It is Le Figaro, once again, to speak of Italian cuisine and its passionate affection by the highly decorated chefs from beyond the Alps: Ducasse, Gagnaire, Frechon, to name a few.

It is not only pasta, but also pizza, a World Heritage Site since 2017, to arouse French interest, which in its appetizing variations, stimulates the chefs’ imagination, always looking for new versions, while respecting, almost always, the quality standards dictated by the Neapolitan and Italian gastronomic tradition.

Alice Bosio, author of the article, quotes the New York Times, which a few days ago dedicated a detailed article on Italian cuisine in Paris. It seems to be the best place to buy Italian food beyond our borders. According to the Trip Advisor data, updated in November 2019, in Paris the record for the largest number of Italian restaurants among foreign ones (1,774), ahead of Japan (973) and China (735). Same podium in Lyon and Marseille. And it is still Italy that wins, both in London, where it exceeds the number of Indian and Chinese restaurants, and in New York, where it is positioned ahead of Japan and China.

Further proof of the rampant Italian craze in the Ville Lumière is given by the opening in Paris, after New York, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Stockholm, of the 39th Eataly store, scheduled for April 2020, in franchising with Galeries Lafayette, which registers, even in the French capital, a constant sold out.

(translation by ASACERT below this article)

Unfortunately, much honor and glory go hand in hand with the increasingly widespread attempts to emulate the dishes of the Italian gastronomic tradition, all too often unsuccessful. It is a phenomenon that is highlighted, in an increasingly pressing way, by the operators of Italian taste themselves, who see the colors, dishes and symbols of the Belpaese cuisine usurping and improperly representing and, far from worthily representing our heritage cultural even at the table, they become detractors, causing unacceptable economic and image damage to the entire sector of Italian catering abroad.

It is undoubtedly in these motivations that the enthusiasm with which the initiative of ASACERT, an established certification body of Milanese origin, operating all over the world, was welcomed by Italian restaurateurs also in France. The ITA0039 100% Italian Taste Certification, conceived and developed in agreement with Coldiretti and Filiera Agricola Italiana, supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and ANRA, is the certification tool available to the consumer and the large sector of Italian restaurant sector abroad. An innovative instrument for all those who wish to protect themselves against fake Italians.

“It is an effective and immediate tool for consumers and operators abroad, to protect themselves from counterfeits which, unfortunately, are clearly growing at the expense of the incomparable Italian products”, explains to the journalist, Fabrizio Capaccioli, CEO of ASACERT. The audits have already started in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates and “many requests come from France”, he continues. In addition, a website and an application will soon allow you to discover the list of certified exhibitors, the raw materials used, with particular attention to the increasingly felt ecological issues and the supply chain process for the procurement of products and produces.

Italian cuisine: “the great success” by Alice Bosio, Jan. 11th 2020, Le Figaro

Transalpine gastronomy is more popular than ever and seduces even the great French chefs.

Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Éric Frechon…The great French chefs are crazy about Italian cuisine. The first one opened the Cucina restaurant at the Maison de la Mutualité (Paris 5e arrondissement) in September 2018, the second one opened the Piero TT rue du Bac (Paris 7e arrondissement) in early 2019, the third one advises L’Italien (Saint-Tropez) from June. Despite its apparent simplicity, pasta is a real and very exciting playground for chefs, who must master the preparation of the dough but also subtly combine the combinations with sauces, sauces, condiments. Not to mention the humble pizza, which is now on the big shots menu! Jean-François Piège, whose soufflé has become a classic, has confided to us his dream of opening a pizzeria, while the Italian-Argentine Mauro Colagreco, chef of Mirazur, crowned the best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best and 3 Michelin stars in 2019, Pecora Negra inaugurated this summer on the port of Menton. From the restaurant that offers affordable prices – whose dazzling success of Big Mamma, which is about to open its twelfth place, Carmelo (Lyon) in less than five years, is an example – at the starred restaurant – such as the George di Simone Zanoni at George V – the cuisine of the peninsula is undeniably very successful in France.

Parisian mozzarella
Last month the international edition of the New York Times dedicated a long article to the capital «In Paris, it’s Italian, naturally», listing the talents of the peninsula that have settled there (the Nanina mozzarella produced in Paris, the chef starred Simone Tondo, gourmet pizza chef Gennaro Nasti, among others). All this makes the “Ville Lumière” a privileged destination for Italian gastronomy. Especially since in Paris, Italy holds the record for the largest number of foreign restaurants listed on the TripAdvisor website (1.774), ahead of Japan (973) and China (735) – according to November data. Same podium in Lyon and Marseille. And Italy is still the winner in London (ahead of India and China) and New York (ahead of Japan and China).

