SCA Feast Design With an Italian Flavor

Taken from class notes presented at the Middle Kingdom Culinary Collegium on Dec 4th 2004 by Helewyse de Birkestad, OL.
Please feel free to use this work to help plan your next Italian feast.
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The Italian feast is one that lends itself to feast design within the SCA. The courses or services are divided into cold courses, which are pre-prepared and served from a "credenza" or sideboard, and a hot course that is served from the kitchen. After taking this class you should have an understanding of how an Italian menu was constructed and how this can be used to your advantage in feast planning.

The class is based almost exclusively on the work of Barlolomeo Scappi, the personal cook of pope Pius V (1566-1572).  He is responsible for writing the most comprehensive cookbook associated with the Renaissance.  This book includes 281 meat day recipes, 286 lean day recipes, over 100 menus, 237 pie and pastry recipes, and a section of recipes for the invalid with an additional 218 recipes.  It is the “Joy of cooking” for the Italian Renaissance, covering everything from choosing staff, stocking the kitchen, kitchen layout, menu design, seasonality of food, and recipes.

The meals are split essentially into three services. The first and last service or course is from the credenza, essentially a sideboard or cupboard that was kept stocked with cold less perishable foods.  The middle services were from the kitchen and consisted of hot and sometimes cold food.

The Credenza
A sideboard, essentially a cupboard containing pre-prepared food, served cold.  Here is a picture of a credenza from Scappi.

The Menu
Translations of menus from the month of October are on a separate web page here.  There is also a breakdown on what is served when available as an excel file.  To get this file you will have to email me as I can't figure out how to get an excel file to download to a webpage without losing all the formatting.  If you have a suggestion on how to do this I'd love to hear it.  Update: I've tried to upload it and link it, here
Of interest common items are:
First course from the credenza: at lunch biscotti, breads, cakes and pastry type items, at dinner salad,
First course from the kitchen: roasted meats
Second course from the kitchen: stewed, braised meats
Second course from the credenza: always apples and pears, snow, wafers, sweet pies, some form of vegetable (cardoon, truffles), cheese.

Advantages of having two cold courses
Anything served cold can be made in advance.  Often most expensive dishes (cheese) left till end of meal, therefore less needed. Salads can be made of many vegetables (and were in period) easy to hold and serve. Pies and tarts can be made in advance and dished at service.
Time delays: if it’s already cooked it can’t spoil, overcook, or go cold, perfect for late feasts.
Menu can easily be adapted to all cold service such as for a vigil luncheon.

Three menus following the Italian design

 Yule Feast 2002
First service from the sideboard:
Biscotti, flavored with fennel seeds or coriander seeds (two varieties)
Sausage cooked in wine, served cold and sliced
Assorted fresh grapes
Cheese stuffed ravioli served hot dressed with olive oil and grated cheese and cinnamon
For the top table a marzepan subtlety
First and last service from the kitchen:
Chickens stuffed with cheese and eggs, roasted
Agliata, garlic sauce
Grilled beef kebabs
Pomegranate and lemon juice sauce
Bread served with rosemary flavored olive oil
Fresh peas fried in butter
Onions and leeks for lenten days (cooked in almond broth)
For the top table a bread subtlety
Second and last service from the side board:
Slices of Italian cheese (asiago, provolone)
Fresh apples and pears served sliced
Royal white tart as served to Pope Julio III
Chestnuts, roasted served with sugar, salt and pepper
For the top table a subtlety
Levata la tovaglia, Raise the table:
Candied Fennel seeds
Two types of scented toothpicks, either rosewater or mint tea.
Served to the top table: Espresso coffee a new import from Arabic lands.
Da bere, to drink
Lemon syrup drink (a little like lemonade)
Pomegranate syrup drink.

