The Gastronomic Library of Academia Barilla | The Italian Food Academy

In May of 2004 Academia Barilla was inaugurated: an international center for promotion, tutelage and development of the art of Italian Gastronomy. At a year of distance, in 2005, Academia Barilla offered to the public an indispensable tool for its mission: the Gastronomic Library of Academia Barilla, a unique collection  of texts on the Art of Gastronomy made available for consultation to scholars and lovers of the topic, with over 14.000 books on the theme of gastronomy and food.

The Library includes a very rich collection of specialized texts on the history of nutrition and gastronomy, with volumes dating from the XVI Century to our days, which is constantly expanded through targeted acquisitions in the field of contemporary publishing, and choice additions to the historical nucleus.

A tool for professional updating, study and research, a “collection of know-how” and a point of reference for the entire national and international community sensitive to the themes of gastronomic tradition and much more, Academia Barilla aims at defending and promoting this patrimony in line with the educational and promotional activities for Italian gastronomy throughout the world.

Lovers of cuisine and gastronomy can have at their disposal over 14.000 volumes, from the XVI Century to our day, subdivided into thousands of theme sections among which we mention, for their thoroughness and variety, the entries of pasta, confectionery, bread, venison, fish, cheese and wine. Specific sections refer to history and culture of food, to the recipe books of great chefs, to the culinary interest of famous people, to dietary issues, to the raw materials of nutrition science and their correct use not to mention the Italian regional cuisine and the international cuisine.
One section comprises historical gastronomy treaties and over 70 specialized publications with almost complete collections of issues.

The Library of Academia keeps an extraordinary collection of 5,000 historical Italian and foreign menus as well, dating from the mid Nineteenth Century to our day, and a surprising collection of engravings on the theme of gastronomy from the 1500s to the 1900s.

These two collections make the library truly unique. As a matter of fact, by crossing the data of the various collection series it is possible not only to find the recipes (which are listed on the menus), but also to discover the effective frequency of use (that is never indicated in books) and to imagine the aspect that the dishes could have had through the various eras from the engravings.

Another specifically documented theme of the Library of Academia Barilla is that relating to the publications of famous chefs, of any “school” or nationality they belong. Culinary art is habitually a ground of cross cultural “contamination” and we know for experience that many specifically Italian dishes are considered a collective patrimony today – pizza and pasta are just the first examples to come to mind – and we know that gastronomy evolves continually and takes 360 degrees inspiration from great Countries and traditions that sometimes are extremely distant. For this reason, Academia has a significant nucleus of books from the main world gastronomic traditions and a collection of books devoted to the gastronomic elaborations of specific chefs who, through time, have contributed to the landscape of international cuisine.

Though, it would be mistaken to think that the Library of Academia was just a sum of recipe books. In truth, a noteworthy and extremely significant space is given to the exploration  of gastronomic culture. That is to say, to the sum of knowledge and taste that Italian history and tradition has collected during the course of centuries. Thus, we can document not only the use of a single ingredient in gastronomy – from salt to anchovies, from asparagus to cheese – but also the historical  practices and reasons for its use, this way contributing to give depth and foundation to the practical activity of food preparation. In summary, the Library narrates our history and by defines our identity through food as well. Thanks to the signing of a special convention with the Library System of the Parma province, the Gastronomic Library is part of the National Library System. This makes it possible for anyone who desires it to consult it easily through the web. It is possible to search by author, title, or by inserting a key word in the dialogue box for free search: all of the works present in the catalog of the Library of Academia will appear and a consultation at the welcoming premises of the library can be scheduled and made, right in the heart of the Barilla Center in the outer limits of the historical center of Parma. The volumes cannot be taken out of premises on lease because of their rarity and since most of them are out of catalog.

For information and visits:
Academia Barilla +39.0521.264060