The great Pesaro-born composer Gioachino Rossini was a sophisticated gourmet. He had haute cuisine in his veins, together with music. He acquired his sophisticated tastes during his long stay in Paris, from 1824 to 1836, when he was the acclaimed director of the Théâtre Italien. In those years he was pleasantly caught up in the cultural debate on gastronomy, which in those days delighted many intellectuals and led to masterpieces like The Physiology of Taste, by the magistrate Brillat-Savarin, The Great Dictionary of Cuisine by the elder Dumas, and the Manuel des Amphitryons (the “Hosts’ Manual”) by the extremely wealthy but debarred lawyer Grimod de la Reynière, who also wrote the first gourmet’s vademecum, the Almanach des Gourmands, a guide to Paris restaurants.
Most importantly, at the home of the Rothschilds, Rossini met the legendary Antonin Carême, and he was introduced to sublime cooking by this exquisite architect of haute cuisine, who was also the author of The Art of French Cuisine, and the two became lifelong friends. Rossini thus became a highly accomplished cook, creating such delicacies as “Cannelloni alla Rossini”, which he liked to have served at his “musical Saturdays”, to which he invited illustrious personalities for the most exquisite and elegant dinners.
Partly as a tribute to the Rothschild family, who were often guests at the hotel, the restaurant of the Hotel Vittoria in Pesaro still offers the composer’s stunning recipes and the delicacies he was particularly fond of, and which were the result of meticulous research. The hotel appears in the most eminent guides and partly owes its fame to its impeccable rendering of Rossini’s specialities.
In the photos:
The renowned “Spaghetti alla Scala”, a fairly simple recipe, but enhanced with the exquisite taste of white truffles from nearby Acqualunga;
Known in France as “Macaroni de Rossini” and in Italy as “Cannelloni alla Rossini”. It is said that “With his chubby hand, Rossini chose a silver syringe, filled it with truffle purée and patiently injected the incomparable sauce into each roll of pasta”.
This was one of Rossini’s favourite desserts in his later life, and he liked to refer to it as a “péché de vieillesse”.
Oxtail consommé with truffle, made by cooking the special stock on a very low heat for three hours and then, as a final touch, adding a dash of Madeira.
A “Gioachino”, a delicious little chocolate based on Gianduia and truffle, with gold dusting and the initial of the famous composer Gioachino Rossini: a delicate creation that takes from the refined tastes and recipes of the great musician.