Italian food at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, chef Oldani and Rubio, with Ferrari and Barilla

Jul 27 2016, 07:00 | by Annalisa Zordan

The countdown in on: come August 5 the eyes of the worls will be on Brazil. Casa Italia athletes will be fed by Davide Oldani who will rely on many Italian products, including pasta. Chef Rubio will cater at the Special Olympics.

From ethics to sports. Italy and food at the Olympics

The precedent couldn’t be a better omen: In 2012 for the London Olympics, the chef at Casa Italia was Massimo Bottura. At that time the number one chef in the world was starting to think how to take advantage of the worldwide visibility of the Olympics to launch a message of hope for the people. In a few days the idea conceived with colleague David Hertz will be put into effect at RefettoRio in the favela Lapa shanty town. No less worthy is the team of chefs and sponsors of Italian food following the delegation of Italian athletes during the Brazilian Games.

At only a few days from the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympics on August 5th, every detail regarding the food formation of Casa Italia has been revealed. To be honest, it’s already been a few months that Davide Oldani’s participation was announced. This was before the chef from Cornaredo announced a complete overhaul of his cuisine at the new D’O restaurant, in attempt to evolve from the pop cuisine label he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with. Surely his presence in Rio, where he is due to arrive on July 28 to get cooking, will contribute to added notoriety in with an international community.

Oldani in Rio. Cultural cross-over and wellness

Thrilled by the invite extended by the Italian Olympic Committee, a very excited Oldani is ready to present the Italian team with a horizontal and ethical cuisine, that bridges Italy to Brazil” as quoted by Gazza Golosa, while hoping to make the dream come true of meeting Usain Bolt in person. The chef’s objective is showing that tasty and healthy can go hand in hand without ever ignoring ethical commitment: Oldani has already made himself available to work at the RefettoRio service. Meanwhile, he is putting final touches of the dish which will represent the 2016 Olympics at Casa Italia. It’s called Ciaolà, a synthesis of the Italian word “ciao” for hi, and the Portuguese equivalent “olà”, suggesting the cultural cross-over that will characterise his cuisine in Rio. The dish will feature four bright colors representing the Olympic torch in the form of four sauces that speak the excellence of Italian ingredients: datterini tomatoes, saffron stigmas, borage flowers, Grana Padano and cow’s milk ricotta. With the addition of stevia leaves and coffee.

Italian exports in Rio against “Italian sounding” products

Sports and food ambassador – the role of chef Oldani – for the Italian Olympic team will work with local products like fruit, fish and seafood and local produce paired to specialties brought to Rio from home. Of course there will be pasta, employed in original recipes developed with Barilla, official supplier of the Italian team restaurant with 2700 kilos of assorted types of pasta (classic, whole grain and gluten-free). Other Casa Italia food sponsors include Grana Padano cheese, partnering with Coldiretti in defense of Italian exports. In the fight against “Italian sounding” Coldiretti and the Coni Italian Olympic Committee have taken the Olympic visibility to promote the #Riomangioitaliano initiative. The hashtag that’s already circulating on social media testifies the landing of many Italian specialties in Brazil with the intent of revealing their true colors and contrast faux Italian food that’s on the other hand greatly produced in Brazil. Authentic Italian cuisine, in and outside of Casa Italia, therefore. Pairings will be with sparkling Trentodoc of Cantine Ferrari, official partner of Casa Italia until August 2, with the final medal count.

Chef Rubio at the Special Olympics: breaking barriers

From September 7 to September 18 Rio will then host the athletes of the Special Olympics. With them at Casa Italia – where a parish will also be built to bring support and involve kids from the shanty towns – will be Chef Rubio, designated cook representing Italian cookery at the 2016 Rio Special Olympics. Key concepts: sharing and integration: values of equal importance both at the table and in the sports field.

by Livia Montagnoli
translated by Eleonora Baldwin

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