A taste of European literature

There is no better way to savor good reading of the classics again than through the sense of taste. That’s right!

That’s exactly what was attempted during the third meeting of the reading and book trailers workshop focused on the 5 senses, part of the EU-Read&Art project.

For centuries, food and literature have represented a perfect combination. Hundreds of novel titles refer to some particular food or ingredient in the kitchen, if not totally centered on the sense of taste and its infinite variations.

One of the best-known examples? Marcel Proust’s famous “madeleine”, of course:

Feeling sad about the gloomy day and the prospect of a painful tomorrow, I mechanically brought to my lips a teaspoon of the tea in which I had let a piece of madeleine soak. But as soon as the sip mixed with the crumbs of the pastry touched my palate, I started, attentive to the extraordinary phenomenon that was taking place in me. A delicious pleasure had invaded me, isolated, with no notion of cause. And immediately, the vicissitudes made me indifferent, the setbacks harmless, the brevity of life illusory … I no longer felt mediocre, contingent, mortal. Where could that violent joy come from? I felt it was connected with the taste of tea and madeleine”. 

Our multisensory meeting, this time on the beautiful terrace of Villa Gabriella (home of the Jump – Youth in Re-Salt Association), featured 10 of the most beloved titles in European literature and beyond.

Each book, exactly like a recipe to be guessed all together, was “broken down” into 4 ingredients/clues evocative of the plot, to be fished and shared through colored cards + a 5 clue to be… tasted.

The decisive one to guess title and author.

Each of the participants tried their hand at tasting, recounting the plots of the books they recognized and read or their movie transposition, useful for the realization of upcoming book trailers.


Lastly, as always, a moment of collective reading, which this time could only be about the typical culinary traditions of each European country, starting with the local Calabrian ones, which accompany as a shared ritual the salient moments of communities.


Food and the narrated word, then, as an interesting formative moment of reflection on books, traditions and the pleasure of rediscovering them in company.


Eliana Iorfida



Related Articles