Vincenzo Tiri’s obsession: “As a child I dreamed of panettone instead of space”

On 4 and 5 October he will be awarded in Milan as part of the “World Pastry Star”, crowned among the best pastry chefs in the world , on stage together with Pierre Hermè in the gota of world patisserie, but although it receives proposals from all over the world, it insists on staying in Acerenza even if local politics sometimes row against it. From the province to the roof of the world.

Vincenzo Tiri, in October will be in the Gotha of world pastry. You are known as one of the greats of panettone, is it enough to be number one?

“I don’t care being number one. For me it is essential to let the leavened products speak and never deviate from this concept. We are proud to have brought panettone to the south and from the south to have pushed it to the top. We are the only pastry shop in the world to make desserts only with leavened products. Believe me, it’s not easy “.

Vincenzo, so you put the leavened product everywhere? But everywhere, even in ice cream?

“Exactly. From” Tiri “there are no processes without mother yeast. mentioned, our “panettone” ice cream is among the most requested, they come from all over Italy to try it. Last week I had guests from Palermo and Verona at the same time. Both families told me that when they come in they meet again, they know where I’m”.

And where are they?

“In the panettone house”.

As romantic as it is, don’t you think it could be a one-sided view?

“I wouldn’t say it, on the contrary I think it’s its plus value. I realize it may be something out of this world, but believe me there is no one so crazy as to want to include mother yeast in every preparation. I made the biscuit, I put it in ice cream, even in the Easter egg. Everything at Tiri is made exclusively with mother yeast. We do not use any type of thickener. For example, instead of putting carob flour in ice cream, we thicken it with the leavened product, be it panettone, pandoro or babà. We are different by choice, but Tiri is an experience, not the usual pastry “.

Legend has it that you travel the world to find the right raw material for your preparations.

“Very true. I recently went to Vietnam to select cocoa, to be precise the “Marou” variety. Not only the product is important to me, but also the manufacturer. I need to trust him, know his history and create a human relationship with him. We are full of good products, but they have no experience, have no heart and I think that there is no goodness without love. From this research a biscuit was born that unites Vietnam and Basilicata: chocolate and crusco pepper. Few people know, but the crusco pepper is already sweet on its own and gives the biscuit a pleasant vegetable note. Really particular “.

Now southern Italy expresses great excellence in the world of leavened products, but until a few decades ago the panettone was only Milanese. You are also famous for giving your product three mixing phases and 72 hours of leavening with mother yeast. Has it already gone further?

” Panettone is born with a classic leavening. Later Angelo Motta added the second phase. I entered the third one, for more after 08 years of continuous experimentation. I don’t understand how some people propose the same thing without a minimum of study or experience. I have already tried a fourth phase and I have come to the conclusion that not only does it make no sense, but it also worsens the structure of the panettone. Three is the perfect number ”.

You are a panettone perfectionist. When did the spark go off?

” Well, I was pretty early, let’s say. Already in my childhood dreams there was panettone. I wanted to make the best panettone in the world! “.

In what sense do you excuse me? Didn’t you want to be an astronaut or a firefighter as a child?

“No, I’ve always dreamed of making panettone”.

And if I didn’t get it wrong, she wanted to do the best in the world directly. Outdated and ambitious dreams. How did they take it in the village?

” This one closes in six months ”- here’s how! ( laughs ). Now in Tiri there are pastry chefs from all over the world and all in all they are also a bit the pride of my land, even if few will admit it. Do you know how much effort with the institutions? Apart from the Mayor, I don’t find great openness towards my projects. My dream is to open a factory and move everything, even the bakery, to Acerenza (now it’s in Potenza, ed .), but nothing. Whoever wants to sell land and properties, as soon as he hears the name of Tiri, raises the price from 10 to 100 and then I find myself alone fighting a development battle against my territory. I was one of the last to want to invest here, also because there are two elements that give my product identity: air and water. If I want to maintain this level, I am obliged to stay. Tiri today is a company that employs approximately 50 people. With a bigger plant we could do different numbers, but unfortunately we are in the south and here you are allowed everything, except success “.

And in short, we are the classic nemo propheta at home . It seems to be a constant.

” But I don’t even notice it anymore, I’m so busy with my leavened products that I don’t even have time for myself. My panettone must be taken care of in every detail, I have no time to waste. I have to touch them all, one by one, but I don’t stop dreaming … always big “.

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