Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Osmiza - An Ancient Food and Cultural event

Pablo tweeted this link to me yesterday, I was curious so clicked it had never heard of the event before and was captivated by the clip, well made and told a wonderful story of ancient food and culture. After a few tweets back and forth I found out he is a talented documentary maker, designer and photographer from Argentina currently in Italy. He followed me on twitter from the twitter suggestion box! I immediately asked if I could add to Chow and Chatter and if he would share something about it. 

"Osmiza is a centennial tradition placed in the border between Italy and Slovenia, on the former austro hungaric empire. A rule from the emperor Franz Joseph II allowed the peasants to sell their wine and cold cuts without taxes for only eight days on their premises. There was only one condition: to put a wranch of Ivy on the door of each Osmiza. In 2012, the tradition adapts and endures, and on the steep and narrow paths of the carsian hills, the best cheeses, cold cuts and wines can be found on these places held for generations".

About me: Pablo Apiolazza is a designer and filmmaker born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He worked most of his life in post-production for TV and film and in the last days as a documentary producer, specially travel docs.
My website is http://www.pabloapiolazza.com.ar

Has anyone else heard of this?

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  1. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That's really interesting Rebecca. Thanks for sharing it. Longstanding regional food traditions like this one need to be celebrated. Otherwise we'll lose them.

  3. Aunt B so true I would love to gate crash it he he

  4. Becca, I checked with a fellow traveler who has been to Slovenia and it turns out Osmica aka Osmice, is an at least two-hundred year old tradition indeed.

    There are those who point to the "right to eights" going back even further to the time of the German Emperor, Charlemagne, (1519-1555). Others say it came down in history citing a written decree from Empress Maria Theresa (1717-1780) in which she gave winemakers permission to sell surplus wine from the prior year in wine shops under a term listed as "frasko" thereby emptying the wine barrels to ready them for the next harvest. Legend has it that sales were tax-free during those eight days.

    The tradition is often mentioned as going back specifically to the Imperial Austro-Hungarian Empire roots through current Slovenian auspices.

    Somehow over time the event evolved to have vineyard owners having the events at their vineyards and to also include more than just selling excess wine as they started selling local dairy products, dried /cured/ multi-processed meat, and home made items of all sorts including bread, cakes, and even boiled dumplings. One might also find pickled cabbage and turnips being sold, along with fried potatoes, and even pork chops. Beyond red and white wine, a vitner might also offer some sort of liqueur perhaps from blueberries and sour cherries, or an herbal speciality, etc.

    Each event even to current times lasts eight days and the events take place throughout the year involving "wine, food and fun" as the Slovenian Tourist Board describes them. http://www.slovenia.info/?osmica=0

    Other sites note that Spring and Fall are the two times a years that the vineyards post the ivy bouquets to identify the locations on roads and crossroads. Months of April and then November are often mentioned as the preferred months when this practice occurs.

    It appears that perhaps Slovenians who relocate to Italy may bring the tradition with them.



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