Giuseppe Verdi was born in Busseto, Parma, son of a taverner and a spinstress. From a tender age he showed enormous musical talent. At only 34 years old he achieved international fame as a composer. His operas, Nabucco and Aida among many others, were playing in all theaters and represented by all opera companies.
His culinary habits haven't been disclosed in full. Giuseppe Verdi was pretty reserved and had an obscure and introverted personality.
However, it is known that he had a penchant for the culinary traditions of his land, one of which, the Spalla Cotta di San Secondo. He loved it so much so that he wrote his own recipe and sent it to the Ricordi family.
The composer used to send delicious ham to his friends all over the world from his villa in Sant'Agata.
According to writings and notes from the era, Verdi enjoyed a modest way of life even after he conquered success. He wasn't a great eater and liked the company of healthy and sober men. His biographers point out that he didn't like elaborate meals, yet he valued traditional products and gastronomy, especially those of Emilia-Romagna.
In honor of the 200th year anniversary of his birth, here is the original notes he wrote to the Ricordi family:
"Together with this letter, you will receive a package by train which contains two San Secondo pork shoulders, one for you and for the entire Ricordi family, Pick the one you like and remember these intructions:
First, put it in luke-warm water for two hours to get rid off the salt.
Then, put it in cold water and start heating it up slowly for three hours and a half or four depending on how large it is. To check if it's done use a toothpick to make a hole. If it's easy to make, it means it's cooked.
Last, let it sit in its own broth, then serve it.
Be careful when it's cooking to not let it get either too soft or too hard. "
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