The Report of the Competition in Noventa di Piave
By now they’re events that in this year turn one hundred years of history and that therefore risk to be lost in time and blurred in memory. And yet “the piave murmured”, perhaps the most famous verse of the “Legend of Piave” it is still present in our common parlance, describing a fierce resistance, pride and willpower aided by destiny. Italy was back from the famous and disastrous battle of Caporetto that saw it succumbing from every point of view to the Austro-Hungarian Empire (even today we use the expression “it was a Caporetto” to describe a disaster of epic proportions) and was undergoing a massive invasion from the East, which in the intentions of the enemy should have been the coup de grace, the resolver act. Fate wanted the Piave river to cross a period of heavy flood at that time, thus slowing down the advance and allowing the Italian army to reorganize itself and launch a counter-offensive. The banks of the river on which the War of Barbecue took place were the scene of a hard and bloody battle that against every prediction saw the Italian army, in difficulty both numerical and organizational, that qualitative, to win and to force to retreat before and at the armistice then, its opponent.
The idea of organizing a barbecue competition on the theater of these historical events was very unusual. I confess that I was initially quite distraught: the association between a context that evokes pain, suffering, blood, death to a playful and carefree context like ours seemed to me strident. Instead, I have to say in retrospect that in the War of Barbecue, the combination has worked great and that, indeed, has taken on the important role of bridging the two extremes of the emotional sphere. In this it certainly helped a very impeccable organization by our friend Massimo Zaramella, among the best seen so far and meticulously thought, even in the smallest details that leap less to the eye but which you realize in moments when you enjoy of them.
From a sportive point of view, it was one of the competitions among the ones I have lived in these four years, where I have been more in disagreement with the judgments received but you know, along a season you have to quote it and we accept it serenely. We bring home two calls on Pork (8th) and Brisket (9th) for a fairly anonymous performance that leaves us just below the call level (11th) in the overall. As we have also said on other occasions, the average level is getting really high: embraced next to us in the standings there are teams that I respect a lot, with a nice prize showcase behind them to demonstrate the truth into an adage said once by a friend: even if in a competition all teams are very good, someone has to finish down in ranking anyway… It ‘a rule of any competition, especially in this last period and that must be accepted. Our warmest congratulations go to our great friends Bros Hog, who have made a performance of the kind with index finger on the mouth, winning the Grand Champion with a score of nearly 700 points, and the pleasant Dragon of the friends Michael and Stefanie, Reserve Grand Champions for a head over the always excellent Sticky Fingers. We are really happy for you guys!
As always, we end the post with the ranking of the top five things that we will remember of the War of Barbecue, to which in a very exceptional way we add two points that came out spontaneously from our heart and that we could not exclude from the list:
- For those unfamiliar with a KCBS barbecue scores (if you want to read more about it, click on the Awards section), we explain that in each category the boxes presented by the teams are evaluated by six judges, each of whom expresses a vote from 1 to 9 on three criteria (appearence, taste and tenderness). Considering that the lowest score is discarded, when five judges out of six give 9 in all the criteria we talk about a Perfect Score. It is a very rare event, achieved by very few teams in Europe. So rare that the KCBS grants to those who reach it a commemorative pin and the annexation in a special exclusive club. The Bros Hog succeeded just yesterday, joining in this particular case the only other two Italian teams to have succeeded previously (us at Bardo Q 2017 and Brig Boys at Slovenia Open 2017). The singular thing is that all three teams have achieved this goal in the Pork category. I do not believe there is a case in Europe of such a high specificity of role.
- The evolution that barbecue events are having in our country continues. Several times in the past we have mentioned how abroad avents are set with a different mentality that would be interesting to be inspired of. As often happens, evolution takes place in steps: there is always a passage that in some measure creates a gap with the past, a precedent that sets new standards. My opinion is that the War of Barbecue has done it, constituting the 2.0 event of this particular path. Evidently, the good Zaramella read carefully the post we realized with the friends Bros Hog about the advice given by the team side to the organizers for a good event, because the War of Barbecue was really perfect in this respect. But in addition to this, the exhibition has functioned as an event, even before that as a competition, as we have often advocated: concerts with groups as the Rumatera (that especially here in the north-east they rock), streetfood always attractive and never dull with some goodies such as greek cuisine, churros, emilian cuisine, deep fried food, fish, craft beers, cocktails, the cafeteria with consequent flood of a infinite number of people despite the extremely variable weather and a lot of curious in the competition field asking for information and getting confidence on the concept of barbecue. We can only congratulate the organizers: perhaps this is the first case of an event that would have caught my interest even if I had not been passionate about this world and in which I would have easily brought my family too.
