As Brexshit bores on and the European elections are upon us, The Face celebrates all things Euro with 28 of our favourite Europeans (one for every state, still including Britain!). Designers, DJs, photographers, promoters, singers and artists share what Europe means to them, from freedom of movement to trashy pop and human rights to tasty recipes. Today, starring Riccardo Tisci, Robyn, Dan Emmerson, Craig Green, Kiddy Smile, Shirin Siebert, Dead Hungry and Stavros Karelis.
We tap into The Face's long, strong love story with the continent. The New Life In Europe! issue in November 1983 was dedicated to the latest cultural developments across Europe and sprang from the magazine’s attitude that, as members of what was then the EEC (now the EU), Britain should embrace a more continental lifestyle.
It was a joint venture with like-minded continental magazines that shared stories on aspects of European culture. The Face (UK), Wiener (Austria), Ooor (Holland), Etc (Sweden), Frigidaire (Italy), Tip (Germany), El Vibora (Spain) and France’s (Actuel) all ran with the same cover image and the same list of 70 Great Ideas From Europe. It’s was a shining example of the outward-looking nature of The Face.
In the later Love Sees No Colour issue, Editor Sheryl Garrett’s message of hope addressed the rise of the hard right across the continent and argued that the multiculturalism of European youth is the solution. “In the next few years we will be moving towards a new Europe, and in the end it’s up to us, the young, to determine what that Europe will be. We could live in a grim, cold Fortress Europe, shuttered from outside influences, and allowing ‘foreigners’ in only as guest workers on short contracts who can be shipped home whenever we’re ready. Or we can opt for an exciting, dynamic mix of cultures and races working together.” It could be written for today’s hard times.
As Britain edges towards crashing out of the EU in one of the most seismic socio-political shifts our readers have ever known, we want to focus on everything that we’ve all gained from Europe. Regardless of what goes down (hard, soft or REMAIN!!!), The Face will always be European.
“I was born two years after Greece officially joined the EU. I’m 35-years-old. I’ve lived all my life with the ideal of Europe and Greece belonging to a union and ever since I can remember, it’s meant something powerful. Even with our cultural and economic differences or language barriers there was something extremely important about belonging to the newest and most powerful club. It was the most visionary and aspirational after all. It meant freedom, unity, democracy, human rights, peace, equality, progression, free movement of people, goods and services, safety, support, belonging. Community.
For me to be a European Union citizen meant that I can be and live anywhere I want, to travel to all those countries that I heard of as a kid while I was playing on the sunny beaches of Crete with my tourist friends. They were from different parts of Europe: Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, UK. We couldn’t really understand each other but we had a lot of things in common. And this is why we connected. A community of kids that just hung out while our parents were sunbathing. We would become friends only for the holiday period but that would be enough to make us dream and consider each other the best friends in the world with the promise to meet again in the future.
I was a teenager during the ‘90s. My biggest memories were techno music, rave fashion and an overall international optimism and common vision. A need for making things better. Human rights, NGOs, Green Peace, environmental issues, equality, United Colors of Benetton campaigns, democracy. We, the young citizens, had all the opportunities for better studies, better understanding of other cultures, travelling.
I went to study Political Science in the Law School of Athens with my main subject in European studies. And as soon as I registered in the university I got ready for my first two trips abroad with my friends to Barcelona and London. It was the second year of Sonar music festival and I will never forget it: three days of dancing to electro and techno, with breaks visiting the Gaudi buildings and the Gaudi park and the seaside, then back to the festival. Thousands of people from everywhere. Every single EU country. After all we weren’t there as Greeks, English, Spanish, Italians, French or Germans - we were there as Europeans that liked the same music.
Similarly to as when I was a kid, I made friends with people who had much more in common than made us different. Again, promises to stay in touch, to meet in the future. My second trip was to the city that would become my second home in the future. London was the biggest cultural revolution to me. I think that trip made me fall in love with fashion. Different cultures, ideas, clothes and styles all mixed and offering a pure harmony. Something traditional mixed with something new.
"I cannot imagine this country not being part of the EU, but if that is going to happen I, know London will always be European; united, connected, diverse."
The first club night I went out to was Nag Nag Nag, the second was Boombox. Still I remember myself trying to look cool and be part of the scene but I couldn’t stop watching people and their outfits. Everyone was carefree, cool, strong, friendly and open. Individuals united in their diversity. I spent my whole trip dancing till the early hours and getting inspired in every street and every place we visited the next days.
I’m writing this while travelling back from Paris. It’s the first time I’m paying attention to the signs for EU citizens/Non EU Citizens and instead of a community I see a division. What united me when I was a kid with my holiday friends was our wish to connect and our hope we would get along. What connects us is way more important than what it divides us.
The EU is not the newest idea anymore. It’s become a long-standing tradition. I cannot imagine this country not being part of the EU, but if that is going to happen I know this city will always be European; united, connected, diverse like my holiday friends, my Sonar friends and my Nag-Nag-Nag friends. This city will rise above politics and will be about individuals and unity. We will remain connected. ‘Where are you from?’ The taxi driver asks me on my way home tonight. ‘Europe,’ I reply. ‘And I live in London.’”
