“I have always been as I am
even when I was not as I am
and nobody will ever know how I am
because I am not just as I am.” Taken from Quartine. Seconda centuria. By Patrizia Valduga.
With his sky blue eyes, Gabriele, fashion editor for Grazia.it, is a noble soul in the fashion world. He is a delicate and polite person, full of wonderful stories to tell. I spent a fantastic afternoon immersed in his books, in his reflections about life and his teachings that he gently shared with me. We talked about fashion, cooking, poetry, literature and even astrology. There were very few moments of silence, because we fill Taste of Runway’s living room like a swollen river with our words. I am pleased to share with you all the questions I asked Gabriele, here are his answers.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Gabriele Verratti, fashion editor for Grazia.it.
What is your zodiac sign?
I have a great passion for classical astrology and I could talk about it for hours! I am an Aries, the sign ruled by Mars, and Gemini ascendant with many mercurial influences. Mercury is also the god of eloquence and commerce and he is slim, lightweight, and looks like an adolescent. A little bit as my physical characteristics.
I am Libra. What do you think?
It’s the opposite sign of Aries and it’s a sign that I like very much.
Do you also like cooking?
Yes! Above all, I like cooking traditional dishes of Abruzzo, my homeland.
Ferratelle. The cookie dough or batter is put into an “iron”, which resembles a small variant of the popular waffle iron. Typically, the iron stamps a honeycomb pattern onto both sides of the ferratella. They look like soft lemon-flavoured waffles. They are filled with custard or chocolate and then wrapped. Food always makes me feel good because it gives me emotions. Like borage fritters, also called “cianghette” or “pizz ‘and fojie“, a mixture of corn, herbs and chopped sardines. In winter, my family prepares a typical recipe with a bizarre name, “Cif and ciaf“. It is chopped pork cooked with water and oil with rosemary to serve on a bed of oranges. It’s a delicious dish.
I asked you to bring some object you like particularly. What do you have?
First of all, my cufflinks with frogs. They are made by Pestelli, an historic Florentine jeweller. I love them because they represent Italian craftsmanship, an art that needs to be recovered and valued. The emerald green color gives me so much harmony.
Church’s portable shoehorn, because I believe that men’s fashion has its rituals, its ceremonies, and this item add care to a gesture.
My favourite perfume, “Paestum Rose”, from the “Eau de Italie” series. I love floral perfumes, especially rose, like Gianni Agnelli. For me, a perfume must give mystery, charm and enhance a person’s aura. “Paestum Rose” gives me balance in my work, and I need a lot of it. When there is not enough, I do meditation.
The verses from the “Iliad” by Homer. “Suddenly and secretly, Priam the Great came. He clasped his knees and kissed his hands, those terrible, man-killing hands, that had slaughtered Priam’s many sons in battle. This scene of great humanity moves me. I think Greek defines me because I studied classical literature and this is a passion that I have never abandoned. I still read classical Greek and Latin authors.
Patrizia Valduga’s books, an Italian poet who lives in Milan. I happened to meet her several times and she is a lunar creature, her face almost transparent. I like her poetry because she uses the metric. The structure of her texts is flawless and she speaks about eroticism, blood, and saliva. She is intense and always fascinated me.
I have a question for you. Can you tell me what color your soul is?
Light blue, like my eyes. Eyes are the mirror of the soul. Also mine.
Thanks Gabriele for all the interesting things that you taught me. My recipe today is not typical from Abruzzo, but it has Russian origins. I have not only been inspired by your look, but also by your genuine, simple and extremely refined personality. You’re great company, like a glass of champagne and a blini with creme fraiche and caviar.
FOR ABOUT 16 BLINI. 100 ml (3.5 fl oz) milk + 80 g (3 oz) flour + 50 ml (1.7 fl oz) fresh cream + 1 egg + 8 g (0.3 oz) baking powder + a pinch of salt + extra virgin olive oil.
Separate the egg yolk from the white. In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and add the cream and milk pouring them slowly and stirring well to avoid lumps. Then add the flour and baking powder, stirring constantly. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes then add the beaten egg whites. Also, add a pinch of salt and mix well from the bottom up not to deflate the egg whites. With a little oil, grease a small frying pan and, when it is hot, add a ladle of batter. When the side hardens, turn the blini with the help of a spatula and finish cooking. Repeat until you finish the batter. There will be about 15-16 blini, about 6 cm / 2.4 in big. Spread the crème fraiche on top* and add the black caviar. Open a bottle of sparkling wine. Enjoy your aperitif!
FOR THE CREME FRAICHE. 300 ml (10 oz) fresh cream + 300 g (3.5 oz) plain yogurt (possibly Greek yogurt) + the juice of half a lemon + a pinch of salt.
In a bowl, pour the cream and yogurt and mix adding the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Cover the bowl with transparent film and let rest in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.