Baking returns to HostMilano this autumn, with some high-profile events, as befits a sector that is booming and rethinking itself. The aim is to ensure a high level of quality and to stand apart by taking the traditions of the past into the future, through technology.
The main feature and emblem of this renaissance has for some years now been the “pan de toni”, which has always symbolised Milan, its recipe a closely guarded secret, although over the years it has spread to other parts of Italy, and indeed the world. But it is fitting that the world’s best traditional artisan panettone will be crowned in Milan. Host will be the venue, on 20 October, for the first Panettone World Championship promoted by the Maestri del Lievito Madre (“Masters of Sourdough”) group. As they explain: “We launched this challenge to provide an opportunity for professionals from all over the world to compare and share their expertise and to reward the best artisan panettone at international level, as well as to promote the excellence of Italian pastry making throughout the world. We are a very close-knit group and want this contest to grow to become a landmark event in the world.”
The names of the Italian pastry makers and members of the Maestri del Lievito Madre who will go through to the final will be made known on Monday 22 July, during Masters of Sourdough Night, the fifth edition of which will be held in Piazza Garibaldi, in the historic heart of Parma. The chosen contestants will take on the international masters at the final during Host, where their creations will be tasted and judged by a jury of experts, made up of the best known and best qualified pastry makers from Italy and abroad, and a critical jury of journalists and gourmet experts.
A space in which to “present our craftsmanship also to ourselves at a time when we are growing, like other categories, and developing new trends,” is the Association of Bakers of Confcommercio Milan Lodi Monza and Brianza area at HostMilano. Here, bakery will be presented in all its innovative force, at a time of rethinking and reviewing, as president Matteo Cunsolo explains: “There will be kitchens with local masters but also friends from other parts of Italy (including Sal de Riso and Claudio Gatti, among others) who will bring their specialities such as “pizza alla pala romana” and “crocetta bolognese”. The master bakers will produce their quality items alongside youngsters chosen from the professional schools.”
Then there are the conferences on some of the hot topics of the moment: “there will be a comparison between the pastry maker’s panettone and the bread baker’s panettone, and a ‘lesson’ from an interior designer, who will talk about the ways in which bakery shops have changed over the last 20 years. Star-rated chefs will offer their thoughts on bread, and a nutritionist will address the health aspect. Journalists and food bloggers from all over the world will talk about bread on social media and the association will ‘dissect’ problems facing and opportunities for the sector.”
It will also be an opportunity to present Pane Milano, created in agreement with Coldiretti and made using local types of flour. But this edition of the fair will also feature a “FuoriHost”, in other words events held outside the fair in the local area. There will, for example’ be an “open ovens” experience. “Two Milan bakeries will open their doors at night to demonstrate how bread is baked. And we will be organising an aperitif at the Casa del Pane, in the attractive location of the Caselli di Porta Venezia, where the association has its headquarters,” Cunsolo says.