The 1848 proclamation of the Albertine Statute sent ripples of excitement around Italy, and the Savoys became the point of reference for the much desired unification of the country. To celebrate this fundamental transition and change, an extraordinary procession took place in Turin involving the whole population, glorifying the Sabaudian dynasty. Over the following weeks a banquet was organised in honour of those behind the events of that memorable day.
A moment of celebration in which food served to complement and express this shared sense of community. Preparing and serving the food was Bernardo Trombetta, an esteemed restaurateur in Turin, who devised and presented sumptuous, sophisticated dishes that perfectly complemented the solemnity of the occasion: an elegant, refined turtle soup to start the meal, followed by a rich variety of courses: Certosa di Selvaggina, a terrine brimming with vegetables and game; Punch alla romana – a sorbet based on tea green, the zest and juice of orange and lemon, white sugar and water – as a digestive between courses; Plum Pudding with Rum, prepared with raisins and cooked in a bain-marie; and fatty liver pie, with gelatine providing the body of this opulent recipe.
With only 50 copies printed, the menu thus served as a record of all these dishes, and was beautifully written in Italian back when French was still the official culinary language throughout Europe; but it was also a record of the era and the course and events that were unfurling and taking shape. More than a list of dishes, it is an artistic narrative: the gourmet element is complemented by an illustrated border depicting the main events in the history of Turin and Italy as a whole; iconographically framing the royal lunch within the context of contemporary history and the very events honoured by the banquet.