Those who do not cook traditional dishes correctly will never reach the status of “true Italian”. This is the incipit with which the Süddeutsche Zeitung decides to open the article published on January 6th. Ulrike Sauer’s interview to ASACERT’s Managing Director, Fabrizio Capaccioli, is an opportunity to open a window on the authenticity of Italian food in restaurants in Germany.
A panorama that opens a double perspective: if on one hand the Teutonic people particularly appreciate Italian cuisine, on the other the quality and the correspondence to the criteria dictated by the taste and the true culinary tradition of the Belpaese, leave a lot to be desired.
TRANSLATED ARTICLE by ASACERT
Whoever does not cook traditional dishes correctly will never reach the status of “true Italian”: a company controls restaurants abroad and identifies them.
Many Germans have an almost intimate relationship with their Italian restaurant. However, what is served in some Italian restaurants often spoils the appetite of the fellow Italian countrymen. At the top of the black list of traditional “revisited” dishes we can find spaghetti carbonara. In front of a plate of cream in which the pasta floats, the Italians are disgusted. The creaminess of the carbonara derives only from the egg yolk.
Many of the 90,000 Italians living abroad in the world are no better off. “The French like Italian names, but they don’t want to lose the French taste,” says Riccardo Bernabei, who cooks at the Libertine in Paris. Now, the story of the alteration of good Italian cuisine is long: pizza with pineapple or parmesan on seafood are just a few examples of what Italians have lived for decades as an insult to their gastronomic heritage. The novelty is the attempt to stop falsification.
The Milan-based certification body ASACERT has launched the certification of restaurants abroad that promote true Italian cuisine. It is checked whether the produces used are actually of Italian origin, the examiners also evaluate the menu and the recipes, also taking into consideration the staff in the kitchen and in the dining room. Those who pass the audit can be defined as “true Italian” and show the brand “ITA0039 | 100% Italian Taste”. An app will report certified restaurants.
ASACERT founder Fabrizio Capaccioli explains: “There are many fakes in the restaurant sector all over the world using the Italian label and against which we must protect ourselves”. While the origin of retail food is subject to strict controls, the restaurant sector requires no inspection, he says. He launched the initiative together with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Coldiretti farmers’ association.
ASACERT assigns a score from zero to 100. Verified restaurants must reach at least 40 percent to receive the certificate. Particular attention is paid to the ingredients used: “it is enough to find a counterfeit product in the kitchen to not pass the audit” says Capaccioli. The absence of Italian staff in the kitchen also makes it impossible to achieve certification. ASACERT has audited about 60 restaurants in the UK, ten restaurants have failed the assessment. The audit is obviously voluntary. Interest is a lot. “Many want to move away from emulators that make Italian cuisine look bad abroad,” says Capaccioli.