FrigoBar Tales: sixth appointment with Alioscia Bisceglia
FrigoBar Tales: sixth appointment with Alioscia Bisceglia
Frigobar tales is the Agrodolce project to combine food and music: we tell you about the sixth episode in Milan with Alioscia Bisceglia of Casino Royale.
FrigoBar Tales , the format signed Agrodolce and born from the desire to know and tell the artists in a different way, has reached its sixth episode. In this first Milanese appointment, guests of the Apollo Club , Lorenza Fumelli and Roy Paci , with the participation of guitarist Stefano Scarfone, interviewed Alioscia Bisceglia , Casino Royale frontman and great food lover. Surprise guest was Eleonora Cozzella who talked about her new book entirely dedicated to carbonara. We interviewed Alioscia for you, here is a small excerpt.
Alioscia of the Casino Royale, what an honor. You have a restaurant in Milan, describe it to us.
Restaurant is a bad word, it is an arranged baraccio whose intended use has become a cocktail bar. There is a kitchen that was asking me for trouble because as long as you sell alcohol everything is fine, it’s fun, fast, nothing is thrown away; while cooking is a bit of a habit, but I couldn’t do without it.
Why couldn’t you do without it? I’ve read interviews where you say that music and cooking are on the same level for you. It is true?
Yes, that’s the truth. I have always thought that music and food were two vehicles of expression and communication: through food and music one is able to tell what one is, what one has seen, what one would like to be.
How important is it to go into a club and find a compilation suitable for what you are eating?
Very. Tonight I walked into my place at aperitif time and they had put on some music from after midnight, from pre-club , which was not good for that time. I made him change it.
For us foreigners, how is the food scene in Milan right now?
It is a scene divided into three parts: there is the one that, as in the past, starts from the restaurant school, when food was like a need to tell an art; there are starred restaurants; there is the one more linked to an industrial process in which they make panzerotti and sandwiches from 8 in the morning and then there is the one, as in the rest of Italy, more linked to marketing, fashion, clubs a little cool. However we are in great shape.
Where is your restaurant located?
Mine is a shack with a somewhat home cooking that tells what I saw. The clientele of my restaurant is people who have traveled a lot and yet, absurdly, the most popular dish is carbonara. There are Romans living in Milan who come to me to eat carbonara.
We will return to carbonara. Meanwhile, as a first curiosity of FrigoBar Tales I would like to know what is the relationship of a musician with eating on tour. Is there someone who takes you to restaurants or do you choose them yourself?
I on tour have always been very tolerant in general for hotels, facilities and everything. As far as food is concerned, you usually get the promoter who offers you the chicken menu or something quite classic. On the other hand, when I got slightly older, I started wanting to choose by myself from the menu because with the tours I had the privilege of traveling all over Italy and therefore when you are, for example, in Abruzzo you cannot give up tasting the pasta alla chitarra with handmade mutton meatballs.
Since you’ve visited them all, what’s your favorite regional cuisine? Make me a top 3.
No, I refuse. I have dishes that are dishes of the soul. I recently went to Matera to follow a project called Open Sound Matera 2019, it will be in August, and I arrived there full of expectations, but then I realized that everything is a bit commercialized. The crusco pepper, the soppressata: also in these things there are business opportunities and in my opinion the soul is lost a little.
Here in Milan there is a good number of ethnic cuisine restaurants. What is your relationship with ethnic cuisine?
Aside from the Chinese of the ’80s, when as a penniless kid you took a take-away Cantonese rice and ate on the sidewalk in a super chic street with a bottle of gin, my first approach to ethnic cuisine in Milan is been the zighinì in Porta Venezia. In the end it’s a spicy stew with this slightly spongy bread, which is super good, but when too soaked it becomes a bit of a pimp. So it’s a very strong ethnic cuisine, while if you talk to me about fusion cuisine, I turn up my nose a bit. I don’t like fusion music either.
You were an example of those years in which sounds were contaminated by English sounds: do you like contamination in food as it was for your music?
Yes, absolutely. The menu of our baraccio looks a lot to Southeast Asia with the use of fresh herbs, coriander, mint. Maybe in pulled pork the cut of meat is a picanha , which in the end is a codonbut with a pico de gallo made with strawberries in spring or pomegranate in winter. By now I believe that we are at a point where people have traveled the world and every time they choose a little thing to take home, in the furniture, in the music and also in the food: I am Mediterranean in terms of area and choice of products, but I am very happy to contaminate my cuisine with other cultures such as cous cous or arista.
Give us some advice on where to eat in Milan. That is not the Elite bar.
I recommend one, it’s not Elita bar, but it’s very close. I love Marco Ambrosino’s approach to 28 places so much, because he is very Mediterranean (with a bit of Noma school) and in my opinion he is someone who makes an anthropological discourse through the kitchen. I love it, it’s a little fine dining, but very informal: I really recommend it with my heart.
Is it true that Eugenio Boer was there when you opened the Elite bar?
