The Art and Skill of creating secret messages through dishes

The mood during the Manquette was as usual: The guests were laughing, celebrating and eating joyfully. When the third course came, however, the Duke Conchetti took a look at his plate, suddenly rose and excused himself, claiming he urgently needed to visit the Closetto. I was lucky to have followed him to look after him - or else I, too, would have been a victim of the dreadful poison cloud that flooded the ballroom just seconds later.
Eyewittness Report of the Deadly Manquette in Trandit 1436 BR
Excerpt of a monthly report to the High Baradolian Investigatif
Redacted Copy stored in the Library of Rashan'Kan
A common tradition and central aspect in the culinary culture of Baradolia is Deliarto, the Art of presenting dishes in a pleasing and unique way. As part of every elaborate meal, the guests are presented with at least one course consisting of a Delitio, an arrangement of local vegetables, grain-based elements and meat shaped like a fan with 5 to 7 chambers on a large wooden plate.
With Deliarto, the cultivated host will greet and welcome his guests to his home. It represents his symbol, his reputation and his best wishes in one.
It is considered very rude for a host to refuse their guests at least a simple Delitio. Presenting a sloppy or unwillingly destroyed Delitio is considered highly embarrassing for all host, cook, and guest. Usually, Deliarto is a form equivalent to or as similarly complex as heraldry. Different regions, families, and cities have their own unique styles of Deliarto and skilled Deliartioso are highly respected in Baradolia. Even simple households often imitate basic forms of Deliarto when presenting a meal for guests.


Just think about it: Ethoressi simply wanted to have their spies undetected - and they communicated via food. Decades later everybody in Baradolia imitates the fancy way of presenting food, making it even easier for the spies to stay undetected at first.

Almost two centuries later the scheme is found out - and yet still everybody in Baradolia just keeps on continuing to practice Deliarto! Including the hidden messages, giving the spies cover again! Is the scheme just that brilliant or are those Baradolians just that dense?
Commentary of the Ares Investigates of Rhomedan
Made in closed session to some of his subordinates
Copy of Notes stored in the Library of Rashan'Kan
The origin of Deliarto, however, is far less innocent. In the 15th century Ethoressian spies were the first to utilize beautifully crafted dishes to send messages to fellow agents in the room. Every Ethoressian Spy was well versed in culinary artisanship and they often gained easy access to noble courts in Baradolia due to this skill.
The Deliartoso of Ethoressi were known for their skill with these dishes and it became a staple for Baradolian courts to employ a skilled Deliartoso as chief in their kitchens. Almost all of them were trained spies of Ethoressi, poised to intercept highly relevant information directly from the tables of their masters.
Through a Delitio, a spy could convey complex messages based on the number of chambers in the fan, the order of colors, the placement of vegetables dividing the fields of the fan, and even the used wooden plate. The art was impressive and quickly spread throughout Baradolian society.


With some vegetables, you form the ridges of a fan. Usually, these ridges should diverge away from the guest, and are slightly bend towards the right. The vegetables should be slightly sautéed or at least heated up for a short time over a fire. A skilled artist will arrange the vegetables to create the imitate the delicateness of a thin vein in a leaf.
At the point where the ridges converge, some thin slices of either bread or meat are fanned out towards the person. It is important to create an aesthetical counterweight to the chambers of the fan.
The chambers between the ridges are filled with grain-based material, often wheat grain. You best cook the wheat in some kind of sauce to create a sticky, formable mass. Use a sauce that is rich in taste, spicy but not too heavy. Local variants may include various mashed roots or mashed tuberous plants. A skilled artist will use the texture of the grain to create finer patterns within the chamber.
Around the fan shape, most Deliartioso usually place thin lines with the sauce as decoration. Be sure to emphasize both the wood grain of the plate as well as the structure of the fan. Do not overload the arrangement with too much decoration!
Excerpt from "The Art of Fine Cooking"
Chapter "Introduction to Deliarto - an Overview"
Primary Related Location
Related Ethnicities

Local Variants

Since the ingredients of a Deliarto are defined rather vaguely, there have developed several local variants throughout Baradolia.

Green Shade Deliarto

Very common in the north of Baradolia, like Ambrecôte and Partourna that utilizes the magically green meat of a Pinadoo

Deliarto of Fresh Waves

Common in the coastal regions of Baradolia and along the largest rivers, with colorful fish filets as the main ingredient, sometimes even replacing the grain in every other chamber.

Hot Spice Deliarto

Simple variant spread across the colonies on the islands of Bren. Usually made out of simple dough plates decorated with spicy salted meat and soaked in a sauce with rum as main ingredient. Currently developes into a favorite pleasure food in Trandit

Prismatic Ramony Deliarto

Common in Legaridantière close to the forest kingdom of the Legari. The grain chambers are often very colorful and described by strangers as a very interesting taste. It is not commonly known that the color is achieved by dried and ground up bugs only found in the area.

Cover image: by Vertixico


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16 Oct, 2018 10:24

Love the origin of the art, a very creative way to do it and the best way to it as well. Gotta love intrigue turned art!

16 Oct, 2018 18:41

A good intrigue is always giving me a good appetite :D The combination was unavoidable

Welcome to Ekozia!
16 Oct, 2018 11:14

This is a very unique and interesting concept! I'm generally very fond of articles that include some flavour/fluff by adding prose or excerpts from in-universe sources. You went into nice detail without bloating the article. Overall, a good execution of your idea, and there's really nothing I could criticise.

Check out The Hummelverse, the world of AI tanks!
16 Oct, 2018 18:42

Thank you so much! I glad you like the use of fluff, I changed that last part especially, since it felt too dry before.

Welcome to Ekozia!
19 Oct, 2018 10:50

You definitely did a good job there!

Check out The Hummelverse, the world of AI tanks!
16 Oct, 2018 15:43

I am convinced that there's a hidden message somewhere in this article...

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
I also make worldbuilding resources!
16 Oct, 2018 18:42

I can neither deny nor confirm that

Welcome to Ekozia!
Aldavis Adanedhel L'omniscient
29 Oct, 2018 14:14

Great article ! I love this kind of detail that increase the depth of a story! but being a fairly neophyte, I have a question: how do you manage to put short definitions on certain words in bold? Thank you for your article and your prospective answer ;)  

  • A new french fan.
  • 29 Oct, 2018 14:42

    I am so glad you enjoyed my article! The bold words are links to other articles. If those articles have an excerpt (found in the "Design" tab), it will appear as a tooltip. other than that there is a Tooltip BBCode as well! :)

    Welcome to Ekozia!
    11 Dec, 2018 23:42

    You are a genius! I'm a little upset that this has never crossed my mind, and the fact that you have history to go with it makes it even better!

    12 Dec, 2018 07:22

    Thank you so much! I simply vaguely mashed together two concepts - those of Bento and the need for espionage in renaissance europe :D And then I had my fun with it.

    Welcome to Ekozia!
    Eternal Sage AmélieIS
    Amélie I. S. Debruyne
    11 May, 2021 08:01

    Amazing article! I'm all for food as an artform and using it to convey secret message is genius XD And your quotes really make the article comes to life :D   So! Did the Duke Conchetti do it?!!!

    To see what I am up to, here is my civilisation challenge article.