HISTORY OF SEAFOOD AND TODAY´S SEAFOOD FESTIVALSStudents: Hagh Shenas Asieh, Persson Annelie Caroline, Svensson Nika Annie Lovisa, Jolemark Alma Karin Filippa, Zanj Komeil
This period starts with the appearance of the earliest form of writing (5.500 BCE) and ends with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West (476 CE).
These are some examples of seafood and where it was appreciated;
- Conger (Greeks ate the whole even the intestines, but epicureans appreciated only its head)
- Red mullet (very much appreciated by Greeks, considered the most exquisite dish of its delicate cookery. It was most appreciated in spring, grilled over a brazier).
This period is characterized mostly by theocentric which affected also to diet and culinary traditions by imposing fasting periods and forbidding some type of foods.
Below are some seafood recipes from the medieval manuscripts:
The introduction by Arabs and Jews of new cooking methods, the use of novel ingredients from the Orient through Arab voyages and conquests took place at this time. The cookbook that stands out in the Renaissance was Opera dell’Arte del Cucinare (1570) by Bartolomeo Scappi. He was a professional cook that ruled the prominent kitchens of two cardinals and two popes. Opera is a six-volume work that contains not only very accurate, easy-to-follow and novel recipes, but also how, where and when to choose the best ingredients, complete cooking guidelines, description of the hierarchy of cooks, design and procedures of the kitchen.
An example of the beautiful illustrations from Scappi’s cookbook
This period starts with the French Revolution in 1789. At this time the European cuisine was (and up to first half of 20th century) leaded by French haute cuisine. A very influential character in French gastronomy (and worldwide) was Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755–1826). Brillat-Savarin´s book was the first to philosophize and theorize about the value of food.
“In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight”
Fascism ruled for 20 years in Italy (between 1922-1943). During this time a complete map were made with all the regions and their typical local products in Italy. They promoted awareness of local cuisines with books, advertising campaigns, shows and festivals.
A food festival must be based on local products with activities and programs related to food. The purpose of these kind of festivals is to promote local produced food through the experience and tasting of typical local dishes. It’s important for the destination areas to be competitive and offer well managed tourist events that creates memories, but they also need to preserve the genuineness and sense of place.
Food festivals are often related to old local traditions or meaningful events in agriculture or fishing, especially in southern and central Europe. The festivals often include religious rituals to wish the fisherman’s fleet a successful and safe fishing on the great seas. Food events is an important part of the historical identity for Italian communities. There is no defined number of food and wine festivals in Italy, but there are about 50 seafood festivals every year in only the Marche region. The food festival is often arranged by local compounds, private companies, fishermen’s unions, and public institutions. One famous seafood festival located in Camogli is Sagra del pesce. This festival was celebrated for the first time 1952 to celebrate San Fortunato (the patron saint of fisherman). Tourists can by fried fish for a cost of 6 euro, the fish has been fried in a big frying pan, 4 meter in diameter and holds 2000 litters.
In Italy, seafood festivals are hold in coastal cities and lasts for several days. The seafood festivals are focusing to enjoy different dishes based on the events of the local and the chefs’ traditional dishes and products. It has been shown that Italy has a big variety of different wines together with different seafood dishes, which is appreciated by the tourists that participate in the seafood festivals.
Credits: Nika Annie Lovisa Svensson.
INTERVIEW WITH chef Marco Bravetti, from Venice
Through the interview with Marco, an owner of a catering business, we got some information about different fishes. Marco explained that there is some difference between local fishes in the lagoon of Venice, and fishes from the Adriatic Sea because of the two different environments. He tells us that there are still a lot of fishes in the lagoon since the summer has been so long due to the high temperature. Spices that can be found are different kinds of mussels, sardines, mackerel and other types of fatty fishes that are typical for the lagoon. The most common is the blue crab that is an invasive species in the lagoon.
Seafood is something that has a great impact on Italian cuisine, Marco explains. Especially in Venice which has a cuisine strongly connected to the ocean and sea culture. The fish farms had a breakthrough in the second half of the last century which also affected the use of fish in Italian cuisine. Many typical dishes such as spaghetti can be combined with for example mussels. Also, in the northern part of Italy, it is more common to use rice, as risotto, instead of pasta compared with the southern parts of the country, says Marco.
Pérez-Lloréns, J. L., Acosta, Y., & Brun, F. G. (2021). “Seafood in Mediterranean countries: A culinary journey through history”. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 26, 100437.
Pizzichini, L., Andersson, T. D., & Gregori, G. L. (2021). “Seafood festivals for local development in Italy and Sweden”. British Food Journal.
Italyscapes (2019). ’’Sagra del Pesce 2019’’. https://www.italyscapes.com/events/liguria/camogli/gastronomy/sagra-del-pesce-2019/#:~:text=Sagra%20del%20Pesce%20%28Fish%20Festival%29%20is%20a%20popular,on%20the%20second%20Sunday%20of%20May%2C%20in%20Camogli. [2022-11-18]