What is a Secret Supper? It is an exciting combination of surprise and great food that cannot leave you indifferent.

The mind behind this beautiful project is Simona Baldini, event planner of Gallina a Pois a fantastic organiser who didn’t spoiler anything that could quench the curiosity about the Secret Supper experience.

Secret Supper: the mystery of venue, menu and guests

The first secret supper was held on Saturday 13 April 2024 and only three days before we found out where it would take place, namely an unconventional venue set up for an exclusive dinner for only eight people. The ‘setting’ of our dinner was Il Ghirigoro Bottega in Fidenza (Parma), a warm embrace of refined and unusual objects, soft lighting and intoxicating colours.

The only clue on the menu for me was crucial: everything gluten-free! When do you ever get invited to an exclusive dinner where all the courses will be gluten-free? Very high expectations!

I like all the requirements: no dress code, other secret guests, absolute punctuality (those who know me know how much I like this request!) and precise logistical info to reach the venue.

At this point I think you will also be curious to discover the menu, prepared by chef Nicola Carlucci, paired with wines chosen by sommelier Valentina Arena.

menu-13-aprile-2024

And the other guests? The pleasure was also to be with with three long-time friends (none of us knew about the others) and four new cooking enthusiasts with whom I hope to share other similar experiences.

An extra touch of mystery

Not only was the part of the organisation that preceded the dinner mysterious, but the dinner itself had a chilling interlude with the incredible tricks of Francesco Busani, mentalist and entertainer, who I would call the additional secret ingredient of a perfect cocktail.

mentalista

I therefore recommend you keep an eye on the Gallina a Pois website where a Secret Supper calendar will be published so that you too can book an evening of gluttonous mystery from the first to the last bite: you won’t regret it.

cena

This idea for gluten-free carnival sweets came to me from my friends at the Rieti and Viterbo Chamber of Commerce, who, keeping alive an initiative conceived during the Covid-19 pandemic, organised FB lives from theOsteria Le Tre Porte in Rieti to publicise the products of the area by sending to bloggers and journalists throughout Italy the ingredients to prepare various dishes including Cicerchiata.

When I received the information about the recipes we would prepare together, I had not imagined that Cicerchiata would be a dessert. Instead, in the province of Rieti, it is the traditional Carnival dessert inspired by Campania’s ‘Struffoli‘. The traditional form is that of a garland, which is obtained by pouring the sweets into a doughnut mould, while I’m proposing a mini-serving version so as not to be tempted to eat too much of it.

Given the fundamental role of honey in this recipe, it seems that the spread of Cicerchiata is linked to the development of bee-keeping in this area of Italy, while the name is presumed to derive from the legume grass peas of which the sweet balls of dough reproduce the shape and colour, so Cicerchiata would be a nice ‘stack of grass peas’.

Like many Carnival sweets, Circerchiata symbolises regeneration through its circular shape, the frying that turns a cold dough into a delicacy, and the vitality of honey and colourful decorations.

A tip for those of us who have to be careful with both fried food and simple sugars? Form very small balls, just like dried chickpeas, and reduce the amount of honey to the minimum necessary to hold the precious compositions together.

Here are a few more ideas for Carnival: Krapfen with jam e Fried cream.

cicerchiata

Cicerchiata

60g carbohydrates per 100g without candied fruit and coloured sprinkles

Ingredients

  • 160g flour mix for bread, brand BiAglut**
  • 2 eggs + 15g egg white
  • 100g honey
  • 40g brown rice flour*
  • 25g sugar
  • 20g butter
  • lemon rind
  • slivered almonds*
  • candied fruit*
  • coloured sprinkles*

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Pour the eggs into a bowl, beat them with a fork together with the sugar, add the soft butter and lemon zest. Gradually incorporate the flour, stirring with a fork until the mixture is firm enough to knead with your hands. Transfer everything onto the work surface and continue kneading with your hands until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous dough, similar to fresh pasta.
  2. Divide the dough into small portions, form them into sticks of dough having a diameter of about 8mm as for making Gnocchi, then cut them into chunks no more than 8mm-1cm long. Round the pieces of dough with your fingers to form small balls.
  3. Heat the seed oil to a temperature of 170-180°C and deep fry a few balls at a time. When they are golden brown, drain them well and let them cool on kitchen paper.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the honey into a large pan and heat it gently for a few minutes. When it has browned slightly, turn off the heat and add the fried balls, stirring to coat them evenly. Finally, add the almonds and sprinkles, taking care to keep some aside for decoration. Mix again, pour the mixture into the desired moulds, garnish with the almonds and sprinkles kept aside and serve.

Cicerchiata

Version with gluten of Cicerchiata

Replace BiAglut flour and rice flour with 250g wheat flour 00 and add 30g sugar instead of 25g.

For me, the gastronomic journey in the Rieti area has become an annual appointment that has been repeated for three years now and that each time makes me discover new recipes of a cuisine made of few ingredients, authentic and with an unmistakable flavour: this is what Gnocchetti in frasca gluten-free dumplings make you experience.

But what are Gnocchetti in frasca? They are a dish handed down by the inhabitants of Micciani in Cittaducale, prepared with grains that were harvested and milled in the mills along the Peschiera river in the Velino Valley. These small dumplings were in fact prepared by mixing two flours, corn and wheat flour (which I have replaced with a gluten-free flour), on which the survival of families was based. The accompanying sauce is based on stewed beans that were flavoured with a few slices of guanciale, i.e. pork cheek, to give an unmistakable touch of flavour and the calories needed to cope with the hard work in the fields and the harsh temperatures of winter.

Today, considering instead that the need is to reduce calories more and more, we can possibly do without the splendid guanciale (which I used while remaining faithful to tradition, choosing the Guanciale amatriciano Sano) to prepare Gnocchetti in frasca with beans and tomato, thus transforming the recipe into a vegan and nutritionally balanced dish.

Tradition dictates that Gnocchetti are served as a soup by adding the cooking water from previously prepared Borlotti beans: in short, the perfect dish for cold winter days.

Read about the history of Spaghetti all’Amatriciana to get to know a land yet to be discovered.

gnocchetti-in-frasca

Gnocchetti in frasca gluten-free dumplings

20g carbohydrates per 100g

considering adding 500g of cooking water to the soup

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 400g tomato sauce
  • 200g gluten-free pasta flour mix, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
  • 200g coarse corn flour*
  • approx. 160g lukewarm water
  • 150g dry Borlotti beans
  • 2 slices of pork cheek*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece of Kombu seaweed (optional)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Soak the Borlotti beans for at least 12 hours, adding a piece of Kombu seaweed of your choice, which will help the digestion of the legumes once cooked. Cook the beans in plenty of water with the addition of a bay leaf, then keep them aside.
  2. Cut the pork cheek into cubes and put in a large pan to brown with a drizzle of oil, then add the tomato sauce and let it flavour for at least 15 minutes. Add the cooked Borlotti beans with a few ladles of their cooking water to make the soup rather liquid.
  3. Place the two flours on a chopping board forming a well, add a pinch of salt and start adding the lukewarm water in the centre of the well, mixing with a fork to start forming a dough. Add the water gradually as the amount may vary depending on the flour and humidity. When the flours are mixed enough to be worked by hand, start kneading them with your hands to obtain a homogeneous, smooth, firm and non-sticky mixture.
  4. Take pieces of dough, form long cylinders with your hands and cut them into 1 cm square dumplings.
  5. Put a large pot of water on the stove, salt it when it comes to the boil and throw in the dumplings to cook them. Drain them with a slotted spoon and pour them into the pan with the Borlotti bean sauce to allow them to take on flavour, adding more Borlotti cooking water. Season with salt and pepper and serve the Gnocchetti when they have the desired texture and flavour.

