Hommage to Supa
Supa is a traditional Istrian meal. Roasted bread is soaked in wine, stirred with a spoon, spiced with pepper and sugar and served in a jug called bukaleta. Supa used to be served and placed by a fireplace in order to be lukewarm. This is how the ritual of drinking/eating/socializing used to look like: a person used to take a sip of wine from a bukaleta, grab a piece of bread with a spoon and eat it and then passed it over to the next person, and so on… Focus of our interest was the research on why some meals/drinks and the customs related to them tend to disappear. We were eager to find a solution which would make them become actual again, by their reinterpretation in the contemporary environment. We took particular care not to lose their basic and traditional values. In case of Supa it was very important to define what actually makes it be Supa, so we understood that, in order for it to maintain its basic and traditional values, it has to keep: originality of ingredients and the way of being served in terms of ritual and sharing.
However, everything that represents these basic values, represents at the same time its main barrier to wider consumption, because its original ingredients make it look unattractive, its serving in a one liter jug bukaleta makes it quantitatively unsuitable to our busy rhythms, and the problem of hygiene arises too, as people drink from the same jug one after the other. In order to survive in its original form, Supa had to leave the jug, because of the limitations in terms of hygiene and quantity. Eventually, what was kept of the jug is the material and what it represented not in its physical but in its functional terms.
Results of the research
Approaching this project, we conducted an informative survey of 119 restaurants, taverns and agrotourism farmhouses that have been recommended by the Istrian Tourist Board brochure Istra Gourmet. The results showed that only 36% of the total number of restaurants even displayed Supa on the menu, 31% did not offer Supa in general, with the remaining percentage offering Supa on request, but not having it officially present in the menu.vIstrian Supa has been reinterpreted and put in a new context. We worked on its presentation, quantities, way of serving and consumption, while we maintained its core values, such as the originality of the ingredients, way of serving and rituality – sharing. Our solution wants to lead to re-consumption and promotion of Supa. We hope that our example will eventually serve as a good model for the valorization of food and drinks that disappear from the offer for similar reasons.