Wine and Food

Manfricoli

Otricoli

"Manfricoli"

A typical first course dish is a “humble” pasta (made only with flour kneaded with water), the Manfricoli, are usually served with an “arrabbiata” sauce (fresh tomato sauce with garlic, virgin olive oil and hot peppers).

Cheese production is linked to the local tradition and a favourable environmental heritage, still partly uncontaminated, in which rich, fresh pastures provide excellent fodder almost all year round, the raw material needed for the production of a good quality milk and dairy products. The flavour and genuineness of the local products are therefore distinguished, on one part by the quality of the environment and on the other by the natural evolution of the competence of the operators who, because of their experience and of tradition, produce a wide variety of cheeses, such as pecorino, caciotta, ricotta and many more.

Wine
The geography of the hills and the favourable environmental conditions that characterize our territory have convinced the inhabitants to dedicate themselves to the production of wine from the early antiquity: a millenary tradition that gives Umbrian wine makers an exclusive ability, in line with a region so jealous of its traditions and simple, natural, ancient production methods, that give these local wines those features of excellence for which they are renowned nationally and internationally.

Oil
The majority of the olive groves in the Otricoli territory grow in a well defined hilly area, between 250 and 450 metres above sea level. But one can also find other rare plants at higher levels. Compared to the national production, the Umbrian production is not exceptional in quantity, only about 2%. But Umbria is renowned not for the quantity of its oil production but for its quality. About 90% of olive oil produced in this region is, in fact, extra virgin olive oil of the highest quality. The reasons for this are found, above all, in the localization of olive groves on permeable, hilly terrains, that favour the deep penetration of the trees roots. Another decisive factor is the temperate climate characteristic of the region, that helps mature the olives relatively slowly, with considerable results on the acidity and flavour. The processing method usually adopted, or rather that in which the olives are harvested just as they start turning dark, in compliance with the natural tendencies and the oil produced with these olives usually has a low acidity level and a typically fruity taste. The olive, together with the vine, is the principal arboreal cultivation typical of the region and its relevance is not just of economic nature but also from an environmental and cultural point of view. Oil, in fact, is the fundamental element of many religious rituals and is mentioned in many proverbs and sayings. The cultivations in Umbria are traditional of central Italy: a common olive is the Moraiolo, that is famous for its resistance to adverse climatic conditions and that therefore grows also in high ground with excellent results; together with the Moraiolo, the Leccino and the Frantoio are the most commonly used olives.

Typical products

Narni

From the woods to the table 
Flowing through wooded hills, stunning landscapes and ancient villages exuding historical and cultural heritage, the river Nera crosses the Narnian territory first through gorges and then opening to merge into the Tiber. And here too, as in the Valnerina, nature offers its abundant forest products: mushrooms, truffles and chestnuts which become the basic ingredients for the typical traditional dishes.

Storng flavours, from the Middle Ages
Amongst the excellent characteristics first course dishes we find the manfricoli, pasta made with flour and water with tasty sauces. And then there’s the polenta with boar meat, hunted locally, “pasta e fagioli”, barbecue grills. And also locally produced amber, fragrant honey, to serve with cheese. All accompanied by red wines (the excellent local production has in recent years become most refined and now also includes late harvest wines). And finally extra virgin olive oil, of excellent quality, a necessary condiment to all dishes: also white pizza, baked in wood ovens and served freshly baked during the festivities for the “Corsa all'Anello” (the Ring Race) in Narni in the month of May, when in the “osterie” you find a triumph of strong medieval flavours.

Pampepato

Terni

Pampepato

In the absence of documentary and bibliographic references that place the most important confectionary product of the Terni’s tradition within a determined period of time, we cannot fail to refer to its ingredients and to the memory of the transformations that the territory has undergone. 

The fact that the “pampepato” is quite an ancient sweet is indisputable, as it is based on the traditional use of dried fruit. Dried fruit such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and almonds with the addition of ingredients indispensible to its identification and essential components of its particular flavour such as pepper and chocolate. 

Its presence, therefore can only be identified as subsequent to the spreading of the use of spices and of the same chocolate. It is significant also that traditional Umbrian recipes, therefore also ones from Terni, to obtain the spicy flavour use nothing but pepper. 

This blend of sweet/spicy/fragrant and bitter/spicy/fragrant, typical of the pampepato, identifies it as the result deriving from a territory where use of red hot peppers is practically unknown, that is, Umbria, and Terni in particular. 

Another indispensible ingredient of the pampepato is cooked must, or “sapa” as it was known in antiquity by Etruscans and Romans, which has remained traditional only in very few typical recipes and all from the central regions of Italy. 

If identifying the period in which it was introduced is difficult to establish, we have sufficient information on its place of origin: one of the most important centres in central Italy, Terni, the city which, starting from the end of the nineteenth century, began a process of industrialization which in the gastronomic sector, rather than disrupting customs and traditions as often happened, not only consolidated its own, through greater financial resources distributed also in the less fortunate segments of society, but actually enhanced and adopted traditions, methodologies and customs of different origin, such as, for example with other recipes like the Pandoro of Verona which in Terni is produced with the ancient method used in Verona, that is by hand rolling the dough. 

This situation was repeated also during the more recent economic boom of the fifties/sixties. Years in which Terni was able, also thanks to the sagacity of certain local entrepreneurs, to bring some typical gastronomic products, such as bread, outside the city walls, Rome and its hinterland, which is known as “Terni bread”, as well as the “pizze di Pasqua”, or Easter cakes, an excellent liqueur made with a blend of herbs, and, of course, the Pampepato of Terni , which has long since established its own market outside the city of origin. 

As far as our grandmothers can remember, that is from the beginning of the nineteen hundreds, the Pampepato has always been made like this in Terni, and it has since been made at home, in Terni and elsewhere, in spite of it being a costly product from the start. 

And it is still made today, only during the Christmas period though, because this is the tradition according to which at least one Pampepato must be kept in its packing until the Easter period, or even until the day of the Madonna, that is until the 15th of August. And this goes to show how this product can keep for a long time, at least three months, without the need to add preservatives.