Cervio, Vincenzo

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Cervio, Vincenzo (c.1510–c.1580) for most of his life an officer of the household of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, was famous as a carver and is now remembered for his posthumous book on the subject, Il trinciante di Vincenzo Cervio. This was first published at Venice in 1581, ‘edited by Cavalier Reale’, and including a separate section by Reale. The extent of Cervio’s own contribution to the book remains uncertain.

Cervio believed that the only true method of carving was the Italian one: to hold the meat or other food up in the air, on a fork, and apply the knife to it in this posture. This technique transformed a practical operation into a spectacular exercise of virtuosity. In contrast, the German practice was to carve foods anchored on a plate or table.