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Ark on the Rocks

With the phrase “Ark on the Rocks”, one may conjure up one of two mental images. The first takes us back to Genesis, and the end of the Great Flood, Noah’s Ark came to rest upon a mountain, having safely weathered the storm with the world’s biodiversity safe in the hold. The second, however, evokes the world of the cocktail, insofar as the expression “on the rocks” is commonly understood as a drink served over ice.

Ark of Taste on the Rocks, one of 18 events at this year’s Terra Madre Salone del Gusto dedicated to mixology, brings these two images together: a Taste Workshop on the biodiversity behind the world’s most elegant drinks. Who will accompany you on this journey to discover how the fruits, vegetables, sugars and salts contained on the Ark of Taste can electrify your highball glass? A man with big hands, an enchanting voice, who defines himself as a “philosopher of taste” and raises spirits (pun intended) every time he presents his work. He’s the President of the Classic Cocktail Club and a teacher in the Master of Food program on distilled liquor, as well as one of the main organizers of Lady Drink, a mixing competition between Italy’s best female bartenders. His name is Michele di Carlo, aka MichelONE.

A more or less permanent guest at Slow Food events, it’s not the first time that MichelONE handles biodiversity in a cocktail shaker. In the past he’s used the Fiaschetto tomatoes of Torre Guaceto, sweet, juicy and preservable, and symbolic of the biodiversity in Apulian agriculture, for his Bloody Mary, along with Farim Salt produced by women in Guinea-Bassau, and Orbassano Red Celery, also a Slow Food Presidium.

Elsewhere, he’s used the Toritto Almond, another Apulian Presidium, in a cocktail of his own invention called the Puglia Colada, a Salento version of the more famous Caribbean drink, the Piña Colada, where almond milk and peaches substitute coconut milk and pineapple… add a dash of vincotto and rum, and voila.

MichelONELooking forward to the new delights that MichelONE will present at the Bolaffi Auction House on September 24, I spoke to the “philosopher of taste” to understand a little more. “Everyone everywhere has had something to say about cocktails, and the word has been used to define any drink with more than one ingredient, no matter how fast or easy it is to make. Unfortunately, there are not so many who truly know what it means. I’m not talking about the colorful stories that surround the birth of the name, but the true “spirit” of what a cocktail is, and not in the alcoholic sense, but the idea of mixing ingredients. Cocktails were invented to introduce alcohol to people who would never have drunk it previously. The first traces come from the beginning of the 19th century, when shrewd bartenders in America realized that adding Angostura bitters, sugar and water would render those rough whiskies from the other side of the Atlantic more palatable, not to mention Maraschino cherries and lime, so as not to attack the senses. This is how the Old Fashioned was born, which obviously had a commercial scope too (selling water at the same price as alcohol: not a bad idea, right?) and has inspired a many other drink which have Seltzer or Soda as their base.”

Of course, we can’t reveal any details on exactly what MichelONE has in store for us at at this year’s Mixology event, but you can count on one thing: there’ll be surprises, full flavors and a spectrum of tantalizing tastes on offer, and indeed, perhaps a little philosophy too, on the meaning of biodiversity served “on the rocks”. I’ll be there. What about you?

Silvia Ceriani

There are 16 Mixology events at the Bolaffi Auction House and two the Toscano Cigar Stand in Piazza Castello. Check them out here and book now!

An Event by
 Città di Torino
 Slow Food
 Regione Piemonte
In collaboration with
With the contribution of
Official Partners
Supporters of the Terra Madre Foundation and Slow Food
With the support of

Terra Madre Salone del Gusto
Slow Food Promozione P.Iva 02220020040
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