The court of 'monzù'

By a happy idea of Franco Santasilia of Torpino, it is published, in these days "I primi, 35 ricette ispirate alla cucina di corte napoletana” (The first courses, 35 recipes inspired by the cuisine of the Neapolitan court); an interesting collection of recipes of which was gradually losing the memory in recent decades.

The starting point of this edition is the influence of the French court in the Neapolitan cuisine in the years between 1680 and 1715.

Marie-Antonin Carême fixed the date of the Treaty of Utrecht, in the official change moment of taste on the tables of Naples.

Nicknamed for centuries 'mangiaverdure'(vegetables eaters), the Neapolitans discover, between the '600 and' 700 the taste and the ability to feed the masses with the pasta from Sicily makes his entrance in Naples.

Greeted kindly by the people of Naples, replacing the old nickname dedicated to this people with the new 'mangiamaccheroni'(macaroni eaters), pasta sees in the presence of the French court his most sumptuous and rich use.

The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies becomes the crossroads of new flavors, steeped in sauces and elegant crockery.

It is an example the 'timbale of anelletti by Maria Sofia', still very common in Sicily but not only: the same modern foodies such as tuna and green beans are transformed, in the kitchens direct by 'Monzù' in delicious and fine mousse.

Thus takes place a total change in the kitchen also plays an important role in social, official and unofficial.

But who were the Monzù? We must know that, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were so called chefs of the court and, this dialect terms was to be created by the transformation of the word 'monsieur' with which were called the chefs of French haute cuisine.

The 'Frenchify' title was a way to emphasize excellence and give more credit and respect to those chefs.

But the Neapolitan cuisine appeared now 'soaked' of French culture in all its aspects and so, other dishes typical Neapolitan took French name: the ragù, the gattò (gateau) , the crocché (croquettes).

A kitchen though, so succulent and rich in fat could not be sustained for long time with the rhythms of modern life that, it went slowly into disuse.

It, however, retains the charm and the ability to recreate, for a special occasion, a moment of magic that brings sharing our table, even for a fun evening convivial, to the court of 'Monzù'.

Finally, we present a delicious taste, according to the recipe we received, the 'Baked timbale of anelletti'. Enjoy your meal!

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