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a cake for Forte

June 2023- Number 23
a cake for Forte

And if Forte were a cake? “I grew up spending time in Versilia,” Damiano Carrara answers, “and the sea at Forte feels like home to me. So I thought of salt, acacia honey, pine nuts . . .” 

Interview by Silvia M. C Senette - Photographs Alessandro Moggi

Maître pâtissier Damiano Carrara, born in Lucca and famous worldwide, is dedicating a new creation to Forte dei Marmi. His Sapore di Mare combines the finest local raw materials in a cake that is a joy for the eye and the palate: the gilded disc, a bit of beach invaded by the pearly foam of a blue wave, hides a savory crumble of almonds and Versilian acacia honey, a light lemon mousse with an addition of pine nut cream and an almond-and-honey biscotto.

A work of art, more than a dessert, from the workshop at the luxury Atelier gluten-free pastry shop in Via Civitali in Lucca. Here, assisted by thirteen professionals, the 37-year-old judge of Bake Off Italia and a top draw on Cake Star and Fuori Menù launched his dream after years of culinary successes and hit TV appearances in the U.S. “Lucca is my home. I’m happy to be back, and my satisfaction at seeing people who for two years have been coming from all over Italy to meet me is immense,” Carrara admits. Of course, his jewels of cakes and single-portion dessert sculptures, gluten- and often lactose-free, are major attractions for all those passionate gourmets.

But what’s most fascinating of all is the unique and unrepeatable experience Carrara reserves for every client. “Atelier means ‘workshop’, and my shop is just that – in all respects. The space is elegantly minimal and the work area is entirely open; showcases display changing selections with seasonal flowers and fruits, as though our products were artworks. My assistants, in chef’s uniforms, work in real time under clients’ delighted eyes,” he tells us. And while every piece is an express creation, our adventure in his world is total and immersive. It begins as soon as we cross the threshold and are enveloped by the aromas of baking, of vanilla, of Chantilly, and culminates in an explosion of flavors that impacts all the senses at first bite.

With Chiara, his wife and muse, Carrara invents delicacies whose very names are captivating – Il Bosco Incantato, Io e Te, Abbraccio di Mamma, Amorosa – as is his infinite universe of colorful filled chocolates. All these compositions, poems in form, color, and flavor, are now joined by the exclusive Sapore di Mare cake – available for home delivery in Forte! “I grew up spending time in Versilia, and the sea at Forte feels like home to me,” the cake’s designer tells us. “I wanted a cake that could remind me of it, so I thought of salt, acacia honey, pine nuts . . .” When I was a boy I collected pine nuts under the trees and broke the shells open with stones. Tasting this cake, I hope that anyone, Fortemarmino or not, will think of the dusty, blackened hands and mouthfuls of pine nuts of a child’s summer here.”