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Home / News archive / Massimo Bottura and top chefs from around the world come to Rimini for the Al Meni festival

28-02-2017

Massimo Bottura and top chefs from around the world come to Rimini for the Al Meni festival

Al Meni

On 17 and 18 June, Rimini becomes the food capital of Italy. The Fellini-inspired 8½ Circus marquee offers a feast of flavour with gourmet street food, show cooking with the chefs, the cream of the ice cream, and a market of local farm, craft and design products. 12 Michelin-starred chefs from the Emilia-Romagna region meet 12 young international chefs in and around the circus tent in an event that celebrates the people and heritage of a truly unique area.

Imagine a brightly coloured circus tent by the sea, in the shade of the Grand Hotel, a tribute to the dreamlike vision of Federico Fellini. Step inside and you’ll find not jugglers or trapeze artists but Michelin-starred chefs flying from one daring dish to another with the greatest of ease in a big open show kitchen.

This is the 8½ Circus, the cradle of flavour, the beating heart of “Al Meni” – Romagna dialect for “hands”, from the title of a poem by Tonino Guerra. This circus-cum-market of all good things comestible returns to Rimini on 17 and 18 June. Expect a feast of top show cooking, gourmet street food, a market of fine products and produce, workshops, tastings, ice cream by the chefs, talks by authors and experts, and the Matrioška Labstore craft and design hub.

The most decorated chef of all time, Massimo Bottura, is assembling a crack team. 12 Michelin-starred chefs from Emilia-Romagna will meet 12 of the most promising young culinary talents from around the world to put their heads together and bring original signature cuisine to a wide audience of curious and hungry foodies.

The heart of this festival of flavour is the circus. Special gourmet street food stalls will serve up mouthwatering morsels using the choicest ingredients from Emilia and Romagna, while the chefs’ creativity and the expertise of the master makers from Carpigiani Gelato University blend to perfection at the connoisseurs’ ice-cream parlour. Lining the seafront from the circus to the port, a genuine fine food market offers a journey to savour among producers large and small. Slow Food Personal Shoppers are on hand to guide visitors as they explore the Earth Markets and the Slow Food Ark of Taste, trying and buying Emilia-Romagna’s finest fare.

As the only region in Europe with 44 PDO and PGI products, we are acknowledged – including by the international media – as the ultimate exponents and global ambassadors of the best in Italian cuisine. In front of the circus, the designers and craftspeople from Matrioška use food as the inspiration for their beautiful handmade creations. And for extra seasoning, there are workshops, expert talks, and guided tastings at the Slow Food stalls.

These are the ingredients of Al Meni, the food festival now in its 4th edition. On 17 and 18 June, the Via Aemilia will become a red carpet ushering all the region’s finest foods, wines and produce down to the sea at Rimini, ready for the world’s most talented chefs to work their magic. The event’s chef d’orchestra is Massimo Bottura, holder of the top spot on the influential World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, among his other accolades.

Al Meni was devised by Massimo Bottura with Rimini city council to celebrate Emilia-Romagna’s heritage and its leading lights.

> The chefs and the 8½ Circus of flavour
This year, too, Al Meni’s centrepiece will be the 8½ Circus marquee with its striking open kitchen. In the show cooking demonstrations, 12 chefs from Emilia-Romagna will pair with 12 young stars of the future from all over the culinary world to create Michelin-worthy dishes at street food prices for all to try. Inside, a blend of flavours, products, languages, lands and dishes from around the world awaits.

“Emilia-Romagna has such remarkably good raw materials”, says the ‘ringmaster of flavours’, Massimo Bottura, “that all we chefs need do to bring out their qualities is to treat them with respect. The world is watching us. And they see a region that can wait 25 years before tasting a traditional balsamic vinegar. Are we crazy? No: we still believe in dreams”.

The 8½ Circus has an ample array of quality local wines to savour in the Al Meni wine bar. This selection by the CheftoChef association features the region’s finest tipples in a characteristic panorama of the Emilia-Romagna wine landscape.

> The produce market
A tour of the region’s varied flavours plays out along the seafront from the circus to Piazzale Boscovich, among farm producers large and small. Smallholders and vine growers, cheesemakers and craftspeople offer a unique gourmet trail where visitors can taste and buy sumptuous local products from 70 top suppliers to Michelin-starred restaurants. From Parmigiano Reggiano and Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena to Culatello di Zibello and Prosciutto di Parma hams, plus fruit, piadina flatbread, creamy Squacquerone cheese, local sea fish, rice from the Ferrara plains, the finest scalogno shallots, and mushrooms from the Apennine mountains, the choice is endless.

A Slow Food personal shopper will be on hand to guide visitors among the products and producers, from the Slow Food Ark of Taste to the Earth Markets, with producers specially selected by the CheftoChef EmiliaRomagnaCuochi association.

> Gourmet street food and the finest ice cream around the 8½ Circus
The round terrace girding the circus will have a liberal sprinkling of special gourmet street food stalls, the pride and joy of CheftoChef, the association of the region’s top chefs and producers. Another outdoor attraction will be the connoisseurs’ ice-cream parlour, a sublime showcase of artisanal ice cream making where the chefs’ creative brio meets MO.CA technology and the expertise of the master makers from Carpigiani Gelato University.

> Matrioška special: craft, design and good ideas
Emilia-Romagna’s fertile land produces more than just good food. Alongside the local produce market and opposite the 8½ Circus, the Matrioška special is an hotbed of creativity and manual skill. Local designers and craftspeople offer a new take on food with displays and demonstrations of their distinctive handmade creations. The long axis of Piazzale Fellini leads naturally up to the circus and is all about innovation, dexterity and a love for creating: from ceramics to illustrations and clothing to furnishings, from lamps to accessories and fabrics to sculptures.

> A taste for knowledge at the Slow Food Emilia-Romagna zone
In and around the 8½ Circus, Slow Food Emilia-Romagna is running workshops for all ages and talks by chefs, writers and experts. It will be all about cooks, producers, products and the land they come from: in short, experiencing food in words and pictures.

> A picnic with a difference in the gardens of the Grand Hotel
Déjeuner sur l'herbe
on Sunday 18 June is an event within the event, when the Grand Hotel Rimini will open its gates for a very special picnic. Claudio di Bernardo, the Grand Hotel Chef, together with Massimo Bottura and the Al Meni chefs, welcomes visitors to the gardens of this splendid liberty building, one of Fellini’s favourite haunts. Time: from 11,30 am to 3 pm. Cost and reservation:  € 40 - phone: 0541.56000, info@grandhotelrimini.com

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Info: www.almeni.it