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Dining With Mozart: Don Giovanni and the Food

Dining With Mozart: Don Giovanni and the Food

Find out dining habits of the Austrian composer, together with one of his most famous charachters: Don Giovanni's gluttony and passion for food.

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing and playing at the age of five, and by six he was already performing around Europe. He wrote chamber music, symphonies, and grand works such as The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. In late 18th-century society, Mozart imposed himself as an equal among equals, liberating music from a previously “servile” role. At the time, composers and choirmasters could not partake at the table of the Lord who “protected” them, but instead were forced to eat with the servants, because they were considered simply craftsmen rather than artists.

In correspondence from the time, and in a few works as well, there are interesting hints that give us more information about the great musician’s tastes in wine and food. From his letters we learned that he preferred good cutlets, lively Mosella wine, and he had a strong passion for food that he shared with his friend Schikandeder, who inspired his strong interest in the Masons and the esoteric fable The Magic Flute.

A few interesting notes emerge in his works as well. In Don Giovanni, still today one of the most famous of the 18th century, the composer seems to prefer to highlight his protagonist’s passion for food more than his amatory abilities. It is a series of lunches and dinners, feasts and banquets, with rich and sumptuous cuisine in which Don Giovanni's gluttony has free reign. In Cosi fan tutte there is a tasty scene in which the maid Despina prepares hot chocolate for her mistresses, taken by an attack of lover’s melancholy.

Tasked with recommending to you a recipe linked to Mozart, we think the best choice is a dessert, because Viennese cookbooks from the late 18th century focus their attention mostly on the art of pastry. This peculiar feature was not found elsewhere, where sweets were thought of largely as a class dish, but in Vienna it was linked to the need for recipes that abide by the Catholic observance of eating lean.

This story is taken from the book Tacuinum dè Eccellentissimi, ali&no publisher.

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