When we listen on Italian cuisine abroad, it is often about the more common dishes of the country, including a “Pizza mit pepperoni” and a “Lasagna Bolognaise”. But fortunately, the designer Alessandra Pallotta, has moved in Berlin and took a distance from everything, in the name of the authentic flavors of the Italian tradition.
Forniture Pallotta is the creative catering project bringing to the table sophisticated ingredients, products from small Italian producers, selected personally by her. But beware, don’t expect to find the usual red and white checked tablecloth.
Tortellini are made by hand, but you eat with rubber gloves, the martini cocktail has no oil but the salted pork, salted water fountains gush and extra virgin.
Hello Alessandra, it is a pleasure to talk to you and your project Forniture Pallotta. I find that it is able to leave clichés of the traditional catering, creating experiences that involve artistic taste, sight, mind. Isn’t it?
I’m glad you find it interesting Forniture Pallotta. As you say, this project is different from a simple catering service, mainly because any work done is always paired by a specific project for the presentation of food, packaging and a study of all the elements that will be functional to the act of eating . It’s just this desire for dialogue and exchange between each element of everything that characterizes my approach and design.
What is the relationship between experimentation and tradition? What I mean is that your approach is certainly innovative, experimental, researched, while the strictly traditional ingredients. The result is amazing …
The idea of linking experimentation and tradition is a point of departure. The association is very simple, Italy, the tradition of cuisine excellence with a world record on food … What’s missing? Perhaps a new way to present these products, and new connections that may arise between them. My work is just to create these new connections and invent a new image with to present them.
I would like to go deep to the centrality of food: carefully selected, excellent, pure. Want to tell us what you mean by food “pure” and give us some examples?
When I speak of pure food, and often use this term, I refer primarily of non-cooked, as can be the raw material from which we start when you want to start a cooking recipe. Simple foods such as tomatoes, but from a specific place, where you will find that type of wheather with a particular characteristic that gives the taste, or a cheese made from cows that eat a certain type of grass, can already represent a substantial difference at the start and produce a better quality in the final result.
What counts for me is therefore my ability to analyze and search for these basic elements to start with.
What instead we will never find in your favorite dishes?
Raw materials and food poor.
Your project is based in Berlin, but the ingredients are strictly Italian. What does it mean to propose a culinary experience, and therefore cultural, abroad? As for the import is actually quite complex, because often that what is available abroad is not really high quality. With more effort and a lot more research and not as the normal import channels, I can retrieve the raw materials directly from the artisans.
Giving people the opportunity to try different dining experience and make them taste a part of the culture of another place is a beautiful thing, and certainly creates interest in people. It represents a powerful tool for exchange and dialogue.
The Italian spirit is the heart of the project or you may use even the “pure” food German, for example, or in other countries?
The Italian style is absolutely central, mainly because I am Italian and that’s what my land of origin, where can I get a clear, deep commodity. The logo of Forniture Pallotta represents a boot where the foods is coming out from and which stressed the close relationship with my country.
Who should Forniture Pallotta? I mean, reasoning in an abstract way, who do you imagine that you have at your table when you design an event and what food is the thought that follows you in the design, the message you would like to come to each of the guests?
Surely someone with a good taste who can be trained to fully enjoy the specialties of the products, the message I would like to come is to live each moment and enjoy the full experience.
How do you communicate to people what they are eating? Labels with the name of the dishes, pictures, other? It’s important that they know what is behind what they have in the pot?
Yes, definitely for the success of the project that relies heavily on products, i want to give more information about what they are tasting, it is really important. So I try to find ways to deliver information.
Your distinctive feature is always to set up a great attention to detail, where the environment and food refer to each other, creating a context or recalling it. And here is your sign style, the graphics of coats, the look of the waiters, the food media. First of all you’re a designers..
Yes, I consider myself a designer, and I really enjoy immersing myself in the idea of a project and to assure that every detail. The relationship between a context, a theme and its presentation are the center of my work. My references to depart from my interest in art, music, design and fashion.