Version with gluten of Gnocchetti in frasca dumplings

Replace the Molino Dallagiovanna fresh pasta flour mix with an equal amount of wheat flour, adjusting the amount of water needed for kneading.

For the boost of energy needed to face the winter, this time we set off to discover what gluten-free Germany is like, choosing the enchanting town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in Bavaria as our destination: an idea to go to Germany during the Oktoberfest that is about to start, looking for some gluten-free beer options.

piazza-del-mercato

Market square with town hall

Gluten-free Germany: parents’ escape to Rothenburg

When you walk through the arched gateway under one of the towers of the city’s high walls, you take a leap back of a thousand years amongst the intricate cobbled alleys and colourful houses with pointed roofs.

rothenburg

Wherever you look, vibrant flowers, gleaming wrought-iron signs, doors opening on cosy and unusual cafés appear, gradually leading us to the market square, Marktplatz, in front of the town hall, where history and legend merge.

insegne insegne

The imposing building of the white Councillors’ Tavern towers over the square with its clock, which opens on the stroke of the hour, recalling the legend of how the city was saved from destruction during the Thirty Years’ War thanks to the Meistertrunk, or Master Draught, according to which if the mayor drank three litres of beer (or wine, according to other sources and a gluten-free legend) in one gulp, the city would be spared.

A breathtaking view of the town of Rothenburg

To get the full view of the city, its structure and the tangle of two-storey houses, you have to climb the tower of the town hall, which is open from 9.30 am to 5 pm. Unfortunately, the closing time does not make it possible to enjoy the sunset, so it is worth going up early in the morning to avoid the crowd of visitors that would make the climb up the steep, narrow wooden steps decidedly challenging, but the effort and a few shivers of fear are worth the spectacle that opens up once you reach the narrow tower.

After a pleasant break at the Café enzig Artig surrounded by the most varied items, all for sale just like food and drinks, you can also tackle the walk along the city walls rebuilt after the bombing that destroyed the city on 30 March 1945 thanks to the donations of benefactors from all over the world whose name are written on the walls.

rothenburg

From the city walls you can enjoy the jungle of steep roofs rising towards the city centre topped by the towers of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. James.

The church located along the Pilgrim’s Way to Santiago has been a destination for pilgrims for centuries and houses an imposing wooden altar with the saint’s relic, the only case of a Catholic relic being present in a Reformed church.

chiesa

Altare ligneo

The city where it’s Christmas all year round

In Rothenburg, it is impossible to escape the allure of Christmas, even if the temperature in this unusual September is 30 degrees Celsius, so we are first attracted by a colourful carload of gift packages, then by the illuminated shop windows, Christmas trees and irresistible animations for young and old: this is where the magic of Käthe Wohlfahrt begins.

natale

negozio di natalenegozio di natale

Christmas music, animated nativity scenes, lights, cuckoo clocks, decorations of every colour, shape and theme, despite resorting to all my willpower, at Christmas there will be snowflake-shaped biscuits on our table.

And for lovers of this festivity, Rothenburg is a must-visit destination in the weeks leading up to Christmas when its streets and central square come alive with one of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets.

The night watchmen

What happened during the Middle Ages when the city gates closed at sunset? To find out, just join the crowds of tourists who at 8pm, in English, and 9.30pm, in German, follow the night watchman armed with lantern and halberd as he recounts his adventures in carrying out his precious duties within the walls of Rothenburg.

guardiano della notte

And with the night watchman, also the sun sets colouring the sky and the walls of the houses with a pink aura that makes the stories of the unusual black-cloaked character frighteningly credible.

rothenburg di notterothenburg di notte

Gluten-free Germany: what to do in Rothenburg

In a Bavarian city that recorded 2.5 million visitors in 2019, the offer of gluten-free dishes certainly has much room for improvement. In the whole of the old city, I found only one Italian restaurant, Michelangelo, which offers a gluten-free menu (although it claims not to guarantee 100 per cent absence of cross contamination).

centro città

The food speciality of Franconia, the region where Rothenburg is located, is carp that is served grilled or with a white wine sauce in the months containing the letter R in their name, but in the restaurants we visited carp was not gluten free.

Meat dishes abound everywhere, although it is fundamental to check carefully with the restaurant staff who are not always well informed.

rothenburg

Rothenburg’s typical sweets, the so called snowballs, are not available in a gluten-free version, but I couldn’t but mention them because of their popularity: the dough is similar to the one used for Italian Carnival “Chiacchiere” and is deep fried using moulds that give it the characteristic round shape.

Il famoso dolce di Rothenburg, le palle di neve, non disponibili in versione senza glutine

The famous Rothenburg’s dessert, known as snowballs, NOT available in a gluten-free version

If it is true that in all the meals we had, we were never served bread, surely for our family needs this food cannot be missing. My advice is thus to visit one of the supermarkets of the many German retailers present in order to find a very wide selection of gluten-free products not to be caught unprepared.

amplissima scelta di prodotti senza glutine sugli scaffali del supermercato Edeka

Wide selection of gluten-free products on the shelves of Edeka supermarkets

Having bought bread, you can certainly enjoy the Villa Mittermeier hotel and restaurant where breakfast is a wealth of naturally gluten-free products, well insulated from possible sources of contamination. Furthermore, chef Christian Mittermeier is fully available to welcome guests with coeliac disease, possibly with prior reservation, and the menu proposal is decidedly exciting (although, to be fair, due to the quality of the raw materials and proposals, not within the reach of all budgets).

colazione

A full immersion in nature

that Rothenburg is 400 metres above sea level, but you only have to step outside the city walls and take one of the 12 paths marked on the hiking map to find yourself surrounded by greenery and to have an enchanting view of the colourful settlement.

Furthermore, Rothenburg lies along the Romantische Strasse, one of the most spectacular and famous tourist itineraries that starts in Würzburg and ends in Füssen on the German Alps covering a distance of 460 kilometres dotted by places of historic and scenic interest, including Rothenburg.

vista città

The Villa Mittermeier hotel provides us with the perfect picnic backpack: plates, cutlery, glasses, a full meal, as well as water and wine.

zaino picnic

Path no. 2 is the one that follows the Tauber river, populated by mills that were used in the past both for milling grain and for chopping wood, but which unfortunately are no longer in operation, although this does not affect the pleasure of the shady forest trails with well-maintained paths that are accessible even to inexperienced walkers.

