Photographed by Luis Valdizon
Written by Sarah Valdizon
At the start of the Summer, from Saturday June 22nd to Sunday June 23rd to be exact, we were warmly invited by chef Jefferson Alvarez (who was originally invited by Enrico Vignoli) to attend Al Mèni in Rimini, Italy. Dreamt up by renowned chef Massimo Bottura, his idea was to bring together a grouping of truly great chefs from all around the world (12 local, and 12 International) in a street-cooking setting. With a focus on using locally sourced, sustainable products, the chefs would pull together, and take turns cooking unique and tasty dishes. Creating the scene was a giant and colorful circus tent, picturesquely set between the sea and the Grand Hotel, where Massimo Bottura was to direct the 24 chefs…
The idea for Al Mèni was originally conceived by Massimo Bottura about six years ago, when he dreamt up a circus tent in the middle of the square inspired by Fellini, lit with the light of memory and pronounced sunshine; an event to celebrate the cuisine and products of Emilia Romagna with touchpoints of a playful atmosphere of that of a street party. In addition to elements of fun, the idea was also to care for the environment—to avoid the use of plastic and to also limit the production of pollution and waste. And even beyond, we discovered, is that the event works alongside Food for Good, which involves recovering unconsumed food at the end of the event. Surprising, and a wonderful concept, and one that with each year, they hope to improve upon, aiming for a much more sustainable earth.
The very first event was created a few years back, and held in Rimini—a place with the underlying, if not lingering presence, of Italian film director, Federico Fellini alongside history, and a beachfront scene that seemed to set a wonderful scene for the event. And one common thread ties the event together (apart from the culinary scene) and this is Mèni: roughly translated, “thank you”, or “hands” in Romagna dialect; to which this event is composed of the mind and the heart, and hands.
In the diary: The first evening spent in Rimini pulled together the group of chefs in a wonderful restaurant, Casina del Bosco, and very much a beloved Rimini institution. This lovely spot is tucked just in from the beach, and serves some of the most delicious and diverse piadine (flatbread sandwiches) in town is it said, created to be stuffed with an array of fillings that range from incredible romagnolo sausage, squacquerone cheese and fresh tomatoes to salted ricotta with delicious chocolate, orange reduction and almonds. The outdoor seating was both warm and stylish, improved only by the delicious plates that would be enjoyed that evening amoungst excited conversation…
In the diary: On the second evening, a Michelin Star dinner was in store—marking the final evening of a short, but incredible few days spent in Italy. Abocar Due Cucine was incredibly enjoyed by staff and chefs alike that evening. The cosy restaurant is known for its wonderful leaders, a husband and wife team, who merge (due to their heritage) Italian and Argentinian food in a truly beautiful way.
Recently honored with a Michelin star, it is said that their restaurant is refreshing for Remini, offering something beautiful and different, and many suspect that a second Michelin star is likely not far away. We tend to agree.
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
In the diary: We were so grateful to both enjoy and capture this special event, a moment in time, and to partake in such a memorable weekend. One that brought together talent and flavour, conversation and culture. The mood was beautiful; one of appreciation and of delight, of care and tradition, and perhaps, a little fantasy along the way.
We warmly invite you to enjoy our film, found just below, capturing and presenting a little more of the feeling experienced during the event; the diversity of place and people, color, flavour, and of course, fun… Alla prossima, Rimini…
a film by when they find us
Featured: Al Mèni, located in Rimini, Italy