Divine green silence: synaesthesia and its role in wine tasting

blake illustration dante inferno

Above: William Blake’s depiction of Dante and Virgil heading toward the “dark wood” where “the sun is silent.” Image via BlakeArchive.org.

When Paolo Cantele told me that he and his family planned to call iSensi, their new cooking and wine tasting school, a “synaesthesia laboratory,” I wrote him back telling him he was crazy.

After all, few wine lovers and even fewer consumers in general know what synaesthesia is: it’s a literary figure whereby one of human senses is described by using another.

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Critical theory meets downhome cooking at iSensi, Cantele’s new cooking school

wine tasting puglia

When Paolo Cantele first started sending me passages to translate for a new website he was working on, I was nonplussed.

What could Murakami Haruki, Pina Bausch, Peter Greenaway, and Vivian Maier have to do with Cantele and Pugliese wine?

The texts — authored by a Pugliese professor of critical theory and inspired by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries — were to appear on the website for Cantele’s new cooking and wine tasting school and restaurant, iSensi.

At every turn of our friendship and working relationship, Paolo has thrilled me with his ability to fuse his intellectual curiosity with his role as his family’s marketing director.

And I shouldn’t be surprised that he surprised me again.

cooking school puglia

I haven’t had a chance to visit iSensi yet but from what I see and read online, it’s the latest expression of Paolo’s mission to combine his family’s high sense of style with the native flavors and aromas of their beloved Salento peninsula. Where so many tour operators have focused on the rustic character of Pugliese cuisine and viticulture, Paolo and his team have chosen instead to contextualize the materia prima within an intellectual framework.

Excuse the paronomasia amphiboly, but, as the Italians say, it’s pane per i miei denti (my kind of bread, in other words, right up my alley).

I can’t wait to get there in the fall when I return to Italy…

Here’s the site with my translations of Paolo’s critical reflections.

Maybe Paolo will let me do a guest lecture on post-modern Italian literature and wine (hint, hint!).

Jeremy Parzen
webmaster

iSensi a food and wine school inspired (in part) by Erik Satie

From the iSensi website:

What is iSensi? Perhaps a collection of performances and inspirations. If these performances were music, they would be a wandering score by Erik Satie, the most oneiric composer of his time. Most of those were performances for the soul.

Click here to learn more…

erik satie

Image via Wiki Commons.