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From Saavedra to Italy: the first Argentine baker to compete in the Panettone World Cup

2021-07-30T09:36:35.000Z

Juan Manuel Rodríguez takes three days to make this sweet bread that is left hanging. A fluffy delicacy that is eaten all year round.



William Kellmer

07/30/2021 6:00 AM

  • Clarín.com

  • Gourmet

Updated 07/30/2021 6:00 AM

If

looking at a

bakery

early in the morning is a temptation

, going into the "kitchen" is quite an experience.

Ideal to tell for a story.

And in this there are several at the same time. 

Juan Manuel Alfonso Rodríguez is the third generation of pastry chefs, he

grew up practically within Artiaga

, a

bakery and confectionery with more than 90 years

and a classic of classics in Saavedra.  

But there is more: six years ago he discovered the art of kneading Panettone (for now, and only for now, we will define it as sweet bread made with sourdough) and this year he trained via zoom with Italian specialists, won a national tournament and will be the

first Argentine in the Panettone World Cup

.

A lot for a paragraph?

Let's go little by little and let the protagonist tell it.

“My grandfather came from Pigüé (southeastern Buenos Aires) and

opened his first bakery in La Boca

.

There were three partners and it

was the times when bread was distributed on horseback

.

Only with my grandfather they bought Artiaga in 79. It was them and two employees and today there are 25 ”.

The tour that the client does not see includes the place where the flour is stored, the cold room, the kitchen and the last stop on the block with the oven where everything is kneaded.

In the middle, the introductions, a brother, the mother.

Family is breathed in every corner.

We are three brothers and we all grew up in the bakery

.

It was getting out of school and coming here and already in college days, spending entire weekends, ”says Juan Manuel.

Business Administrator, applies his knowledge in the family business.

Although, of course, his thing was to put his hand in the dough.

The panettone takes three days to make.

Photo: Luciano Thieberger.

At 18 years old, I was already in the bakery all day

.

It was to watch and learn, although paying flat fees because the pastry chefs changed the recipe every day, "he sums up with a laugh.  

The difference between traditional Genoa sweet bread and panettone

And in that learning and perfecting he discovered panettone.

And before Juan Manuel tells how and why we are going to expand that definition of the principle.

Although it is from the sweet bread “family”, differences abound.

The traditional sweet bread, the Christmas and New Year's bread, was born in Genoa and the one that summons us, in Milan

.

And beyond the origin, the big difference is in the elaboration.

Panettone takes about three days and does not have yeast

because it is made with

sourdough

.

The proportion of eggs (only yolks) and butter is much higher and

the characteristic that makes it unique is that to finish it is hung upside down so that it gains airy and fluffiness

.

If we put ourselves on the Masterchef jury

we could qualify the dough as "super soft, a cloud in the mouth"

.

Juan Manuel, knowingly, affirms that it is "the only bread that continues to grow after leaving the oven."

Alfonso Rodriguez works in his family's confectionery.

Artiaga has been in Saavedra for 90 years ... Photo: Luciano Thieberger.

And now his particular relationship with Panettone does count.

“I discovered it in 2016 when I did a postgraduate degree in pastry with Nicolás Welsh, who had been working for a few years in Austria.

And

I was fascinated by the difficulty of the preparation.

The sourdough, super long fermentations, hangs upside down

.

I started doing research and I loved it ”.

An Argentine on the way to the 2021 Panettone World Cup

From something you love to specialize and seek to be a world champion there is a way.

And Juan Manuel went through it modifying and improving his techniques.

For the Argentine tie he trained with Massimiliano Liberatore, Panettone master from the old continent

.

In the middle of the pandemic, he accompanied the Argentine from Spain and regardless of the time difference, they took on this great challenge together.

The competition was held at the Professional Pastry School of the Confectionery Union

.

The jury was made up of Néstor Reggiani, president of the Chamber of Confectioneries, Héctor Brignole, director of the Chamber, and pastry chefs Osvaldo Gross, Ximena Sáenz and Marco Di Neo.

The level was so high that Reggiani predicted a good future for Panettone in Argentina: “We still have a lot to learn, from those who make it to those who consume it, but I think that if we give it the boost it deserves, it

is a product which is going to be very good for the national pastry shop

”.

The Argentine panettone that goes to the World Cup in Italy.

Juan Manuel Alfonso Rodriguez won the national competition.

Photo: Luciano Thieberger

But there was only one winner.

And Juan Manuel Alfonso Rodríguez, the protagonist of our history

, became the first Argentine to participate in the Panettone World Cup

.

The semifinal will be in Parma on October 22 and the Argentine will have 34 rivals.

Two days later, in Milan, the top 20 will compete in the final.

“It must be taken into account that

in Italy there is a fifth generation of pastry chefs who have been working with Panettone

and have machinery and raw materials at hand that are just arriving here.

But step by step, first you have to pass the semifinal ”, says Juan Manuel cautiously.

And when with Argentina at the stick we already imagine him going around the Olympics playing as a visitor, he raises a little bet.

The fact of participating is already historical

.

But the dream despite the fact that the difficulty is very high is to be among the first places ”.

The tour and talk on the Artiaga block ends with a kneading and tasting demonstration.

You have to taste the artisan Panettone to understand such passion and dedication.

We already won.

Look also

Cannoli and sfogliatella: the Italian "dolci" that dominate the city's bakeries and restaurants

Homemade bread: 10 mistakes that can make you go wrong

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-07-30

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