Italian street food.
Pizza Pilgrims – Naples (lower East coast)
Thom & James Eliot toured different regions of Italy to gain their knowledge and rightly state (in my opinion) that any pizzeria should be judged on it’s Margherita.
I was delighted to see they were using a traditional clay oven. It makes such a difference to the taste of the pizza base. From a choice of chilli, basil and garlic oil to dress my slice I chose the basil.
The depth of flavour in the sauce was wonderful and the base so traditionally floppy that I ended up folding mine in half and eating it like a calzoni.
My extremely happy pizza eating expression.
Cooking Cooks – Lombardia (North)
Tour around England bringing their traditional dishes with a modern twist to different events and festivals.
I once ate ravioli everyday for a month. I know my ravioli. I opted for Cooking Cooks butternut squash and caramelised onion ravioli which did not disappoint. It was so light and tasted so delicious that I went back for a second helping!
Gelupo – Emilia Romagna (Island off the East coast)
I decided to cleanse my palette so I visited the Gelupo stand. I’ve always wondered if gelato contains gelatine but it’s a miss-conception. Gelato literally translates to ‘freeze’ or ‘frozen’. I chose the blood orange sorbet which contained so much fresh juice it was like bitting right into the blood orange it’s self.
Pasta E Basta – Valle d’Aosta (North West)
Fabrizio worked in various successful kitchens in London before starting Pasta E Basta and visiting markets on his Vespa at 6am to source the best ingredients.
I’ve only ever eaten stuffed gnocchi before so I was excited to try Pasta E Basta’s roasted beetroot version. I’ve never been keen on blue cheese despite The Blokes best efforts to convert me, so I was taking a big leap of faith trying the gorgonzola sauce.
All off the ingredients combined to make a wonderfully creamy dish of comfort food at it’s best. Considering gnocchi is made with potato, it was a surprisingly light form of pasta.
Arancini Bros. – Sicilia (The ‘ball’ the ‘foot’ of Italy is kicking)
The brothers trained under a first generation Sicilian chef to learn about arancini (various kinds of creative risotto balls), before going to London to hand cook it based on traditional recipes.
For the purposes of this review I sampled a small amount of the Porcini mushroom with saffron arancini with parmesan in the centre, which was a most indulgent gourmet snack. The Bloke also tried a little bit of this and a whole mozzarella and slow cooked tomato arancini but much preferred the former.
Note: The host of the event insisted everyone use traditional ingredients including the type of parmesan which contains a small amount of animal rennet. Not suitable for vegetarians.
My personal tour zigzagged all over Italy depending on how full of beer I was and what I fancied eating next. Cooking demonstration from each stand where announced by the DJ and started around every half hour, with a timetable also displayed on a board if you wanted to take a more geographical tour.
I had to get another bowl of gnocchi from Pasta E Basta before we left, but after slowly getting up from the long table I decided I might have over done it as I waddled out into the evening.
Tickets cost £10 for a Birra Moretti, two dishes, a coffee and a gelato.