Giuseppe Verdi's passion for cooking and good food stems from his homeland, and, more specifically, the plain of Piacenza and Parma. Rich and generous lands that today are renowned for some of the most popular foods in Italy, today just as famous as the Maestro, even outside the national borders.
Giuseppe Verdi was a true lover of this richness, both represented either by simple dishes and produce and much sought home made-preparations, such as Culatello di Zibello
, Grana Padano cheese
, Parma ham
and the three Piacenza PDO cold cuts (Coppa
and Pancetta Piacentina
Testifying to the interest Verdi had for good food are the many letters written by him and his lifelong companion Giuseppina Strepponi, relating recipes and kitchen anecdotes. Among the products most loved in the Verdi household was the Spalla cotta di San Secondo
, a little masterpiece of salami making also served in the tavern of the Maestro's family of origin.
Like a real Ambassador of the values of his land, from Villa Agata Verdi habitually sent to his friends delicatessen products and cheese. In his residencies the organized convivial dinners where typical Emilian products and genuine cuisine were never missing. He, in fact, preferred his simple and traditional recipes to the sumptuous dishes served in famous restaurants that due to business he often had to attend.
Great chefs dedicated dishes to him, such as the French chef Henry-Paul Pellaprat (1869- 1952) who dedicated to the Maestro a risotto with mushrooms, asparagus and cooked ham. Among the recipes inspired by Verdi is that of spaghetti alla Traviata, a tasty dish of patriotic colors with tomatoes and fresh basil.
We propose a few recipes, faithfully copied from the volume “La cucina di Verdi” by A. Grignaffini, G. P. Minardi, C. Mingardi, M. Rinaldi Cianti, R. Rocchetta Valesi, Editoriale Giorgio Mondadori, (Corsico-MI) 2003 and a fine taste of that traditional and popular culture so beloved by Verdi.