The illy MonoArabica Epicurean Experience

By Kaye Cloutman
Photography by Matthew Brandalise

The recently concluded SF Chefs 2012 had a number of gastronomic events that wowed the palates and pleased the masses to no end. One of the more exciting sessions we attended during this week of edible euphoria was the illy Monoarabica demo and the chef interviews of Marcus Samuelsson at the illy lounge inside the grand tasting tent – which was much bigger and swankier this year by the way.

The Monoarabica cooking demo held at the Westin, for one, was a delight – not only because of the appetizing dishes prepared by Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Chris Cosentino but also because of their fascinating energy which kept the audience extremely entertained and engaged during the class. Add the magnetic personalities of TV Host Leslie Sbrocco and Chef John Filippo (Culinary Institute of America Greystone) plus Giorgio Milos’ (Illy Master Barista) suave persona and you have a powerhouse of epicurean luminaries.

Chef Samuelsson takes a photo of Chef Cosentino's fun, innovative and easy way to evenly slice blueberries in half. "I owe this profound kitchen knowledge to my genius staff!" Cosentino exclaims.

“Coffee is a great ingredient and mixes with almost everything. We’re excited to introduce this new exploration because coffee in food is something pretty new and there is a huge opportunity for it to be a fundamental ingredient in savory dishes as well as desserts. To be able to work with Illy on this, especially knowing how hard they work striving to refine and provide the best finished ingredients at all times is truly an honor” added Marcus Samuelsson, who I must say was also quite stylin’ in the kitchen.

Giorgio Milos says "Like wine, desserts can be paired with coffee blends too. My recent favorite is this Ghiacciato made with good ol' choco gelato and Jasmine syrup."

“Marcus’ boldness and charismatic personality are the main factors which make him the ideal ambassador for the illy Monoarabica ~ which translates to single origin of the superior quality coffee” Giogio Milos proudly exclaimed. For many years Illy only did one single blend of coffee. This blend was composed of nine different ingredients, so the concept of Monoarabica really is the deconstruction of the blend – If the signature Illy blend is a symphony of nine of the world’s finest Arabica beans, think of new illy Monoarabica as three uniquely talented members of the orchestra, each taking a soloist’s turn. For the first time, Illy has made available three components of its blend: three single origin beans, each alive with distinct characteristics born of region-specific soil, altitude, rainfall, sun and cultivation profiles. Aroma, taste and body vary origin-to-origin, country-to-country, to quite wonderful effect in the cup. Illy Monoarabica is an invitation to explore illy more deeply.

Visit espressamente illy
123 Battery Street
San Francisco, CA 94104

Check out the gallery of the illy MonoArabica Cooking Demo here

Check out the gallery of the illy Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony here

Matthew Brandalise is a corporate attorney specializing in mergers & acquisitions and commercial transactions for a technology company in Silicon Valley. When he is not working, he is typically photographing things or spending time with his wife and three wonderful boys. He loves to travel and explore unfamiliar things… and ultimately photograph them. A lover of good food, great music, Matthew has a deep admiration for artists & musicians. He’s loved photography since he was nine, when he found an old twin reflex camera in a box of things in his father’s garage. Since then, he’s always seemed to have a camera with him. He’s played and experimented with film and digital photography consistently over the years, but things really went to the next level once he had kids. He spent many years photographing all sorts of sporting events and activities for them. Matthew found it to be a great vehicle for improving his skills as a photographer and ultimately giving him the confidence to branch out into other areas of photography.