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On May 2, 1519, Leonardo da Vinci died. The great Renaissance genius, who left Italy and the world with an immense cultural heritage, is celebrated on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his death in all areas, from science to art, passing through the kitchen.
A true Renaissance man, Vinci was also a cook: he loved cooking and writing original recipes of the time. Following this theme is Cooking Notes of Leonardo da Vinci by Shelagh and Jonathan Routh: a book which inspired Daniel Canzian, chef at the Daniel restaurant in Milan, to create an entire Leonardo-themed menu.
Presented at the last Salone del Mobile, and available throughout 2019 for private events, the culinary journey conceived by Canzian is marked by seven dishes, designed to be made in a finger food version also: recipes that highlight the attitude of Leonardo in the kitchen, in the name of balance, digestibility and anti-waste.
Below are the dishes from the Leonardo da Vinci-inspired menu designed by Daniel Canzian.
Reflections on broth: Citrus and Almond Soup
An entire chapter is dedicated to soups in Leonardo da Vinci's Notes on cooking. Chef Canzian proposes an opening recipe, in line with Leonardo's taste: citrus, versatile, soft and light at the same time. It is suitable for any type of palate.
Lessi Broccoli, Salmerino Eggs and Cream
Attitudes towards ingredients change according to time: if today fish eggs are considered delicacies, at the time of Leonardo they were considered a poor food, usually discarded by the nobility, and left to the less well off. In this dish, a "poor" ingredient of today - broccoli - meets a "poor" ingredient of yesterday.
Uno Spago Mangiabile in Cambio della Mona Lisa
Leonardo was invited to the court of Francis I, king of France, where he spent the last years of his life. According to legend, Leonardo sold the Mona Lisa to the king of France, in order to be allowed to bring his invention - a machine for the "edible twine": a tool for making spaghetti by hand. As a tribute to the Tuscan origins of the Renaissance genius, Canzian has included spaghetti crudaiola on the menu, with zucchini and fresh tomatoes.
Thinly Sliced Veal Loin, Tuna and Cherries
A dish that celebrates Leonardo's creativity with an unusual combination, balancing flavours, between the acidity of cherries and the fat of tuna. In the absence of cherries, when not in season, the recipe can be prepared with rhubarb, as the chef Canzian did in this case.
Meat On Bread
Leonardo's reflections include those on how to combine and eat bread - and meat - at the same time - and with his hands. That's why some consider him the hypothetical inventor of the sandwich. On bread and meat it is a simple dish, which pays homage to Leonardo's intuitions ... in a single bite.
Salai, Leonardo’s adopted son and assistant used to eat eggs in an unusual way, which made an impression on the genius: beaten, seasoned and - probably - cooked afterwards "like polenta". This dish appears on the Leonardo-inspired menu, a dish in his honour.
A classic dessert of the Tuscan tradition, which chef Canzian has reinterpreted from an aesthetic point of view, inspired by the watchwords and taste of Leonardo da Vinci: lightness, simplicity and beauty. Prerogatives as valid today as they were yesterday.