6 Rossetti Giovanni Battista
Dello scalco... Nel quale si contengono le qualità di uno Scalco perfetto..
In Ferrara, Apresso Domenico Mammarello, 1584

Quarto (mm 204x150). Pages [16], 547 [i.e. 549], [3]. Contemporary limp vellum binding. On recto of the first flyleaf manuscript ownership entry: 'Benedetto di Paolo'.

First edition of this famous treatise, a real compendium of all the culinary literature on scalcheria appeared during the sixteenth century. The author, Giovanni Battista Rossetti, was a scalco and  banquets planner at the court of the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso II d'Este. He is remembered in the history of recipes as the creator of the pumpkin tortello. The texts produced by celebrities, such as Rossetti, who worked at the Este court after  Messisbugo, are of great historiographical importance today, as their multidisciplinary preparation provides a cross-section of everyday life, confirming the ease of noble families. In this book, the scalco Rossetti, praises the skill of French and German chefs in the field of food, condiments and sauces, specifying however that much of this they "learned from our Italian cooks", reducing it to "excellent perfection" with the addition of "a new cleanliness.

But who's the Scalco? Dressed in black with a large feathered hat and short sword at his side, he is the skilful director of that composite show that sees the guests sitting at the table in the role of consummate actors and at the same time of attentive spectators. He chooses the arrangement of the serving dishes that will be placed on the tables according to a perfect symmetry of form and content, he coordinates the various combinations, indicates to the carver the order in which the various dishes are to be cut, sets the rhythm of the courses, determines the precedence in the service on the basis of the nobility and rank of the individual guests, coordinates the change of tablecloths and napkins at the end of each service, ensures that the empty serving plates are promptly removed and replaced with others that are always different so that the table conserves a harmonious overall view.

The work also contains a large number of recipes, often innovative and some still in use today. We find here in fact the first references to "pumkins tortelli with  butirro". The ingredients are the same as in the current recipe if it were for the addition of some spices, such as ginger and pepper, which have now fallen into disuse but were particularly popular at the time. In the same recipe book, Rossetti reports the list of dishes served in particular circumstances, such as, for example, the arrival of princes, diplomatic representatives and eminent men hosted by the Duke. From here one can understand how the "Cappellacci di zucca ferraresi" (then also called tortelli), were considered luxury and prestigious preparations, despite the "poor" ingredient of the filling, and in any case worthy of being served at table on official occasions. Cappellacci di zucca' differ from 'Cappelletti bolognesi' or 'Cappelletti modenesi' not only in the composition of the filling but also in the larger size of the shape: hence the origin of the Ferrara dialect term caplaz or tortelloni, with which the people from Ferrara identify the product.



Bitting, 408; Westbury, 193; Vicaire, 752; B.In.G., 1713.

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