Another recent example of this infatuation is the opening in April, after New York, Sao Paolo, Seoul and Stockholm, of the 39th Eataly store in Paris (4th arrondissement), in franchising with the Galeries Lafayette. The “grand magasin” where you can eat and shop is always full. Its founder, Oscar Farinetti, summarizes the reasons for its success: “Italy is the country with the greatest biodiversity in the world, with an incredible wealth of produces. And Italian cuisine has the advantage of being simple and easily replicable “.

Certifications and rankings
But on the other hand, so much glory whets the appetite of imitators. So much so that the Italian professionals have decided to organize themselves to focus the spotlight on the “real” traders who represent their pride and joy outside the national territory. Thus was born the ITA0039 Certification | 100% Italian Taste, issued by ASACERT company, based in Milan and commissioned by the Minister of Agriculture of the Italian Government, Teresa Bellanova. If they request it, restaurants all over the world can be certified as 100% Italian, provided they meet a series of demanding criteria.

ASACERT auditors visit the facility and inspect the products, wine list, menu and staff. “It is an effective and immediate tool for consumers and operators abroad to protect themselves from counterfeits, which unfortunately are on the rise at the expense of unparalleled Italian products”, explains Fabrizio Capaccioli, CEO of ASACERT. The audits have already started in the UK and the Emirates and “many applications are coming from France”. A website and an application will soon allow you to discover certified restaurants.

In less official form, the free online 50 Top Pizza guide, launched in 2017 by journalists Barbara Guerra, Albert Sapere and Luciano Pignataro, highlights the best pizzerias and, from this year, the best restaurants, in Italy but also abroad, thanks to an army of inspectors who pay the bill. “We were inspired by the idea of the 50 Best collective survey and the anonymous visit methods of the Michelin Guide, adding methodological aspects that are the result of our experience,” explains Guerra. “Italian restaurants and chefs abroad are real ambassadors of our country, we have to talk about their immense work”. In 2019, the 50 Top Pizza crowned 50 Kalò of the Neapolitan Ciro Salvo in London in the foreign category.

As for Italian restaurants outside the peninsula, the winner is in Paris: it is the Roman Giovanni Passerini, with his creative cuisine near the Alger market (12th arrondissement). Here you can taste arancini, tripe, fresh pasta with bold recipes (tagliolini with Sicilian red prawns, dried Campania peppers) and pigeon in two courses. “It is certainly my interpretation of Italian cuisine, adapted to the products that I find here, that appealed to the inspectors of the 50 Top. I am part of a new generation of chefs who are reworking the specialties of their native region and who are upsetting thirty years trivialization of our gastronomy. Some customers don’t understand our menu when they come in! They look for spaghetti Bolognese, while Italian cuisine is incredibly varied” confides the chef.

Dialogue of cultures
A richness that explains why the chefs of the Tricolore fall in love with veal with tuna sauce, spaghetti with clams, Milanese escalope or tiramisu. “Like everyone else, I love Italy, and I have loved it for a long time. It is a fascinating country for its culture and cuisine,” says Pierre Gagnaire. I don’t stupidly copy recipes, but of course I slip into associations that are my discoveries, in homage to Italy.”

In his Cucina restaurant, Alain Ducasse proposes his favorite transalpine dishes with the help of a Tuscan chef, Matteo Lorenzini: “my real mental territory is that of the Riviera, since my beginnings in 1987, at Louis XV in Monaco. To me, Italian cuisine is a very close cousin. And I am convinced that we cooks do our part when we put culinary cultures in dialogue. To make a country’s kitchen, you need love, not a passport.” And that of the peninsula is a fruitful marriage of tradition and modernity: “It is a convivial cuisine, with many specialties to share”. The style of Italian cuisine that was exported is also that of a light cuisine, which corresponds to the tastes of the time “, analyzes the Monegasque.

The last to embrace transalpine specialties is chef Cyril Lignac, who is very attentive to the media: “the diversity of Italian territories is a wonderful source of inspiration. It is a refined cuisine, without sophistication, which is based on simple products but with a great rich in taste. It is a daily, generous, familiar and comforting cuisine. I love this cuisine and I wanted to go further, make it mine.” See you then in March, from Ischia, which will replace its starred restaurant Le Quinzième (Paris 15e arrondissment).