ANCIENT COUNTRYSIDE TASTES
Watched by the blue lights of the gulf, Pompei was the city of love, free from preconceptions and Venus goddess’s favorite, to whom beauty the consul Silla dedicated the roman colony, in which passions and desire painted with sensual colours days loaded with eroticism and sweet luxury. The Venus Pompeiana, nature’s mother and prosperity’s divinity, protected agriculture and commercial activities, among which developed the laboratories that produced the different qualities of garum, the gold and sour sauce achieved from an elaborate mixture of small fishes.
Triumphant protagonist of culinary’s art of that time, it was the base of every recipe and was exported with pride to every part of the Roman Empire. Cicero, who chose Pompei as a holiday resort, had a particular predilection for the Tirotarico, an unusual omelette with fresh cheese, rue and marsala together with the inevitable garum and other curious ingredients. The Mulsum was the wine that was dressed with honey and fragrant spices to enrich the flavor and optimize the preservation. Served at the beginning of the meal it was often followed by Lagane of spelt, ancestors of the delicious lasagne. Ancient preparations which we find unchanged or delightfully rivisited in the characteristic dishes of the today’s Pompeian cuisine. The rich soil of the Campanian region, prolific womb pragnant of refined grocery products, was called by the romans Campania Felix, lucky ground, prolific provider of the Urbe’s markets.
In Naples smoothed of princely banquets the general Lucullo’s villa, of which stays intact the echo of the sumptuous parties and the culinary splendours to which he was used to, alone or with his guests presence. Distant flavors that come back in the Neapolitan tradition, wisely mixed with the gastronomic cultures of the dominations that followed one after the others over the centuries and revisited by the creativity of the imaginative people. The Soffritto Soup is a persistent tradition, in the past provident meal that was obtained from the scraps of the nobles food by the hungry people, pork’s entrails, that today colours of refined spicy notes the consumers’ taste, using the soffritto with fresh hot pepper and plenty of tomatoes. An intriguing variety of recipes that perfumes the everyday life, like the savory cakes with sausages and friarelli or endive and Gaeta’s olives. The Lightnings and Thunders, the tipical pasta and chick-pea cooked in the clay or the Casatiello, the pasta that charm with it tasty stuffing made of eggs, cold cuts and cheese. The historic Babà, that together with Pastiera and Sfogliatella, seduce the world with theirs flavoring. The meeting with the rich inheritance of the wine production that keep up the atavistic Campania tradition, among which dominate the Taurasi, red libagione Docg, is inevitable.
The fertile volcanic soil of the roman countryside gave, at the same Dionysiac way, precious vineyards, dispensers of sweet nectars that became in the course of time reds and whites Doc, Malvasia, Frascati e Trebbiano, the popular Colli Albani wines that still now come with the typical roman products, as the mammola, the round artichoke without thorn, the lamb or the sheep milk cheese. The Genzano home-made bread embrace the Ariccia pork roast in a soft union that boast of ancestral origins. The peasant families created delicious mixtures that the wood stove swallowed in its burning jaws, returning smelling loaves, of which secret got from then to us, unchanged in it’s author fragrance. The pork meat was worked by the ancient Ariccia priests that offered it sacrifice to Iuppiter Latiaris, in the temple next to Monte Cavo, pilgrimage destination of the Latins and along charming landscapes deeply loved by Göethe e Stendhal. Both identified with the label Igp produtcs, bring the history perfume back and tell the story of the summers in which the roman nobles move away to the Urbe in the countryside villas and entrust the expert local workers for their food entertainments.
Wine rekindles our joy and keeps the flame of life alive when it wavers.
And in small sips oozes in our lungs as the sweetest morning dew.
by Roberta Paoletti