The New Slow Food Presidia- From Around the Boot to Turin

Slow Food has always placed the defense of biodiversity at the center of its projects to protect the extraordinary richness of our planet. The Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity has given life to one of the Association’s strongest tools: the Presidia, supporting small traditional products at risk of disappearing, valorize territories, recover ancient crafts and processing techniques, as well as save autochthonous and many varieties of vegetables and fruit from extinction.

At Terra Madre Salone del Gusto 2018, 22 new Italian Presidia will make their debut, enriching the extraordinary collection of the Foundation. There are eight regions that present a new wealth to be protected this year: Piedmont, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Marche, Campania, Puglia, and Sicily.

 

Piedmont

Vercelli giant rice

We start from the North with our home region of Piedmont. This year they are presenting the giant rice of Vercelli. Cultivated in the European rice capital, this variety was abandoned around the 1950s to make room for other more productive ones. Today some farmers have recovered it for its nutritional properties and resistance to fungal diseases. Excellent for cooking and creaming, its most traditional representation is the panissa vercellese: a risotto with red wine, salami nduja, lard, beans and pork rind.

The Presidium takes the table at the Taste Workshop: A Giant Arancina and in the itinerary of Tour Divini in Discovering the province of Vercelli.

Veneto

Custoza Broccoletto

We continue to the east with the Veneto region that offers the broccoli of Custoza. Cultivated only by eight farmers, it was once considered a recovery crop for dry and stony soils. The plant is easily distinguishable from other broccoli because it does not develop the flowery loaf, typical of these species, but a central heart of leaves. It is harvested by hand and consumed entirely, including the rib which is tender and non-stringy. Thanks to its characteristics and its delicate and slightly sweet taste, the families of Custoza eat it simply scalded in boiling water, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and accompanied by hard-boiled eggs and salami.

Friuli Venezia Giulia

San Quirino Bean

In San Quirino, a small town in the Pordenone area, this little bean with great economic power has been cultivated since the 1800s. In fact, at that time its price exceeded that of oats and corn. Despite their great value, the cultivation of these beans has almost disappeared since the 20th century. Until recently, when some young people recovered the seeds and resumed traditional cultivation: collecting, drying and beating the plants by hand with wooden sticks to get the seeds out of the pod. The beans are then left to dry in the sun for a few days and are stored in jute bags.

Alto Friuli Heirloom Apples

In Friuli Venezia Giulia, apple cultivation dates back to Roman times. Over the years there were various contaminations: some varieties were native, others imported to or sent out of Friuli all around the world. In the last century the majority of these apples have been supplanted by a few commercial income varieties. Slow Food has gathered in the Presidium farmers custodians of ten historical varieties (Zeuka di Treppo, Giallo di Priuso,Ruggine Dorata, Striato Dolce, Blancon, Marc Panara, and Rosso Invernale ) and drafted a production specification, which defines the production area and provides sustainable cultivation techniques.

Varhackara

Varhackara is a particular pesto of the province of Udine (Paluzza), prepared with white lard, bacon, smoked bacon and the addition of some aromatic herbs. Traditionally it is preserved in stone and can be eaten as an appetizer spread on bread or on hot croutons or, as a condiment for a dish made of potato gnocchi or a typical Friuli pasta that are the cjarsons. The product can only currently be purchased from two manufacturers and risks disappearance.

Tuscany

Lucca Canestrino Tomato

From Tuscany comes the canestrino tomato from Lucca, whose name is linked to the basket shape. A variety so much appreciated in the past that every family in the area jealously kept their seeds. This allowed to maintain a good genetic variability and, today, thanks to many seed keepers, the varieties survive. The Presidium was created to enhance the canestrino’s value, also called “costoluto” or “cresputo”, and distinguish it from the more common ox heart, a hybrid cousin and therefore easier to grow.

Taste it at the Taste Workshop: Looking at Biodynamic: The Lucca Community

 

Quercetano Olive

The Quercetano olive tree is a native variety of the town of Querceta (Lu), which today risks extinction due to the urbanization that has reduced the cultivation to small patches of land between houses. Because of the small size of the olives and the unfavorable pulp-nut ratio compared to other varieties, the Quercetan olive is delayed by the olive fly and therefore allows a higher quality oil to be obtained. Its productivity is not always constant, good years are followed by very scarce vintages but the quality of the oil is always excellent.

