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Annotated captions of BBC Swiss Spaghetti Harvest 1957 in English

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It isn’t only in Britain that spring this year has taken everyone by surprise.

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Here, in the Ticino, on the borders of Switzerland and Italy,

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the slopes overlooking Lake Lugano have already burst into flower,

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at least a fortnight earlier than usual.

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But what - you may ask - has the early and welcome arrival of bees and blossom to do with food?

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Well, it’s simply that the past winter,

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one of the mildest in living memory, has had its effect in other ways as well.

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Most important of all, it’s resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop.

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The last two weeks of March are an anxious time for the spaghetti farmers.

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There’s always the chance of a late frost

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which - while not entirely ruining the crop - generally impairs the flavour,

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and makes it difficult for him to obtain top prices in world markets.

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But now these dangers are over, and the spaghetti harvest goes forward.

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Spaghetti cultivation here in Switzerland is not, of course,

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carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry.

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Many of you, I’m sure, will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po Valley.

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For the Swiss, however, it tends to be more of a family affair.

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Another reason why this may be a bumper year

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lies in the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil,

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the tiny creature whose depredations have caused much concern in the past.

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After picking, the spaghetti is laid out to dry in the warm Alpine sun.

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Many people are often puzzled by the fact that spaghetti is produced at such uniform lengths,

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but this is the result of many years of patient endeavour by plant breeders

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who have succeeded in producing the perfect spaghetti.

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And now, the harvest is marked by a traditional meal.

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02:00

Toasts to the new crop are drunk in these poccalinos,

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and then the waiters enter bearing the ceremonial dish,

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and it is, of course, spaghetti,

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picked earlier in the day,

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dried in the sun,

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at the very peak of condition.

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For those who love this dish,

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there’s nothing like real home-grown spaghetti.

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Presenter Richard Dimbleby
Cameraman Charles de Jaeger

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BBC April Fool's Day broadcast hoax (1957)