The idea of Xmas time is strictly linked to the idea of luncheons and dinners with relatives and family friends. These convivial occasions – together with religious celebrations, of course – represent the spirit of Christmas itself.
My personal imagination on Christmas food, though, is not related to the official dinner you have on Christmas or New Year’s Eve. My yummy memories go back to the informal parties and meetings with close friends, during the weeks before feast days, i.e. all those situations when offering food and warm chats is a way to welcome people and show affection to them. The gastronomic experiences of my childhood really shaped my sense of taste and largely influenced my professional choices.
We used to start with a very rich early breakfast: cappuccino, bread, butter and jam, some fruits and creamy yogurt. Later in the morning some auntie came with warm focaccia bread (genoese focaccia, thin, with salt and oil), together with delicious preserves to be served with butter and salted fish. The afternoon snack during Christmas holidays was the moment for celebrating sweets and desserts: meringue, cakes with whipped cream and last but not least … almond nougat and panettone, our traditional Christmas cake (pandöçe, as they say in Genova).
A few hours before dinner someone visited us for a drink that came with … fresh cheese, raw vegetables and cold meats. And later on, after dinner, there was always a good reason to end the day with some biscuits or, why not, the typical midnight spaghetti party.
I am really happy all these memories have now become a photographic project, thanks to the fundamental support of Franco Aliberti, a first-class chef, but above all a close friend and a creative partner.
Together with Gianni Tarabini, Franco is Chef at La Présef, a Michelin-starred restaurant within La Florida, a wonderful farm hotel in Valtellina (an area with long-term gastronomic traditions and very high-quality raw materials).
Subjects belong to my childhood and now they return in a surreal atmosphere, as if they came out of the unconscious.The highly refined use of light, the interaction of suspended, superimposed food elements and the shades that become part of the narrative, a fundamental part of the whole scene, convey the real meaning of this project: the personal, Christmas gastronomic memories of me as a child.