• Nicoletta Fornaro

Breakfast Pancakes with Tangerine Juice, Dark Chocolate and Honey


No matter how incredible it may sound, it's hotter this week than at the beginning of October... If I am not mistaken, the same thing happened last year too, as if the seasons in general had slightly moved forward. Last year, in fact, winter began and ended relatively late and, if it weren't that we are all aware of global warming, I'd say that right now the temperature is perfect.

So far, October has been a lovely month. I managed to visit a couple of exhibitions, received some amazing presents for my birthday (mum... thank you so much for the new flash!!!) and worked at some really interesting events. One I found particularly fascinating was the Nikka Competition 2019, held at the cocktail bar Il Mercante, the historical cafe in front of the Frari Church, during which 10 bartenders had to prepare three cocktails with Nikka products in maximum 12 minutes. The cocktail competition was super cool, but what I enjoyed most was the preparatory workshop taught by Slovakian barman Stan Vadrna. Of all the interesting things he said, what caught my attention was the talk on the Oriental approach to perfume and odor and the importance of incense for Japanese people. Prior the three tastings, he prepared an incense with special fragrances and passed it round, then during the tasting the participants were required to fill in a questionnaire and describe what they felt and associate their feelings with personal memories, music and so on. He wanted the attendees to learn to 'listen' to what every perfume and scent has to say.

If you think about it, in the Western world when professionals describe wine or spirits, they often talk about perfume of cherry, apricot, a particular type of wood... all words that don't really mean much. Scents, instead, are about memory, life experience and deep emotions and in the Eastern world they know it well. In Japan every person has its personal incense and in the past (this was my favourite part...) when a man wanted to court a woman, he would burn a little bit of his incense on a small piece of paper and have someone bring it to her. If she liked the scent, she would do the same and then the meeting between the two took place in a dark room, where before their appearance what mattered was what they were, the haiku they wrote, the watercolour they painted, in short: their soul... I won't continue but... yes, it was all so interesting! Also, I had never thought about the fact that incense is made with burnt wood, which is the smell of fire, thus of comfort; the sort of odor humans deeply connect to warmth and protection...

Anyway, moving forward, another event I enjoyed (where I was not working but only went for pleasure) was the first afternoon of lectures at sullaluna, the teahouse/bookshop in Fondamenta della Misericordia. Francesca, the owner of the bookshop, was so nice to close the cafeteria and offer her space to support the local school Foscarini, which is participating in this national competition called 'Io leggo perchè' (I read because...). The winners will receive 1500 euros to spend in books for their school library and for ten days people can buy books in specific bookshops to donate to local schools. The afternoon I went there was Matteo Alemanno, well known comic author and professor, talking about the origin of comics, pagination, storytelling and... it was great! I would have liked to take some pictures but there were so many kids it was literally impossible to move. I left after one hour and a half, but the event continued and was followed by other initiatives the following days.

As for exhibitions, Vito and I quickly visited 'Breathless' at Ca' Pesaro, which gathers some works from the collections of the British Council. Personally, I did not appreciate it that much, but mine is just an opinion... Instead, I really liked the exhibit 'Sabra Beauty Everywhere' by Italian artist Chiara Dynys at Museo Correr, which I found very clever and original. If I manage to return before next week I'll take some pictures and share them with you!

For now, what I will share, is an easy and delicious recipe for wintery pancakes with citrus juice, chocolate and honey. Speaking about perfumes and scents, in my house autumn and winter smell of tangerines. They are quite cheap in Italy, so we always have lots in our houses and when we peel them we normally place the skin on the heaters and let their scent pervade our homes. Being so hot, we still haven' turned on the heating, but I admit I just love the slight tickle I feel in my nostrils whenever I tear their skin with my thumb. Besides, I use tangerine juice almost for everything in this period and if you like raw fish, let me suggest combining tangerine juice and a delicate type of olive oil for the perfect dip. In today's recipe I used the juice to soften our pancakes, which I then topped with Barena honey, with a strong balsamic flavour, and some grated extra dark chocolate from South America. Barena is the word used to describe the strips of marshland we have in the lagoon that get occasionally flooded, where in certain periods it's possible to find a severely endangered plant called Limonium, responsible for this balsamic and slightly briny taste. As mentioned in older posts, it is not possible to find this honey all year round and the production is extremely limited, but if curious you can try see if you find it at the Monday and Thursday market in Rio Tera' dei Pensieri at the Apicoltura Cristante stall.

That's all for now, hope you'll enjoy this simple recipe and wish you a lovely week!

RECIPE:

LIGHT PANCAKES WITH TANGERINE JUICE, CHOCOLATE AND HONEY

Easy 6/8 pancakes

Ingredients:

1 free range egg

65 gr sugar

200 gr flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

250 ml whole fat milk

the juice of 2 tangerines

2 teaspoons honey

extra dark chocolate to grate

Method:

1. In a cold steel bowl, whisk egg and sugar until you get a foamy mixture.

2. Slowly add the milk, whisk, and finally add the previously sifted flour and baking powder. Cover the bowl and let the batter cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice of two tangerines and combine with 1 teaspoon honey.

4. When ready, heat a non stick pancake pan and with a ladle , pour a little bit of batter. Let cook for about 4 minutes, then turn and repeat until you have finished.

5. Use a small basting brush to apply the tangerine and honey syrup on the pancakes, pile them and top grating a generous amount of dark chocolate and with extra honey.

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