We went on a journey through the valleys of South Tyrol to discover traditional bakeries, their most typical products and the millenary history that intertwines agriculture and white art
Enclosed by majestic mountains, theSouth Tyrol jealously guards gastronomic traditions whose origin is lost in the mists of time. One of the most fascinating is that of bread and of flours rustic with which, in the area of South Tyrol, has been kneaded for millennia.
Traces of Emmer were found among the mummified remains of Ötzi, the shepherd who lived in these areas more than five thousand years ago. While of the rye We have news since 800 BC, when it seems to have come from distant Asia Minor, only to find fertile ground in these areas and become one of the most used cereals for white art, as bread making is called.
Even today, rye is widely cultivated, often by the same bakers who collect and grind it in their mills. Some even use machinery dating back to the late nineteenth century, such as the svecciatoio in the photo, which is still in operation on the farm today Roatnocker from Georg Weiss, high Val di Non, which separates the beans according to shape and size.
Among the specialties baked daily in South Tyrolean bakeries are the Paarl, loaves kneaded with rye and spelled that change according to the mix of flours that compose them. So, for example, they are called Vollkotnpaarl those entirely of wholemeal rye.
They are called instead Urpaarl the breads of pure rye typical of Val Venosta, the "granary" of Tyrol. The prefix "Ur" recalls the ancient city of Mesopotamia, the cradle of cereal. There eight shape, obtained from the union of two rounded loaves, symbolizes the union of marriage (in the photo, the offer to the bakery of Peter Schuster in Laudes, in Val Monastero).
The technique with which the thin discs of the Schüttelbrot: the dough is placed on one circular shovel which is made to rotate, by the skilled hands of the baker, until it widens and thins at the right point.
The result is round, low, toasted and very crunchy bread, the emblem of South Tyrol and typical of every production.
The distinctive taste of Schüttelbrot, Paarl and other specialties is given by the trigonella, an aromatic herb that grows in the mountains and produces pale blue flowers.
After the harvest, the trigonella comes dried and ground. The scent is halfway between anise and cumin: the latter, moreover, is also part of the bouquet used in typical recipes.
Among the seeds that enrich the preparations, those of pumpkin and those of sunflower, used for large loaves, small rolls, crunchy cracker (in the photo, those of Furnaria Seppi, in Val Badia). The seeds of poppy.
There puccia is a characteristic specialty of Ladin community, settled in the valleys surrounding the Sella dolomitic group. The traditional loaf of these areas is mixed with 70 percent rye flour and 30 percent wheat and there is also a dry and flat version.
Not just rye: also the wheat flour finds greedy application. For example in the Laugenbrot which, like the classic German and Austrian pretzels, are immersed in a soda bath which makes the crust brown and shiny.
They are light in color and quite soft, again due to the presence of wheat flour, even i Puschtra Breatl, round and low loaves. In the photo, one of the loaves baked in the bakery laboratory Feichter to Dobbiaco, high Val Pusteria.
In short, the doughs and shapes of the loaves change from valley to valley and from village to village. And there is no shortage of contaminations such as the use of flours that come from afar (in the photo, a spelled bread and Sicilian Timilia flour from Merano Ivo de Pellegrin).
To enrich the proposal of South Tyrolean bakeries, even one pastry shop simple but delicious. How to resist the Biscuits double, stuffed with jam?
When it is season, here comes the raisin bread. Less sweet than you might think, it is suitable for breakfasts and snacks also, why not, in combination with salty ingredients.
Finally, it is inevitable apple strudel, symbolic delight of South Tyrol. According to the traditional recipe, the delicious filling is wrapped in a casket of shortcrust pastry crumbly. One bite is enough, and the oven is served.
Roatnocker farm, Weiss family, Obere Innere 12, Senale San Felice (BZ), telephone 3487686627
Bäckerei Schuster, Laudes 139, Malles Venosta (BZ), phone 473831340
Furnaria Seppi, Strada Col Alt 34, Corvara in Badia (BZ), telephone 0471 836 863
Bauernhof Familie Feichter, Zipfanger 1, Dobbiaco (BZ), telephone 0474972324
Ivo De Pellegrin oven, Via delle Corse 141 °, Merano (BZ), telephone 3338593629
Photo by Felice Scoccimarro for the reportage made for Sale & Pepe by Riccardo Lagorio
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