Snow and Sun in the Glasshouse Kitchen
Masterful Italian hands combine with superb South Australian ingredients this week when Italy’s reigning pastry chef of the year Andrea Tortora crafts his region-defining dessert for guests in the Glasshouse Kitchen on Wednesday night.
Snow and Sun – or Nëy y Surëdl as it is known in the Ladin language of the Dolomites region – is a celebration of the first moment the sun peeks through the heavy clouds to break the Dolomite winters of Tortora’s homeland.
Hailing from the far north of Italy near the Austrian and Swiss borders, Tortora’s Snow and Sun will be the finishing flourish on Wednesday evening where he joins with Adelaide’s own Simon Bryant and Jyoti Bindu to fashion an animal-free, but luxuriant meal inside the colourful Glasshouses of Town Square.
It’s an artform for Tortora, who keeps his dessert simple – “no more than four or five flavours on the plate,” – and made from soy milk for a completely vegan experience. “It’s something very fresh, but very easy to understand - it has to be easy for people [to make].”
“It was three years ago,” he says of his moment of inspiration.
“It’s a one-colour dessert – almost yellow, like a sun – made from persimmon and mandarin, which are all winter products, and the snow is something made with nitrogen and soya milk.
Tortora strives for consistency in his work, but also understands the importance of representing the place he makes his dishes, which is why he’ll be making Snow and Sun with local Australian ingredients on Wednesday night.
Fruits and flour sourced from South Australia have been identified and are set to be used on the plate in the Glasshouse Kitchen –as Tortora says “Italian hand, with local product,”.
“We don’t buy Italian flour or Italian candy, we use what we can find in Australia, it’s very important.”
“I’m a guest here and I’m proud. I love this [being in Australia], it’s a match, the mood is fantastic, I love the people here.”
While achieving a simplicity in his work is important, Tortora, twice named Italy’s Pastry Chef of the Year by Il Gambero Rosso and Identità Golose, also strives for consistency.
While Australians are falling in love with everything artisanal – whether craft beers, small batch spirits, organic or heirloom produce and, of course, scratch-baked breads from locally milled flour, Tortora demands the best flour on a mass scale for his restaurant.
When serving up panettone-upon-panettone, only the best and most consistent dough can achieve the final product that has earned him acclaim after acclaim. So while he’ll use Australian flour for Snow and Sun, he makes an exception when it comes to panettone.
The mother-dough he will use to demonstrate the confection in Australia has been specifically shipped from Italy, to ensure his signature combines perfectly with premium local candies.
He’ll offer aspiring pastry chefs the opportunity to learn about his philosophy and techniques in two masterclasses to be held at Ecotel in Adelaide this week on Friday 20 and Saturday 21.
That, he says, will offer the opportunity for local, emerging chefs to learn some of his best practices and the attention and care needed throughout the entire process.
“The mother-dough is very special, you have to refresh two times a day and feel the acidity, the sweetness, to manage them. It’s complicated.
“I can step you through it – A, B, C and D – but you have to feel, to smell, to try.
“The flour is changing, the water is changing, the products are changing, the mother-dough is an evolution, it’s like a baby.
“In Australia they have one culture, in Italy we have another one… I want to show them something different.”
“We try to inspire using international techniques, but with a local product.”
Nine seats remain for Wednesday night’s Glasshouse Kitchen with tickets available at the door, and places are still available for Andrea Tortora’s Masterclasses across the weekend.