Festa Monini: colors, sounds and tastes of Umbria

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Porchetta pork roast

Tastes from Umbria
15 Febbraio 2012

Porchetta pork roast

Tasty, crispy and fragrant, it is the queen of every festival.

In every festival, country fair, local market of any respect, there is a kiosk with "porchetta".

It's so good and inviting that now its use has spread all over Italy. Many regions argue its "paternity", but the oldest document that testifies its existence seems to be a note in a register of the Sacred Convent of Assisi in 1584. At the convent large quantities of meat were required, the rich vegetation of the surrounding hills, easily provided the wood that was necessary for its cooking. In those same hills, the typical Umbrian hairy and semi-wild pig, lived and grazed freely. And not far from Assisi, Norcia was famous since Roman times for the raising of pigs and the ability of its "butchers". Thus, even if the recipes place of origin cannot be identified with absolute certainty, the opinion of those who live in Costano, (the area of major tradition and craftsmanship) near Assisi is founded. In fact, it would seem that a "Museum to porchetta" should be built in Costano.


How it is prepared

It consists of a whole pig, gutted, boned and seasoned inside with salt, pepper, herbs and roasted. Preparing it, however, requires particular knowledge. Firstly quality is important and the quantity of meat. The pig chosen must be small or medium-sized and appropriately and wisely filled with herbs and spices. The richness of the condiment and the choice of herbs differentiate regional recipes and characterise the taste. The Umbrian "porchetta" is traditionally flavoured with wild fennel, which gives it an absolutely unmistakable taste and smell. Then there's the cooking which must be slow and in a wood-fired oven, according to tradition. The pork rind must be crispy, while the inside well cooked, soft and fragrant. To fully enjoy it, it must obviously be eaten fresh, soon after it is sliced, however, if not consumed immediately avoid storing it in the fridge where it loses all taste and fragrance.

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