The perfumes of the Milanese space become a dessert in the hands of Federico Rottigni
He rarely writes in the first person. Inserting the self in an article means exposing oneself publicly and, to do it convincingly, one must fully embrace the subject matter. However, here we need some of that color given by personal opinions; otherwise, what I want to tell you about would take on the neutral tones of a press release and would not do justice to that crazy, controversial and absolutely brilliant character that is Federico Rottigni. A love story, for my part at least, born in 2020, when for the first time I crossed the threshold of the newborn Dessert Bar in Milan. If you haven’t been there yet, it’s hard to explain what you’ll find there. To recap, I could say that, as the name implies, it is a place where you eat sweets, however it is not a dessert restaurant. It is not even a restaurant in fact, but rather a stage designed to make the guest experience an experiential moment at three hundred and sixty degrees. Federico Rottigni, in fact, is not just a chef, but a real art director, who has thought of everything here: from the correct arrangement of the lights to enhance his dishes, to the soundtrack in the background. Not to mention the entertainment of the guests, which all falls on his shoulders since he is the one who performs, packaging and illustrating the dishes to the diners who sit in front of him, at that counter that is his stage. 0.1% Myself – I’ll tell you about the flavor of space A unique place is the Dessert Bar, where everything is the result of in-depth research and the intent is to surprise guests with special effects and new experiences. And here we come to the point. Because the reason why I have been chatting up to now is that Federico Rottigni has dropped another ace on his famous counter, proposing something absolutely never seen before that he has nothing short of thrilled me. The idea germinated when the young chef learned of a fundraiser launched on Kickstarter to finance the Eau de Space project, in which he wanted to recreate the smell of a space base. A wait of years, then the realization and the arrival, in Milan, of three bottles of the aforementioned fragrance. And here is the birth of an equally ambitious project: 0.1% Myself – I’ll tell you about the flavor of space. What is that? “Eau de Space is actually an alien smell, in the etymological sense of the term. A distinctly foreign, foreign and complex smell. The references are various, such as burnt metal, thin air, plastic, smoke ”says Federico. “We worked on three bites to eat with your hands. The first bite is composed of a cold and creamy consistency made with a very mineral buffalo mozzarella whey; the marked notes of minerality and salinity will recreate a sensation in the aftertaste that could be reminiscent of plastic. The second bite is a vegetable fiber that could almost resemble a vegetable meat; a pineapple engraved against the fiber (to make the bite tough but not too much), subsequently very violently roasted and smoked. The third bite is a cremino: disassembled and reassembled with a super roasted peanut paste to make room for the tannic and astringent part of the dried fruit. A “space” foam is served together with the dish: an emulsified saline solution that can be used at the guest’s discretion “. The cocktail also wants its share. The philosophy of the restaurant wants the dish to be paired with a cocktail. So what to compare to a simple stuff as simple as the flavor of a spaceship? “We did a study on what the taste of emptiness might be. Initially we weren’t quite sure what emptiness was, but we worked on what we know to be “full”, or what Asians call umami: a perfect encounter in a triangle made up mainly of flavor, acidity and sweetness. We started from what nature gives us as an excellent example of anti-umami: beetroot which, if extracted in purity and diluted, does not give our taste buds peaks of acidity, flavor and sweetness. We emphasized this idea, working with a mezcal, a white dry vermouth and a tequila. During the drink you will feel a gustatory engagement in the first instant, which will disappear immediately after swallowing, leaving a feeling of emptiness, given by the very scarce persistence “. All while the Eau de Space is vaporized in the air, so that the diner can find himself catapulted into space through all five senses. And if Steve Pearce, creator of the Eau de Space project, has already announced a new fragrance capable of taking us to the moon, I’m sure that Federico Rottigni already has some news in store that will leave us speechless again. Wait and see.