Nonino Risit d'Aur Prize 1999

Nicola Barile and Nunzio Minivaggi

With the 1998 edition the Nonino Risit d’Aur Prize has resumed the motivations of its birth, to reaffirm the millennial values of rustic civilization.

After awarding last year a cheese producer and a salami seller from Friuli, this year the Jury of the Nonino Risit d’Aur Prize has thought of exploring another field of food: BREAD, the most common type of food, indispensable and irreplaceable; the more as in many languages it has become the synonym of food, conquest, prize, and the result of efforts; but also the symbol of sunlight, of the fecundation of the ground, of life that always rises again, of cohabitation of the human and the plants. Through the figures in which it is cooked it has taken up many symbols. Every population, every region has its own way of making it; even if the primary product is always the same: flour, salt, water and yeast.

Italy, in this story of bread has no other similar production as concerns the variety of tastes and fantasy. We have had in front so many types of bread that to make our choice we have felt the lack of Piero Camporesi who would have been of great help in this field.

We have focused our attention on Puglia.

Altamura in the Murge seems to be a town born to produce bread since ancient times: it has a fertile plain suitable to grow wheat as no other place, the sea for the salt, the gullies with springs of excellent water, dry “ditches” where to preserve the cereals, an altitude where the air is always pure. To these natural gifts we have to add the passion of the bakers, the way of working the flour and the mixture, the raising and the brick ovens. The bread of Altamura, born in this way, has become rightly famous.

For the 1999 edition, the Jury of the Nonino Risit d’Aur Prize, presided by Mario Rigoni Stern and composed by Ulderico Bernardi, Antonio Calò and Giannola Nonino secretary, awards the Bread of Altamura symbolically in the person of Nicola Barile, 85 years old, the oldest baker who represents the tradition, and Nunzio Ninivaggi, 26 years old, the youngest, who making bread following traditional criteria and using a wood oven, inspired to ancient technologies, represents the hope.

The prize is delivered by Mario Rigoni Stern.