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Around the World in 10 desserts: 10 desserts not to be missed at Expo Milano 2015

Taste / -

© Annalisa Cavaleri - Expo 2015 S.p.A.

The visit to Expo Milano 2015 gets even sweeter with the Sicilian cannoli, rangeena, fernì, chak-chak and kunafa. Pastry making is the protagonist with delicious preparations, including whipped cream, puff pastry, dried fruit and candied peel.

There's nothing like something sweet to touch our soul’s strings of pleasure. The dessert used to represent the party; it was a reward and an achievement. Today sweets are part of our daily lives and at Expo Milano 2015, it is possible to tour the traditional pastry recipes of every Country in the world. Here are ten desserts that no sweet tooth should miss.
The Sicilian cannoli
Each made by hand and filled on the spot. The cannoli is the king of the Sicilian sweets. Outside a thin crumbly fried pastry and inside soft sweetened ricotta cheese. The crunchy pastry contrasts with the creaminess of the ricotta cheese that fills the mouth with its strong flavor. The cannoli of Inside Sicily at Cascina Triulza are prepared following an ancient baronial recipe and of generous dimensions, so there is no danger of not being satisfied at the end of the tasting. Those with a sweet tooth can add, as per tradition, chopped Bronte pistachios, thick orange peel or chocolate chips.
Where: Inside Sicily - Cascina Triulza
Price: 3 Euro
The rangeena
A soft cake with dates in which sweetness reigns. Rangeena, crumbly, sweet and delicious cannot be missed, every bite recalls the date’s pure flavor and texture. The cake is based on a simple recipe, but totally satisfying. Do not be worried if the slice is not perfectly triangular, it is a peculiarity due to using only natural ingredients. To prepare it, the dates are emptied, filled with almond paste and pressed on the bottom of a baking pan. The topping is a thick creamy milk-color sauce made of butter and toasted wheat flour.
Where: Bahrain Pavilion
Price: 6 Euro
Panqueque de dulce de leche
The dulce de leche is a cream made by cooking milk and sugar slowly and is among the most beloved sweet recipes in Argentina and in all South America. Mostly it is used to sweeten coffee and enrich ice cream, and you can enjoy this unforgettable dessert at the Argentina Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015: the panqueque de dulce de leche. The outer crêpe is smooth and light, stuffed with a velvety cream: the flavor is of sweet caramel toffee with a slight hint of licorice at the end. The perfect tasting is when the crêpe is still warm: the heat of the wrap melts the filling slightly, so it pours out softly as soon as the tip of the fork is placed onto it. Traditionally it is served with alfarojes, two soft biscuits with a thick layer of dulce de leche in the middle: the final touch is the covering of milk or dark chocolate, making it even more tempting. Dulce leche, in a different form, is also the protagonist of the Uruguay Pavilion, where you can taste the Candombe, a flan with a silky and light texture based on dulce de leche and caramel sauce.
Where: Argentina Pavilion
Price: 6 Euro
The Bled cream cake
Bled is one of Slovenia's most renowned cities for its culinary tradition. Here one of the symbols of Slovenian cuisine is born: the Bled cream cake, also known as kremšnita. The Slovenia Pavilion offers a thick slice so that everyone can satisfy his or her sweet tooth. The cake looks like a parallelepiped: the base is a layer of pastry, and then a thick layer of yellow custard, a white one of whipped cream, ending with another layer of pastry dusted with powdered sugar flavored with vanilla. In the mouth, the pastry is soft and slightly moist with the contact with the creams, and accompanies the protagonist of the preparation: the thick layer of custard, tasty, smooth and velvety. The sweet taste of sugar mixed with egg yolks explodes on the palate, and, in the end, comes a light touch of vanilla that is discreet and stays in the background. The same pastry used for the Bled cream cake is the protagonist of another very famous cake: the Prekmurska gibanica, succulent, stuffed with poppy seeds, ricotta cheese, walnuts and apples.
