A Jug of Wine, A Loaf of Bread, and Thou

UCSB's Culture & Nature series continues with a study of Italian wine and food

In 1880, a group of Italy’s leading writers and intellectuals met in Turin to debate — over the course of many evenings and many glasses of Nebbiolo — the role of wine in human life, past and present.

On Thursday, January 23, Jon Snyder, a professor in the Department of French and Italian at UC Santa Barbara, will revisit their conversations, highlighting the insights of those Italian writers and intellectuals into the mysterious effects of wine on the human mind and heart. His talk, “Wine: A Path to the Senses,” is part of UCSB’s Culture & Nature series.

Beginning at 6 p.m. at the Wine Cask restaurant, the event will feature award-winning selections from Palmina winery in Lompoc, and a gastronomical feast prepared by Wine Cask chef Brandon Hughes.

Of his talk, Snyder notes: “If, as Ambrose Bierce said, an abstainer is ‘a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure,’ then what words to say of those who instead enjoy whatever wine may add to our thoughts, words, passions and perceptions?” Snyder himself will have many.

The event is the second in the Culture & Nature series, a program designed to highlight the interrelation between nature and the environment and religion, art, literature, and other fields within the humanities and fine arts.

With some events co-sponsored by the Wine Cask restaurant, and others by the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, the series takes a culinary approach to cultural dimensions relevant to the Santa Barbara community and food culture, or provides compelling dialogue about the environment and sustainability. Each features the research of UCSB scholars who are actively engaged in understanding the historical and cultural importance of their particular topics.

Other events planned for winter and spring quarters include a program about water and environmental issues on Feb. 6 at the Natural History Museum; a dinner and lecture at the Wine Cask on April 17 highlighting sustainable seafood in Santa Barbara; and a talk on the cultural history of empires on May 22 at the Natural History Museum.

Tickets to the food and wine event on Jan. 23 are $65. For more information or to make reservations, call the Wine Cask at  (805) 966-9463. The restaurant is at 813 Anacapa St. in Santa Barbara.

*Story updated Jan. 21 to correct the address for the Wine Cask restaurant, 813 Anacapa St.

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