Nolu’s Abu Dhabi

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Last month they opened their third branch in Andalus Hotels & Resorts, Al Seef Mall & Village: another big success!

We are talking about Nolu’s, an award winning restaurant located in Abu Dhabi ( the other two locations are in Downtown, Galleria Mall and in Al Bandar, Raha Beach), one of our most valued customer with which we have already worked in the past. Our sales manager Dejan Jovanovic has worked in the project of the kitchen and of the brilliant Juice Lab, an healthy bar located next to the restaurant specialized in healthy food, juices and smoothies. 

As they say: “Nolu’s is a blend of Californian cuisine with an Afghani twist”. They have taken the Californian”farm to table” concept and fused it with traditional Afghani dishes. This makes them healthier and they are made fresh to order. The menu consists of a mix of these traditional dishes as well as some classis American fare.

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Visit Nolu’s Restaurants on www.nolusrestaurants.com.

IKG’s Project in Bahrain: The Grove Hotel

“Intimate and sophisticated, the fabulous 5 star Grove Hotel is your home-from-home in Bahrain. Ideally located for business and pleasure, just 10 minutes drive from Bahrain International Airport, in the heart of Amwaj Island.”

At the Grove Hotel, all the kitchen equipment have been supplied by Italia Kitchen Group, Bahrain branch, coordinated and directed by our valued head of operations, Mr. Anand Nambiar.

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For the Grove Hotel’s Kitchen, directed by the Executive Chef Jean Pierre Renaud, we choose high-quality brands like Electrolux  (stainless steel cooking range), Italforni (electric pizza oven and ventilated oven) and Sigma (planetary mixer and sheeter for dough preparation).

Amity University: an Italia Kitchen Group project in Dubai.

Established more than twenty-five years ago, the Amity Education Group is a leading education group today offering a high level of education from pre-schools to Ph.D. level.
With 150,000 students worldwide, Amity’s fast expanding network of institutions across the world leading to campus across Dubai, London, Singapore, New York, Mauritius, China and Romania with plans to establish campus other countries.
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Based in Dubai International Academic City, Amity University Dubai new Campus is spread over 700,000 sq ft area with world class facilities.
Among a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses such us Behavioral Science, Mathematics, Languages, at Amity Dubai takes place the Hotel Management bachelor degree course.
The fully equipped Hospitality Lab has been designed to meet every students need and to train them as Hotel Managers or Tourism Managers.
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The Hospitality Lab and, beyond the glass windows, the training kitchen 
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training kitchen

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wok and tandoors
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cooking range
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big space for cooking class and demonstrations 
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cleaning/washing area

Attending an authentic sagra: a good enough reason to visit Italy!

Throughout spring and summer, posters adorn Italian walls with the word ‘sagra’ clearly taking prominent position in the advertising, so what does this word mean?

The literal translation is festival, but the definition of sagra is a local fair and celebration connected with food and local produce; for example, the town of Baone, in Veneto, hosts an annual Sagra dei Bisi (festival of the green pea). During the event, the streets are filled with people dressed in medieval costume and local residents prepare different dishes that must include the peas within the recipe. Among a number of traditional recipes, the most famous is definitely Risi e Bisi (a delicious risotto with peas). After all the tastings, every evening culminates in a music show with Italian live bands.

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Actually, almost every town in Italy at some point during the year will host a food festival. This year for example is the 80th Fish Festival at Chioggia, Venice. The sagra lasts for ten days and attracts over 100,000 people each year; music and theatre act as a backdrop as visitors sample fish dishes, fresh from the Adriatic sea, such as stuffed clams and mussels, griddled sole, pickled cockles and mixed fried fish. Attending a sagra is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Italian life. Add to this the opportunity to sample local cuisine as you sit at long communal tables to eat with the local population and you get a real feel for how Italians come together to celebrate.