We walk for 11 km chatting, photographing and enjoying the peace that gives us the unexpected sight of a kingfisher, the turquoise bird I had only read about in fairy tales. Having found a table carved out of a log with respective benches, we can enjoy the Mittermeier treasure by setting a perfect picnic in the middle of the forest.

picnic

Also not to be missed is the walk that follows the city walls to see the 22 towers that surround the city, a route that allows you to enter and exit the city gates, sometimes getting lost to then get back on track or pick a different route.

una delle torri lungo le cinta di mura

One of the towers along the city walls

For those who prefer cycling to walking, the choice of cycle paths and routes is equally wide and rewarding.

The museums you don’t expect

If we Italians expect to find a museum on the history of the city in just about every tourist destination (Rothenburg Museum), surely the Crime Museum and the Christmas Museum are unusual and opposite.

The Medieval Crime Museum features the most comprehensive (and chilling) collection of torture instruments used in the Middle Ages, one of the darkest moments of humanity and certainly a warning not to fall back into such barbarity, but still a visit I would not recommend to families with children.

Exactly the opposite is the climate of the Christmas Museum, opened in 2000 by the entrepreneur Harald Wohlfahrt, the creator of the famous Christmas shops that bear his name (Käthe Wohlfahrt), where the Christmas traditions of all German regions are recounted and valuable objects from its origin to the middle of the last century are collected.

How to get to Rothenburg

Rothenburg is located 80km from Nuremberg. The quickest solution from Italy is to fly to Nuremberg and rent a car or take one of the many regional trains to Rothenburg.

Trains are a convenient but rather time-consuming alternative, while the car can be a stimulating option if you plan stops at attractive locations along the way in both Switzerland and Germany.

Ellen ed io

Ellen and I

For our trip, we chose an itinerary that involved meeting up with our fellow adventurers Ellen and Fred Gromann at Lake Constance and then driving to our destination. Once again, Lake Constance gave us memorable experiences to add to what I had experienced in my previous trip.

There were many aspects that made me curious when I received the invitation to the tasting of a fish-based menu cooked by Michelin-star chef Davide Pezzuto organised by FLAG Costa blu in collaboration with the Italian Food Blogger Association (AIFB) and I cannot list them following a specific order (yet, can you imagine the thrill of tasting a Michelin-star menu?), therefore I am going to share my curiosity hoping that it is equally interesting for you and being aware that our food choices can contribute to keeping the levels of employment and the quality of the coastal environment of the Adriatic sea.

Michelin-star menu: all the taste of fish from the Adriatic sea

The first element of interest was indeed FLAG Costa blu, i.e. the Consortium committed to enhancing the fish products and land of the province of Teramo, since 80% of the fish eaten in Italy comes from abroad or is farmed.

Second, a fish-based 5-course menu. You can imagine that in the gourmand city of Parma, strongly attached to its food traditions, tasting fish recipes cooked by a Michelin-star chef is not very common.

Third, the fact that chef Davide Pezzuto works in the first “Diffused restaurant” in Italy, D.One: knowing various diffused hotels, I was very curious to discover how the concept could be applied to a restaurant. Indeed, the restaurant is housed in the various buildings of the village where it is based, thus giving new life to the whole place: a great example of social and environmental sustainability.

And last but not least, the chef himself of whom I had read characteristics that have always attracted me: simplicity of ingredients and creativity in their use.

I must admit that I did not expect that all courses, except for one, would contain gluten considering that fish is naturally gluten-free, but, as usual, this is an irresistible stimulus to try to reproduce the recipes tasted in a gluten-free version.

In compagnia di Giulia Longo, Social Media Manager

Together with Giulia Longo, Social Media Manager

Tasting the Michelin-star menu

  • Small puccia bread with octopus and vinaigrette made with Pera d’Abruzzo tomatoes
  • Cannolo with tuna tartare, caramelised onion and wasabi flavoured mayonnaise
  • Sea gravel with seaweeds, prawns, spiked squids and clams
  • Granetti pasta in a juice of mantis shrimps, Burrata cheese and barberry
  • Synopsis of fish soup
Mini puccia con polpo e vinaigrette di pomodoro Pera d'Abruzzo e Cannolo di tonno ala lunga, cipollotto caramellato al coppo e maionese al wasabi

Small puccia bread with octopus and vinaigrette made with Pera d’Abruzzo tomatoes and Cannolo with tuna tartare, caramelised onion and wasabi flavoured mayonnaise

Would you like to know what my next challenges will be? Certainly the pasta courses, namely Granetti and Sea gravel, even though you will have to give me some time for experimenting!

Granetti is a type of pasta similar to Fregola in shape, but it is varying in the piece sizes and prepared with a mixture of flour and semolina kneaded with water. Chef Davide Pezzuto proposed this pasta shape with a juice of mantis shrimps, Burrata cheese and barberry cream, but I can already tell you that I will try this pasta with the classic sauce made with fava beans, onion and guanciale, which is certainly easier for me!

Granetti in jus di canocchie, burrata e cascigne

Granetti in a juice of mantis shrimps, Burrata cheese and barberry

Sea gravel with seaweeds, prawns, spiked squids and clams is a dish that the chef proposes also in his restaurant menu and it is wonderful to look at and to eat: every ingredient has a name and a story to tell. First of all, gravel. Gravel refers to the bread dumplings coloured with squid ink, tomato paste and plain bread that give rise to bread dumplings that look exactly like the cobs you find on the beach. This effect is achieved by rolling the dumplings in order to round the corners and make them identical to the cobs smoothed by the waves.

Ghiaia di mare con alghe, scampi, caciaroli e paparazze

Sea gravel with seaweeds, prawns, spiked squids and clams

The name in dialect of spiked squids means “noisy” because they cause a great mess when moving in very large schools. Clams are the ones from the Adriatic sea and are called “paparazze” in the local dialect. This word was used by film director Federico Fellini in “La dolce vita” as the surname of the photographer in the film to associate the opening and closing of the camera lens to the valves of this shellfish, hence the name “paparazzi” now used in English as well.

Last but not least, fish soup: an ever changing nectar because made with the fish caught on the day, hence a true gift from nature. The special feature of Davide’s proposal is certainly the use of lime zest to cover the edge of the serving cup, a trick to smell the lime aroma, but not its taste that would make this delicate dish a bit bitter.

Do you know what? This tasting really stirred my desire to discover the amazing food of the Abruzzo region!

territorio

Il lago di Costanza è un punto di incontro non solo di tre paesi – Svizzera, Germania e Austria, ma anche di tre elementi che racchiudono le mie passioni, ossia cibo, vino e natura. E proprio sul lago di Costanza si affaccia il Cantone di Thurgau che ho scoperto grazie all’incontro con Ellen Gromann del blog Patotra con cui abbiamo realizzato uno scambio culturale tra blogger che ci è piaciuto tantissimo. Ho iniziato io con un viaggio in avanscoperta per potere tornare con tutta la famiglia e le nostre sfidanti esigenze alimentari.

