Oct 4, 2012
Pirelli's Miles And Meals. From Hot Calendars to Food Porn. Pirelli Celebrates its Return to Formula One with a Cookbook. Bel Air, CA.
Pirelli's new cookbook, Miles And Meals.
Hopefully when foodies prepare meals based on the recipes in Pirelli's glossy new cookbook Miles And Meals, the food won't come out tasting like a tire. Maybe that's why a few select journalists and food writers were invited to a luxurious mansion nestled in the hills of Bel Air overlooking our fair metropolis down below; so we could be enveloped in the other fanciful facets of the Pirelli brand without focusing on its primary product — high performance tires. With one more glass of wine poured by a Pirelli gear sporting bartender, Los Angeles could not feel farther away, even though the 405 freeway, under historic expansion and renovation, sits a mere slide down the hill.
La vita è bella!
Why did Pirelli publish a cookbook? There doesn't appear to be any apparent reason for it. The same can be asked of why the Italian tire company based in Milan felt the need to put out its famous calendar filled with comely, lithe models. Or why we have the option to sip Pirelli bottled wine? Just because. Also because beautiful food and delicious women are part of the Italian lifestyle. Mi dispiace. Reverse that.
I love my calendar girl.
The real story behind Pirelli's Miles And Meals cookbook is quite practical and evolved out of the necessity for feeding the traveling circus that is Formula One Racing or F1. From Abu Dhabi to Australia, F1 teams are subjected to a myriad of food challenges when finding ways to nourish themselves, whether those challenges be local bacteria or unfamiliar ingredients.
Team Pirelli, which reentered F1 this year, resolved this dining dilemma by recruiting a resident/mobile chef for its massive caravan dubbed the Pirelli Motorhome. The chef is Fabrizio Tanfani from Piombino and was trained at the hotel management school on the island of Elba. Like many chefs, he credits his grandmother for his cooking talents.
Drinking Pirellis but not driving on them.
Essentially, Miles And Meals is a survey, as well as a cookbook, of the types of meals you can expect to enjoy if you found yourself dining at the exclusive Pirelli Paddock Clubs found at the various F1 racetracks around the world. It's a place of privilege with a pit side vantage point and gourmet grub incorporating the spices, seasoning and ingredients of the country. This is locavore at 220 mph.
A tasty pit stop!
Our local chef that enchanted evening was the celebrated Gino Angelini of Angelini Osteria. His goal was to feed us like the Pirelli crew if that crew happened to be stationed in several diverse points on the globe.
The Miles And Meals cookbook itself is organized not by type of food but at which grand prix that dish would be served. For example, at the Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix, you might enjoy a serving of Tortelloni in Cuttlefish Ink stuffed with Ricotta and Potatoes with Scampi and fresh Tomato Sauce.
Gentlemen & ladies, start your starters!
Chef Angelini happened to be from northern Italy, close to where Pirelli is headquartered. As the chef explained, "Up in the north, we like good food and fast cars."
Chef Gino Angelini enjoys fast cars and slow food.
As dusk transitioned into night, the idea of a Pirelli lifestyle became more clear, even as the Pirelli wine took a stronger hold of us.
Salad with a good grip.
Out of the Airtel Indian Grand Prix came the Tyrrhenian Style Octopus Salad. The octopus was soft as soon as prongs pierced it. Grilled with smoky, sweet flavors, the meal began as powerfully as an F1 race car.
Bombolotti is the bomb!
The entrée that typically would be served at the Santander British Grand Prix is Bucatini All'Amatriciana. However, Chef Angelini made a pasta substitution and used Bombolotti instead. The stubby, tubed pasta embraced the savory, rich flavors of the cured gota (or pork cheek) and bright tomatoes. The Pecorino cheese toned down the heat of the chili pepper, as the rest of the fresh herbs tied it all together deliciously.
Chef Angelini took a fish that has a reputation of being dry and created a dish that was moist and flavorful. The Swordfish Escalope with Buffalo Burrata Cheese, Grape Tomatoes and Basil from the Grand Prix of Europe was the favorite of the night. The tender meat sang harmoniously along with the few, simple ingredients. This was truly a case of less is more and deliciousness in simplicity.
Waving the checkered flag in the form of Tiramisu from the Gulf Air Bahrain Gran Prix, Chef Angelini finished with one of the most light and well-balanced tiramisu I've experienced in a while.
This night of Pirelli was relaxed, delicious and luxurious. The one thing it was not was fast and furious. For a company that was built on speed to host an evening of slow and scrumptious dining is truly ironic, in a good way.
Check out Pirelli's Miles And Meals here.