FOOD & WINE in Lunigiana
Have you ever tasted a local niche product? To be clear… A high quality product
that you could not taste anywhere else because… it is only found here!
Chestnut Cake “Castagnaccio”
Terracotta plates for preparing the “Panigacci”
Tagliatelle ai Funghi ” Pasta with mushooms”
Testaroli with Pesto
Lardo di Colonnata
Are you chestnut lovers? Then you happen to be in the right place! The local tradition offers the chestnut at the base of the gastronomic specialities: with its dark coloured flour of a sweetish taste typical bread, gnocchi and lasagne bastarde are made. During the winter season with the harvesting of the chestnuts festivals are organised “in honour” of this precious and polyvalent fruit: in Agnino, for instance, you will find the annual festival of the chestnut, while in Soliera there is the famous chestnut race. A delicacy not to be missed is pattona, a small, flat, bread-like bun that is also protagonist of a local festivity. Made with chestnut flour, the pattona is filled with fresh ewe’s milk cheese (ricotta) and wrapped in a chestnut leaf.
Cooked on flat, terracotta plates, panigacci are a very ancient dish: scorched on the flames of a fireplace and prepared with a very liquid batter of wheat flour, water and salt, they are a very simple speciality and at the same time particularly tasty. In the Val di Magra the panigacci boiled in salted water and dressed with Genoese pesto or tomato sauce are known as testaroli.
Are you vegetarian? Then you really must try the tasty “torta d’erbi” (herb pie), which owes its particularity to the peculiar combination of the finely chopped ingredients.
This is the land of mushrooms. Indeed, mushrooms have always been collected here and used in many of the gastronomic recipes of the zone. The autumnal cep (boletus edulis), in particular, are characterised by a very intense aroma, delicate taste and tender but fleshy consistency.
And again, if you love cheese, we can offer you unique pleasures, bringing to the table for you delicacies prepared genuinely at home, as they once were… Some examples? Caciotta, ricotta, tomino, mozzarella, caprino, stracchinella, tenerella, formaggella, alpino, piccantino naturale and many other fresh and matured products, made naturally by hand.
Recognised as the “most delicious” in Italy, the local honey conceals the secret of great delicacy of the uncontaminated environment rich in flora in which it is produced. Just to stay with seasonal delicacies, in the months of July and August it is possible to pick raspberries here.
Just because here the olive tree grows in extreme conditions, the olive oil that is obtained is of excellent quality: rather than covering the tastes of dishes, it exalts the flavours and the aromas. Every year an exhibition of extra virgin olive oil is held in the castle of Terrarossa: here there is a service of free tasting, where all the information about the history and tradition of this excellent product is supplied.
But let’s come to the special niche products that you can only find here… The Bigliolo bean is tender, with a thin skin, extremely easy to digest and very delicate. The Ripola onion, with a round and squashed shape, is hard and compact and has a pink colour and a very sweet taste. The small and round onion of Treschietto, again with a very sweet taste, may be eaten raw, dressed with just a little local oil, or may accompany as a side dish, typical local recipes.
There is no lack of meat and salami from local breeds: just because the sheep and pigs grow in a natural state on the Apennine pastures, eating only natural forage, they have genuine, tasty and very tender meat. The lamb of Zeri, for instance, is sweet to the palate with a very marked fragrance, while the horse of Comano has and intense and refined taste.
The lardo di Colonnata (bacon fat), now famous throughout the world, seasoned, salted and flavoured with herbs, is either eaten raw, or used as an ingredient for delicious dishes. For those who love fruit, the Rotella apple stays crisp all year: round and slightly squashed, besides having a sweet and sharp taste, it has white consistent pulp and a very intense smell. Finally, the camomile of Sassalbo or Campo Cecina, particularly aromatic, owes its peculiarity to the taste of the sea, due to the fact that this plant grows on the borders between the mountains and the sea.
In the immediate vicinity there is the possibility of tasting authentic products, carefully prepared and processed by the people of the place. In the morning you will be able to drink the genuine milk just milked from cows, which graze freely in this locality, as well as enjoy yoghurt and ricotta just made, fresh fruit taken from the trees and again very tender beef, pork and free range chicken.
On an Italian table there has to be some good wine! In that case go into the ancient cellars of this land, to discover which flavours the vines preserve… You will follow a real and true “wine road”, rich in cellars, rural cottages and wineries, in which you will be able to put your palate to the test. Some names? The well known “Candia dei Colli Apuani” in its sweet version is perfect for desserts, for the lardo di Colonnata and cheeses, while, in the dry version, it goes well with soups, hors d’oeuvres and bavette (a type of pasta) with mushrooms; the now famous D.O.C. wine “Colli di Luni” is very versatile; finally the surprising variety of the wines of the “Val di Magra” is able to satisfy even the most highly refined palates.