Thurgau, il cantone verde

Se uno mi chiedesse di descrivere il Cantone di Thurgau attraverso un solo aggettivo, direi verde. Perché a partire dallo scorcio fuori dalle finestre dell’Hotel Kreuzlingen am Hafen, il verde brillante ti entra nella telecamera del cellulare cancellando qualsiasi impostazione di luce e definisce i contorni di tutto ciò che si muove al suo interno: verdi sono tutti i fili d’erba disciplinati e fitti, verdi sono le siepi tagliate in perfette geometrie, verdi le distese di alberi di melo e le coltivazioni di insalata e cavoli.

Il parco lungo il lago di Costanza visto dall'hotel Kreuzlingen am Hafen

Il parco lungo il lago di Costanza visto dall’hotel Kreuzlingen am Hafen

Se invece dovessi scegliere un sostantivo, direi armonia, perché le case si fondono perfettamente con il paesaggio per forma e colori, le montagne abbracciano delicatamente i laghi senza sovrastarli, il fiume Reno si tuffa silenzioso nel lago di Costanza senza che le sue acque si mescolino a quelle lacustri uscendone indisturbate sull’altra estremità, le file verticali di vigneti disegnano le fantasie degli scacchi di tessuto e le pasciute mucche dai variabili mantelli ti guardano con una tranquillità da fare invidia.

E come tutti coloro che hanno studiato sui testi di scuola italiani sanno, Svizzera è sinonimo di cioccolato, quindi come tutti gli italiani che si rispettino, dal cioccolato abbiamo iniziato il nostro viaggio di scoperta, partendo dalla cittadina di Gottlieben.

I Gottlieber Hüppen: un croccante abbraccio per il cioccolato

Qui, nel 1928, una intraprendente signora di nome Elisabeth Wegeli decide di trasformare in impresa la tradizione locale di preparare sottili cialde di wafer. La sua idea vincente è quella di arrotolare i croccanti involucri e farcirli con morbida crema al cioccolato: nascono i famosissimi Gottlieber Hüppen. In questa azienda di circa 80 dipendenti (soprattutto donne per la precisione e la pazienza che molte operazioni richiedono), gli ambienti profumano di biscotto e cioccolato fuso. Al piano terra vengono cotti per 40 secondi i sottilissimi wafer (8000 all’ora) su piccole piastre di metallo prima di essere velocemente avvolti attorno ad un cilindro e rifilati in modo accurato.

I wafer pronti per la farcitura

I wafer pronti per la farcitura

Un gottlieber hueppen con crema di mandorle

Un Gottlieber Hueppen con crema di mandorle

Al piano superiore, 56 sottili dita metalliche farciscono i croccanti rotoli con 14 diverse creme al cioccolato, che vengono poi avvolti singolarmente in colorati involucri di alluminio e in incantevoli scatole di latta o cartone dai più svariati decori. Il risultato? Ogni giorno escono dalla magica fabbrica nascosta tra le case residenziali ben 140.000 dolcetti spediti in tutto il mondo e simbolo dell’industria dolciaria del paese. La sfida su cui sta lavorando il mastro fornaio? Preparare il croccante wafer con farina di riso per avere finalmente anche i Gottlieber Hüppen in versione gluten free: noi li stiamo aspettando!

La degustazione è incredibile! I prodotti sono talmente curati che si è quasi intimoriti dallo scartarli per rovinare tanta bellezza, ma il gioco di consistenze, sapori e profumi è davvero un’esperienza da provare.

Degustazione dei prodotti Gottlieber, purtroppo non ancora senza glutine

Degustazione dei prodotti Gottlieber, purtroppo non ancora senza glutine

Il pomeriggio segue il filo dei ricordi di Stefano visto che fin dalle scuole elementari avrebbe voluto vedere le cascate sul Reno di Schaffhausen, quindi un fuori programma adrenalinico che ci permette di incontrare sul cammino un vero e proprio gioiello, il paese di Stein am Rhein, costruito nel punto in cui il fiume si getta nel lago di Costanza e dove ogni facciata sembra volere scrivere un libro attraverso i dipinti.

La cittadina di Stein am Rhein

La cittadina di Stein am Rhein

 

Un’ora di strada con scorci mozzafiato ed una sosta in quello che Stefano ed io vorremmo fare “Next time” nella promessa di organizzare altri viaggi per incontrare Ellen e Fred con cui l’alchemia fa scintille: dormire in una bolla trasparente immersi nella natura! Il mio sogno? Proporvi una cena senza glutine con vista sul lago al tramonto… lo mettiamo in agenda!

 

Le cascate di Schaffhausen viste dal barcone

Le cascate di Schaffhausen viste dal barcone

 

schaffhausen

Una delle stanze a bolla immerse nella natura

Una delle stanze a bolla immerse nella natura

A Schaffhausen si respira l’atmosfera delle attrazioni turistiche con il pullulare di pullman, auto e persone delle più svariate etnie e la potenza delle cascate che lambiscono la città è decisamente inaspettata. Non possiamo non prendere uno dei barconi a motore che, con consuetudine ed esperienza, si avvicinano paurosamente alle cascate tra le urla di noi ignari turisti. Ovviamente i vestiti si bagnano leggermente nella nuvola di goccioline bianche che ci immerge, ma ci incamminiamo subito verso l’auto per riprendere il programma originale e asciugarci nel tepore del trasferimento.

Terra di mele e sidro

Destinazione sidro perché nella regione la produzione di mele è molto diffusa e diversificata: consumo come frutta o ingrediente in cucina, succo e sidro, a seconda delle varietà. Raggiungiamo la sidreria Mohl con l’annesso Mömo, stabilimento e museo di sidro classico ed innovativo, uno spumeggiante progetto dove la cultura e l’attenzione verso l’ambiente ci guidano alla scoperta di questa azienda fondata nel 1895 e trasformata nel “Cider Clan”, come recitano le divise del personale.

Interno della sidreria

Interno della sidreria

Le tipologie di mele trattate dalla sidreria

Le tipologie di mele trattate dalla sidreria

Degustazione di 8 tipi di sidro che, nonostante la bassa gradazione alcolica che non supera mai il 4,5% e qualche versione analcolica, mette a dura prova la mia moblilità, ma mi fa conoscere un prodotto poco diffuso in Italia, ma di larghissimo consumo in Svizzera, proprio nella sua versione analcolica (i 2/3 dei consumi sono oggi del prodotto senza alcool) per l’inasprimento delle sanzioni per la guida in stato di ebbrezza introdotte negli ultimi anni.

degustazione

Dopo questo dolce aperitivo, non potevamo che concludere con la cena in un ristorante dove la specialità del lago, il Bodensee-Knusperli, il pesce persico croccante, viene servito in versione gluten free: foto e promesse spediti immediatamente sul gruppo di famiglia su WhatsApp.

