In-house editorial

Catastrophic goodness:

the protagonists

In the depths of adversity, humanity reveals itself in its most noble form.

Help, support and sharing are the ingredients of an extraordinary recipe: solidarity.

Culinary art is in the DNA of every Italian. A cultural element full of symbolic meaning. When words aren't enough, we let a good dish of food speak for us.

Sharing meals is a moment of great joy. Sitting at tables laden with food, we celebrate the passing years, the time spent together and the milestones reached. The same thing happens in moments of difficulty; food becomes a remedy that can offer comfort and closeness. The dishes served remind us of those we have lost, traditions that continue to live on and the roots that unite us.

That is exactly what happened in Emilia-Romagna in May 2023.

Between the 2nd and 16th of May, Emilia-Romagna was hit by devastating floods. The flood waters caused serious damage to local communities, leaving behind destruction and desperation. The region was hit by widespread flooding, with 21 rivers and waterways bursting their banks and over 250 landslides in 48 municipalities, with estimated damages of almost 9 billion euros.

Solidarity has never tasted so sweet.

In a short amount of time, a wave of goodness also swept the region; organisations, volunteers, authorities and individuals mobilised to offer their help and support the people hit.

So many touching stories.

The Confederation of Italian Pastry Chefs (Con.Pa.It) launched the initiative "a sweet treat for Emilia-Romagna", opening a special bank account dedicated to collecting funds to support colleagues hit by the flood. The president of Con.Pa.It, Angelo Musolino, sent a letter to all members highlighting the importance of being united in this difficult moment:

"A small gesture, shared and without distinction, to reach out together to our colleagues in Emilia-Romagna. United, with just one goal: solidarity. We are a team, and today Emilia-Romagna needs us."

The response was immediate; a great many pastry chefs from all over Italy sprang into action to help their colleagues, because nobody should be left behind.

Even in Chioggia, the pastry shop Nelly's decided to get to work doing what they do best: making cakes. They created a special sourdough cake with 70% dark chocolate and Sicilian oranges. In just a few days it was completely sold out. All the profit was donated to Sebastiano Caridi, a fellow pastry chef in Faenza whose business was completely submerged in water and mud, as well as his house.

There are so many stories of destruction - the inhabitants in the area saw their whole lives washed away and buried in mud.

"I thought I would have to close everything," says Davide Fiorentini, who opened 'O Fiore Mio Hub in Faenza in 2014, a pizzeria and workshop for exchange between bread-making colleagues. Davide is passionate about baking, and his project came out of the desire to restore value to bread produced in its purest form: water and flour. The 'O Fiore Mio Hub soon became a point of reference for the city, and was a valuable resource for the national food scene.

"The day after the flood, I was ready to throw in the towel and raze it all to the ground, but the entire bread-making world gathered around me and in 48 hours, we managed to clean the entire space, saving what we could."

Thanks to a workshop and the support of borrowed machines, Davide started back up. "From Milan to Bologna, people offered to produce for us, but this would have meant sacrificing my staff"; instead, this way Davide was able to keep on his employees and, at the same time, relaunch his business.

"Now I can't walk away, I need to look ahead; we have to think about how to get back up again and how to do something new that is even better."

Along with the pizzeria, the work of Monica Zani, which decorated the walls of the hub, was also destroyed. Monica is a graphic designer, and works for various companies and publishing houses. It was meeting a woman who had lost everything during the flood that gave her the idea. The face of that woman inspired the project "The Alluvionist": T-shirts and tote bags illustrated by Monica, with the earnings donated to help the families hit. "This initiative made me feel profoundly better. So many people have chosen to wear the t-shirts, which have become a symbol of support for the local community."

The buzz of attention regarding what happened is gradually fading.

While bureaucracy slows down every process for compensation and assistance, people continue to gather around Emilia-Romagna, because the strength of solidarity is the key to overcoming adversity and rekindling hope in the hearts of those who have been hit.

Together we can get back on our feet and start again.


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N° 13


What material are the "links" that connect one human to another made of?
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