Actually, it wasn’t at all a “mad tea party” – Alice-in-Wonderland style – yesterday evening, the tea party organised by Cristina Ortolani to inaugurate the event “One village – One hundred stories” (see post below).
However, yesterday evening, at 5 pm, an unusual party did take place in the seat of the Province of Pesaro and Urbino (Adele Bei hall), the traditional “tè delle cuoche” (the “cooks tea”).
The cooks were the ones who are going to open their houses to perfect strangers next week-end, cooking local traditional food seasoned with tales of the local tradition.
As a matter of fact, the logo of the event is the “Dirce” (see image on the right): a cook wearing a different hair style and apron each year (this year she got stylish with a vintage decoration on her apron), serving a cake shaped like the old castle of Belvedere Fogliense (the village where the initiative started seven years ago before involving other villages of the Province of Pesaro and Urbino).
What does the logo mean? Dirce symbolizes the gift of hospitality which does not only mean cooking for guests with the soul (one meal is the cook’s soul turned into food, said someone), but it means giving the guest food with a history behind it.
And not just a history, but the history. A food tells a story which needs to be handed on, shared with guests, best if around a table. Every dish tells something. I am thinking right now of the pasticciata (a roast with lard and cloves in tomato sauce).
To me it’s not simply a Christmas time traditional food, but should I serve it to my guests I could not but tell them of my grandmother Pina (Christmas is “nonna Pina” to me), the tomatoes my grandfather Sergio used to buy in Apulia and the little cherry-tomatoes he used to hang on the walls of the upper balcony, the smell of the pasticciata while entering their house, the nearby rail road tracks with trains passing by shaking the window glasses, and on and on.
Anyway, going back to yesterdays’ “tè delle cuoche”, the prize “Dirce of the Year” was assigned to Ida Bartolucci, the real soul of the “Cene in famiglia” (“Dinners at home”).
Guess who’s coming to dinner? – a question that the hosting families could easily ask themselves.
But, as far as the family cooks are concerned, yesterday all of them attended the tea party, presenting themselves with their own creations (cakes, buiscuits and pies) baked – needless to say! – according to family recipes.
In the opening picture: a chocolate and pear cake baked by Ida Bartolucci, the winner of the 2012 edition of the “Dirce fo the Year” prize.
WhereLemonsBlossom could not but be there yesterday. Our exceptional correspondent Walter – food & wine expert at WLB – took part to the evening tea and did some cake-testing (actually he tried all of them… in order to have an overall view, of course…).