Born in the Marche in ancient times to avoid wasting the large quantity of figs that matured at the end of September, it is prepared with walnuts, almonds and star anise seeds
Figs have always been among the most delicious fruits of the peasant tradition. In Marche and in particular in Vallesina, the small territory that goes from the Castelli di Jesi to the Adriatic, have represented for hundreds of years real institution. Until a few decades ago, in fact, abundant figs were grown in the valley. The varieties of this area, mainly parts equipped and i Brogiotti, arrive at maturity all just before the harvest, in the month of September. And to preserve this first fruits the farmers of the area have invented a sweet of rare goodness: the fig loin. Ever more rare and available only in some shops, it is a traditional dish of peasant cuisine that risks disappearing like the world that invented it.
From the color golden brown, with a compact and solid dough, this cake from the Marche region has only the appearance. The name, in fact, is due to the traditional shape that the dough of figs takes after processing. To prepare it, i parts equipped and i Brogiotti, which are collected in the two valleys bathed by the Esino and Misa rivers, are made drying in the sun and then amalgamated together with other typical ingredients of the poor peasant tradition such as almonds, walnuts and star anise seeds. The dough is used mistrà, a liqueur obtained from the maceration of anise fruits in alcohol, or sapa. The preparation is left to rest for a few hours and then wrapped in fig leaves and tied with string. Cylindrical in shape with a length between 15 and 20 centimeters and about 6 in diameter, the lonzino should be served cut into not too thin slices: until a few years ago it constituted a nutritious snack for children and enriched the table on feast days and religious celebrations. This type of preparation allowed the cake to last all winter until spring avoiding the waste of a large quantity of figs. Soft and harmonious, the fig loin gives a perfect mix of figs and dried fruit with an enveloping note of anise.
To better appreciate this dessert you must accompany it with another typical Marche product: the sapa. This grape syrup, obtained from cooked must of white or red grapes, it is the ideal to better stand out the caramel notes of fig loin. Sapa also known as "cooked wine" or "Grape honey" it owes its name to the word sàpa, which derives from the Latin term sàpor and came used as a sweetener since ancient times. In addition to a glass of this cooked wine, the lonzino is excellent accompanied by medium-aged non-soft cheeses.
La Vallesina has always been the land of choice for the production of figs. In the last few decades, however, this tradition has been slowly diminishing and many varieties considered to be less productive and too delicate to be cultivated on the market. To prevent this biodiversity heritage from being lost in 1999, in the Castelli di Jesi area on average Vallesina, a Slow food presidium was established. In this way, part of the fig cultivation in these areas was recovered. Thanks to this project, started by the producers in collaboration with the Marche region, the production of loin has thus begun to flourish again.
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