Al ristorante Seemöwe la cucina è donna ed è attenta non solo al senza glutine, ma anche al senza lattosio perché proprio la chef Erika Harder non può consumare latticini: sappiamo che possiamo stare più tranquilli quando in cucina si conoscono le intolleranze in prima persona!

Peccato per la pioggia che ci impedisce di godere di una splendida vista dalla terrazza, ma il menù ben calibrato e la Zuppa di vino tipica del territorio ci regalano la conclusione di una giornata davvero ricca. Ah, il dolce? Tiramisù alle mele che vi riproporrò sicuramente a breve sul blog in versione light.

cena

…Ma anche di formaggi e cioccolato

Il sabato mattina andiamo alla ricerca degli ingredienti per cucinare la cena: la famosissima Raclette che, per mia grande gioia, è naturalmente senza glutine!
Fare la spesa è una fantastica sorpresa perché Ellen e Fred si recano direttamente dagli agricoltori locali, molti dei quali hanno il negozio in cui vendono i prodotti della loro azienda agricola, quindi troviamo formaggi, carne, uova, verdure e addirittura il pane.

Le strade sono punteggiate da cartelli che invitano ad acquistare ciò che ognuno produce e io, non potevo non fare una tappa in un piccolo caseificio dove acquisto tante specialità locali, in particolare l’Appenzeller, e dove ci facciamo affettare il formaggio per la Raclette serale, bellissime fette rettangolari dello spessore di
7 mm, come mi fa notare la sorridente signora che ci serve, anticipando non poche risate per un viaggio in auto molto “aromatico” fino a quando non riusciamo a lasciare il formaggio nel frigorifero di casa!

Le fette di formaggio per preparare la Raclette

Le fette di formaggio per preparare la Raclette

Altra sosta obbligata? La fabbrica di cioccolato Stella con una selezione incredibile di cioccolata senza glutine e anche senza zucchero: già penso a come usarla nel Tiramisù alle mele!

Superiamo la frontiera urbana che separa la cittadina di Kreuzlingen in Svizzera dalla città di Costanza in Germania lungo lo stesso lato dell’omonimo lago: questa inusuale frontiera mi ha colto completamente di sorpresa perché non mi ero resa conto che il lago fosse unione e al contempo separazione tra i due stati europei.

La galleria a cielo aperto a Costanza

La galleria a cielo aperto a Costanza

costanza

La luce che riflette sulle acque del lago dona a tutto il paesaggio una tonalità di colori e di pace che sono unici delle località lacustri.
Costanza brulica di vita e risuona delle musiche più diverse prodotte da artisti di strada che spaziano dai suoni delle cornamuse di un robusto signore in kilt ai classici nostalgici degli anni ’80, il tutto abbracciato dai decori delle facciate della case medievali o dalle opere moderne che trasformano i sottopassi in gallerie d’arte all’aperto.

Weinweg: degustare il vino seguendo i vigneti

Dopo una veloce sosta caffè, ci trasferiamo a Weinfelden che, come promette il nome (composto dai termini “vino” e “campi”), ci accoglie tra i vigneti per l’attività pomeridiana: 9 km di camminata lungo i sentieri tra le vigne, il Weinweg. Alla stazione ferroviaria, ritiriamo lo zainetto con tutto il necessario per l’esperienza: cartina del sentiero, pane croccante tipico, acqua e il bicchierino da degustazione che potrà essere riempito per ben 4 volte, ossia 2 volte per ogni stazione di assaggio grazie ad un codice che ci permetterà di aprire il caveau, ossia le cantinette con numerosi vini tra cui scegliere e personalizzare la propria degustazione. Il tutto ad un prezzo di 25 Franchi svizzeri a persona che riteniamo onestissimo per quello che l’attività ci regala.

Weinweg

La fortuna ci assiste perché nonostante il calendario ci ricordi che è il 15 ottobre, in cielo splende un sole degno delle migliori giornate di fine estate, mentre i colori degli alberi e delle viti sono quelli della tavolozza autunnale più infuocata di mai. Non sappiamo da che parte girare lo sguardo perché la natura ci incanta ad ogni punto cardinale: Alpi innevate, pianure rigogliose, animali al pascolo e linee di viti dipinte a perdita d’occhio.

La prima stazione di degustazione arriva senza che ci rendiamo conto di avere già percorso diversi chilometri di strada. Con il codice magico, apriamo la porta di legno che si schiude davanti ad una cantinetta piena di numerose bottiglie di vini bianchi e rossi da cui attingere. Da buoni golosi, non ci siamo fatti cogliere alla sprovvista e parte degli acquisti di formaggi e carni dai contadini locali è stata aggiunta agli zainetti per rendere il pane decisamente più accattivante per gli improvvisati abbianamenti.

La prima stazione di degustazione

La prima stazione di degustazione

degustazione

Il cammino del Weinweg pullula di vita con le persone che lo percorrono, i punti di ristoro che lo punteggiano, la varietà di animali che lo abitano, i contadini che lo lavorano e le innumerevoli chiacchiere che comunque non ne scalfiscono il silenzio.

weinveg

Il tempo di percorrenza indicato è di 3 ore, ma tra chiacchiere, soste, foto, filmati, incontri e risate, noi di ore ne impieghiamo 5 e con grande dispiacere prendiamo atto che il sole inizia ad infuocarsi pure lui, comunicandoci che è giunta l’ora di tornare al nostro campo base.

Siamo appagati ed affamati, felici di poterci gustare la famosa Raclette senza troppi sensi di colpa dopo che il cellulare ci ricorda che abbiamo percorso ben 14 km di strada a piedi!

La Raclette: la cucina a vista della tradizione

Ci rechiamo quindi diretti a casa dei nostri fantastici ospiti per allestire il tavolo con la piastra riscaldata che trasforma il formaggio in una golosissima crema da arricchire con verdure, prosciutto e spezie e da versare sulle patate bollite che fungono da pratico ed indispensabile supporto. La cena che prende forma con il contributo di ognuno dei commensali è proprio un bel modo di condividere la tavola e credo che, prima o poi, la Raclette troverà posto anche sulla nostra tavola, magari con qualche personalizzazione negli abbinamenti di ingredienti per renderla il più possibile “amica” della glicemia.

Siamo sorpresi anche noi da tutto ciò che siamo riusciti a fare in due giorni, dalla carica di energia che tanta bellezza è riuscita a trasmetterci, così domenica mattina ripartiamo godendoci gli ultimi scorci di paesaggio elvetico prima lungo il fiume Limmat a Zurigo, poi sul lago di Zugo e di Lugano prima di attraversare la frontiera verso casa dove sarà mio compito fare innamorare Ellen e Fred della mia terra, così come hanno fatto loro portandomi nel cantone di Thurgau.

Potete trovare tante altre informazioni e contatti per organizzare una fuga in questa zona su Thurgau-bodensee.