Where: Slovenia Pavilion
Price: 4 Euro
Fernì is a traditional Afghan dessert made with milk, cardamom and pistachios and enriched with hummus and pieces of fruit. The special feature, besides the delicate and spicy flavor with the cardamom flavor on top, is the elegant and elaborate presentation with the colors of the fresh fruit, in particular the red strawberries. Then, among the desserts not to be missed, are the shirpera and the jelabì, fried dough shaped like a rose soaked in syrup.
Where: Afghanistan Pavilion - Cluster of spices
Price: 5 Euro
Gazelle horns
A thin pastry made of flour, butter and orange blossom water, filled with a soft mix made with ground almonds, melted butter, cinnamon and sugar, also flavored with orange blossom water. They are called Kaab el Ghazal, also known as “gazelle horns" due to the particular arched shape. They are typical of Moroccan cuisine and accompany the cake and the famous mint tea that is poured from above to form a thin foam on the surface. Another Moroccan sweet specialty are the ghoriba, soft almond flour and semolina “balls” wrapped in icing sugar or almond flakes.
Where: Morocco Pavilion
Price: 1.50 Euro each
Goldfish waffles
Azuki are red beans rich in minerals and trace elements like potassium, zinc, molybdenum and iron. They are also naturally rich in the vitamins of the B group (including folic acid), fibers and proteins and have purifying and diuretic properties. Anko is derived from the azuki beans, a sweet paste that is used as a filling for many desserts of eastern pastry making. Among the most loved of the Korea Pavilion, not only by children, are the goldfish waffles, cute fish in wheat pastry filled with a sweet azuki bean paste. In addition to the fun size, the cake is delicious because it combines the crunchiness of the waffle with the sweet, soft filling. This snack is perfectly matched with lemon micho ade, a drink based on a syrup made with fermented sour lemons and yuzu, a citrus fruit typical of the Far East with an intense fruity flavor and rich in vitamin C.
Where: Korea Pavilion
Price: 3 Euro - 5 Euro if served with ice cream
Chak-chak is a typical Kazakh dessert based on fried dough dipped in honey. The shape is unusual because it consists of pasta short strips of different thicknesses, so eating them is really enjoyable because of the many different consistencies noticed when tasting. Usually the dough is fried, enriched with raisins and covered with a rich honey glaze. According to tradition, the chak-chak is served on large colorful dishes. The dough can also be shaped into balls that are fried and placed on a tray, one on top of the other, forming a pyramid.
Where: Kazakhstan Pavilion
Price: 5 Euro
The kunafa is a bundle stuffed with a mixture of pistachios, almonds or chopped walnuts and cinnamon that is baked and when cooked sprinkled with a generous solution made with honey, sugar, cinnamon, rose water and grated lemon peel. Lovers of all things sweet cannot miss the chebakia, a sesame biscuit made with dough folded into the shape of a flower and then fried and dipped into warm honey with orange blossom water.
Where: Kuwait Pavilion
Price: 10 Euro
From the outside it looks like a crisp pastry, while, at first taste, it surprises with its softness. The trdelník is a sweet dough that is shaped, wrapped on a metal stick and sprinkled abundantly with granulated sugar. The stick is then placed in a special oven and revolves around itself so that the cooking is even and the cake perfectly golden outside. Even if one would be tempted to fill it with cream, they are traditionally eaten as they are. The choice here is the flavoring of the outer pastry: it is possible to choose between a cinnamon, poppy seed or vanilla trdelník.
Where: Slovakia Pavilion
Price: 5 Euro

