Gabriele Vannucci is one of the youngest and most talented pastry chefs in Italy. Trained alongside one of the most renowned pastry chefs in the world, Luca Mannori from Prato, he embarked on his career in the world of catering, area in which he was able to test his research, creativity and artistic talent.
He worked for two and a half years in New York in a few well-known Italian restaurants; he then returned to Europe where he collaborated with various Michelin-starred restaurants (Alain Ducasse in Montecarlo, Heston Blumenthal in London, Contrada Gordon Ramsay in Siena).
Today he’s the designer of Castello di Spaltenna’s dessert menu in Gaiole in Chianti and collaborates with leading companies in the pastry sector as well as being one of Italy’s leading experts of leavened products, from croissants to panettone.
Another of Vannucci’s passions, which has also led him to collaborate with Caffèlab for a few years now, is that of quality coffee. He is also fascinated by how the world of specialty coffees perfectly combines with the haute patisserie.
Here is our interview with Gabriele Vannucci:
In restaurants, coffee is often considered as not-so-important. You instead, have shown great interest in specialty coffees. This is quite unique for Italy. How was this research born?
The combination between pastry and coffee has always been a must in Italy, especially in the morning. What amazes me the most is that even in restaurants or patisseries where the level of pastries is very high, the coffee is often bad and neglected.
The world of coffee is in fact also not far from the one of chocolates, for example, where roasting, fermentation or diversification by geographical areas are an important topic. This is why I was already quite familiar with all the different characteristics of coffee.
Together, we created a coffee panettone. Can you tell us how this project was born?
Panettone is the king of Italian pastry. I wanted to have a product that was made up of ingredients from Italy. This is why I also wanted to create a Panettone with coffee, which I felt like could be very well combined. To do this, I needed a very special coffee, which wouldn’t ruin the Panettone’s dough with a too strong PH level.
How do you use the coffee in your recipe?
The coffee was extracted with a cold brew method. I then used it in my recipe instead of water. We have seen that compared to hot extractions, in addition to maintaining some aromas and flavors, this enables us not to damage the panettone’s dough. In addition to this, I infused the coffee powder and some coffee beans in butter, as this is one of the basic ingredients of all the panettone’s flavors and aromas.
Which coffee did you choose for this process?
Together with the team at Caffèlab, we studied the recipe by trying three different types of coffee, until we decided that the Lab100 was the best one for this type of product as it gave off the most intense aromas during cooking.
Your research to combine the world of specialty coffee with pastry is very interesting. Do you have other projects of this kind coming up?
Here’s a spoiler alert for you! We are planning to open up a small, high-quality ice cream shop, where you can only choose amongst a few flavors and one of these will certainly be made of coffee. Soon, together with the Caffèlab team, we’ll also study which coffee is the best to use for the gelato recipe. I’ll keep you posted 😉