The centre of Moscow was blanketed by an unusually heavy bout of snowfall on the day of the February 4th Moscow Good Food Club (MGFC) event at the Italianets restaurant on Samotechnaya Street. Anywhere else in the world, citizens would have been advised to stay at home, but in Moscow a small amount of snow (7cms fell in one day) did nothing to deter club members trudging up from the Metro or braving difficult driving conditions. In fact such bracing weather only tempered our appetites.
Italian cook Giuseppe Todisco greeted us to the Clubâs third Italian restaurant with a warm, quizzical smile and ran off back to the kitchen to dish up the first course. We all took our seats, and tried to disguise our eagerness for the first course to be served. Mercifully, we did not wait long, and soon âveal confit in tuna sauce, zucchini rolls with anchovies and cottage cheese with aubergine saladâ appeared on large plates in front of us. This was accompanied by spumante faiveâ Rose Brut, Nino Franco (Piedmont).
The reaction to this first course was mixed, with some guests saying that it was perhaps a little over done, being simply too many additional ingredients to really enjoy the veal. However judging by the empty plates, it was in fact enjoyed by all! Nobody had anything to say about the wine, meaning that it went down very well.
The next course, an original risotto with âcuttle-fish ink and squidsâ resulted in a chorus of âmmmâ and other sounds indicated tasteful satisfaction. One member said that this was the best risotto she had ever tasted: âThe consistency, the texture, the flavour, the lack of need for salt or pepper was incredibleâ. The next highlight of the meal included an âendive salad and veal shank filled pasta pipes, with parmesan velouteâ which was also valued highly, one guest saying: âthe flavours were exceedingly well balanced.â Out of the drinks, an exquisite aperitif âPassito di Noto, Planeta 2009â, which had a unique fruity taste, but was not heavy like most liquors, won top place. Overall, members rated Giuseppeâs work with a respectable 8 out of 10.
However the winners of the evening were good company, excellent food and enjoyable wines!
As is MGFC custom, while engaging in gastronomic deliberation, members turned their intellects to an important current theme. In February, this could have only been the Olympics, and having lived through the serious bout of âanti-Russia bashingâ during the build-up to the Games, members were asked to be contrarians and list 5 benefits that Russia will gain from hosting the Olympics.
This resulted in a lively discussion, and some of the more memorable(and printable)comments were as follows:
ââ¦The Olympics will bring Russians to Sochi for skiing, instead of them going to the Alps. I think also, the Olympics may have opened Russians eyes up to the needs for positive publicity, and hopefully this will lead to them marketing themselves better in the future.â
ââ¦The Olympics certainly highlighted things which didnât need to be talked about, but this does not mean that Russia became more attractive to people from the outside world. In a way it should have, the Olympics should bring investment, people and happiness to any country, but it is not clear that Russia will benefit in the same way.â
ââ¦This it is good for the self confidence of Russians, and good for development of the area, but there needs to be a follow-up.â
ââ¦The Olympics paved the way for better preparation for the 2018 World Cup.â
At the end of another excellent evening the snow had cleared and the well filled members of the Moscow Good Food Club parted ways on the doorstep of Italianets, another excellent Italian restaurant with typical Italian flair and charm.