29 June 2015
The Zurich's high end answer to Streetfood Festivals is the Fine Food Festival Il Tavolo, which took place last weekend. For 5 consecutive days guests and visitors where led to different locations where the kitchen equipe of Zurich's leading Hotels and Restaurants did 'pop up' cooking for guests to try directly on spot.
Il Tavolo may gather a large crowd for a food fest - but instead of offering a high density of Take Out - the presented food is prepared and presented with care and precision. The Quality is kept extremely high - which I found astonishing. I usually tend to notice dropping Quality at any caterings and large events - the Streetfood Festivals being the worst example. Maintaining Quality when handling Food is extremely hard, especially in a 'pop up' environment. As an opposer of gluttony and trashy eating I was at begin sceptical of what to expect - and very positively surprised.
OPENING NIGHT Gate Gourmet, Zurich Airport - The opening venue is in fact the kitchen where all the airline food is prepared. Huge venue, huge crowd - overwhelming selection of food and a total kitchen meets cocktail party vibe. Amazing Event which kind of left me wondering though what the passengers on the flights where eating on that particular day :D
KITCHEN PARTY BAUR AU LAC - Perhaps my favourite Party of the Year - its the occasion to dress up & celebrate the Kitchen. Guests are given Kitchen Aprons and are released into the kitchen for an elusive Foodfest. The Chef's prepare a multitude of exquisite dishes and the plates which can also be enjoyed sitting easily in the restaurant. What I always look most forward to actually is the cheese buffet at the end - its always got some real specialties on show.
LA TAVOLATA CLOSING NIGHT, ENGROSMARKT - This is where the energy of the real Il Tavolo is revealed. At the Engrosmarkt Venue, which is absolutely HUGE - perhaps Zurich's longest dinnertable is set up, aligned in between the 'pop up' cooking stations. Everybody is here again - Dolder, Widder, Bärengasse, Baur au Lac - preparing amazing creations live right by the endless table. Its a more casual athmosphere - the focus is on spending time and discovering. Families can come here, theres coffeestations and the tables are decorated with pots of flowers and herbs. The closing night stretches itself onto the next day for a Sunday Family Brunch. Its truly the event where all of Zurich comes together to enjoy food at the same table. Food brings people together, food is social, food is a privilege, food is a substantial definor of our quality of life.
Il Tavolo managed to bring together to one table not only Chef's and Guests - it also created a meeting point, a plattform, a 'coming together' of all things related to food. Eating is a central activity in our daily living, intensely connected to our personalities and our social and ethical background. If I want to get to know a person - I do not ask them questions - I watch them eat. Food is the thing we behave the least inhibited about. I observed that people are usually very honest in the way they eat. One of my favourite stations at the whole event was the Dolder Pop Up at the Engrosmarkt on Saturday - the Chefs created a starter which absolutely looked like a dessert - including a golden fois gras macaron - I stayed there for several minutes watching the visitors reactions to the creation. It was so incredible to see how some people could easily put their mind around the 'deceiving' looks of the entree - and others simply could not. To them - it simply was a dessert - because it looked like one.
This anecdote is just one small excursion of why I blog mainly about Food. Eating has long surpassed its purpose of 'feeding' our bodies - Food and Eating is a mirror reflecting the status of our society, it captures Zeitgeist and expresses our attitude towards life. Il Tavolo is the one event in Zurich where the people who appreaciate quality in food and the experience of eating gather to discover it. With the best Hotels and Restaurants sending their Kitchen Teams to show their skills and creativity - right in front of our eyes. I do not see the Il Tavolo as a setting to enjoy a great meal. I see Il Tavolo as a an event showcasing the best Chef's in town. Like watching the trailer to a movie - its a sneak preview, a tiny glimpse behind the scenes.
photocredit: Ivo Nigro, INFOTOGRAFIE
Dressed by Gassmann, Zurichwww.il-tavolo.ch/en/