In which way does your “installation” and your “culinary space” born?
Usually the projects are created by a client who becomes my starting point. Then what he wants to “promote”, in what context and which is the public, these are the keys to design. One example is the case of the chandelier of cheese for the Italian Embassy in Berlin on the occasion of the Gallery Weekend: the location was one of the boardrooms of the Embassy with two immense chandeliers of Murano glass that characterized all of the huge hall. When I saw them I thought I wanted to duplicate that form in the room creating third chandelier, which way could bring the food, so I started immediately to think of a way to make that idea.
Sometimes it is the food itself that suggested tips and ideas to work, as happened to me with the Raspadura (cheese that I used for my first presentation) these is thin and soft whitish veil seemed a cloth draped … and I imagined this table covered with a tablecloth made of cheese!
We all saw the cherubs fountain, is something that we all know, is part of our knowledge. But Forniture Pallotta has ceased to be a decorative element, becoming a stapler salt water and olive oil to season the friselle. It is very funny just to imagine it. How did people react to this disorienting and funny adaptation?
Actually my fountains have always been in mind for people who saw them, they always say me “You know you made a fountain of oil??” [Laughs]. Neither the displacement nor the irony are elements that will never be lacking in my work.
Tell us about some other anecdote related to people’s reactions?
Usually people ask me: “Really, you can eat this?”, But that was many years ago when I was part of the collective Ciboh.
A few months ago, for work done at Oslo10 (a non-profit space for contemporary art in Basel) I painted with spray the food on the wall with a black spray for food: a different project than usual, because I had no limits on how to present food and I wanted to push me a little ‘more, to see how people would react … it seemed that someone had entered the tunnel at night to make vandalism on installations! The food did not look appealing at all, because not everyone knows that there are sprays for food … I must say that not many people came early to eat … Then, however, after making sure that the spray is not toxic, the first brave person took the first piece of bread, cheese, cup and then slowly the others ..
Was nice to see that everyone was taken in mid-evening pieces less affected by the spray and the wall created a beautiful design made of very dark spray food.
A boy who was eating a slice of black bread said: “This is beautiful, you see something that seems dirty and did not want to eat, then close your eyes, you put in your mouth, chew and feel that the taste is not correspond at all with what you saw … “.
I know that now you are in NY, if it’s Forniture Pallotta, tell us what are you working on?
I am here both for personal reasons and for Forniture Pallotta: my partner [PatrickTuttofuoco, an artist who we hope to have as guest on, e.n.] has won an art residency, I also have a friend who is opening a restaurant here, to which I am working for the concept and the packaging of food.
Alessandra’s Berlin Addresses:
The tea from Chencha in Rosenthalerstraße. 13,
the brunch at Lucky’s table in Weserstrasse 58,
the bread, the butter and the various sauces from Soluna – Brot und Öl in Gneisenaustraße 58,
the chickens fried by Henne in Leuschnerdamm 2,
the ice cream bar in Potsdamer Platz,
the quark with fruit, cereals and fruit Turkish Market in Kreuzberg,
a savory breakfast in the park to the Swiss bar Nola Rosenthaler,
the market godzleme Kollwitzplatz,
the sandwich with mustard and grilled fish in the market of Schöneberg,
all the best cocktails invented in secret place in Brunnen str. by my friend Philip Benedetti, eating Parma ham hand-stitched black pig! And finally the Super club of my friend chef Gaetano in Neukölln!
Recipe by Alessandra Pallotta
- 100 gr. of bread “couple of Ferrara”
- 150 gr. of Culatello
- 10 ml extra virgin olive oil from Liguria
- 1 15 cm long cocktail toothpicks
- 1 glass of martini cocktails
How to do
Crush finely with a grater stale bread a day. Prepare the drink by pouring into 2 cm of bread crumbs.
Take a slice of salted pork, toss in a serpentine toothpicks, place the skewer inside the glass and pour a little oil.