Yes, it’s true. I’ll tell you about our meeting that evening: I had smoked a little too much and I fainted in the back of the room, when I opened my eyes he was holding my hand. I love Eugenio a lot.
Alioscia, when I called you to invite you here tonight, you told me you make the best carbonara in the world.
No it is not true.
Yes, you said that. Can you give me the recipe for your carbonara, please?
By the way, I don’t do it either. A Sinhalese does it. Let’s give Cesare what belongs to Cesare: I got the twist on the carbonara, learned it, fake it, stolen it from Paolo Parisi. It is a traditional carbonara, there is guanciale, a good bacon almost always from Mora Romagnola, taken from a very serious company; pasta half sleeves Mancini; the eggs are not those of Parisi because they cost a shot; there is no pecorino, but a DOP Lodi in order to use products that come as much as possible from the vicinity of Milan; finally there is this twist of the lime and lemon zest that takes away some of that fat from the egg making it more refined.
Roy you were right, this kid understands so much about food. But not as good as the person I invited to talk about carbonara. In the dining room there is a wonderful journalist who writes on L’Espresso who, coincidentally, has recently published a book on the perfect carbonara. Eleonora Cozzella, welcome to Frigobar tales.
E: You forgot that Parisi also puts a little marjoram in the carbonara.
Eleonora, how did you think the carbonara that Alioscia made?
E : Milanese.
A : Did you come incognito to eat carbonara?
E : I repeat: only egg, bacon and pecorino. You Milanese need to degrease everything.
You have a jewel with the words “only eggs, bacon and pecorino”. But I called you because I think he told a good idea of carbonara. What do you think?
E : Alioscia told about a good carbonara that works. The citrus zest is like a flavor enhancer, it doesn’t seem like it but some also put it in the tomato sauce: grated lemon peel at the end and it works a lot, I recommend it. And then it is also a smart carbonara because when you have many orders, with short pasta it is easier to keep the creaminess and not do what Barbieri would call the mappazzone . However, he did not explain whether he uses the whole egg or only the yolk, but I am open to all schools of thought, in the end the result must be good.
A : Whole egg. But let’s say it’s not scrambled egg pasta .
E : No, it doesn’t have to be. Even if we say that this is how carbonara is born.
Here, I called you for this very reason: let’s briefly tell the official history of carbonara. Go.
AND: As Alioscia said before, the passion for cooking is also anthropology, therefore approaching the traditions, stories, roots and identities of peoples; I wanted to understand where this recipe came from, which before the 1950s did not exist in any cookbook. I did a research work in historical and gastronomic libraries and newspaper libraries, finding a first quote in a newspaper that is La Stampa of 26 July 1950, in which this Cesaretto de La Cisterna, in Rome, who offered carbonare to American officers is mentioned. returned after the Second World War, remained fond of Rome after the liberation. The first written recipe of a carbonara instead is that of 1952, but it is from a restaurant in Chicago, Armando’s. Obviously it is an Italian restaurant, but the first to formalize the recipe were the Americans. The first Italian recipe you can find – hold on strong – dates back to 1954 published in La Cucina Italiana and as a cheese he uses not the Lodi cheese, not the grana, not the pecorino, not the parmesan, but the gruyere. We shiver.
A : Call the exorcist.
E : The truth is that carbonara is a fluid recipe that has not been codified, but almost crystallized over time, so what we know now as traditional carbonara is actually the ideal carbonara. Luckily the traditional one has evolved to the excellent ones that we find today in places like yours. Speaking of Eugenio Boer, there is also his carbonara in the book, it is very heterodox.
A : It’s a gabber carbonara , from being a good Dutchman he went from acid to tablets with smiley faces.
E : I’ll tell you briefly because it’s funny. This is a very heterodox reinterpretation, obviously it has nothing to do with the traditional one: he teases a bit because he has a Sicilian mother and a Dutch father and says that in Central-Northern Europe they love carbonara, but obviously the pasta is overcooked, he says so, they put a lot of cream in it and combine it with a nice glass of Coca-cola. So he, as a good ironic as he is, made his own Bavarian: a lot of cream, a carbonara sauce that becomes a Bavarian as if it were a panna cotta, the pasta remains only a memory because it is crunchy and puffed and the eyes of the smile I am a concentrate of Coca-cola. A savory Bavarian.
Thanks Eleonora Cozzella for being with us. Let’s close with a question about your work as a musician, Alioscia: is something happening on this side or are we throwing ourselves on carbonara for the moment?
I wanted to say that carbonara has never been a cult for me: with Sinhalese we have perfected it over time, but carbonara has remained. In reality there are other things that intrigue me much more, such as the sauce with all the meats: the chops, the rolls, the lamb, the tip and the salted ricotta. As for the music, lately I have started writing again, I have returned to the studio without great expectations, I am working on an EP and every now and then I do the DJ set. I enjoy it, but when you open a shop it takes a lot of time and therefore you will find me very often in via Corsico n.5: it has become my headquarters. Let’s say that I divide my life between the world of music and the world of food on an equal footing. Here I am.