Golden spirit of lyricism: honey in literature

Culture / -

miele e letteratura imm

Golden, transparent, fragrant. Soft. Poetry and literature for centuries were inspired by honey, its perfume and all the feelings that it can evoke: love, sanctity, uniqueness.

Etymologically, philologists agree that in using the Italian word for honey, “miele” there is at its root the sound "-màl" that can be soft and pleasant. This sound, in turn, derives from "-màr" and is linked to the notion of chopping, from which then the notion of a softening. The softness and sweetness connected to “miele” are conveyed in ordinary language: for example, in the use of the English "honey" as a term of endearment or the word "honeymoon" to define the period after marriage.
It is indeed its shiny softness and charm that has inspired writers throughout the ages to write verses and phrases, to conjure up poetry and to reveal sensuality.
Honey and love: the Song of Songs
In the Song of Songs, composed before the fourth century BC it is love that triumphs: in a dialogue between a man and a woman with its exchange of tenderness and sensuality, it is honey that acts as an element of attraction: " Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride;
milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon.” The lyricism is combined with the passion through the metaphor of the honey that evokes a strong sensuous appeal.
The myth of the Ibla Thank Foscolo: the sweet honey of poetry
Ibla is the name given to at least three colonies founded in ancient times by the Greeks in Sicily and is connected to flowers, bees and honey. Over the millennia this association has become a topos that has permeated art and literature. In the Chiariniana edition of the poem "Le Grazie", Foscolo composed the repose of the Graces and the procession of the bees right in Ibla. In the second hymn dedicated to Vesta, the Graces in fact pass from Greece to Italy and in the hills of Bellosguardo three friends of the poet take part in a rite: one of them, Cornelia Martinetti, brings to the altar a honeycomb, a symbol of the sweetness of poetry that had travelled across from Greece.
"Sweetest. Sweet. This is your adjective." The soft sheen of Federico García Lorca
The Spanish poet Garcia Lorca dedicated to this food the poem "The Song of Honey", “Honey is the epic of love, materiality of the infinite.
Soul and painful blood of flowers condensed through another spirit." The colors, the scents and the sensations of softness and shine are constantly evoked by his verses, the anaphora and the constant alliteration of the letter "l"  and are reminiscent of sweetness, in this song which is a real love song.
Across the Pavilions, Clusters and Thematic Areas of Expo Milano 2015 will be an opportunity to explore the food and cultural traditions of Countries participating and taste their typical products. 

Bahrain. A Kingdom between two gentle seas

Culture / -

© Adam Woolfitt-Corbis

An archipelago in the Persian Gulf, whose waters border with Saudi Arabia to the west and Qatar to the east: in Arabic, “Bahrain” means ‘Kingdom of two Seas’… a kingdom which offers beauties of culture and of landscape.

Bahrain has a rich cultural heritage and a history stretching back for millennia. Its strategic position between the Middle East and Asia has resulted in it absorbing numerous cultural influences. In the 16th century, Portuguese navigators left many traces of their passage, and many of their fortresses are still in good condition, especially near the capital city, Manama. The most significant of these is certainly the Fort of Bahrain, or Qal’at al Bahrain, built in 1522 on top of older fortifications, now perfectly restructured, and included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list since 2005. This country has typical desert vegetation, with numerous desert flowers and date palms, and various salt deposits called “sabkha”, formed from dried salt water lakes.
Sweetness and desert delicacies
One of the country’s typical dishes is Shawarma, based on skewer-roasted chicken and lamb. The most typical dessert is Baklava, a complex mix of honey, pistachio, rosewater and lemon. Dates are Bahrain’s largest crop, taking up 85 percent of the land used for fruit cultivation: more than one hundred different date varieties exist, and are variously used in making sweetmeats, desserts and molasses, the latter used as a sweetener. Palm trees feature strongly in the country’s culture and folklore, as are frequently mentioned in the Quran. Bahrain is also famous for its production of Palm Water, or Ma’Liqah, said to have curative properties.
The archeology of greenness in a Pavilion: space for culture, ancient heritage and agriculture
A landscape of small orchards, each of which contains one kind of fruit tree native to Bahrain: the country’s Pavilion in Expo Milano 2015 evokes a farming culture handed down from the ancient civilization of the Dilmun people. Inside there are ten different mini-orchards containing fruit trees which will yield different fruits at different times during the six months of the Universal Exhibition. Various archaeological ancient farming items are on display, examples of the millennial agricultural tradition, and examples of cultural expression through Bahrain’s myths, in which it is considered the site of the Garden of Eden and the Land of the Million Palms.

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