italian opera food  March 2009

“At the table with…”. Historical figures’ favorite recipes from Academia Barilla gastronomic library

Calling all history buffs. Boy, oh boy, do we have something special [...]

Calling all history buffs. Boy, oh boy, do we have something special in store for you!

After scouring the shelves of the Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library in search of information about famous historical figures with a love for Italian food and culture, we have put together a list of stories and recipes guaranteed to whet your appetite.

At the table with...

From Cato the Censor, a Roman statesman and gifted orator, to the lovable Italian comedic actor Totò, our findings span over two millennia of history.

Did you know that Giuseppe Verdi often gave a cooked pork shoulder, or spalla cotta, to his friends as a gift? Or that Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II had a soft spot for candied violets?

Take, for example, the case of Napoleon Bonaparte. As it turns out, this fierce French emperor, ate exactly the same thing, chicken Marengo, after every military victory. This dish was served to him on the battlefield after he defeated the Austrians at Marengo in 1800. Napoleon’s chef assembled the dish using ingredients he took from nearby families and farmers, including chicken, eggs, shrimp and tomatoes. Napoleon liked the dish so much that he demanded that his chef prepare chicken Marengo after every winning battle for then on out.
Chicken Marengo recipe

Are you familiar with the life and career of Enrico Caruso? Caruso – possibly the greatest tenor of all times – born in Naples, but traveled the world performing in all the top opera houses. However, when Caruso returned to Naples to perform at the legendary San Carlo theater, he received harsh criticism for his performance from his fellow Neapolitans.

With a scared ego, Caruso vowed never to return to Naples, except for a plate of bucatini with tomato sauce! For instructions on how to prepare Caruso-style pasta, visit the Academia Barilla website.

To discover more fascinating stories, and recipes, from famous people throughout history, join us “At the table with…

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