Seb visited Nivarata,in Acireale, Sicily, 6-8 June 2014 as part of the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival’s International Chef Exchange, taking top chefs from Brighton and surrounding Sussex to destinations across the globe to promote gastronomic tourism, international trade in quality food and drink, and share best practice in the hospitality industries. The project is also being filmed for a new television series to be shown across the UK.
“Its been an unbelievable experience, I’ve met some really amazing people and learned new skills that I can bring back to Boho Gelato here in Brighton”, said Seb. “Most of all, it’s been gratifying to be part of a return to a more traditional and high quality method of production using fresh ingredients but also creative flavour ideas”.
Nivarata is one of Italy’s leading food festivals focusing on granita – a traditional frozen product of water, sugar and fresh ingredients that is eaten by Sicilian’s throughout the day. Running annually in early summer, the festival is hosted in the beautiful seafront Villa Belvedere gardens, in the historic town of Acireale, north of Catania, and attracts the world’s leading granita makers and tens of thousands of visitors.
The Nivarata experimental category winner was Fulvio Massimino with ‘La Rossa’ – mixed berries with goji –, whilst the technical category of an almond granita went to Monika Rodzen. The third place experimental flavour was inspired by English gin and tonic with a twist of cucumber, which maker Francesco Di Nunno had been served whilst on holiday in the UK.
“Its pleasing to see the young generation of granita makers being recognised in these prestigious festival awards, taking the best of granita tradition and injecting new energy and imagination”, continued Seb. “Experiencing an Italian audience going wild for my gelato and granita has been the pinnacle of my career to date. Hopefully this is the start of a new bridge of culinary understanding and shared practice between the UK and Italy”.
“Nivarata has been a challenging event to run”, said Nivarata festival director Angelo Fichera. “Over the three festival days all the gelato makers that took part in the festival got to know each other, share ideas and work together. The partnership with the Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Festival has enriched our festival, giving way to new possible cultural and business collaborations between Italy and Great Britain.”
Seb and the festival team were joined by Sarah and Nathan Thompson of Blackdown Artisan Spirits from West Sussex to host a bar featuring their gin, vodka and vermouth, alongside a selection of award-winning sparkling wines from Ridgeview. Sussex food was provided by Terre á Terre and La Cave á Fromage, with chutneys and cheeses including Lord of the Hundreds, Brighton Blue and Golden Cross.
“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed working alongside our colleagues at Nivarata”, said Brighton food festival director Nick Mosley. “Their passion and generosity has made our visit one of the most memorable exchanges we’ve enjoyed to date. Food and drink is a huge growth area in global tourism at present. Quality food regions such as Sicily and Sussex are perfectly positioned to be at the forefront of that. We’re looking forward to welcoming them back to our Autumn Harvest in September with a special evening event and a dedicated ‘Little Sicily’ area of artisanal producers”.
The Brighton food festival will be hosting ‘A Taste of Sicily’ on the evening of Friday 5 September on the first day of the Sussex & The World Market on Hove Lawns in the Autumn Harvest. Guest will enjoy wines from a host of Sicilian vineyards alongside typical dishes and artisan produce, and demonstration of the craft of granita making.
Tickets are priced at £35 and available HERE
Seb will be showcasing traditionally made granita throughout the summer at his Pool Valley store, Boho Gelato.