40th year of the
12 Apostoli Prize
In homes in Verona, when you ask what's for dinner, you hear people shouting loudly from the other room: "Quel che ghè" or, loosely translated, whatever is in the fridge. Here, this evening, dinner will be like that, it will be nice to feel at home. With an apron tied at the waist, the mother, wife or grandmother, with a ladle in hand, answers "Whatever there is," but providing her family with the best: genuine, nutritious and seasonal dishes prepared with that family warmth, an extra value added to every dish and not to be found even in the most well-stocked supermarkets.
Now, that we have taken care of the menu, I want to tell you how the 12 Apostoli Prize came into being in 1968. Chef Giorgio Gioco loved riding motorcycles and gathered a band of friends together for a trip to Cortina d'Ampezzo to visit a handful of Italian writers and journalists: Cesare Marchi, Indro Montanelli, Giulio Nascimbeni, and Enzo Biagi. The men would walk through the mountain forests and fields, while fresh ideas would rush like the water of alpine streams. At the end of the mid-summer day, the group named themselves the “Lords of the Pen” with the new idea of creating a literature prize.
Following the first edition of the 12 Apostoli prize, the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera dedicated an article to the winner, Nantas Salvalaggio, and to the event itself, calling it an “anti-prize” as money wasn’t being awarded but it was rich in that “human factor” that made it special. Scrolling through the names of the winners of the previous editions, one comes to understand that you can write a beautiful page of Italian history sitting around a table. As a matter of fact, a common saying in Verona is prediche curte e taiadele longhe or “short sermons and long tagliatelle,” a reference to just how much they enjoy eating. The Veronese conception of dining is to make yourself comfortable, unfold your napkin and get to the table ... “whatever there is.”
- Chef Mauro Buffo, hosts Gioco family *