Marche

Castignano Green Anise

In the Marche anise has been consumed and marketed since the 18th century and its cultivation is widespread particularly in the Piceno area. In this area the sunny exposure and the fresh currents allow you to select an ecotype of green anise richer in perfume and sweetness, thanks to the extraordinary concentration of anethole (the aromatic compound of anise and fennel) equal to 94%. In addition to anise liqueur, a symbol of the region, it is also classicly used in tisane, as a decoction, and the transformation into aniseed milk, which is obtained by crushing the seeds and letting them infuse for 5 minutes in boiling milk.

 

 

Fratte Rosa Fava Bean

In Fratte Rosa, a small village in the hills of Pesaro, the inhabitants claim that the best fava beans are those grown on the lubachi, the white clay soils that gave rise to two local productions: the “cocci” of terracotta and broad beans. Over the centuries, farmers have selected an ecotype with a characteristic short pod containing on average four seeds with a sweet and tender taste even when fully ripe. For decades, the beans have been a staple food for the local population: fresh or dried were ingredients of various homemade recipes, turned into flour, mixed with wheat flour, served to produce bread and pasta.

Campania

Laticauda Sheep

The name of the  Laticauda refers to the large tail that characterizes it and serves as a reserve of fat and water. This large sheep is the result of various crossings, including that between the North African sheep, called Barbary, and the local Apennine sheep. The most valuable product of the breed is the lamb that has a high yield at slaughter and whose meat is devoid of the typical sheep smell of sheep. In addition to producing good quantities of cheese, Laticauda is particularly known for ammugliatielli, typical rolls prepared with the offal.

Taste the recipes of this Presidium during the Cooking School: Flavors of Irpinia: the Laticauda sheep.

Felitto Fusilli

Felito’s fusillo is a hollow cylinder of egg pasta with a length between 18 and 22 cm. It is made entirely by hand by the women of the village of Salerno that shape the pasta using a very fine iron: a centuries-old tradition, handed down orally from mother to daughter until today. Today this pasta is very famous and sought after but the production is poor. Fusilli is a wealth of craftsmanship in the area that could soon disappear with the few women who still guard the secret.

With the Cooking School, The Art of Felitto Fusilli it is possible to try your hand at creating this centuries-old tradition by learning its techniques directly from the women of Felitto.

 

Prignano Cilento Monnato Fig

For centuries the area around Prignano Cilento (Sa) has given its inhabitants the fig-tree monnato, better known as the white fig tree of Cilento. The producers have developed a unique drying technique: the figs are peeled by hand before they are dried, being careful not to cut the pulp. This is why they are called monnati, or cleaned in the local dialect. Then follows the drying: the whole fruits are placed on racks of reeds, exposed to the sun and the wind from morning until just before sunset and turned by hand several times so that the drying is homogeneous. The Presidium brings together the few producers who still practice this complex process.

Samnite Verneteca Cherry Tomato

Cultivated in the foothills of the Samnite Apennines (Benevento), the  Samnite  Verneteca is small and round yellow in color. Within a few hours from harvesting the tomatoes are twisted and tied with string, forming golden bunches that are then hung in ventilated and sheltered areas, such as balconies and canopies, where they are kept until the following spring. In fact, thanks to the consistency of the peel, it is kept in the open air and can be eaten raw during the winter; hence the name of Vernino or Verneteca.

This tomato, along with others, will be featured in the Cooking School What Tomato to Use for a Pizza?

 

Ufita Heirloom Garlic

The valley of the river Ufita, in the Apennines, is an area particularly suited to the cultivation of garlic since time immemorial. Here the Presidium of the Ufita heirloom garlic grows and is characterized by the high concentration of allicin (the sulfuric compound of garlic). In fact, the aroma and flavor of this variety are very intense, as well as the spiciness, which also facilitates the conservation of the cloves.

In the irpine kitchen, Ufita’s garlic is the main ingredient of some typical preparations such as a fresh garlic omelette, Grottaminarda’s ciambuttella and garlic, oil and chilli spaghetti.

