The other weekend Modena hosted the latest edition of La Bonissima. According to legend “Bonissima” which translates to “Well-known” was a noble woman who helped the people in a time of great famine in the 13th century. So it only seems appropriate that a festival celebrating the local food, its tradition and heritage is named after her.
At this annual festival you will find cooking shows and market stalls. Aceto Balsamico. Parmigiamo Reggiano. Tortelli. Tortellini. Biscotti. Proscuitto. The list is endless. But what caught my eye this year was Panino. To be exact Da Panino.
In Italian the noun panino (Italian: [pa’ni:no]; plural panini) is a diminutive of pane (“bread”) and literally refers to a bread roll. Panino imbottito (“stuffed panino”) refers to a sandwich, but the word panino is also often used alone to indicate a sandwich in general
Ok, so we know that panino is the fancy word for toasted sandwich. However, did you know that in Modena it is considered an art form?
There is even a local eatery called Da Panino , which was the brain child of Beppe Palmieri. Better known as the sommelier of the Michelin starred Osteria Francescana. (Which is only a few meters away – in fact even Massimo Bottura and his kitchen crew have been spotted here grabbing a quick bite).
So at this years La Bonissima Christian di Asmara put on a real show in Piazza Grande , with a live cookery demonstration showing us how to make Italy’s best Panino!
We were shown how to create two masterpieces:
The first is the prize winning “Lo Speciale” (no surprise that it translates to ‘the Special’….see you will be speaking Italian in no time!).
Lo Speciale won the coveted Gambero Rosso prize in 2015 for ‘Sandwich of the Year‘. It goes like this:
Oven baked ham from Langhirano, served with a jam of bitter cherries from Modena Igp, a sprinkling of almonds from Toretto and bread from Matera.
The second was a dream:
Gorgonzola whipped together with Mascarpone cheese, Mostarda (a mustard flavoured syrupy jam) from Voghera, walnuts and iced celery served between two slices of toasted bread.
Unfortunately the sandwich did not last long enough for its photo op! Oh well I will just have to make another one….