Italy is ready to attend the grand final of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. In fact, on 20th and 21st January, during the Sirha in Lyon, 20 international teams will compete for the highest podium in the worldwide pastry, that decreed Italy world champion in the 2021, with Andrea Restuccia, Lorenzo Puca, and Massimo Pica.
On the morning of the 20th, Jacopo Zorzi, Alessandro Petito and, for the first time in the history of the Italian teams, a woman, Martina Brachetti, will compete in the great arena and represent our Country. Zorzi is the candidate selected for chocolate: 33 years old, he has been working at the Martesana pastry shop in Milan since 2016; Petito, 31, is the team captain and the candidate for sugar, he has been managing his pastry shop in the province of Varese since 2019. Martina Brechetti, 35, is instead the ice candidate and works as a freelancer. These are the profiles of the Italian candidates in the world final of the 18th edition of the competition invented by Gabriel Paillasson, which this year has climate change as main theme. The Pastry World Cup therefore also looks at the most current aspects of society by promoting more sustainable and responsible work. The approach is reflected in the prohibition of using additives and colourings, but also in the choice of raw materials selected by partners attentive to the control of the origins and production methods and in the evaluation (always during the competition) of the coherence between the weighing and the recipes previously sent by the teams. In addition, separate collection in the competition pits is mandatory and all products processed and used during the two days will be donated to needy associations.
How will the competition take place?
All candidates have 10 hours to prepare 42 tasting desserts (3 whole chocolate-based desserts, 3 semifreddos with fruit puree, 26 lollipops intended as finger food and introduced in 2022, 10 plated desserts introduced in 2021, and 3 artistic showpieces: one in chocolate and one in sugar, 165 cm high (base included); and an ice sculpture, 50 cm high in total, surprisingly reintroduced this year after being eliminated in 2021.
Italy will start first: on the 20th of January, at 6 am, with the first release of the chocolate dessert at 9:45, followed by the semifreddo at 12, the lollipops at 1:10 pm, the catering desserts at 2:45 pm; the ice sculpture must be created between 11 and 12:30, while the final buffet consisting of all the sculptures and all the desserts (which in the meantime will be tasted and judged by a jury) must be presented by 4:10 pm.
With the President of the CMP Pierre Hermé, this year the jury will have as honorary president Cédric Grolet (with his Cédric Grolet Opéra in Paris) and best pastry chef in the world in 2018. And alongside them will be our Lorenzo Puca, world champion 2021. Two juries: the one for restaurant desserts is made up of Albert Adrià – Enigma* (Barcelona), Aurélie Collomb–Clerc – Flocon de Sel*** (Megève), Sofia Cortina – Hôtel Carlota (México), Nicolas Lambert – Four Seasons (Dubaï), Tom Meyer – Granite* (Paris), Sébastien Vauxion – SarKara** (Courchevel) and Mauro Colagreco – Le Mirazur*** (Menton).The tasting jury is made of the pastry chefs nominated by each team: for Italy there will be Emmanuele Forcone, 2015 world champion and one of the coach of the team for this edition. The 2021 champions, but also the other two members of the team that won in 2015 (Francesco Boccia and Fabrizio Donatone), together with the president of Club Italia, Alessandro Dalmasso, have trained the current team for more than 8 months.
How did the trainings go?
Since the 20th of July, Petito, Zorzi and Brachetti have been working tirelessly at Cast Alimenti school in Brescia. Non-stop days of tests, ideas, comparisons, suggestions, clarifications, tastings, compositions. “The best thing was calling yourself into question”, declares Jacopo Zorzi, while Alessandro Petito adds: “Being here is a dream that is coming true, even if being away from the family is difficult. Just think that my wife has just given birth to our third child and I haven’t been able to be close to her as I would have loved!”. Even for Martina Brachetti the feeling is similar: “The hardest part is being closed in here away from everyone, the most beautiful is instead the change: turning your whole life upside down for such a great goal”.
The work of the coaches is fundamental: “They give indications and try to pass on their mistakes so as not to make us repeat them, but they also immediately communicated to us the fundamental information relating to every aspect of the match. Of course – the team comments – until we experience the competition on our skin we will not be able to fully understand, but we have done and are continuing to do a great research and development process that will lead us to repeat in the race and to perform what we We’ve been training for months.”
Clear ideas, some human doubts about the unknown, but one certainty: the Italian competitors are not so afraid. In fact all three are paratroopers: Martina as a hobby; Jacopo with a parachuting patent and iron self-discipline (he stopped in May so as not to risk jeopardizing the race); Alessandro with the military patent acquired in the army. But in addition to courage, they are endowed with talent, will, creativity, a spirit of sacrifice and that humility to understand, as they have stated, “that the result can only be obtained with the union of many heads and many experiences”. This is the team spirit, the right one to face the Sirha arena.