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Fish Festival, Venice

Finding out about a sagra is very straightforward as most of the posters follow a similar format: the main heading will tell you where the festival is held and the date; these are mostly in bold typeface and large enough to read from a passing vehicle. Once you’ve found one that interests you, the poster will give you the start time, destination and other events that will be staged. You don’t have to be a local to attend and most towns welcome outsiders and tourists to their celebrations. The lines of parked cars stretching out of the town will indicate that you have arrived at the right place, and those who arrive early are usually the last to leave due to the sheer volume of traffic attending! In fact, some sagre (the plural of sagra) are so popular that the towns have a coach service to ferry people in and out of town to keep the streets clear for dancing.

Sagre take place throughout the year, with many taking place in the summer, so during your holiday to Italy this year, keep a keen eye on the local posters and find a local sagra, and for one evening become an honorary Italian and enjoy all the hospitality the town has to offer!

 

“At Christmas with your parents, at Easter with whomever you want!”

Easter or Pasqua is the second most important Italian holiday after Christmas. This holiday covers a long weekend in Italy, with the additional Italian tradition of Pasquetta (little Easter, also called Easter Monday) which, according to tradition, you are free to celebrate as you wish. In fact, young people during this holiday tend to stay with friends having pic-nic in the countryside or spend a long weekend in another city with no parents at all. A famous Italian saying for this time of year is:

“Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi”

(At Christmas with your parents, at Easter with whomever you want).

Visitors to Italy who are not spending time with friends may be interested to find that every city has their own traditions and, while you may not have friends and family to celebrate with, there are several ways to enjoy uniquely Italian traditions for Easter.

Chocolate and painted eggs

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credits to lacucinaitaliana.it

As chocolate became more and more popular in the early 20th Century, the skills of knowing how to color Easter eggs started to fade, and chocolate eggs began to take the place of painted hens’ eggs. Chocolate Easter eggs have now overtaken decorated eggs in Italy as the most popular gift at Easter.
Italians take everything chocolate very seriously – and Easter eggs are no exception. Chocolate eggs have become increasingly elaborate as manufacturers tempt people to buy their eggs. In every city in Italy, every supermarket, shop window and market stall will have a huge variety of chocolate eggs in the days leading up to Easter Sunday. They range from the tiny, solid milk chocolate to the massive, showy hollowed out eggs containing sometimes quite elaborate gifts. All of them will be wrapped in foil or cellophane with decorative ribbons.

Tradition in Florence

This tradition started in 1096, following the return of a Florentine knight, Pazzino di Ranieri de’ Pazzi, who raised the Holy Cross banner in Jerusalem during the Crusades. For his bravery, he received pieces of flint from the Holy Sepulcher of Christ. Upon his return to Florence, these stones were used to light the Easter Vigil sacred fire and then ported around the streets of Florence. Today Florentines commemorate this event with a Sunday procession during which an antique cart is pulled by a team of white oxen during a parade of 150 soldiers, musicians and other people dressed in 15th-century attire. The procession starts at Porta al Prato and ends in Piazza del Duomo in front of Santa Maria del Fiore. Once arrived, a dove-shaped rocket (La Colombina) holding an olive branch is shot towards a cart loaded with fireworks, setting off the scoppio (the boom). This yearly event is meant to bring a bountiful harvest, stable civic life, and growing business.

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“scoppio del carro” in Florence

Easter in Rome

Rome is the city where the Vatican state resides, and who at this time a year is a sort of Mecca for Catholic pilgrims (do note that the Sistine Chapel does have exceptional closures during this long weekend celebration). Lucky for Roman visitors, however, all the other museums will stay open. On Good Friday many people gather in Saint Peter’s Basilica to listen to the Pope’s mass at 5 pm, and immediately following, the Pope starts his walk to remember the Christ’s Via Crucis with a candlelit procession starting at the Palatine Hill. After making 14 stops along the way to remember the walk of Christ and pray, the holy pontiff ends at the Colosseum. The beauty of this procession also lies in the gathering of many pilgrims with torches who follow: even for those who are do not consider themselves religious, this event is magic.

