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Chapter 7 Truffles and Radishes, Food and Wine at the Opera

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2325

ISBN: 978-1-908999-03-0

Published: September 2013

Component type: chapter

Published in: Food and Drink: the cultural context

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2005



“It’s raining truffles, radishes and fennels,” says Sir John Falstaff, the richly humane and deeply funny title character of Giuseppe Verdi’s final masterpiece. While there are many ways that food, wine and other libations have been used in opera, somehow this line best captures both the grandeur and common touch that opera and gastronomy possess. For every rare and fragrant truffle, there are plenty of common but no less essential radishes and fennels, all of which have their metaphorical place in opera and real place in cookery. Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) was probably the most important Italian creative artist since the Renaissance. Not only was he the foremost composer of Italian opera and, for many, the greatest opera composer of all, but he was a knowledgeable gastronome and farmer as well. His most famous operas include tragedies and dramas such as Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Aïda and Otello, but it was in his last work, the human comedy Falstaff, that he achieved his fullest expression of a philosophy that believes ‘All the world is a joke and man is born a clown.’

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  • Fred Plotkin (Author)

For the source title:

  • Donald Sloan, Oxford Brookes University (Editor)

Cite as

Plotkin, 2013

Plotkin, F. (2013) "Chapter 7 Truffles and Radishes, Food and Wine at the Opera" In: Sloan, D. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-908999-03-0-2325


Published in Food and Drink: the cultural context

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