Sorrento Peninsula Walnut

Sorrento walnuts were already cultivated by the Romans. The name of some localities also bears witness to this: the Municipality of Piano di Sorrento, for example, is also known by the name of Caruotto, from the Greek word charouon, which means walnut. The variety that grows in this area is very valuable because of the voluminous kernel, tender, crunchy, pleasant and delicate flavor. Moreover, the kernel, unlike other varieties, can be easily extracted whole. For these qualities the walnut sorrentina is much appreciated by the confectioners of the area for the preparation of biscuits, nougat, and semifreddos. Also famous is the liqueur called nocino.

Vesuvius Heirloom Apricot Varieties 

About seventy cultivars have been mentioned in literature,  but only fifteen are still present in the field, in an area of Vesuvius managed by small companies. Extremely sweet, with an organoleptic quality superior to modern varieties, but more delicate and perishable, they are difficult to manage in the fruit and vegetable markets. The names are curious, just to name a few: boccuccia, vicienzo and ‘maria, vitillo and cafona. These varieties testify to the intense selection activity carried out over the centuries by farmers to get the best from one of the most profitable resources of this land.

Quarantino bean of Volturara Irpina

In the highland of Irpino, at the foot of Mount Terminio (Av), a white bean is cultivated, tender and slightly floury also called quarantino for the duration of its maturation cycle. The manual and laborious cultivation of this variety has prevented its production on a large scale and, little by little has drastically reduced the number of producers. The beans are preserved by adding black pepper and garlic cloves and are the ingredient of many soups and soups of the tradition of Volturara. A dish, in particular, is a symbol of this area: beans with pork rinds and chestnuts served hot on stale bread.

Chickpea from Teano

The Teano chickpea (Cs) is small, hazel-colored, has a thin skin and a rough surface. This is why it is also known as “small hedgehog chickpea”. There are few farmers who have kept the seeds of this variety and continue to grow it. With the Presidium, new producers have come forward and have taken over the cultivation, but this ancient variety is still at risk of extinction. In this area it has always been cultivated for family consumption and, until the 1960s, it was a basic ingredient of peasant cuisine: in soups, in past dishes, with pasta. The most famous traditional dish includes hand-rolled tagliolini served with chickpeas, tomato sauce and black teanese pork sausage.

The Presidium is present together with others at the Cooking School A World of Chickpeas – Slow Beans.

Hundred Day pea

Cultivated in the Vesuvio area for at least a century, the centennial pea owes its name to the average duration of the production cycle. All stages of production take place manually, from sowing to harvesting fresh pods. The peas, which are eaten green or dried, are much appreciated for their extreme sweetness and the soft consistency of the peel. Ingredient hinge of Neapolitan pasta and pea soup, they are cooked with onion and pancetta before adding the classic tubes or mixed pasta.

 

Puglia

Crispiano Yellow-Red Tomatos 

In the heart of the province of Taranto, nestled among hills and ancient olive trees, in the most fertile agricultural area of Puglia, the Crispiano families have been cultivating the Giallorossi tomato for centuries. Roundish shape, soft flesh and thick peel, has an orange color that seems to never reach full ripeness. The Giallorossi tomatoes are excellent in salads, to prepare sauces and as a condiment for friselle.

Manduria Cherry Tomato

The Manduria tomato has a low yield compared to commercial hybrids and requires a lot of work. Therefore, despite the excellent organoleptic characteristics, it has been gradually replaced by intensive cultivation. The seed, traced thanks to some elderly farmers who had carefully guarded it, is now a Presidium that also involves some young producers, all certified organic. Some families, in August, leave the tomatoes to wilt on racks of reeds while, with the more mature fruits, the past is prepared. Traditionally, the Manduria tomatoes are eaten fresh together with cucumber or in the jatedda, a salad made with fresh tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt, capers and oregano with which the friselle are seasoned.

 Sicily

Enna Hills Black Lentils

Finally, from Sicily arrives to Turin the black lentil of the Enna hills, one of the most characteristic because of the color that distinguishes it from other varieties: black tegument, but red-brownish interior. Its genetic variability – evidenced by the frequent presence of non-black seeds – is not a defect, but rather a wealth, which allows it to survive and adapt to climate change that is making these areas increasingly dry. Thanks to the particular mineral note is also excellent with fish, especially with shrimp.

Taste it at the Taste Workshop. An All-Black lentil! – Slow Beans.

To get to know all the Presidia, visit the website of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity.

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