Traditional Easter food is the second most important celebration during Pasqua. If you want to eat at a restaurant, you’ll definitely want to first check if the place is open and second, make a reservation, noting that several restaurants do close from Good Friday till Pasquetta. While dining in Rome, you won’t want to miss the Roman traditional foods of Pizza Sbattuta, a sponge cake, hard boiled eggs, ham and corallina, a typical salami for Easter, as well as different varieties of salty cakes. You will also want to try the traditional lunch, consisting of oven-baked lamb, carciofi alla romana (Roman-style artichokes) and colomba (dove-shaped cake).

Food Italian traditions for Easter 

In Lombardia (and not only), the Colomba is the most famous dessert, a dove-shaped bread made with almonds, sugar and egg whites. Today this cake is known worldwide, but originates in the region that boasts Milan. Another northern tradition is the Pinza Pasquale from Trieste, a sweet bread with a three-point cross carved on top. A Southern Easter tradition is the Casatiello from Naples, a salty cake containing cheese, sausage, salami, and even hard-boiled eggs. Catania, Sicily has a special kind of Easter cookies, aceddu cu’ l’ova. These cookies are simple and have different shapes (the most famous one being a dove), and once made they are given to family members and friends as a gesture of affection and good luck.

How Italians drink coffee

As a non-Italian, the two biggest challenges you may face in discovering the Italian culture and cuisine probably are: cooking “pasta al dente” and preparing a true, authentic, Italian coffee (everywhere known as espresso).

Essentially, there are two to make an Italian coffe: with the traditional three-chambered aluminium pot, like the famous Bialetti’s Moka, known as Macchinetta or Caffettiera, or with an espresso machine.

In both cases quality is, however, quality is of the absolute importance. No faked products here! The same goes, of course, for the quality of the coffee. Only choose Italian brands that have been roasted and ground especially for espresso machines or moka machines.

Italians themselves claim that the quality of their coffee ultimately depends on the purity of the water. So, unless you lives in Naples (the Italian city where supposedly they make the best espresso), we suggest you use bottled instead of tap water.

Even though the investment is much higher in case you decide to opt for an espresso machine, it is also relatively easier to select one that will make you good espressos.

It may be difficult to find a good traditional coffee machine, better if you choose for a good brand right from the start (not necessarily the most expensive one!). The coffee brand is also crucial to prepare a good espresso. An important advice is to take great care of your coffee maker and to replace the filter and the rubber ring as often as needed. Never (never!) clean your coffee maker with detergents or harsh chemicals. Just rinse it with care after each use.

TYPES OF COFFEE SERVED IN ITALY

When we think about Italian coffee, espresso is the first word that comes in everyone’s mind. In Italy it is not just a kind of coffee; when you order un caffè in Italian, you will automatically be served an espresso.

Here are the typical coffee drinks you will find in Italy:

  • caffè (espresso): a small cup of very strong coffee, the typical espresso (20 to 25 ml)
  • caffè doppio: 2 espresso served in one cup
  • caffè ristretto: en even more condensed version of an espresso (less than 20 ml)
  • caffè macchiato: an espresso with a drop of milk. You can order either a macchiato caldo (drop of steamed milk with froth) or a macchiato freddo (drop of cold milk)
  • caffè Americano: weaker than espresso and served in a large cup or a mug but still stronger than American-style coffee. It consists of an espresso to which hot water has been added after the brewing process (about 80 ml)
  • caffè lungo: where more water (about double) is let through the ground coffee, yielding a weaker taste (about 40 ml)
  • cappuccino: it is not just an espresso with steamed milk. To prepare a cappuccino properly you have to pour the steamed milk very carefully as to add 1/3 of steamed milk before the final topping (of about 1/3) of foamy, frothy milk. Italians usually drink cappuccino only in the morning, never after lunch or dinner. The name Cappuccino comes from the resemblance of its color to the robes of the monks of the Capuchin order.
  • caffè Hag: also more and more called un deca, a decaffeinated coffee. Can be combined with any of the version above
  • caffè corretto: an espresso with a drop of liquor
  • caffè borghetti: an espresso with a drop of borghetti liquor
  • caffè freddo or shakerato: espresso shaken with ice and sugar and served in a glass, usually in summer
  • caffè latte: not really a coffee drink, as this is basically hot milk mixed with coffee and served in a glass.

