academia barilla  February 2007
   

Discover the Treasures of Academia Barilla’s Gastronomomic Library

Did you enjoy our Italian food Lovers series of Valentine’s aphrodisiac recipes? [...]

Did you enjoy our Italian food Lovers series of Valentine’s aphrodisiac recipes? We hope you got the most out of it…Still curious about this intriguing paradise for food lovers, historians, and gourmet explorers which is the Gastronomic Library of the Academia Barilla Culinary School in Parma, Italy?

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This video from the Academia Barilla YouTube collection shows you a little bit around. Ilaria Rossi, Academia Barilla’s Marketing Director, tell us (in Italian) everything about this magic place for food lovers.

Do you speak Italian? Not yet? OK, then you need a quick translation – Ilaria introduces us in this video to the Gastronomic Library collection, that covers also food culture in history and from around the world as, as she says in the video, “If we want to be a hub for food culture, we have to welcome all other food cultures here, not just the Italian one”.

Ilaria tells us also about the exclusive and ad-hoc indexing and archiving system that has been developed expressly for the Gastronomic Library, as there are many items in food culture that deserve a place in the sun at the Academia Barilla Culinary Center – not only books and cookbooks, but also recipes, menus, international cuisine, thematic cuisine, pastry, drinks, and so on. A very granular indexing job that now allows to retrieve items easily for specific gastronomic research.

Ilaria is very proud in showing some of the treasures of the gastronomic Library: hand-written recipes and cookbooks dating back from a few centuries, and some of the historic items, such as the number 1 year 1 original issue of the cult cooking magazine La Cucina Italiana (parent publication to the US’ Italian Cooking & Living), that Academia Barilla keeps updated up to today. Let me show you some pictures.

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Among other pearls, this hand-printed and serigraphed book from 1688, an hosting bible on how to prepare and organize banquets.

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

This is possibly the oldest hand-written cookbook in the Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library, dating 1829. It is a very precious handwritten collection cooking recipes and herbal infusions/tips from a local monastry on nuns in the just outside Parma.

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

As you have seen in the video above, Academia Barilla’s Gastronomic Library has been collecting over time a wide collection of handwritten recipes, cookbooks, but also old individual recipes found in antique shops and fairs, or donated to the Library by private collections. Look how beautiful those recipes are.

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

I want to close this post by quoting Ilaria Rossi’s final statement in the video. She says that, while it is important to collect for historic and cultural purposes all these variations in traditional Italian regional cooking, it is also true that there is not a formal recipe for each of the culinary specialties reported in the recipes.

The beauty of the Italian culinary tradition is also that culturally it embraces a wide range of personalizations, and local micro-differentiations. So that, Ilaria remarks taking the example of Tortelli alle erbette, a traditional Parma dish, “in Parma each household has its own recipe for Tortelli, and the best one is always the one that mum cooks!”.

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