Cristoforo di Messisbugo
From 1524 to 1548, he served at the courts of Alfonso I and his son Ercole II in Ferrara, where he organized many lavish banquets. Greatly appreciated as a master of ceremonies, he was made count palatine on 20 January 1533 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
His cookbook Banchetti, composizioni di vivande e apparecchio generale, which was published posthumously in 1549, is addressed to those preparing princely feasts and provides detailed descriptions of the menus for his official banquets at the Este court. As well as listing recipes, it also discusses logistics, decor, and cooking equipment. Libro novo nel qual si insegna a far d'ogni sorte di vivanda, attributed to him and published in Venice in 1564, well after his death, is largely a repetition of his recipes in Banchetti. Some of the dishes he described survive today in the Ferrara area.
Beluga sturgeon abounded in the Po River in the 16th century and they were a frequent capture. The first known reference to the preparation of sturgeon caviar in Italy is in Messisbugo's books. He described how to prepare the caviar both to be consumed fresh and to be preserved.
He is buried in the church of the monastery of Sant'Antonio in Polesine.
- Alberto Capatti, Massimo Montanari, Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History, 2003.
- Cristoforo da Messisbugo, Banchetti, composizioni di vivande e apparecchio generale, Ferrare, 1549
- Cristoforo da Messisbugo, Libro novo nel qual si insegna a far d'ogni sorte di vivanda, Venezia, 1564