Discover the event Tavole di San Giuseppe: Three days of appointments with culture, music and food and wine.
Appointment with one of the most suggestive traditions of Puglia: the Tavole di San Giuseppe, or three days of celebration in Minervino di Lecce, Cocumola and Specchia Gallone, from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 March, in homage to the ancient anniversary of the day dedicated to the father of Jesus, which falls precisely on March 19th.
"Divine villages among saints, fairy tales and megaliths": this is the name of the appointment this year.
The tradition of the Tavole di San Giuseppe (or Tables of San Giuseppe) is in fact ancient and originates from the habit of the more affluent families of the town of offering their less fortunate fellow citizens the pleasure of a laden table, at least for one day. But also from the custom, for the less wealthy, of ideally entrusting themselves to St. Joseph, with this offer of food, to obtain protection. The feast of San Giuseppe was and is therefore for Minervino di Lecce and its two hamlets an opportunity to strengthen the spirit of community: a tradition that the small town a few kilometers from the sea of Otranto has never lost.
Since time immemorial, therefore, for the feast of San Giuseppe, the Tables have been staged in the Minervino area, which require the preparation of as many as 169 dishes, exactly 13 dishes for each of the 13 saints present.
All foods are part of the gastronomic tradition of Salento, an expression of seasonality: the inevitable fresh durum wheat pasta with chickpeas and cabbage, which in the local dialect is known as massa and in the hamlet of Cocumola it becomes vermiceddri, but there are also lampascioni sotto 'oil - to represent the imminent transition from winter to spring - and again pittule, boiled vegetables, cod, fried fish and much more.
The same specialties that are prepared and set up on the laden tables of many houses in Minervino and offered to the view of visitors, who can thus hear from the voice of the Minervinos themselves an ancient tradition dictated by religious devotion and the Christian virtue of charity. A "sacred" representation that reaches its climax on 19 March, when the "Tavola dei 13 Santi" (or Table of 13 Saints) is set up in the village, in which personalities from the world of politics, business and journalism from Puglia go to represent the guests at with traditional dishes.
Dishes that can be tasted at the food and wine stands set up for the festival, which this year is renewed thanks to a three-day format created by the Mercatino del Gusto thanks to which, for four years, they will try to expand the audience of pilgrims, visitors and tourists with an accurate narration of tradition, sense of community, food culture. And to seasonally adjust tourism, enhancing an area full of ancient suggestions that still goes under the name of Terra d'Otranto today.
The event is in fact organized by the Municipality of Minervino di Lecce and by the "Il Mercatino del Gusto" association as part of the project "Borghi Divini: between saints, fairy tales and megaliths", financed under the PNRR Borghi tender (Intervention 2.1 Attractiveness dei borghi line b), with funds from the European Union – NextGenerationEU, and is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and the Puglia Region.