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When steak becomes photogenic


by Marco gemelli, ph. Paolo Matteoni, Claudio Mollo, Gianni Ugolini, Lido Vannucchi


A photographic exhibition dedicated to it for the Food-and-Wine Biennale

From a cultural and culinary symbol of Florence to Unesco World Heritage. For the bistecca alla fiorentina, the following months can ratify the achievement of a global goal, as well as its consecration in the Olympus of planetary cuisine. Launching this proposal was Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence who has started the procedure by informing the Italian ambassador for Unesco in Paris, Vincenza Lomonaco, the town hall’s intention – in full accord with the Accademia della Fiorentina – to kick off the procedure for the bistecca alla fiorentina to be included in the world heritage. “It is not an easy procedure, but not impossible,” the mayor explained, reminding us that “food is culture and the bistecca alla fiorentina is a symbol of quality and tradition of our land” which is tied to the respect “of some precise rules of cuts and cuisine”. After the Neapolitan pizza, therefore, another typical dish of Italian tradition is nominated to be acknowledged as national heritage. In the meantime, in Florence, someone has celebrated the steak with an ad hoc photographic exhibition: Trattoria dall’Oste, presented an exhibition at the Food-and-Wine Biennale in November, organized in two distinct sections. The first one included shots taken by five of the most esteemed food photographers – Paolo Matteoni, Claudio Mollo, Andrea Moretti, Gianni Ugolini and Lido Vannucchi –while the second gathered the 30 best pictures sent by “amateurs”, bloggers, instagramers, amateur photographers, enthusiasts, chosen by a specific committee through an online competition. For three days, the ten photos by professionals and the thirty amateur ones gave life to an unprecedented exhibition where the bistecca alla fiorentina was declared a muse for artistic inspiration and a cultural identity factor tied to the value of quality of what ends up on our tables. “For us,” explained Antonio Belperio, owner of the Trattoria, “the steak is a pleasant obsession, meaning that by refining the palate we realized just how vast and structured is the world of meat. This is where we set out on our itinerary in search of traceability, sustainability and knowledge, discovering the nuances of taste which, for example, a correct nutrition gives to each breed of cattle. The cut and cooking are important, as much as the piebald marking and the hanging, but at the base of a good Florentine steak there has to be a huge passion for quality meat by all those who make up the food chain, from the breeders to the selectors, from the butchers to the caterers.”