academia barilla  November 2007

Historic Gourmet Dishes from the Verdi Opera Festival

The Verdi Festival 2007, dedicated to the famous Italian opera composer and [...]

Festival Verdi in ParmaThe Verdi Festival 2007, dedicated to the famous Italian opera composer and director Giuseppe Verdi by the City of Parma, Italy, closed yesterday October 31, after a month-long of opera shows and collateral events dedicated to the Italian Maestro.

The Festival has has been a triumph, not only because all the shows, including some of the most famous Italian Operas such as La Traviata, Aida, Rigoletto and Luise Miller, were sold out; the collateral events, in which Academia Barilla was fully involved, have been looked after and talked about as some of the most precious moments of the Festival.

Teatro Regio in Parma, Italy

The gourmet side of the Festival has been crafted to art, also in honor to Maestro Verdi, who was a notorious gourmet foodie – if he were among us now, sure he would be reading Italian Food Lovers!

Verdi's land: BussetoGiuseppe Verdi, son of an osteria owner, knew several traditional recipes and is known for giving detailed instructions to her lifetime cook Ermelinda Berni, so that she could excel in both cooking and presentation.

Academia Barilla, who dedicates part of its commitment in the promotion of traditional Italian gastronomy, created in 2004 the first and more comprehensive Gastronomic Library in the world, with more than 8,000 titles (same of which very rare and dating back to the 17th century) dedicated to the Italian food culture, but actually embracing a worldwide knowledge on culinary, gastronomy, and food culture.

Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library

Giancarlo Gonizzi, the responsible and creator of Academia Barilla’s Gastronomic Library, honored Giuseppe Verdi at the Verdi Festival with a dedicated exhibition of traditional recipes from the Verdi times, that actually got prepared and presented to the Festival guests by amazing Chefs of the Academia Barilla Culinary School.

Chef Roberto Ronzoni of Academia BarillaAcademia Barilla Chef Roberto Ronzoni, here in the picture, guided a team of gourmet Chef from the Culinary school to prepare incredible historic menus for the Verdi Festival, including typical dishes known to be among the Maestro’s favorites.
Reporter Maria Celeste Crucilla’, from the popular Italian magazine Oggi, wrote a very nice article last week about the historic menu created by the Academia Barilla team for the Verdi Festival.

Among the several creations of the Academia Barilla team for the Verdi Festival, we would like to talk about three of them, Verdi’s favorite dishes: Mortified Wild Duck (Faraona Mortificata), Flan with Spalla Cotta (Flan with Cooked Ham), and Cacio Bavarese (Bavarian Cheese Dessert).

The Mortified Wild Duck (Faraona Mortificata) gets its name from the fact that the Faraona (Wild duck) would have been hung from his feet for a few days to macerate, before getting stuffed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, eggs, crumbled bread, Prosciutto di Parma, Italian parsley, basil, salt and pepper.

Flan with Spalla Cotta (Flan with Cooked Ham) definitly was the Maestro’s favorite dish. The flan is made with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the ham, in the traditional recipe, is the typical “Spalla di San Secondo“, a special cut from the pork’s shoulder that is generally served in thin slices.

Roncole Verdi, Italy

Giuseppe Verdi was so passionate about this dish that he would always bring it as a present to his close friends, and teaching them how to make it according to the traditional recipe. In a letter from April 27, 1872, to his friend Conte Oprandino Arrivabene, Giuseppe Verdi gives all the instructions on how to cook the ham at its best:

“Before cooking it on the fire, you must take most of the salt off, just leave the ham for two hours in water. Then boil it on fire, in a pot filled with water. Slow-flame cook it for 6 hours, then leave it resting in his soup until cold. When cold, take the ham from the pot, dry it, and eat it”.

Cacio Bavarese (Bavarian Cheese Dessert) is also known as The Bishop’s Flan, and traditionally made with finger biscuits (Savoiardi, try the Pavesini, also a classic main ingredient for Tiramisu’, at our online shop). Savoiardi get soaked in white wine from the Parma hills and Ron, then alternated with vanilla-chocolate cream and cherry marmalate. To be served with a zabaglione cream like your (Italian) mother used to make!

See you at the next Verdi Festival in Parma, October 2008! We will be surely talking a lot about it next year, as we did this year!

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