ITINERARIES, GASTRONOMY AND TRADITION: MACERATA
The third stop of the foodiestrip journey through the Marche region. Destination? Macerata.
This times we begin our gastronomic journey from the table. Macerata is a quite rich territory in charm and culinary traditions, also thanks to the strong peasant vocation. The typical dishes of the tradition of this area, in fact, are all linked to the land and culture of the Sibillini Mountains. In fact, from the villages around Macerata, gastronomic pearls were born, sometimes little known and that would deserve much greater attention.
Typical dishes from Macerata and its province
Perhaps the king of typical sausages in the Marche region. The ciauscolo comes from Visso and is commercialized purely in the Marche. Glottologists and etymologists have struggled for years about the meaning and origin of the term. As for the nduja (spicy pork sausage from Calabria), the origin is debated and clearly derives from Latin. There are those who trace it back to the cibusculum (small food) and to the pejorative root that goes back to ‘ciabò’ (nickname given to unlucky people, over the years also became a very common surname in the area). Giulia Milani, instead, believes in tracing back the term in the 3 Latin expressions claudo, ius, and colum, that is “to close the sauce with the large intestine.”
This is the name, ok, but what is the ciauscolo?
The ciauscolo is a salami, and the first evidence of its existence can be found in an archival document dated 1727. Its preparation is simple. After the slaughtering, the meat is hung to mature for two days, the cuts generally used for sausages are chosen, and white wine, garlic, salt, and pepper are added. The secret is in the grind, which is carried out several times (at least 2). The result is a spreadable salami, and this is the main difference with the other sausages. The best way to enjoy it? Experience simplicity: a hot bruschetta and it’s ready to be eaten!
Macerata’s typical dishes
We have already talked about the vincisgrassi not long time ago. It is the lasagna from Macerata par excellence. Even if you find it red, the vincisgrassi are purely white and go back to the peasant tradition, that of the “vergare” (the women in charge of the domestic tasks in the countryside). Various layers of puff pastry with minced meat inside: every woman from Macerata, to date, has her own secret and very personal recipe, a bit like what happens with the Olive all’ascolana.
Coniglio in porchetta (Rabbit stuffed with herbs)
Wild fennel is used for the most famous pork roast (porchetta) in the area. The coniglio in porchetta is nothing but its lighter version. The rabbit meat is cooked with fennel, guanciale, garlic, hot pepper, white wine, oil, and salt. In some recipes, it is also used a bit of ground beef.
Macerata’s typical dish: ‘Li frascarelli’
Always them, the vergare, are the inventors of frascarelli. Water and flour form a sort of white polenta, inside lumps are specially created through the use of wet branches (at least this is what was formerly done). Today it is often used rice, which is creamed inside the flour but the original recipe does not provide it (rice does not belong to the Marche tradition). Immediately after this type of polenta is added to the broth (pork or chicken).
Typical drinks of the Province of Macerata
The Amaro Sibilla
The first success of Varnelli, a company from Macerata, was the Amaro Sibilla, a liqueur made from gentian, leaves, and roots (not all the ingredients, however, are disclosed). The plants are slowly cooked and then alcohol and honey are added. It was invented by the herbalist Girolamo Varnelli in 1868 and has remained the same since. The label was designed by the painter Adolfo de Carolis.
A very particular wine, obtained by maceration of the jujubes in the Trebbiano wine. The preparation lasts 3 years and allows to extract the oily juice from the fruit. It is a sweet wine, which can be accompanied by dry biscuits.
Vino di Visciole
Another sweet wine made with Visciole cherries, and as for the Giuggiolone, the Vino di Visciole is obtained by macerating these small cherries in Montepulciano wine or Vernaccia wine.
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