South Tyrol to taste! – Salt and pepper – Italian Cuisine

176479


Quality mark

South Tyrol? A wunderkammer natural unrollingto among the tumultuous courses of the Adige and the Isarco, between the Dolomites and the Natural Parks where nature has unleashed all its imagination to create an inimitable terroir. It is here that unique natural products are born, such as speck, apples, cheeses, marked "Alto Adige" and awarded from the European Union of the IGP mark (Protected Geographical Indication). Ready to become protagonists of robust snacks, tasty snacks, refined preparations.

176479A real specktacle!

That the speck has a glorious past is beyond doubt: along the Adige and Isarco's "he" valley, in fact, it has been spoken since 1200, when the Corporation of Butchers gave precise instructions on its preparation. Which included precise and unchanging operations of salting and smoking so that the speck is still produced according to the traditional rule "little salt, little smoke and lots of air". And so, if you really want to label it in a definition, Speck is a slightly smoked and seasoned raw ham. The choice of the raw material is obviously the basis of the quality of Speck Alto Adige PGI because only carefully selected pork thighs are used to produce it. The actual processing involves eight very precise steps: from boning to smoking (which is done by preparing a fire of wood that is not very resinous, so as not to give Speck a too strong flavor), to exposure to the brisk air of the South Tyrolean valleys to maturing that lasts on average 6/7 months. And the Bauernspeck? Is it peasant speck, as the literal translation wants, obtained from selected pigs and reared in small herds left in the semi-wild state in the masi of the innermost valleys. In addition to the thigh, in this case, other cuts (coppa, shoulder, carré, pancetta) are also used in order to exploit all the parts of the animal, as tradition dictates.

176482Melamangio

The bumps, the hills, the fields are an endless expanse of trees full of trees golden bright yellow, granny smith intense green and very red red delicious. We are just over 46 ° north latitude, on what can be called the "parallel of apples" and that of South Tyrol is the largest orchard in Europe, which extends over a hundred kilometers long the Adige, from the Val Venosta to the Bassa Atesina with an area of ​​about 18,500 hectares. 300 days of sunshine a year, abundant spring rains, a usually mild summer and autumn give the area the ideal conditions for growing apples up to 1,000 meters above sea level. The unique climate, combined with controlled agricultural practices, natural and ecological make grow thirteen varieties marked IGP mature: from the famous Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith to the most niche apples like the Braeburn, the Winesap and the Idared. Every year, according to data, about 1 million tons of apples are harvested, equal to 10% of the entire harvest in the European Union. And as far as organic food is concerned, South Tyrol is also one of the Union's largest suppliers: around a quarter of organic apples in Europe come from here.

Perfectly informs

It can be said that all the cheeses South Tyrolean quality standards are exceptionally high: artisanal production, non genetically modified and controlled feed and fodder, the natural breeding techniques and strict controls on milking and processing milk are the secrets of this success. Among the protagonists of the tableau de fromage South Tyrolean figure, no doubt, it Stelvio PDO, the only South Tyrolean cheese to have received the European Union Protected Designation of Origin. A historic product of the province (it has been talked about for at least a century), it is a cheese made from fresh cow's milk from 300 alpine farms, almost all located at over 1,000 meters above sea level. The maturing of the forms takes place on fir wood boards and lasts 62 days, during which the cheese is constantly massaged with salt water. To this brine are added autochthonous microorganisms that further strengthen the character of the cheese. Only in this way the Stelvio PDO can have its typical crust and its unique taste. That's not all, of course: the Stelvio is produced without the use of genetically modified organisms, a condition that also applies to the rennet needed for protein coagulation.

Enrico Saravalle
June 2019


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