From June to September #EATMANTUA at Palazzo Te will be reviving the atmosphere of conviviality that attracted artists and intellectuals from all over Europe to the Renaissance court of the Gonzaga. Now a public space, Palazzo Te will host a contemporary convivium, where food and its preparation will be at the centre of a wider social ritual.
Sponsored and organized at Palazzo Te by Comune di Mantova, Centro Internazionale d’Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te and the Museo Civico di Palazzo Te, the initiative is part of the special events celebrating East Lombardy, European Region of Gastronomy. This prestigious international acknowlegement has prompted a full calendar of events promoting the wonderful heritage of excellent raw materials and quality catering of the East Lombardy areas between Bergamo, Brescia, Cremona and Mantua.
The purpose of the many events is to share with the public a culinary history based on the quality and uniqueness of local traditions. The celebrations will start in June with a round table with international experts and the re-edition of a book of great historical and cultural importance, together with the Festival of traditional Mantuan pastries and cakes, and continue with end-of-summer evenings with themed dinners by the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe, as well as art, music and European chefs who will serve ‘Garden food’ in the Palazzo Te gardens.
The concept behind #EATMANTUA is to recover the value of food and its sharing as fundamental to our encounter with the Other and subsequent building of the community. The tradition began in ancient Greece with the symposium and was repeated through the sumptuous banquets of the Renaissance.
For Mantua food and cuisine have always been part of its identity, the values of its land, and expression of the work and talent of its people; a form of art and reception with a significant history and numerous important figures.
As for music, literature, theatre, art and fashion, Mantuan cooking has made history as one of its greatest forms of creativity.
The historic relationship with land and nature, the capacity to produce the finest raw materials, and the enthralling collection of personal and social histories that nowadays give Mantua and its surrounding area its primacy in the food and wine sector will become public dominion for the local inhabitants, as well as visitors from other parts of Italy and abroad, as part of the #EATMANTUA project.
The event starts with CUCINA MANTOVANA DI PRINCIPI E DI POPOLO/MANTUAN COOKING OF PRINCES AND THE PEOPLE on Friday 23 June at 6 pm in the Cortile d’Onore at Palazzo Te. An expert on Mantuan Renaissance history, Giancarlo Malacarne will present a new edition (Skira) of Cucina Mantovana di Principi e di Popolo, written in 1963 by Gino Brunetti, the pseudonym of don Costante Berselli, a priest and intellectual who survived Dachau.
Taking part at the book launch will be Stefano Baia Curioni, President Centro Internazionale d’Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te, Stefano Benetti, Director Musei Civici and Mattia Palazzi, Mayor of Mantua. This will be followed at 7 pm by the talk La cucina mantovana e l’Europa. Led by gastronaut Davide Paolini, renowned chefs and food experts will compare traditional Mantuan cooking and contemporary food.
Historian Giancarlo Malacarne will take the public on a journey through the evolution of Mantuan cooking through time.
Massimo Montanari, well-known nutritionist, journalist, university lecturer and author of essays translated into various languages, will talk about the relationship between food, economy, culture and identity.
Celebrity chef Gualtiero Marchesi will provide some interesting insights into Italian cooking in the twentieth century.
Antonio Santini from Dal Pescatore – considered by one of the greatest chefs of the twentieth century, Paul Bocuse, to be the best restaurant in the world – will give a talk on contemporary Mantuan cooking, as seen from the kitchen.
Roberta Garibaldi, technical director of East Lombardy, will take a look at the future of local cooking in a European context.
Lastly, Luca Marchini, Italian president of JRE Jeunes Restaurateurs, the association that brings together the best among the youngest representatives of European gourmet food will describe the relationship between the new generation and Italian cooking.
To end the evening a sumptuous feast inspired by recipes from Cucina Mantovana di Principi e di Popolo prepared by the Accademia Gonzaghesca degli Scalchi, and a wide choice of wines from Consorzio Vini Mantovani.
Free entrance throughout the day.
Saturday 24 June FESTIVAL DELLA PASTICCERIA TRADIZIONALE MANTOVANA/ FESTIVAL OF TRADITIONAL MANTUAN SWEET PASTRIES AND CAKES.
From 10 am at the Fruttiere di Palazzo Te Mantuan patisseries will create a feast for the senses, providing a rich buffet of typical local desserts and sweets. Free entrance to the public. Each patisserie will make three typically Mantuan desserts with recipes chosen by Gian Carlo Malacarne, plus one “forgotten sweet”. Skilled pastry masters will reproduce long forgotten nineteenth-century sweets and early twentieth-century sweets, such as the Talismano della Felicità fried cream croquettes, Bocca di Dama almond cake, or even Torta alla Gabinet made with savoy biscuits, macaroons and and spina grape.
Among those taking part in the challenge La Deliziosa, established 50 years ago,Pasticceria Atena of Sabbioneta, creators of Convivium, the dessert invented to represent Ea(s)t Lombardy
At 11 in the Sala Polivalente, a round table on L’Originalità della pasticceria mantovana nella storia della pasticceria italiana, moderator Davide Paolini with: Iginio Massari, maestro and founder of the Academy of Master Italian pastry chefs; Gaetano Martini from Il Cigno restaurant; Carlo Dal Ceré from patisserie La Deliziosa and author Giancarlo Malacarne.
From 26 August to 10 September part two of #EATMANTUA with IL GIARDINO DEI SAPORI.
Street food comes to the garden of the Exedra with some highly original examples to sample of Garden Food
Every weekend JRE Jeunes Restaurateurs chefs will give their own interpretation of local recipes and produce which will be sampled over themed dinners.
All to the accompaniment of music and show cocktail events.
Contemponaneously, the Fruttiere will host a video installation describing the history of food and wine in the city of the Gonzaga, with insights into its major figures – past and present – revealing the creative processes and secrets behind dishes often rightly considered works of art.
The initiative, part of East Lombardy promotions, is sponsored and organized by Comune di Mantova, Centro Internazionale d’Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te and Museo Civico di Palazzo Te, with backing from Camera di Commercio di Mantova and Fondazione Cariverona.