Posts tagged #Fireworks

Easter Dove Shaped Bread Marks a Flaming End to Lent in Florence Italy

No one, but no one, celebrate Easter like the citizens of Florence, Italy.

In a tradition that's centuries old, teams of white oxen, bedecked in flowers (after all, the word Florence literally means the “City of Flowers”) draw a massive and mysterious 30 foot wooden structure, which is over 500 years old, through the cobblestone streets.

This Easter tradition honors Pazzino de’ Pazzi, who in 1097 was the first soldier to scale the walls of Jerusalem during the First Crusade. (Hopefully in more modern times, we will be more mature as citizens of a mutually shared planet and not hurl rocks and stones at each other.) 

But in 1097, Pazzino was climbing the Holy City’s walls and was later given three fire-striking flint stones from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as a reward for his achievement, which considering their source, made them holy relics in the 11th  century.

Being a citizen of Florence, Pazzino placed the newly acquired relics, on returning to his beloved City State, in the care of the Church, what has honored them ever since on Easter morning.

Then as now, when the tall antique tower reaches the Piazza del Duomo, a Mass Pasqua will have just been completed. With its arrival, the real fun begins in what the Florentines call the Festival of Scoppio del Carro.

A long fuse wire will have been attached from the Duomo's high altar to the elaborate wooden tower outside. A dove, symbolizing the hope for peace and harmony, is then ignited at the altar and, with fire and sparkles, shoots down the length of the Cathedral towards the outside tower.

The flaming dove then flies into the tower, which is affectionately called “the cart” by the Florentines, to the delight of thousands gathered outside. Inside the wooden structure are hidden fireworks, which then ignite and shoot off to the cheers of the citizens, Everyone is grateful that the dietary limitations of the Lenten season are finally over as the flaming dove flies back to the Cathedral altar.

And how do the Florentine citizens celebrate their new freedom to dine without restraints? Why, with a slice of Florence's famed Colomba dove shaped Colomba bread.

And while many might say, this legendary loaf is only vaguely bird-shaped, the Florentines might reply,

"Don't worry. Life, like the flaming dove of the Cathedral, shoots by all too quickly. The outlines of one’s life don't matter all that much - as long as we have the courage to truly savor the elegant contents of both the loaf and life itself!"

Happy Easter! May your life always be full of flavor!

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2013

How to Make 2012 an Exceptionally Great Year

From Sydney to Paris the new year will soon roll in upon us. And while many of us within the Hospitality Industry are at this point a bit weary (to say the least) of holiday cheer, now is a good time to step back and think of our goals (and dreams) for the coming year, a year we all want to be exceptional.

Perhaps no one captures how to actually achieve that better than the staff at Absolut Vodka in their stunning "Anthem" video which takes items of the everyday and, in the hands of the gifted, turns them into art and meaning.

Likewise the members of our Industry do the same every day with our day-in day-out tasks.  We take items common to us all - food, lodging, rest - and with skill turn them into the art of expression and experience.

And when we choose to add our perceptive insights, our unique take on it all, well, the result is both exceptional and unforgettable - just like a glass of fine wine or a sip of classic vodka, both well worth the effort and the price.

May 2012 Be the Best Year Ever!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011