St. Martin’s Day, the Feast of Agriculture
St. Martin’s Day is not only the feast that marks the end of the agricultural year, but it is also an important feast for the Venetians, who have even dedicated a church to it in the city, in the Castello district, not far from the Venice Arsenal . Let’s discover together the anecdotes that lie behind this festival and the particularities that bind it to the world of wine.
The feast of St. Martin is celebrated on November 11, the date of the burial of St. Martin of Tours, known for having been bishop of the French city.
In the agricultural world, the feast of San Martino is linked to tradition, according to which, in this period of broach barrels the new vintage wine (hence the saying “In Saint Martin every must becomes wine”). It is in fact an opportunity to meet and celebrate in which toast, enjoying wine, accompanied by roasted chestnuts.
Also according to tradition, on this date, there is the term of the agricultural year just passed, the day from which, there are payments for agricultural productions, as well as the renewal of agricultural contracts, since the fields are usually free from cultivation, without winter coming.
Furthermore, November 11 is the time of the year when there are animal sales for agricultural farming.
In this period the so-called “summer of Saint Martin” comes true, that is a partial return of the summer heat, tribute, according to the Christianity of the grace of Saint Martin, who gave his mantle to a beggar. This gesture of charity led the sky to lighten in successive moments with the sun high in the sky, with the mildest temperatures.
The Feast of Saint Martin into the popular culture
In addition to the aforementioned “in San Martino, each must becomes wine”, there are others, including: “those who want to make good wine, hoes and pots in Saint Martin” (considering the climatic differences, it is good practice to hoe the soil and pruning starting from 11 November, the moment when the first cold starts, but not excessive, until they hatch, starting from March-April; “Geese, chestnuts and wine, get all for Saint Martin”, since when the advent began in November, it took advantage of this date for the last meals and abundant drinks).
The saint is also the protector of wine tasters, winemakers, harvesters and hosts.
The link with Venice
In the city of Venice, but more generally throughout the province, it is popular to prepare the dessert of Saint Martin, or a sweet shortbread with the shape of the Saint with a sword on horseback, decorated with egg white glaze and sugar , covered with sugared almonds and candies.
It is customary for children during this holiday to go around the city singing good wishes, passing through houses and shops, where they play pans and makeshift instruments, ask for sweets or a few coins.
A curiosity: in the ancient Basilica of Saint Mary Assunta in Torcello, Saint Martin is depicted in the mosaic of the 4 great Doctors of the Church with Ambrogio, Agostino and Gregorio Magno instead of Jerome.
The recipe of the day
The history of Saint Martin is connected to the geese, according to which, not wanting to become a bishop, he hid himself in a stable where there were geese, which however began to make noise and made him reveal to the population that he was looking for.
In Venice, a seaside city, it is also customary to taste a grilled fish dish or a risotto with vegetables, as well as during snacks, taste the typical Saint Martin biscuit (preview image).
The pairing with the DOC Venezia wine
The wine that can be paired with this dish is Chardonnay DOC Venezia, a white wine with an intense straw yellow color, golden reflections and warm and intense brightness. The nose shows hints of banana, peach and pineapple, on a mineral background and memories of wild flowers. In the mouth it is enveloping, elegant, well balanced between softness and freshness and with a contained flavor. It speaks of the lands in which it is cultivated, caressed by the sun and the breeze that comes from the nearby sea.
Preview image taken from ThinkDonna.it (www.thinkdonna.it)