- During the event weekend there were several historical re-enactments of the battle we were talking about at the beginning. When studying it at school, reading it on books, you have a distant, cold perception of it, aided by the fact that (fortunately) everything has changed in 100 years, from guaranteed rights, to living and health conditions, to equipment, to economic tenor of families. One of the reenactments staged with the help of actors, the forced enlistment of the boys of ’99 (for foreigners: in 1917 the war was not yet over but the soldiers were lacking more and more. It was so decided to forced enlist children still not of age, the famous lever of 1899), who were picked up by the families, instructed some way, equipped with an approximate equipment and shipped in the trenches. A serious injury was waged in the battle and the care in a pitched tents with the elementary instruments of the time (present in original pieces). Someone present was moved. One thing is to study history, another is to live it. In this sense the War of Barbecue was a wonderful and instructive idea.
- I’ve been in the branch since some years. I have lived and seen living the experience of organizing an event in Italy to many people and for this reason I consider those who venture into this odyssey, an authentic hero. Who does not live here can not understand what it means: in our country we want less possible problems, no one wants responsibility not required, nobody will risk anything of his self in free initiatives. Never. The interest of the community and of the territory always come after the quiet life. Here, who wants to organize an event of the dimension of the War of Barbecue is faced with a calvary that goes from having to agree a thousand bodies, each independent, to have to anticipate very important amount of money on certifications, projects, visas, over in time, phone calls, meetings, interminable lines for a signature or a stamp and without the help of anyone, although the events bring public in the cities and money for everyone (hotels, bars, restaurants, etc.). It comes to absurdity such as requesting the release of a project that studies the evacuation plan in the event of plane crash (I’m not joking) or having to redo the expensive installation of a plant because compared to the project was mounted 50 centimeters aside. The consequence is that the desired purpose is generally achieved: those who organize it have enough and the following year they do not repeat, with great satisfaction of all the entities involved that have less trouble to worry about (fortunately this is not the case of Zaramella which has already announced the 2019 edition). Just re-reading the history of these places you learn how one of the causes of the defeat of Caporetto of which I spoke at the opening, was the slow reaction of the outposts compared to the action of the enemy, plastered by the bureaucracy of central orders and how instead one of the keystone of the subsequent victory over the Piave was a greater decision-making autonomy granted to the Lieutenants of the various troops, which made the Italian action fluid and unpredictable. Unfortunately we are good in many things but not in learning from our mistakes.
- I know that I will envy many of my Veneto friends in saying it but I do not like Spritz. Or rather: I do not like the more widespread version, the one made with Aperol and I rather like the less known Venetian version made using Bitter Campari. Needless to say, in the cocktail corner of the War of Barbecue the Spritz was going away in rivers. Equally useless to say that if you did not specify, the version given automatically was the one with Aperol. Even during this event, I can say with pride and great satisfaction to have taken may people who even did not know its existence to taste the version with Bitter and to have converted a good percentage of them. I feel as a Jehovah’s Witness of Spritz.
- With our sponsor Federico Dal Lago, over the years a great friendship has been born and very often it happens that he joined us in the competitions. But this time it was special one. Federico was back from the recent Butchery World Championships in Ireland in which he participated as a member of Butchery National Team, he spent a week very complicated and heavy in terms of kilometers traveled and hours of sleep lost. This is why on Saturday one of his people should have come to deliver the meat necessary for the competition in his substitution. Instead he presented him in person with just the intention of saying goodbye, and then immediately go to the hotel to recover a few hours of sleep and leave to home. Instead, he stays there until the evening, then exhausted he finally walked away and informed that he would have returned the following day but for a simple greeting. He returned but ends up staying until the end of the turn in time, recommending to find someone for live streaming the awards, because he would have followed them on the way home. As you have already understood at the awards was still there among us, the Bros Hog and all the many other teams he provide his wonderful products to. It’s useless to try to explain certain things: friendships born and is so strong because basically you are all crazy in the same way and among mad we always understand each other.
- In Italy the competitive barbecue coexist in two hemispheres, the KCBS and WBQA (today it would be more correct to talk about NBC) and often it was a complicated coexistence, in which there were several misunderstandings with consequent tense relations (more among people that not between the two entities in themselves). Years pass, people change, situations evolve and with satisfaction during this weekend I have seen more relaxed tones and I see more and more friendships and more interactions born between the teams and the people of the two sides. This weekend there were two competitions at the same time, the War of Barbecue in Noventa di Piave sanctioned by KCBS and the very successful Fumus Bellum in Turin by the NBC circuit. With great personal satisfaction, I could see that this was perhaps the first event I remember in which there was a peaceful and mutual recognition of two different circuits, which respond to different needs and precisely for this reason I think they are absolutely compatible: reciprocal greetings before departure, congratulations between the teams involved at the end. This is the barbecue we like. I’ve always said it: barbecue is for the kitchen what rugby is for the sport: we could say to be much more united by the ethics that pervades it than we can ever be divided by the fact of cheering for different teams. In any rugby match teams put the soul in the field but after that the third time has no flags. I hope so much and with the heart that it can be so also from us.
The rhythm of a competition per month will not be interrupted even in April: the next appointment is still in Italy in the beautiful Bardonecchia, where we will participate in the second edition of Bardo Q.