Giuseppe Maria Mitelli

Here is a little, probably obscure side note in the world of Mediterranean food. In 1691, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli was Baroque Bologna’s great designer of board games. A failed artist, he became an engraver, and in all engraved some 33 board games, including the fascinating Game of Cocknaige. This game comprised of squares representing the food specialities of different Italian cities. John Dickie in his book Delizia (2008) tells us a little of this game. If you threw a nine, you got the almond biscuits (cantucci)  from Pisa; a fifteen got you the bread from Padua, and a seventeen would get you the nougat from Cremona. If you played the game with three dice, then there were other specialities on the Board which awaited you – a treble two would see you win Milanese tripe; a treble four, provatura, the fresh buffalo-milk cheese of Rome, while a treble six would give you the ultimate prize on the board, represented by two suspended sausages (the mortadella of Bologna) – everything,

The motto on Mitelli’s board read  “Nobody ever loses and everyone always wins in The Game of Cockaigne” an interesting motto for a board game!

Anybody ready for a 2014 version of The Game of Cockaigne????



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