Yule Feast 2003
Primo Servitio di Credenza                                                  First service from the Sideboard.
Biscotti alla Milanese                                                             Milan style Biscotti
Uva fresca                                                                             Fresh grapes
Insalata misto                                                                         Mixed green salad
Prosciutto cott’in vino                                                            Ham cooked in red wine
Insalata di cipolle                                                                   Roast onion salad
Salmone affumicato                                                               Smoked Salmon
Torta d’herbe alla Lombarda                                                 Lombard style herb tart
Pane e oglio                                                                          Bread and oil
Olive verde                                                                           Green olives
Primo Servitio di Cucina                                                    First Service from the Kitchen
Pollanche d’India arrostitie                                                   Roasted Turkey
Maccaroni alla Romanesca                                                  Roman style Maccaroni
Agliata                                                                                 Roast garlic sauce
Minestra di carote                                                               Dish of carrots
Secondo Servitio di Cucina                                              Second Service from the Kitchen
Lombo di boue arrostito                                                     Roast beef loin
Salsa di sugo di pome granati & limoncelli                           Lemon and pomegranate sauce
Minestra di riso con oglio et zaffarano                                 Dish of rice with oil and saffron
Minestra di Broccoli asciutti                                               Dry dish of broccoli
Secondo Servitio di Credenza                                         Second Service from the Sideboard
Suppa di pere                                                                   Pears cooked in wine
Pasta sfogliata                                                                   Layered pastry
Cialdoni                                                                            Wafers
Neve di latte                                                                      A dish of snow
Crostate di Mele                                                                Apple pie
Torta bianca con fiore di sambuca                                     Elderflower scented cheesecake
Cascio                                                                              Cheese
A finire                                                                            To finish
Finnocchio dolce verde mondo il gambo                           Green fennel
Stecchi in piatti con acqua rosa                                        Toothpicks in plates with rose water
Conditi, & confettioni a beneplacito                                 Candies and comfits to ones choice
Feast for the Tournament of Chivalry, April 2004
Primo Servitio di Credenza                                                       First service from the Sideboard.
Mostaccioli alla Milanese                                                             Milan style Biscotti
Uva fresca                                                                                   Fresh grapes
Insalata misto                                                                               Mixed green salad
Polli arrostite                                                                                Roast chickens
Salza di sugo di pome granati et limoncelli                                     Sauce of pomegranate and lemon
Insalata di sparagi                                                                        Asparagus salad
Torta d’herbe alla Lombarda                                                       Lombard style herb tart
Olive verde                                                                                 Green olives
Pane e oglio                                                                                Bread and oil
(On Table throughout meal)

Primo Servitio di Cucina                                                          First Service from the Kitchen
Schiena di porco arrostito                                                          Roasted Pork Shoulder
Cipolle cotto con il arrosto                                                          Onions cooked with the roast
Maccaroni alla Romanesca                                                          Roman style Macaroni
Salza di visciole                                                                           Sour cherry sauce
Minestra di carote                                                                       Dish of carrots

Secondo Servitio di Cucina                                                       Second Service from the Kitchen
Stufare del boue                                                                          Stewed beef
Minestra di riso con oglio et zaffarano                                          Dish of rice with oil and saffron
Minestra di Broccoli asciutti                                                         Dry dish of broccoli
Minestra di Fonghi                                                                       Braised mushrooms

Secondo Servitio di Credenza                                                    Second Service from the Sideboard
Suppa di pere                                                                              Pears cooked in wine
Pasta sfogliata                                                                              Layered pastry
Neve di latte                                                                                A dish of snow
Torta bianca                                                                                Ginger flavored cheesecake
Cascio                                                                                         Cheese
Sorbetti di aranche et fiore                                                           Sherbet with orange and orange flower water

A finire                                                                                       To finish
Finnocchio dolce verde mondo il gambo                                      Green fennel
Stecchi in piatti con acqua rosa                                                    Toothpicks in plates with rose water
Conditi, & confettioni a beneplacito                                             Candies and comfits to ones choice