“Er papa magna sempre solo – The Pope eats always alone”
Those are the words from a famous poetry by Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli.
Wondering what the roman poet will think about Pope Francesco? Giuseppe Gioacchino Belli lived in the 1800’s. When the Popes where rich and familiar with the sumptuousness of the habits.
With the food storage full of ingredients and wine. The kitchens full of servants worried to serve and revere the representative of God on earth.
From the culinary archive we learnt some episodes, not always edifying samples. It is evident, indeed, the inclination of the papal courts for the pantagruelist banquets. How to forget, as example, the contribution of the German bishop Fugger. Famous for the contribution to the wine appellation of the Est Est Est from Montefiascone.
Est Est Est!!!
It seems to be that, travelling to Rome, he sent a kind of informer forward. The informer was in charge to detect the taverns and inns serving quality wine.
Each good Tavern was indicated with the acronym of Est. Omitting the following term bonum as per iit is good, in other words, here wine is good.
Once reached the village of Montefiascone, nearby Rome, the informer tasted an exceptional wine.
So good to worth the Est for three times.
The Est Est Est from Montefiascone is still today a renowned DOC from Latium region.
Unfortunately, the wine will not be a lucky star for the bishop. Arrived with great expectation to the village, indeed, he drank so much wine to die on the same night.
The great Poet Dante, will save without reverence, a special seat for the Pope in the Group of Gluttons. Pope Martin the Fourth (1281-1285) will die, therefore, for an indigestion. He was a victim of his greediness and of an exceeding meal.
Gluttons till the end.
Clemens the Sixth was elected Pope in 1344.
Celebrated with one of the most pantagruelist banquets of the times. All chefs of the bishops united to cook a triumph of butchering. More than 100 beefs and 1000 moutons, more than 7000 chickens, 300 pikes and over 3000 eggs were cooked in a day.
In 1349 Cardinal Annibaldo Caetani organized a banquet in honour of the Pope. A fountain was used to serve wine, serveral dishes were served with golden silverware. The dessert was served using a couple of trees hanging pastries and candy fruits.
One year later, Annibaldo was sent as a papal delegate to Naples and welcomed with all the honours.
On the way back he stopped to Ceccano city. There he eat so much to die the following night.
The Papal the popular cuisine.
Meanwhile the Pope and the court where enjoying food and wine, Communards where suffering for hunger. Exhausted by epidemic disease, famine and pestilences. Inventing recipes was a need, so they made a virtue of need.
Here it comes the difference between the two culinary styles, once as today, from Papal and popular cuisine.
Poor people were forced to recycle anything possible from the rich people’s leftovers. As well as the scraps from the ingredients of the local markets. This originated a collection of yummi recipes still today beloved by the locals.
Rome’s street food tradition.
Street food was opular in Rome since the ancient times. In late medieval time this tradition was a very important activity for the street vendors in Town too.
Offal, ingredients or directly cooked food were sold in the streets and squares of the city.
According to the season or to religious happenings, vendors used to sell different foods. The narrow alleys of Rome sound of the voices of fish, fruit, spirits and pastries’ vendors.
The milk, instead, was milked directly from the sheep by the shepherds.
The Jewish-roman cuisine.
The thisd pillar of the traditional roman cuisine is, obviously, the Jewish one.
Enclosed in the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, the community of Rome, was even poorest that the rest of the citizens. The Pope creates the Ghetto in the second half of the 1500. Close to the Tiber River along a very insane area.
Among of the numerous restrictions imposed to the Jewish community, some foods were prohibited.
Anyway, once again, the resilient spirit of the people led to the creation of amazing recipes. Some of those are, stil today, gourmet treasures.
How to forget, just as example, the Jewish-style fried artichoke?
Strictly fried in vegetal oil is a milestone of local food tradition.
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