A taste of Italy : Italian businesses and the culinary delicacies of Georgian London
Riello, Giorgio. (2006) A taste of Italy : Italian businesses and the culinary delicacies of Georgian London. The London Journal, Vol.31 (No.2). pp. 201-222. ISSN 03058034Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/174963206X113179
The eighteenth century was a period of formidable economic and cultural achievement for Britain. The 'polite and commercial society' of Georgian Britain — as it has been defined by a well-known historian — was heavily influenced by foreign styles, fashions and consumer goods. Little, however, is known about the role played by Italy in shaping eighteenth-century English material culture. This article examines the consumption of foreign delicacies sold in eighteenth-century London by shops called — 'Italian warehouses'. These were high-class shops that specialized in selling all sorts of products from southern Europe. They were initially owned by Italians. The autobiography of the Tuscan Filippo Mazzei (1730–1816), owner of an Italian warehouse in Bond Street between 1764 and 1772, allows us to reconstruct the international network of a restricted commercial community, thus offering a unique portrait of London retailing and consumers' tastes in the late eighteenth century. It highlights in particular the complex connections between the world of consumption, the high forms of Italian culture, such as literature and music, and the economic interests of British and Italians alike. Italian shop owners were more interested in profiting from their peculiar social and cultural position rather than creating a sense of bonding with their compatriots. This explains why they did not produce a culinary tradition. By the early nineteenth century, their market was dominated by British shopkeepers selling all sorts of products. It was only after 1860 that Italian food re-emerged in London's culinary scene, obliterating the eighteenth-century world of the Italian warehouses.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||D History General and Old World > D History (General)|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Arts > History|
|Journal or Publication Title:||The London Journal|
|Page Range:||pp. 201-222|
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