ANSA – Carnival season in Venice, or Carnevale, draws thick crowds from the world over to revel in an extravaganza whose dreamy, decadent aesthetic recalls the masked balls of old Europe. Carnevale organizers announced Thursday that the theme for the 2015 edition will plunge party-goers in a fittingly venal sin – gluttony – to honour next year’s food-themed world fair in Italy, Milan Expo 2015. The motto of Venice’s Carnevale, which runs January 31 to February 17, is “La festa piu’ goloso del mondo”. The phrase can be translated either as “the most delicious party in the world” or its “most gluttonous”. Given the historic reason for masks during the Venetian festivities – permissiveness that comes with anonymity – the mind wanders both ways. The pleasurable line of thought is inspired the festival’s artistic director since 2010, Davide Rampello, a well known aesthete and intellectual whose expertise in cuisine is as deep as his affinity for show business. Rampello was a key figure in orchestrating the popular appeal of several TV entertainment programmes over the seminal success of Silvio Berlusconi’s channel 5 in the 1980s, and went on to direct “great events” for the Berlusconi family’s Fininvest.
Rampello has also garnered the respect of highbrow culture, as a curator and a critic of fine art as well as a leading figure in major cultural institutions. From 2003 to 2011, he served as chairman of Milan’s Triennale contemporary art and design museum.
He was also editor of two gourmet magazines in the 1990s; and his own highly cultivated home cooking includes antique crockery to resuscitate old, rare dishes.
Finally, Rampello is artistic director of the Zero Pavilion of Expo 2015 – the pavilion at the world fair entrance, which will plunge visitors into the Expo themes of global nutrition, sustainable agriculture and culinary cultures. Thus when cold weather chills the canals of Venice, gastronomically themed parties, performances, shows and open air festivities will fire appetites in a warm up act to Milan Expo, which runs May to October. The great theatre assembled in St.
Mark’s Square will be decked in garlands of vegetables and other culinary splendour. The Arsenale – a storied exhibition centre located in the former shipyards of Venice – will be costumed in scenography that tells of the relationship between the city and food, of its merchants and it great banquets. It will recount the discovery of exotic flavours in the East and their spread from Venice throughout the continent, during the lagoon city’s dominance of European trade with the Levant and beyond.
Food will dominate the traditional Festa Veneziana, a parade of decorated boats launched from the banks of the Cannaregio district, and traditional Venetian dishes served. The tie between food and Carnevale “is natural”, Rampello said, “Because it is the festival of recklessness and the pleasure of food”. Speaking at Thursday’s presentation in Milan, Rampello added,”Food is joy, abundance. But there isn’t the concept of waste, because nothing should be left over”. “We will reiterate the essence of this festival” through this year’s theme, as well as “the relationship of man with food,” Rampello concluded.