The official act was signed on October 24th 1965 when the first “Brotherhood of the tortellino” was founded in front of the notary Dr. Gallerani in Bologna. The choice to create a new brotherhood of “gourmets” was stimulated by the diatribes which appeared in the local papers in the 60s in which appeared that some people doubted about the authenticity of the “glory of the Bolognese cooking” and insinuated also some doubts about the origin of the tortellino while Modena claimed the priority. Some of the best known gourmets in Bologna and particularly Giovanni Poggi (an industrialist who used to spend his spare time spreading around the Bolognese cooking tradition) didn't like this situation. Together with a group of friends he created the “brotherhood” and their motto was: “In studio – in mensa – Bononia docet”.
The purpose of the statute was a pure interest in Bologna and its cuisine in particular and in that of Emilia Romagna in general. They wanted to support and disclose the oldest recipes, above all the recipe of the tortellino that is the most authentic image of the Bolognese food and culture.
Among the first “brothers” we number also Giovanni Spadolini who was, at that time, the general manager of the most popular newspaper in Bologna: Il Resto del Carlino.
The “brotherhood” had been very active up until its founder's and its faithful “cantore”: Alessandro Cervellati's death. Cervellati described the tortellino as “a sensual intercourse between woman's attractiveness (it has the shape of a navel) and a gastronomic creation”.
The activity of the brotherhood was very busy but with the death of the two main supporters it started to slow down and as the years went by all the projects and intentions were covered by a layer of dust. That is why a group of friends, all from Bologna, while eating at the Diana's restaurant, decided to give birth again to the “Brotherhood of the tortellino” in order both to contest the rise of fast food, synonym of a big change towards food ,and to fulfill their desire to meet friends and eat together and remember what Giovanni Poggi and the first members had done to cherish the local food. They created, in this way a turning point in the history of the Italian food and tradition. The new foundation was signed on October 31st, 1987 and on June 14th, 1988 they signed the new “Learned Golden Concistory” (22 years after the first official act signed in 1965).
The “brothers” were: Franco Biso, Maurizio Campiverdi, Gianfranco Cavina, Michele Degli Oddi, Ivo Gassetti, Bruno Lamberti e Gaetano Piana.
They decided to have two gastronomic meetings which had to be: “prestigious, of high quality and very well refined”. During these convivial meetings, out of respect for the statute, the tortellino, according to the most genuine tradition, had to be the main course. The new brotherhood not only follows Poggi's and Cervellati's theme but also reacts to the rampant lack of a culinary culture, which proposes aberrant variations such as tortellini poached in cream, clams, sepia or meat sauce. That's why the work of the “learned brotherhood”, considering the decline of our traditions, is extremely necessary and even little changes of the tortellino filling can cause 'learned' discussions.
The proposals of the brotherhood aim at debating all the problems about our cookery tradition and we think that this is a clever and pleasant way to maintain a culture of food.
This is the philosophy of the “learned brotherhood” and of the “Learned Concistory” whose meetings make a thorough study of the traditional values of the Bolognese cuisine.
During these revolutionary years, among dishes overflowing with sauces and dipping, the tortellino is always floating in hot broth in spite of all the fights and succeeds in making modernists and traditionalists come to an understanding.
Do you think that is a small matter?
The “learned brotherhood” takes part both in round tables, meetings and debates about cookery and in special trips and shows. Furthermore, during the social year it organizes a minimum of two convivial dinners in which not only the associates, but also their relatives, friends and authorities can take part.
The Spring meeting has been held for some years at the Saint Martin Castle of Soverzano, which one of the “brothers”: Michelangelo Poletti kindly makes available.