What is the dream of all visitors coming to Italy? It is, of course, to taste the best cuisine in the world, to take in the wonderful smells and colours of fresh, local produce and to enjoy that special moment at a nice restaurant as the sun goes down. But behind all this poetry, there is a very long tradition, a large amount of history (starting from the Romans, but even before them) and the genius of a man who is considered throughout the world as the creator of Italian cuisine.
Imagine a young, tall boy, growing up in a wealthy family, where he had the chance to study and to receive a good education; something reserved only for a limited number of people in the days. Pellegrino Artusi was the beloved son of a grocer, who had 12 sons and daughters. He spent a very cheerful youth between Forlimpopoli (his hometown) and Florence. He had two passions: literature and food. Or better yet, he loved to stay in the kitchen and understand how dishes were prepared. He was passionate about gastronomy, loved good, quality products and simple, tasty dishes.
At his house in Florence, he built a scientific and well-furnished kitchen where he worked with his friend and chef, Francesco Ruffilli, who bought fresh products daily, and his waitress, Marietta Sabatini, to whom is dedicated the Mariette Association, a group of women which know everything about pasta, dough and traditions. Artusi created a new recipe everyday using seasonal products, old family recipes and anything he could get from women he knew and meet along the way. He traveled a lot and this gave him chance to gather many traditional recipes or even those used for years by mothers and grandmothers, preparing lunch and dinner for their families.
Only after each dish was meticulously prepared numerous times and perfect was had, would it be transcribed in his manual, accompanied by reflections and anecdotes told with wit and flawlessly. A treaty of cooking declined to good taste, hygiene, manual dexterity and the economy, in fact, for some recipes, using “leftovers” was also recommended, because in the kitchen nothing should go to waste.
790 recipes. The real patrimony of the Italian way of thinking and preparing food. La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene was the original title of the book published in 1891. The publishing costs were paid by Pellegrino Artusi himself and much to the amazement of all, in 20 years, he had reached 15 editions, Currently the work has been translated into 7 languages and it is in its 130th edition.
The birth town of Mr. Artusi has become the international center for Italian cuisine or better the place where you can find a mixture of Italian culinary tradition. In the center there is a very important cooking school where you learn to make pasta and piadina (a flat bread and the “poor” bread of the Romagna people) and not only. Learn along Michelin starred chefs, all the secrets of well eating. Casa Artusi also has a very rich library about cooking, world cuisine, cooking techniques, special recipes and anything and everything you would ever want to know about well eating.
It is a very small town. From Forlì, an important nearby town, you will immediately find the castle, called the “Rocca” which was build by the Cardinal Egidio Albornoz in 1360. In its courtyard is the Verdi theatre, now a cinema and a nice example of the Liberty Style once to be had in Romagna.
Try to plan a visit in June during the international Feste Artusiane. Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to this small borough for ten days of delicious eating and drinking.
Casa Artusi is a must in this town. For information, please visit their web site, http://www.casartusi.it/en. Private cooking lessons are also available (a minimum number is required).