Napoleonic Time and strong traditions
But the napoleonic expansion brought an end to this period and brought the city a gust of novelty in every area.
The 22nd January of 1799 Lucca fell without opposing resistance into the hands of a napoleonic troop who gave it in trust to the sister Elisa Bonaparte, wife of Felice Baciocchi. For fifteen years the city entered into contact with the culture and French cooking that in these years gave back to many Italian cities the antique recipes taken to France by Catherine de’Medici; the besciamella sweet and strong, the sauces and the fine wines. After the fall of the empire of Napoleon the Congress of Vienna (1815) included the city in a small dukedom that for thirty years became part of the dynasty of Borbone-Parma first in the figure of Maria Luigia (1817-1824) and then in the son Carlo Ludovico (1824-1847). After Carlo Ludovico renounced the dukedom, Lucca was united with the Grand Dukedom of Tuscany that entered in 1859 to become part of the Kingdom of Italy. But Lucca has conserved its own identity through all the historical events and is not effected by the fashion; a characteristic that distinguishes it from other cities not only Italian but also Tuscany.
It has conserved for centuries habits and traditional costumes that makes it an “island” in which you breathe air, perfumes and aromas of another time, in which the new enter with difficulty and take into account the history in which is included the cooking: and today the inhabitants of Lucca and Garfagnana in daily alimentation still use all types of pulses (bought in wonderful specialised shops) that are cooked in various ways and many dishes are passed down from centuries: and demonstrate the fiorente commerce of seeds, various flours, maize, beans, lentils, farro and chick peas from which flour is realised the famous cecina (or chick pea cake) exported for culinary use in many nearby territories. Also the fried foods - widely used thanks to the abundant production of oil - that always uses more foods, from fish taken from the river Serchio, to bread dough (panserotti), to the coccoli to every type of frittelle made with various flours including chestnuts, widely used in all of Lucchesia where it is eaten with ricotta and where with the same paste you can make very thin pancakes that are spread with ricotta and rolled up taking the name of “rotolini of castagnaccio”. Oil and chestnuts are two elements at the base of many dishes of this area where you can still taste - with a little good luck - an excellent risotto alle castagne that is obtained by boiling the chestnuts without their skins and added the rice mixing for some minutes in oil and diced bacon with rosemary. Naturally they fry even the cuts of meat dipped in breadcrumbs, and to put in perhaps tomatoes that in this case take the name of “novelline lucchesi”.