12 November, 2019
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“Torta al testo”: from Umbria to Japan in a new version

by Renata Covi

The torta al testo, typical product from Umbria, has arrived in Tokyo and it is bound to become an innovative haute cuisine dish.

This is thanks to the chef Narisawa who spent in Europe a period of time to know the best of Italian, French and German cuisine. He tasted, appreciated, learned and brought back to his country many different European specialities, which he transformed according to his inspiration in order to satisfy all the senses.

 

The Bread of the Forest

From the Japanese virgin forests

He introduced a refined product in his minimalist restaurant in Tokyo, which combines ancient and modern traditions: the Bread of the Forest. This bread is made with wheat flour, chestnut powder and a Japanese chestnut compote. The chestnuts are collected in a virgin forest without pollutants, where flavors and aromas are expressed to their maximum. A novelty in Japan. In the past, the chestnut tree was called the Tree of Bread, because from its fruits, it was obtained a nutritious and cheap flour. This happened when wheat flour was expensive and reserved for wealthy people, while chestnut flour, was left for the poor working class. Now the situation is opposite: the chestnut flour is expensive, seasonal and chic. Narisawa made the Bread of the Forest something special to taste.

 

First act

Two forms of raw pasta are brought to the table. Add a dose of natural yeast and mix with fingers. All in front of the customers.

Second act

Customers observe the miracle of the floury growth. In a few minutes the future bread reaches the expected leavened, then it has to be cooked. Where? On the table, of course.

Third act

A pot of stone arrives on the table, very hot 240 ° degrees – in which the two forms of leavened dough are placed.

In just 10-12 minutes the bread is cooked.

 

In Umbria, something similar has happened since the dawn of time

The dough, already leavened, is spread out like a pizza and placed on a large stone wheel called testo. The testo is positioned inside the fireplace in front of the fire. On the top of the dough an iron cover is placed and the embers are glowing over it.
The torta al testo cooks under and over, while the fireplace fire warms up. 10-12 minutes – as in Japan. Then the torta al testo is ready. Cut it and bring it to the table with cured meats and cheeses.
Here, the Umbrian ritual of the torta al testo starts: it involves opening the slices of cake with your hands, stuffing it with the cured meats and eating it with your hands.

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Renata Covi

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