Discovering enchanting places right near our home is always a pleasant surprise and Bologna and its surroundings were one of those discoveries for me. That happened at BlogInBo, the 3-day Emilian event for real Italian tourists.

dozza

BlogInBo: discovering Bologna and its surroundings

Dozza, an open-air museum

We set out from the hills of Bologna in search of some fresh air in the scorching days of late June, and we do so from one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Dozza, with its unique little houses with their colourful murals that an enlightened mayor in 1960 had planned to make the village an open-air museum.

With time passing, brushstroke after brushstroke, Dozza has become a small work of art. Every step captures the gaze, and it is also worth taking the time to visit the Rocca Sforzesca that houses the Museum and, for food and wine lovers, the Regional Enoteca of Emilia Romagna for tastings and purchases.

In the evening, Dozza transforms into a nativity scene, dotted with the lights of the small restaurants, many of which also offer gluten-free options, considering that the lion’s share is taken up by local deli meats and Bolognese meat sauce (asking for a gluten-free pasta seems to be a feasible undertaking!).

dozza di sera

Bologna the Learned

The history of Bologna’s university permeates the streets, buildings, statues and faces of the many students who crowd the porticoes, cheerfully huddled around elegantly-dressed friends with the ever-present laurel wreath marking new horizons.

As we walk along Via D’Azeglio, the street of the famous illuminations, we hear humming of the most popular verses of the songs of Raffaella Carrà, a beloved Bolognese who died recently. And the same happens as we pass in front of the house of another local artist who made Italian song unique, Lucio Dalla, whose traces and memories come up in various corners of the city.

Omaggio a Lucio Dalla sui muri di Bologna

to Lucio Dalla on the walls of Bologna

Passing medieval courtyards, towers and squares, we then enter the heart of the Learned: theArchiginnasio. Here we find the Municipal Library with its inaccessible treasures and an imposing Anatomical Theatre that inspires both reverence and imagination!

Teatro anatomico

The Anatomical Theatre inside the Archiginnasio

It is no coincidence that such a place of science and medicine arose in Bologna in the mid-1600s. Its purpose was keeping under control the activities that previously had been carried out secretly, in private homes, by physicians whose dissection activities walked the fine line between science and witchcraft.

And without ever having to give up the pleasant embrace of the 38 km of arcades, we immerse ourselves in the maze of market streets with their deli shops, stores, trattorias and osterias: a riot of fresh pasta and deli meats that are absolute proof that the second adjective historically linked to Bologna has not been undermined by new food fashions.

Bologna the Fat

A stop at the historic workshops of Tamburini and Simoni to shop for good food because since 1465 at theOsteria del Sole you can only buy wine: definitely an invitation to honour all the good things on the way to Vicolo Ranocchi.

osteria del sole

The Osteria del Sole is the meeting point of local people, it is the place where social classes disappear and bottles of Sangiovese from Romagna and the most expensive French champagne are sold in equal numbers. It is the place where the greatest personalities of cinema and sport have stopped to taste the pink mortadella whose unmistakable aroma is more insidious than Ulysses’ Sirens.

So, despite all the good intentions to resist temptation and indulge in just one slice, we end up satisfied and satiated, ready for a stop at the coffee shop for the last treat for the senses: an espresso from Terzi where we try a new, intoxicating coffee blend.

From earth to heaven

Never have the 498 steps of the Torre degli Asinelli been so invoked to walk off the sumptuous lunch! The keyword: punctuality, because the Tower must be climbed strictly with a reservation and at the appointed time, so to organise your activities in the best possible way, stop by at the offices of Bologna Welcome and Extra Bo in Piazza Maggiore where you can find all the information, buy tickets and book access and visits.

le scale per salire sulla torre degli asinelli

The stairs to the Asinelli Tower

 

In addition to the view of the city from its highest point, the Tower offers us a few refreshing raindrops and the desire to continue enjoying the sky above Bologna by reaching the city’s other symbol, the monument that announces to all the approach into Bologna: the Sanctuary of the Madonna di San Luca.

Refreshing excursion with the little train to admire the succession of arches that, with their 3,796m, form the longest portico in the world and reach the Sanctuary, allowing pilgrims to be sheltered from the weather and heat. Among the bright green trees of the Colle della Guardia, the warm orange of the Basilica stands out even more imposing against the backdrop of a postcard-perfect turquoise sky.

San Luca

Bologna and surroundings it’s egg pasta

I have no idea how many times I have made egg pasta, nor how many times I have taught how to make it in my life, yet I could not resist the temptation to take part in the Tortelloni and Tagliatelle making course held by the fabulous Monica and Barbara from Tryandtaste in Monteveglio, about half an hour’s drive from Bologna.

Do you know what I love about fresh pasta? That each family has its own version of each dish, an extra or less ingredient that makes their tortellone simply unique. So from my rolling-pin companions I learnt not only how to seal the pasta the Bologna way, but also how to flavour the filling with parsley and a pinch of garlic, a forbidden ingredient for the Bertinelli’s home-made fillings.

With rolling pins and pasta cutters, the cutting boards are soon filled with the most inviting and pot-bellied Tortelloni and soft nests of Tagliatelle, which, while we take photos and videos, are already waiting for us, seasoned and fragrant on the work table masterfully transformed into a simple but sumptuous banquet: Butter Tortelloni, sage and Parmesan cheese authentic meat sauce Tagliatelle.

You do know I was well trained to deal with Bologna’s culinary exertions, and yet, every time I eat a good meat sauce my palate is always amazed as if it were the first time I tasted that recipe! And perhaps there is a reason for this because, in Bologna every one has a own version of the sauce using a different cut of beef or pork, adding more or less tomato purée or paste, the much-debated glass of milk, you name it: to each his own meat sauce! Mine? I’m going to tell you shortly here on the blog pages.

tortelloni e tagliatelle

The good and the beautiful that are good for the environment

As in all self-respecting shows, our BlogInBo could only end with a grand finale, this time in the rolling hills of the Regional Park of the Abbey of Monteveglio, surrounded by the vineyards of the organic winery of the Corte d’Aibo farmhouse.

corte d'aibo

It was in this corner of paradise that in 1989 Antonio Capelli and Mario Pirondini took over 35 hectares of land to give life to their avant-garde project of creating an organic farm. Today it is complemented by a splendid cellar where the wines rest for part of their life in buried clay amphorae that allow the grapes to preserve all their goodness until the skilful knowledge of the winemakers assembles them into the magical combinations of Corte d’Aibo’s 14 labels.

L'anforaia della cantina di Corte d'Aibo

The amphorae of the Corte d’Aibo winery

The pleasure of fresh sparkling Pignoletto gives us relief from the heat of lunchtime, accompanied by a crouton served with the summer truffle of this land full of surprises: the truffle that the Appennino Food Group searches with the help of the lagotto dogs in the surroundings of Savigno, the little-known home of this underground treasure.

tartufo

Then, a glass of Rugiada, a still white wine with no added sulphites, which combines the fragrant Malvasia di Candia with the slightly bitter touch of Grechetto Gentile, leads us to the final climax: the tasting of Franceschini’s artisan mortadella which could only be called Opera.