1. Tartiflette (France)
“This is a dish I grew up eating when I lived in the Alps. It's basically a really cheesy potato gratin, cooked with white wine, bacon (lardons), shallots and a whole Roblechon cheese sliced and layered on top of the potatoes and baked until melted and crispy. It's a real dirty treat, usually the first thing I'd eat when I go back to the mountains.
It reminds me so much of my childhood and something I always have in mind when I think of skiing in France. I grew up skiing and trained as a professional skier for years, and I have an unconditional love for anything that has to do with the French Alps, so that dish really represents all of that for me.
In France you eat Tartiflette mostly in ski resorts, and it's an absolute Alpine classic. Serve it with a chilled Pouilly-Fuissé or Meursault, and a fresh green salad. Try baking the Tartiflette with a little blue cheese in case it isn't decadent enough!”
2. Octopus in Vinegar (Greece)
“Octopus is probably my favourite seafood, so I had to include it in this Top 5. I just love how complex it is as a creature, but also how difficult it can be to really master a good octopus dish. If you don't cook it for long enough it will be chewy and rubbery, if you cook it for too long it just shrinks entirely. There's a perfect medium to find, which takes some practice.
In Greece and mostly along the coast, seafood is abundant and so fresh, it just tastes so incredibly delicious over there. Octopus 'pickled' in red wine vinegar is a dish you'd snack on while sipping on an aperitif sat on a plastic chair under a parasol at the end of the day looking at some unbelievable view, thinking you're in paradise. It reminds me so much of my time in the Mediterranean!
Traditionally the octopus is poached in a bath of water and red wine vinegar, served with oregano, olive oil and lemon juice. Dead simple but crazy efficient, it really hits the spot! I like to poach mine with some orange peel and fennel tops, and I grill it very quickly before chopping and serving to add a little extra charcoal flavour.”
3. Tortilla (Spain)
“A good omelette is my go-to breakfast dish, but the Spanish Tortilla is really a dish of its own. I never used to like eggs so much until I learnt how to cook them properly, and the same goes for the omelette. Now that I know how to make it, I couldn't live without it. Very simple ingredients that turn something so mundane into something incredibly delicious is probably the reason why I love cooking so much.
In Spain, tortilla is the kind of thing you have all day long, whether that's for lunch, with a sangria at the end of a day, as an aperitif before dinner, as a snack when you're coming back from clubbing. It's a household staple that's always in the fridge, you can eat it cold or hot, there are absolutely no rules. I've seen Spanish people eating it with mayo and ketchup. Go wild with it.
I learnt how to make omelettes the French way (by whisking eggs only i.e. no milk or water added, and stirring the beaten eggs in the pan until they set, and then folded. The whole thing should cook for no longer than a minute). The Spanish tortilla is a little different, since you have to blanch the sliced potatoes first, pan fry them and then add the beaten eggs, which traditionally are left to steam with a lid on until cooked and flipped to finish off the other side. Sometimes I like to combine both methods and I use small chunks of purple potatoes, which I pan fry quickly with some garlic and then add the beaten eggs. I stir until the eggs set and fold it in two. Try serving the tortilla with a little crispy chilli oil, chopped chives and some fish roe on top!”
4. Strudel (Austria, Hungary, Germany)
“I'm not going to try and give you a back story on the strudel because to be completely honest I don't know much about it apart that it's so delicious. From what I understand it dates back to the 13th century, long before we had defined the borders which we are familiar with today, so its origins are a bit confusing. But all you need to know is that a strudel is a crispy and rich rolled pastry made up entirely of layers of wafer thin filo pastry stuffed with nuts, dried fruit and fresh fruit. Apple is by far the most common filling, yet again flavours vary according to the country you’re eating it in. It's rolled into a log and baked until the pastry is golden and flaky, and then cut into slices and served with whipped cream. It's the kind of dessert I cook for friends when they come for a spontaneous dinner, since it's really quick and easy to make and once everyone is a bit drunk it never lasts very long out of the oven.
I like to bake mine with a little cocoa powder inside, usually with cherries or pear. What's most important is to get the texture of the filling right: enough chopped nuts to soak the moisture from the fruit, and enough dry fruit and fresh fruit to keep the filling moist and soft. Cut everything really finely and delicately so it cooks quickly. Add some brown sugar and a little rum to the filling, and serve it with ice cream!”
5. Focaccia (Italy)
“At last I had to give a bread as my ultimate Euro 5, since baking bread is a total passion and something I never get bored of. I just love how you can make so many different types of bread using the same two ingredients, water and flour. When I started DeadHungry a few years ago in my mid 20s, and decided to go freelance quite early in my career, I couldn't afford to cook fancy stuff all the time and I had to get creative with what I could get my hands on. Practising bread was a great thing to do since all I needed was a bit of flour from the corner shop. It was cheap to make and yet so rewarding. So much time goes into caring for a piece of dough and transforming it into something so satisfying to eat.
Focaccia is an Italian classic, so easy and quick to make, unlike a traditional sourdough which needs days to prepare. I used a blend of strong bread flour and Italian 00 which gives it a smooth finish.
Rosemary and olives is by far the most popular, the one my Italian grandmother used to make. My mum makes hers with whole cherry tomatoes (which she learnt from my grandma!), but I love to make mine with a touch of dried lavender and dehydrated red onions. A crowd pleaser which I usually serve at my studio dinners!”