Ovens training and food tasting

Many events have occurred at Italia Kitchen headquarter since we opened the training room in April 2016: chefs trainings, equipment testing and cooking classes. For Italia Kitchen Group is a great satisfaction being able to offer our customers a useful service which complements the quality of our work by adding a required support to the normal sale of kitchen equipment.

This month, our training kitchen has been the protagonist of two interesting events: the presentation of X-Oven charcoal grill and Marra Forni pizza oven.

X-OVEN CHARCOAL OVEN 

The X-Oven is an Italian charcoal oven similar to “Josper” but with a different and better technology. It is equipped with an insulated chamber and an external, safe and functional fumes exhaust system, while its inner parts are made of porcelain stainless steel. Its removable grill drawers system is a distinctive trait. The drawers, mounted on ball bearing telescopic rails, have been designed to work at extremely high temperatures and offer maximum resistance to constant stress over time.

X-OVEN allows cooking different dishes at the same time at three different temperatures, all to the advantage of creativity and performance. In order to control the cooking process, the drawers open securely without the risk of gusts at high temperatures. The heat does not disperse, enveloping the food and preserving its juices and organoleptic properties. Working is easier and safer, the quality of the dishes is excellent and consumption savings are significant!

During the presentation, we have made a food tasting and our guests (chefs and restaurant managers) have been able to test the oven cooking some delicious food with the assistance of the X-Oven chef Mattia.
The engineer who projected the oven, Alfredo Mercurio, was present at the event in order to answer all the questions of the customers.

MARRA FORNI OVEN

Pizza training session with Marra Forni and its Neapolitan classic style gas oven was a real success as well!

Marra ovens are a perfect combination of craftsmanship, technology and functionality. Marra Neapolitan ovens are designed specifically to accommodate the high-volume pizza making of a true pizzaiolo.  The dome and deck consist of refractory bricks with 4 inches of multi-layered insulation in the dome and 8 inches in the deck. The oven features a 18 inch by 9 inch opening along with a stainless steel flue collar atop the dome. A round flue adapter comes standard on all ovens.
The oven requires a 2” tolerance in all directions, and comes standard with a fire-rated tile clay dome. The Neapolitan ovens also features a 14 inch landing on the opening, as well as a control located between the deck and the top of the dome for getting a precise reading. Oven can be vented directly to the roof or vented through a powered type 1 exhaust hood with approved grease rated duct in accordance with all local and national codes. For wood burning ovens, they must be vented as a solid fuel burning appliance and must be installed following a manner that obeys all local and national codes and is acceptable to authority having jurisdiction.

 

The result is a crunchy, easy to digest, real Italian pizza!

For more information about these professional ovens, for tasting and training, contact Italia Kitchen Group in Dubai, we are at your disposal to answer any question you might have.

www.italiakitchengroup.com

www.x-oven.com

www.marraforni.com

 

 

 

 

 

February means Carnival

Carnival has very ancient origins. It is believed to have originated in Roman times when Saturnalia, the Saturn festival, and Lupercalia, the feast of the full moon, were celebrated.

Saturnalia for the Romans included long and complex rites dedicated to seeding. Banquets, exchanges of presents, and sweets characterized these celebrations, which included servants acting as their masters, and a slaves being crowned as kings. Lupercalia marked the end of the Roman year and was celebrated with dancing and singing in the streets. Historians believe that these celebrations influenced Carnival.

Traditional in Roman Catholic countries, Carnival is not celebrated or even known in many countries of other faiths. The Carnival Season is a holiday period during the two weeks before the traditional Christian Lent, when the rigors of 40 days of fasting and sacrifice begin. In fact, the origin of the word “Carnival” comes from the Latin “carne-levare,” literally “to remove the meat” or “stop eating meat.” The celebration of Carnival ends on Mardi Gras (French for “Fat Tuesday”).

