This undated photo taken from the official wechat account of Mimosa shows Franco Bergamino, Mimosa's owner.
CHONGQING - Franco Bergamino is like a surprise "hidden recipe" among young people in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, where the 62-year-old Italian chef runs a dessert house called Mimosa.
The dessert house serves wine jelly with green pepper cheese, jasmine mousse and peach-Oolong cake - fusion desserts that combine Italian specialties with local Chinese ingredients.
Mimosa's consumers are mainly between 25 and 35 - a group that is more willing to try exotic flavors partly due to China's continued opening to the outside world
Bergamino used to run two dessert houses in his hometown of Turin, both having a history of 90 years. In 2016, he settled in Chongqing and set up a dessert workshop.
He had visited New Zealand, Canada and other countries. But he said China is more suitable for his development.
"I especially like Chongqing, where the food and culture are completely different from my hometown. Life here is like 'the other side of the coin'," he said.
With the help of his local English-speaking friends, he overcame the language barrier and even learned some Chongqing dialects. More importantly, he has got used to the Chinese table culture of "sharing food together."
In the meantime, Mimosa, like its owner, has also been increasingly localized. Bergamino said back in Turin, frequent customers to his shop would buy the same desserts and they would be disappointed if they were sold out.
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The situation in Chongqing, however, is very different. Customers expect different desserts each month, and they would be disappointed if the dessert menu stayed the same, he said.
"Young people here like new ideas, and they are becoming more open-minded," said the chef, who added the tongue-tingling green pepper, one of the most popular ingredients among Chongqing locals, to classic Italian snacks. The fusion worked.
This undated photo taken from the official wechat account of Mimosa shows the desserts served by Mimosa.
From 2016 to 2022, Bergamino felt a huge change in the taste of Chinese customers. "In the past, Chinese guests always said that my desserts were too sweet. Now more and more people have accepted the authentic Italian tastes."
Mimosa's consumers are mainly between 25 and 35 - a group that is more willing to try exotic flavors partly due to China's continued opening to the outside world.
"I hope I can live to 95 and still work," he said, so that he can, besides bringing authentic Italian desserts to more customers having a sweet tooth, let more people feel the fusion of Chinese and Italian cultures in his desserts.
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