What to eat in Versilia: recipes and typical products
What to eat in Versilia: recipes and typical products
The Versilian gastronomic tradition is characterized by fish, meat and excellent typical products. It reflects the variety of its territory that ranges between sea, hills and mountains.
The typical dishes of the coast have fish as their main ingredient and often the recipes were born from the habits of the fishermen of the area. Some examples are the sparnocchi with crushed beans from Pietrasanta, the spaghetti alla Trabaccolara, spaghetti with clams or with “coltellacci”, the Caciucco, the risotto with cuttlefish and chard.
The sparnocchi are shrimp in dialect, while the crushed beans are a Slow Food Presidium and also a Traditional Agri-food Product of the Tuscany Region. It is a variety of white beans, with a more delicate flavor than red beans. It is excellent boiled and seasoned with a drizzle of oil or as a side dish for tasty meats.
Sparnocchi with beans is a simple recipe that allows you to taste the raw materials. The shelled beans are cooked in water with sage, garlic and EVO oil. Whole sparnocchi (without the intestinal thread) are boiled in boiling water separately. Then they are added to the well-drained beans, a little raw oil and a little pepper.
The spaghetti alla Trabaccolara was historically born as a poor dish made by fishermen with the catch of the day left unsold at the fish market, such as gallinelle, scorpion fish and weevers for example. The trabaccolo was a small boat used for fishing, originally from the Marche and imported in the early decades of the 20th century in Viareggio.
It is put in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. a mince of garlic, red pepper, onion and parsley. Add fresh tomatoes cut into cubes, peeled and without seeds. When the water of the tomatoes is withdrawn, the fish is placed and blended with the wine.
Spaghetti with clams (“nicchi” in viareggino or telline): clams are bivalve molluscs that are fished on the seabed with special rakes. They are sautéed with garlic and blended with wine, you can add fresh raw tomatoes.
The clams are also used to make a seafood sauce that accompanies the matuffi, a polenta-based dish, generally served with mushroom sauce or meat sauce.
Spaghetti con i coltellacci: “coltellaccio” is the dialect term that indicates razor clams, molluscs with a narrow and elongated shape. The sauce can be made either in white or with tomato, as in the case of the sauce with clams.
In Viareggio there is also a song “Cha cha cha dei Coltellacci” that you can surely hear if you happen to be at the local evening parties during the Carnival, in February.
Caciucco is a fish soup cut into small pieces. Unlike the one from the city of Livorno, it is cooked mainly with sand and not rock fish and has a delicate flavor rather than spicy. It is cooked using gallinelle , cuttlefish, cicadas, scorpion fish, mullet and horse mackerel, sometimes dogfish and octopus are added, although there is no precise rule on which fish to use because the fishermen who “invented” used the fish they had available to them. time after time.
In Versilia it is also possible to taste dishes based on blue fish (anchovies, sardines and mackerel) but also clams, turbot, squid, cicadas, sole and mullet.
THE DISHES OF THE HINTERLAND
Moving inland we find mainly meat and vegetable dishes such as:
tordelli (with the “d”, and not tortelli!), the Scarpaccia, the Putta Pasquale di Pietrasanta cake (with rice, spelled and many spices) but also soups such as the frantoiana soup and the black cabbage soup, the matuffi (polenta with sausage or mushroom sauce), pasta and chickpeas or pasta and beans, rabbit with olives, grilled meat.
Tordelli are often found on the menus of restaurants and taverns in the area: the typical Versilia ones are filled with meat, chard and wild thyme, and are served with meat sauce. The paste is thick and usually eggless.
The scarpaccia is a savory pie made with zucchini from the Camaiore area; instead in Viareggio it is made with sugar and is a dessert.
The frantoiana soup is a soup made with vegetables, legumes and new extra virgin olive oil, just pressed. It was offered to farmers and laborers during the olive harvesting work and was also used to test the quality of the freshly produced oil.
As for desserts, on the coast we find rice cake, ciacci or necci, befanini made for the Befana, the cenci (squares of sweet dough, fried and covered with icing sugar) and rice fritters, both for Carnival.
The ciacci or necci are made with a semi-liquid dough based on chestnut flour and cooked in iron texts. They resemble wraps and today they are served with ricotta and sugar as a dessert, while originally they were a single dish also served with cured meats.
Inland, however, we have the castagnaccio, a soft and moist cake made with chestnut flour, oil, water and without yeast.
Versilia also boasts excellent typical products: oil, honey, wine, bread and salami from Gombitelli.
Gombitelli is a town 500 meters above sea level. in the municipality of Camaiore known for its pork-butchery tradition: its coarse-grained salami and lard deserve to be mentioned and tasted.
There are 2 fairs to promote oil and wine: Enolia at Palazzo Mediceo in Seravezza in April and Prim’olio and Primo Vino in Camaiore in December.