For centuries, Rome was the headquarters of Carnival. Many Popes have been great supporters of the public celebrations, the horse rides, the exhibitions, and the parades. During the Renaissance, the festivities, sponsored by the Pope and the noble Roman families, acquired political prominence. Thousands of people would travel from all over Europe to attend. The Palio was a famous horse race without jockeys, taking place along the Via del Corso. The race became a competition for the best horses. The victory would culminate in a large public banquet and food distribution. The Palio was abolished in 1884 after an accident occurred in front of Queen Margherita.

The carnival of Venice was first recorded in 1268. It was unruly, with parades and Pamplona style bull chasing games. The use of masks to cover faces made it even more transgressive, and the Mascareri, the mask-makers had a special position in Venice. Everyone could wear a mask during the carnival without the barriers of gender and social status.

Venice was occupied by Napoleon in 1797, and this actually ended the Repubblica Serenissima, “The Most Serene Republic.” After Venice became part of the Austrian Empire, the celebration of Carnival was stopped and restarted only in the 1970s. Today, Venetians have reinvented the ancient masks and costumes in a style that melts together the dress styles from the Middle Ages through the 1700s. The result is splendid precious elegant dresses in silk, gold, silver, and lace, wigs, and since the masks cover people’s faces, everybody can feel free to dance and sing in public without being recognized.

What is Carnival after all, other than excess and the transgression before the sacrifice? And the practiced and desired transgression was of course related to the abundance of food. The gastronomy of Carnival rich in fats and sweets. Traditional dishes in most regions of Italy include gnocchi, lasagna and tortelli.

Nowadays, many traditions have vanished or changed, but fried pastries are still common in Fat Tuesday cookery. Spoonfuls of dough fried in oil take the shape of small balls in Frittelle or Castagnole.

However, the most famous carnival fritters are ribbons of sweet pasta fried and covered with sugar or honey. These fritters are familiar all over Italy, where they assume many different names—including Frappe, Frappole, Sfrappole, in central Italy, Cenci (“tatters”) or Donzelli (“young ladies”) in Tuscany, Crostoli (“crusts”) or Galani in Veneto, Lattughe (“lettuce”) in Romagna, Nastri delle Suore (“ribbons of the nuns”) in Emilia, Bugie (“lies”) in Piemonte, and Chiacchiere in Campania.

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Galani, credits to shelovesbiscotti.com
Sugar and cinnamon fritters
Frittelle, credits to lacucinaitaliana.it

Italia Kitchen Group’s last projects

As we told you in the last December Newsletter, 2016 was, for Italia Kitchen Group, a very satisfying year for more than one reason: new acquired customers, a change of location both in Dubai and in Bahrain and the successful completion of prestigious projects.

In the first Newsletter of the year, we are pleased to show you some of the projects where we have worked in the kitchen realization and in the kitchen equipment installation.

Volante Tower

Volante Dubai is a 35 floor residential tower comprising of 45 exceptional apartments all overlooking the Dubai canal and the Burj Khalifa. Italia Kitchen Group has provided the kitchen equipment for the private Club kitchen, bar and outdoor bbq area.

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The Kitchen in Volante Private Club

 

Mirage Club 

An upbeat new nightclub and karaoke bar in the heart of Dubai, Palm Jumeirah, 5 star Waldorf Astoria Dubai Hotel. Mirage Club divided into Bar area, Main hall and 2 separate private vip rooms. Offering a warm ambience, welcoming everyone to high-class karaoke experience while serving signature cuisine by highly experienced chefs.

La Gaufrette

Since 1991, La Gaufrette has grown from just a café in to a full-fledged coffee shop loyally frequented by families, executives, tourists and even corporate. Year after year, La Gaufrette has grown to be one of the most respected and appreciated coffee shop within the UAE. The freshly brewed coffees and homemade pastries, cookies and sandwiches are made with fresh ingredients and a love for creating unique tastes. Italia Kitchen played a part in the realization of the La Gaufrette 5th branch in Maisan Towers 3, Al Barsha, Dubai.