Festa Monini: colors, sounds and tastes of Umbria

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Monini and Umbria
01 Settembre 2014


Famous throughout the world, still has many surprises and so many flavours to be discovered.

When one says norcineria (pork butchery), anywhere in Italy but also across national boundaries, one cannot but think of some delicacy made from pork And it is obvious why, since the ability of the "norcini" (pork butchers) has established itself with centuries of undisputed excellence. The exquisiteness of their products is therefore not in dispute and is universally recognised. But if the prosciutto of Norcia is well known, the same cannot be said of many other cold cuts, that are perhaps less "noble", but certainly no less tasty.

Lombetto, for example, lean, prized, soft. It is precisely from the lombi or loins of the pig and is considered even more prized than capocollo. It can be enjoyed as such, but also conserved in oil: cut into thin slices, placed in a jar in numerous layers interspersed with juniper berries and bay leaves and then covered with the excellent Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Umbria.

Barbozzo, instead, an ingredient often found in traditional recipes during the lively and mouth-watering summer festivals, comes from the pig's cheek. A less noble cut because it has a greater fat content, but perfect for the preparation of dressings, sauces and savoury dishes. A strong authentic flavour particularly appreciated by gourmets who, from these parts, know that the pork barbozzo comes from pigs or boars raised on pastures, in the open and used to eating tasty bits that they find in the undergrowth or in the meadows. And this can only make their meat even more delicious.

Ventresca, is the name of the Umbrian stretched or rolled bacon. Placed under salt and then flavoured with pepper and spices, it is rolled up and wrapped the same way as capocolli and lombetti. It's excellent eaten thinly sliced on toasted bread or snacks, whilst diced and fried is the indispensable base for good sauces, mixed with vegetables and sautéed, first of which is the puttanesca sauce or Amatriciana sauce, as well as some tasty fillings.

With Corallina excellent bread rolls are made, these are also very popular in festivals and country fairs throughout the entire region. Typical mixed Umbrian appetiser. It is a small salami made three quarters with a very fine layer of lean pork and one quarter with diced fat which creates large eyelets in the finished product.

An ancient flavour, which is decidedly rare is that of the sanguinaccio (similar to black pudding). This was made by farming families when pigs were butchered. It can be served immediately or conserved.
Even today, it is still prepared with the exact same recipe used long ago. White wine, spices, pine nuts, diced orange zest is added to the blood and then it is cooked. It must boil slowly until it becomes solid. A sort of pudding is created which can be eaten cut into slices and immediately served hot. Or it can be cooled and served sautéed in a frying pan and sprinkled with sugar.

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