Definitely a work of art: made only from the finest Italian pork, stuffed into natural casings, hand-tied, slowly stewed and free of preservatives, flavourings and allergens – in short, to be enjoyed to the last bite and with eyes closed so as not to miss even the most hidden aroma.

Simone Franceschini affetta la sua Opera

Simone Franceschini slicing his Opera

Here at Corte d’Aibo I would love to stop and admire the sunset behind the neat rows of vines because I am sure it is a breathtaking spectacle, but the schedules of each of our BlogInBo companions oblige us to say goodbye to this land and to our new friends. I feel I can say that it will not be long before I return to retrace the path I have trodden because beautiful, good and healthy things should be shared, Ilaria’s word.

test

 

 

 

 

While still loving the ‘old’ way of travelling, I decided to embark on a journey of discovery of the Provolone Valpadana PDO through the project “Choose your taste, sweet or spicy, only from Europe”in collaboration with the European Commission and theItalian Food Bloggers Association. The project aims to improve the manner in which European quality labelled products are recognised and promote their consumption, and I did it with my Savoury muffins with Provolone Valpadana PDO.

logo progetto 

My encounter with this product dates back to my childhood when I accompanied my father to the International Dairy Cattle Fair in Cremona , where the food stands present at the social event for breeders from Northern Italy displayed huge cheese wheels, shiny, sometimes round and sometimes cylindrical. Their size fascinated and, at the same time, frightened me.

After so many years, discovering how this cheese is made fills my heart with joy.

The sweet and spicy Provolone Valpadana PDO

Where does the name of this cheese come from? From the Italian word prova “try” (because in the past, when there were no technological means to verify that the curd was fermented to the right point to be spun, pieces of it were taken and spinning tests were made repeatedly (hence the name Provola and its augmentative Provolone) until the results were perfect to proceed.

marchio

The production area of Provolone Valpadana PDO includes part of Lombardy, part of Veneto, the province of Piacenza and part of the province of Trento, an area characterised by the presence of the Po Valley.

The production process in brief

  1. Milk preparation in the boiler within 60 hours after milking.
  2. Addition of fermented whey from the end of the previous day’s processing and, if necessary, of additional lactic acid bacteria always obtained from the whey of Provolone Valpadana PDO.
  3. Rennet and curdling, the stage from which the differentiation between mild and piquant Provolone starts, thanks to the addition of calf rennet in the former and kid rennet in the latter, which cause the milk to curdle at a temperature of between 36 and 39°C.
    coagulazione

    Curdling (photo by Consorzio del Provolone Valpadana PDO)

  4. Fermentation and cutting of the curd, when the curd is allowed to rest by fermenting on suitable surfaces and, once ready, cut and then stretched.
  5. Stretching, a process that takes place in water at 85-95°C, consists of melting the curd by pulling it to form long threads.
  6. Moulding, cooling and firming, when the curd is moulded either by hand or in special moulds and placed in ice-cold water to promote rapid cooling and subsequent firming.
  7. Salting, which consists of immersing the cheeses in brine for a period of time depending on their size.
    salatura

    Salting (photo by Consorzio Provolone Valpadana PDO)

  8. Tying, possibly smoking and maturing are the final stages of production since once the cheeses are tied, they can be smoked and matured or stored for a short time in the case of sweet Provolone Valpadana PDO.
stagionatura

Maturation (photo by Consorzio Provolone Valpadana PDO)

Many shapes for many flavours

As a great cheese enthusiast, I find the variety of shapes in which Provolone Valpadana PDO can be presented really unusual, because each size will have its own uniqueness in terms of flavour. So not only is there a difference between sweet and piquant, but within those, ranging from small 6kg wheels to huge 100kg cheeses, the sensory profile develops in a multiplicity of nuances.

For this reason, maturation periods can vary from a minimum of 10 days to over 240 days!

How to use Provolone Valpadana PDO

Given the variety of flavours, textures and maturations, Provolone Valpadana PDO can be used in an infinite number of recipes, which will then be characterised by our choices: a delicate version with a milky scent or a strong touch of flavour and spiciness, as if we had added a pinch of chilli pepper.

Provolone can be used directly raw or in preparations that are to be cooked in a pan or in the oven. Here is the recipe I have prepared to share with you and which I cooked using mild Provolone Valpadana PDO, but which you can easily modify using the piquant version of the same cheese to obtain a completely different result: have fun experimenting!

Savoury muffins with Provolone Valpadana PDO

33.43g carbohydrates per 100 g

Ingredients for 4 large muffins

  • 90g wholemeal rice flour*
  • 75g Provolone Valpadana PDO sweet or spicy (sweet in the photo)
  • 2 eggs
  • 35g tapioca starch*
  • 30g milk
  • 25 g extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g dried tomatoes
  • 5g baking powder for savoury pies*
  • salt and pepper

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Coarsely chop the Provolone cheese and dried cherry tomatoes and set them aside.
  2. Place the rice flour and tapioca starch in a planetary mixer or bowl, then mix with eggs, milk and oil until smooth and creamy; finally add the yeast, Provolone cheese and cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour the mixture into 4 rather large muffin tins, filling them 3/4 full.
  4. Bake the muffins in a static oven preheated to 180°C for 10-20 minutes.
  5. Take the muffins out of the oven and eat them warm – they are mouth-watering!

muffin salati al provolone

Version with gluten of Savoury muffins with Provolone Valpadana DOP

The recipe contains only naturally gluten free ingredients, so no adaptation is necessary for its version with gluten.

If there is one recipe that is the symbol of our Christmas, it most certainly is the recipe for Cappelletti in meat stock because it accompanies not only Christmas Day, but also the preceding period of busy preparation and anticipation.

And the recipe for Cappelletti is part of the advent calendar of the Italian Food Bloggers Association which presents a typical family recipe for every box.

Making Cappelletti in meat stock: a family affair

The preparation of Cappelletti is a family affair: yes, because the whole family gets involved during Christmas holidays and everyone is assigned a task based on their culinary skills, an indispensable contribution to this almost sacred ritual.

There are two types of these beloved stuffed buttons: those stuffed with stew and those stuffed with cheese (called Anolini), each of which has its own convinced and adamant admirers.

Tradition has it that for the most important feast of the year, the stuffing with meat stew should be preferred, so Cappelletti are going to be prepared. Stracotto is prepared several days in advance also because, as its name implies, it takes so long to cook. Precisely for this reason, the cooking juices, with precious flavours and aromas, are used piping hot to moisten the breadcrumbs (unlike cheese stuffing where broth is used for this purpose).

Although the ingredients are few and the recipe is always the same, the stuffing (together with the meat stock) is the element that most determines the success of the Christmas lunch because the stracotto will never be perfectly the same as the previous year’s, nor will the Parmesan cheese and bread we use be identical, so the tasting committee has a task of great responsibility. One of the most vivid and amusing memories I keep of the “Cappelletti factory” is the ritual of tasting the filling by the men of the house who, excluded from all household chores, could not help but be involved in the approval of the filling: an additional pinch of aged Parmesan cheese, a bit less of nutmeg, in short, an invisible recipe hidden in the memory of tastes.

cappelletti in brodo

The traditional dough: 100g flour for 1 egg

My grandmother’s rule has always been this, a proportion that we cannot maintain in the preparation of gluten-free dough, which requires more hydration and therefore more eggs.

