Why is it that when the italians speak of alici or acciughe many people wonder whether or not they mean the same thing? Why is it that Parma, lying in the midst of an inland plain, has the largest industrial district of canned fish specialities in Italy ? How is it that the anchovy, in its path from the sea to the can, passes through the experiences of so many people ?

This book was written to provide the answer to these questions, and also to myself.

First of all alice and acciuga mean the same thing, because they are both anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus). Usage has it that the term acciuga is used when the fish is fresh or salted, while they are called alici when they have been filleted. The story, however, does not end with the etymology of the word, but goes on to trace the tales and experiences of all those people who have built up a craft and an identity on the anchovy, or rather canned anchovies.

My family have always swapped anecdotes and curiosities, but sometimes it was hard to put all the pieces together, because, as often happens, people have their own version of events, based on memories and personal experiences. This book seeks to tell the truth of what I have seen, collected and documented. A truth that comes from historical research but also from my own experiences, as a fourth-generation entrepreneur who wanted to write a story that few really know.

This book was written to satisfy the curiosity of those who want to discover the authentic flavors that are part of our italian culinary heritage, enriched by the sensibility of many people who, with passion, have handed down the pleasure of discovering the best raw materials and making them great, even when what was at stake was a small anchovy

Irene Rizzoli

based on Alice o Acciuga ? edited by Irene Rizzoli

2015 Mondadori Electa  www.librimondadori.it

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