The dough must be bright yellow due to the careful selection of eggs with the yolk having an intense colour to ensure an even, golden dough. My grandmother’s powerful arms (now often replaced by my own) would push her wrists so that they would sink into the resistant mass of flour and eggs, which would eventually surrender, becoming docile and smooth, ready to receive the precious explosion of flavour of the filling.

My mother was (and still is) in charge of rolling out the pastry into thin, almost transparent strips and my aunt presided over the precision work of distributing the filling. And then, the workforce still available was given the task of cutting with round, smooth or ribbed stencils, and the patient arrangement, especially by the children of the house, in perfectly aligned rows; so that the precise number of Cappelletti prepared was readily known and flaunted with acquaintances and friends in fun competitions in search of Guinness records.

Capon stock 

Last but not least, the stock. Again, for Christmas, the choice of ingredients is very accurate and detailed: a rich piece of beef, a large beef bone, a free-range capon and the essential vegetables for colour and fragrance, namely onion, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley. Slow cooking, careful skimming of the foam on the surface and an eye on the cooking of the meat that will be the second dish of the day: the boiled meats accompanied by homemade sauces, sweet and spicy.

Once the stock has been strained and the salt has been adjusted, the last effort before the pleasure and the feast: throw in the cappelletti and cook them, keeping them at a gentle simmer to prevent them from opening and releasing their filling. So here they are, the adored and legendary “floaters“, as  Parma natives like to call them.

cappelletti in brodo

Cappelletti in meat stock

37.31g carbohydrates per 100g raw cappelletti, without stock

 

Ingredients for the egg pasta for 4 servings

  • 300g flour for fresh pasta  Molino Dallagiovanna** (for gluten-free version, see below)
  • 4 eggs
  • salt

Ingredients for the Cappelletti filling

  • 150g stew meat
  • 75g breadcrumbs, brand Nutrifree**
  • 40g Parmigiano Reggiano, 36 months, grated,
  • 35g Parmigiano Reggiano, 24 months, grated,
  • 1 egg + 1 yolk
  • meat stew liquid to wet the breadcrumbs, salt and nutmet

Ingredients to complete

  • 2.5 litres approx. of meat stock, preferably prepared using capon
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Prepare the dough: make a well with the 2 flours, crack the eggs in the centre, add a pinch of salt and start by beating the eggs with a fork; gradually incorporate the flour until you can knead the mixture using your hands. Continue mixing with a fork until the dough is stiff enough to be kneaded by hand. Continue working the pastry until it is smooth and compact.
  2. Cover the pastry with foil and leave it to rest while the filling is prepared.
  3. Bring the stock almost to the boil, then pour small amounts of it over the breadcrumbs, stirring so that the liquid is perfectly absorbed. When all the breadcrumbs have been soaked, mix well and leave to cool for about ten minutes. It is important that the breadcrumbs are wet, but still well separated and not creamy.
  4. Add all the other ingredients and mix to obtain a filling with a rather hard consistency.
  5. Cut the pastry into slices, flatten them with a rolling pin, then roll them out into thin strips, 30-40cm long and about 7cm wide with the pasta sheeter. Place mounds of filling of a suitable size for the ring you are using in the centre of the pasta sheet, spacing each 2cm apart.
  6. Fold the pastry over lengthwise, press the pasta sheet around the perimeter of the filling with your fingers and cut out the cappelletti with the cutter.
  7. Put a pot of stock on the stove and when it comes to the boil, lower the flame, remove from the heat for a moment (to prevent the broth from spilling out when pouring the cappelletti) and throw in the cappelletti. Let them cook until the pasta dough is of the desired consistency.
  8. Serve the cappelletti with the stock piping hot and, if desired, sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese.

degustare i cappelletti in brodo

Version with gluten of Cappelletti in meat stock

Replace the Molino Dallagiovanna fresh pasta fix flour with an equal amount of wheat flour, kneading it with 3 whole eggs, while all other ingredients remain unchanged.

 

In Roman dialect, the term Fregnaccia means nonsense, lie, and nuisance, but in the tradition of Central Italy it also indicates a type of pasta, similar to a large, thick Maltagliato, so called to indicate the simplicity of a dish that wins you over with the flavour of its few, delicious ingredients. Here is the recipe for the second meeting with the Rieti-Viterbo Chamber of Commerce, Fregnacce alla sabinese.

And what are these extraordinary ingredients?

The Ovalone Rietino Tomato P.A.T. (i.e. traditional Italian agri-food product) of the Tenuta San Giovanni Farm of Gianfranco Gianni.

The Azienda Olearia’s Leccino Olives Bonifazi Oil

Petrucci’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil  and the lively The Three Doors Sabino chilli pepper

In preparing the recipe from the book ‘La Cucina Sabina’ by Maria Giuseppina Truini Palomba, we were guided by chef Marco Bartolomei and the result was a feast for the whole family.

Enjoy the journey and bon appétit!

Fregnacce Sabina style

49.3 carbohydrates per 100g of unseasoned Fregnacce

 

Ingredients for Fregnacce

  • 300g fresh pasta flour mix Molino Dallagiovanna** (for gluten-free version, see below)
  • 180g water (or however much you need to have a consistent dough)
  • a pinch of salt

Ingredients for sauce

  • 500g peeled Ovalone tomato
  • 100g Leccino olives in brine
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • parsley, chilli pepper, salt and extra virgin olive oil

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Knead the flour with a pinch of salt and enough water to obtain a firm, homogeneous dough. Fate riposare la pasta in un sacchetto di plastica per circa 15 minuti.
  2. Divide the dough in half and roll it out with a rolling pin to a not-too-thin thickness, forming a large disc that you will leave to air dry for about half an hour. Roll each disc to form a large cylinder and cut it with the knife blade at an angle with the tip pointing once to the right and once to the left so that the resulting pieces are diamond- shaped.
  3. Prepare the sauce by putting the clove of garlic in oil with the chilli pepper. Brown the garlic well, then add the tomato after having mashed it well with a fork to make it homogeneous. Cook the sauce for about twenty minutes, seasoning with salt, then add the olives and chopped parsley and leave to season for another 10 minutes.

le fregnacce

  1. Boil the pasta in boiling salted water and when it rises to the surface, drain it, toss it in the pan with the sauce and leave it to season for a few minutes.
  2. Serve your pasta immediately because the saying in Romanesco goes ‘Cook the Fregnacce and eat them right away’.
Le fregnacce alla sabinese pronte per essere gustate

Fregnacce Sabina style ready to be thoroughly enjoyed

Version with gluten of Fregnacce Sabina style

Replace the Molino Dallagiovanna fresh pasta flour mix with an equal amount of wheat flour, adjusting the amount of water needed for kneading.